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Why was the Tsar's government overthrown in February/March 1917

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Introduction

Why was the Tsar's government overthrown in February/March 1917? The February/March revolution of 1917 in Russia, which resulted in the Tsar being overthrown, and a new provisional government replacing him, with the intentions of establishing a liberal republic, was the result of several mainly long-term factors, which can be grouped into four main categories of economic, political, military and social factors:- Economic The economic causes of the Russian Revolution largely originated in Russia's slightly outdated economy. Russia's agriculture was largely based on independent peasants, who seldom owned modern machinery. Suffering from a naturally cold climate, Russia's growing season was only 4-6 months, compared to 8-9 in most of Western Europe. However, vast territory and population still allowed Russia to be the largest exporter of agricultural products in the world, even supplying North America in the 1900's. Russia was still developing modern infrastructure and transport systems. Despite vast expansions under Sergei Witte to the railway system, Russia lacked the ability to effectively transport food over great distances. ...read more.

Middle

These unfulfilled hopes of democracy fuelled revolutionary ideas and violence targeted at the Tsarist regime. Social The social causes of the Russian Revolution mainly came from centuries of oppression towards the lower classes by the Tsarist regime and Nicholas's failures in World War I. While rural agrarian peasants had been emancipated from serfdom in 1861, they still resented paying redemption payments to the state, and demanded communal tender of the land they worked. Increasing peasant disturbances and sometimes full revolts occurred, with the goal of securing ownership of their land. The rapid industrialization of Russia also resulted in urban overcrowding and poor conditions for urban industrial workers (as mentioned above). Between 1890 and 1910, the population of the capital of St Petersburg swelled from 1,033,600 to 1,905,600, with Moscow experiencing similar growth. In one 1904 survey, it was found that an average of sixteen people shared each apartment in St Petersburg, with six people per room. There was also no running water, and piles of human waste were a threat to the health of the workers. ...read more.

Conclusion

The food shortages and famine which were being suffered by the majority of the Russian population were also crucial in contributing to the 1917 revolution as it further demonstrated the Tsar and his government's incompetency and even a possible lack of regard for the hardships of his people, in not trying harder with more success to grow enough crops to feed both his citizens and the soldiers on the front fighting a war with Germany for Russia. The relative strength, influence and widespread support for such groups as the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks also contributed to the Tsar's downfall, as when groups such as these supported and contributed to revolution, it meant large amounts of mainly working class people from industrial towns also supported the revolution. No one single factor was behind the February/March revolution in 1917, but instead the accumulation and combination of the many things described above led to the outpouring of feelings of discontent and dissatisfaction became so strong that they spilled over into a revolution, which the Tsar simply did not have the strength or support to stop. ...read more.

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