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Why was revolution in Russia considered by many to be inevitable in the years before World War One?

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Introduction

Why was revolution in Russia considered by many to be inevitable in the years before World War One? Russia's disastrous and humiliating defeat during World War One is widely seen as the final factor contributing to the explosive revolutions of 1917. Their ill-equipped and badly run armies stood no chance against the smaller yet highly organised German troops. The situation continued to deteriorate as soldiers incessantly charged to their deaths in the battle fields, and thousands starved in the cities and countryside. Although the failure of the war effort certainly provided the spark Lenin and others needed to finally seize power, many claim that revolution was inevitable even in the years leading up to 1914. By 1917 Russia had been run by the same dynasty, the Rominovs, for 304 years. The ruler of Russia, the Tsar, ruled by divine right and imposed an autocracy, a repressive system under which 95% of the population was effectively ignored and abused. The Tsar thus retained complete power and authority over all areas of life, including the Orthodox Church. ...read more.

Middle

Having been recently freed from slavery, these peasants lived in the utmost poverty owning small patches of land, (usually unworkable during the winter due to frost) and large debts. They were, for the most part illiterate which made it hard, if not impossible, for them to modernise their techniques. There was a rising discontent among these peasants, they began to long for a reform of the system as their love of the land was marred by stories of the relatively wealthy peasants of Western Europe. Russia's alliance with France in ?????? brought a sudden industrialisation preparing this huge country for the possibility of war. Huge industries and cheaply erected accommodation were built up almost over night as the Tsar anticipated the vast influx of workers into the cities. By the turn of the century, almost 20% of the population consisted of factory workers. Having migrated to the city under illusions of what the future would bring them, they laboured all day, every day, for horrifically low wages and little to no rights. ...read more.

Conclusion

By 1900 therefore, Russia was not only behind in industry and agriculture compared to her allies, but also in her autocratic political system. Britain and France had both had their revolutions, having made the transition from absolutism to democracy over 100 years earlier. Russia, however, had yet to undergo this transition which many believed was essential for one's development. A second revolution seemed to be sweeping through Europe, not quite finding a country to settle in, a revolution based on an ideology, that of collectivism. Many determined revolutionists had arisen as a result of Europe's industrialisation which seemed to have been accompanied by the establishment of a new system based on exploitation and wealth, a system which came to be called capitalism. Socialist parties became popular in Europe and then in Russia. The Marxist ideology, based on the principle of total equality and aiming for the abolition of hierarchy within a society, seemed to have a strong hold in Russia where exploitation and inequality were taken to a new extreme. With the rising mistrust of the Tsar, support for these revolutionaries soared as people began to predict a collapse of the archaic regime, or at least a reformation. ...read more.

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