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To What Extent can Individuals be Credited with being Responsible for Revolutions?

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Year 12 History To What Extent can Individuals be Credited with being Responsible for Revolutions? Individuals can only be credited to a certain degree for being responsible for revolutions because there are many factors that lead to a revolution. Obviously some individuals can be credited more than others for being responsible for revolutions, but a single individual cannot be credited completely for a revolution. In pre-revolutionary Russia and China, factors such as famine played a major role in being responsible for revolutions, so it is not only people that can take credit for revolutions but world events, weather, disasters and war also. The revolution in February 1917 in Russia can be credited largely to one individual, the Tsar of Russia and also in China the Empress was largely responsible for the revolution in 1911. These leaders, through their incompetence, failed to expel unrest and discontent in their respective countries, which unfortunately led to revolution. Individuals outside of government can also be credited with starting revolutions. These individuals took advantage of current events to aid their own cause, which of course was a revolution. As Russia and China were ruled by an autocracy, the Tsar and Empress by divine right ruled the country with supreme power. Meaning they had the final say on everything and basically ruled the entire country by themselves. ...read more.


The war with Japan brought great unrest to Russia and sparked a wildfire of revolutionary ideas that flooded the country. The vast amount of resources and man power that WWI consumed from Russia was crippling. Food shortages were widespread enough, but now the soldiers needed to be supplied with food which meant less for everyone else, even worse, farmers and peasants were begin sent to war which meant less food production. Railway workers were also sent to fight, this meant an already inefficient railway system was brought to a snails pace. Worse still the Tsar decided that he would go to the front to lead his soldiers, this meant that any defeat could be blamed solely on the Tsar. Similarly in China the Empress was faced with a western invasion, China's military was unable to match the might of western firepower. Westerners won many battles and forced China to sign an unfair treaty which opened up her ports for trade. Westerners flooded China with cheap merchandise and opium, this led to great discontent amongst merchants and peasants. In both cases discontent and unrest was caused directly by the Tsar and Empress' inability to achieve military victory. Again blame can almost solely go to the Tsar and Empress, and with their inability to subdue the resultant unrest, they can almost solely take credit for causing the impending revolutions. ...read more.


On a larger scale, the majority of the population of both China and Russia can be credited with causing revolutions, that is the peasants, because without them no revolution would have had occurred in the first place. It was the peasants and proletariat that wanted changes, if they were happy with their government they would not have wanted change, and revolutionaries would have been laughed and scoffed at. So to some degree all the credit should go to the peasants, but of course if they were unhappy then there would need to be a cause of this discontent and credit would need to be given to the cause of discontent for the impending revolution. And also to those individuals that helped push the revolutions along (revolutionaries). Therefore the extent to which individuals can be credited with causing revolutions is entirely dependent on their involvement in causing discontent and unrest within the vast majority of the population. For example, the Tsar and Empress take most of the credit for the revolutions that occurred as a result of their incompetence as it was them that started it all, whereas revolutionaries can only take a small amount of credit in comparison to the Tsar and Empress as they are only helping the revolutions along basically taking advantage of the situation that the Tsar and Empress created to aid them in their cause, which lets face it was to put themselves in power. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kingsley Denton 12THOJ 20/04/07 ...read more.

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