• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent was the Great War responsible for the collapse of the Provisional Government in 1917?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent was the Great War responsible for the collapse of the Provisional Government in 1917? ALEEM KHAN The Provisional Government assumed control of Russia following the abdication of the Tsar Nicholas II. It only had a brief period in power lasting about seven months. Historians have disputed the main cause for its failure, Marxist historians, such as John Reed; have rewarded it to the Bolshevik's effective propaganda machine, whilst more revisionist historians, such as Christopher Read, take a more encompassing position on the issue. They lay blame at a range of factors such as the First World War and the dual authority in relation to the Petrograd Soviet. Revisionist historians have also benefited from the post-glasnost era and hence have both greater access to more sources as well as the advantage of hindsight. To understand the reasons for the collapse of the Provisional Government it is crucial to be aware of the events leading up to the October Revolution and the atmosphere politically and socio-economically at the time. The year 1917 was a turbulent year of strikes, bad harvests and inflation. 'Week by week food became scarcer'1 and any that was available usually went to the soldiers. Russian agriculture was primitive and machinery was rarely used hence production was not efficient. ...read more.

Middle

The collapse of the Provisional Government is also partly due to its ineffectiveness and reliance upon the Soviet for approval. The Petrograd Soviet was a representative body of the workers and soldiers alike. On it sat elected members, something the Provisional Government lacked, from specific groups of workers and soldiers. Though it was set up prior to the Provisional Government, it was illegal until its existence. Morgan Philips Price helps understand why the Soviet did not assume power itself, 'The Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries believed that at that stage of the Revolution the workers and soldiers of the Army were unable to run the country alone and needed the cooperation of the middle-class Liberals.'5 Hence, the existence of the power sharing structure between the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet was formed. However, over time the Provisional Government only became weaker whilst the Soviet gained greater strength. Crucial amongst all the changes that occurred in relation to power between the Soviet and the government was the edict Soviet Order No.1. This gave the Soviet control of the Army because it controlled the soldiers' support. The government without the backing of Army was toothless and would now have to rely on approval of its policies from the Soviet. The importance of the Soviet having such power would be limited had it not been for the First World War, which made soldiers a vital part of the system. ...read more.

Conclusion

The February Revolution was indeed important in the War; America's joining would not have occurred had it not been for the change of regime, since it did not want to support an anti-democratic autocracy. Therefore, the Provisional Government was crucial to the war and had it not been for the joining of the USA, the Germans might not have been as willing to sign a peace deal, following the October Revolution, helping to consolidate Bolshevik power. In conclusion, the Provisional Government lacked both authority and legitimacy, which were both characteristics of the Petrograd Soviet. Elections or some sort of approval was needed to give the government these features. The issue of land reform needed addressing and historians have seen this as an important factor in the government's loss of popularity. Furthermore, the propaganda from opposition groups, in particular the Bolsheviks, was effective in destroying any respect for the Provisional Government. Their liberal policies enabled this, which were unavailable to democratic countries during times of war. Kerensky was initially popular but the war damaged his image. The Great War created a situation of chaos and anarchy in Russia and government policy at the time did nothing to aid the situation. Its collapse was a result of a variety of factors and reasons but the far-reaching effects of the war were to have devastating results in both social and economic quarters. Moreover, the war only helped increase the opposition to the government and led to their downfall in October 1917. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Comparing the German and Russian systems of government

    The head of State might be the president in Germany but the Basic Law transfers the majority of the executive authority from the president to the chancellor. The German chancellor must have the majority of the Bundestag before being elected.

  2. To what extent was ‘Inept Leadership’ responsible for the failure of Chartism?

    The fact that protest built up and faded away as recession and improvement came and went is more due to the realisation that the economic problems of the working classes were due to the corrupt political system that excluded those who were building (literally)

  1. To what extent was there a 'post war consensus' between 1945-1970.

    In 1973 when the Conservative government did manage to secure entry the terms were disadvantageous and Labour negotiated new terms after a referendum in 1975. This clearly shows that there was consensus politics. In the 1940s and 1950s both parties rejected the European Union because Britain were in a strong

  2. Was the provisional government doomed to failure from the beginning

    provisional government failed to provide for their needs shows there would have been tension between the two committees. There also would have been a conflict of interests between the two parties. The Provisional government would of wanted to make decisions in favour of the people they represented and it with the Petrograd Soviets.

  1. How did the failure of the Provisional Government allow for the rise of the ...

    This allowed the Bolsheviks to learn what the public wanted, and attempted to handle their needs better than the Soviets could12. The Bolsheviks success was due to fact that they were able to meet the needs of the proletariat, and rid themselves of maintaining the interests of the bourgeoisie13.

  2. How far were Gandhi's actions after 1920 responsible for Indiagaining her independence in 1947?

    The British government also recognised that public opinion existed and Spears believed that it could not be ignored,18 the 'colonial' mentality that existed needing to be discarded. However, Parekh heavily criticises Gandhi, citing that "his flawed strategy of national regeneration failed to develop the conventional forms of institutional politics" and that he "perpetuated unrealistic and confused ideas."

  1. The colonial factor in the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970)

    However, for a working federation, there must be a no dominating side. In Nigeria, a balance could not be achieved hence the lopsided federation. There were constitutional conferences in 1957, 1958, and 1959 and in 1960 culminating in the granting of independence to Nigeria on October 1, 1960.

  2. What Are The Key Elements Of Thatcherism? To What Extent Was It A Reaction ...

    Perhaps the most important feature of the consensus was the commitment of government to provide full employment. This was something which was very popular with the electorate, especially in 1945, with the memory of the misery of unemployment in the inter-war years still fresh in the minds of many.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work