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Why were there two Revolutions in 1917?

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02-04-10 IB1 History Lamin Khadar Why were there two Revolutions in 1917? Many tend to believe that there was just one general revolution in Russia in 1917. However, there were two revolutions, two different revolutions with different leaders and different ideas. The first was a provisional government, a kind of democracy, and the second instituted a Communist government. The question is, why were there two revolutions? The immediate cause of the first revolution, the February Revolution of 1917 was the collapse of the czarist regime under the gigantic strain of World War I. The underlying cause was the backward economic condition of the country, which made it unable to sustain the war effort against powerful, industrialized Germany. Russian manpower was virtually inexhaustible. Russian industry, however, lacked the capacity to arm, equip, and supply the 15 million men who were sent into the war. Factories were few and insufficiently productive, and the railroad network was inadequate. Repeated mobilizations, disrupted industrial and agricultural production. The food supply decreased, and the transportation system became disorganized. In the trenches, the soldiers went hungry and frequently lacked shoes or munitions. Russian casualties were greater than those sustained by any army in any previous war. In Russia, goods became scarce, inflation occurred, and by 1917 famine threatened the larger cities. Discontent was extreme, and the morale of the army suffered, and was completely destroyed by a succession of military defeats. ...read more.


Effective political power subsequently was exercised by two new bodies, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies and a Provisional Government formed by the provisional committee of the Duma. The Petrograd Soviet easily could have assumed complete power in the capital, but it failed to do so. The great majority of its members, believing that revolutionary Russia must wage a war of defence against German imperialism, did not want to risk disorganizing the war effort. Taken by surprise, as were all the political parties, by the outbreak of the revolution, the working-class parties were unable to give the workers and soldiers in the Soviet strong political leadership. The provisional government tried to continue the war and to keep the peasants from taking the land while trying to avoid methods of dictatorship. In so doing they were trying to impose a policy that ran counter to the wishes of the mass of peasants and soldiers and workers. Half hearted attempts to impose this policy by force just further undermined their position. The workers were alienated because the provisional government failed to provide an adequate supply of bread to the cities. Further many workers were facing redundancy as a side effect of the war. Perhaps most militant were the soldiers who were bitter from seeing many comrades die as a result of their general's incompetence. They began to see no sense in giving their lives to fight for a government who could not even provide adequate supplies. ...read more.


After some resistance, the committee on October 10 approved Lenin's policy. It was carried out during the night of October 24 to 25 and the following day by the Military Revolutionary Committee under the direction of Trotsky. Armed workers, soldiers, and sailors stormed the Winter Palace, headquarters of the Provisional Government. On the afternoon of October 25 Trotsky announced the end of the Provisional Government. Several of its ministers were arrested later that day. Thus, Bolsheviks won power, due to the fact that the Bolshevik Party was only significant party to clearly oppose the Provisional Government and to unambiguously support the aims of the soldiers and workers and peasants. Finally, why were there two revolutions in 1917? It's actually quite a simple question. The cause of the first revolution was simply the long awaited fall of the czarist regime mixed with strain of World War I. And the reason for the second revolution was simply that the Provisional Government didn't give the people of Russia what they wanted. Firstly the Provisional Government was determined to carry on the war effort, which quite frankly the neither the peasants nor the soldiers nor the workers were prepared to do. Secondly, they kept putting aside such important maters such as economic disorganization, the continued food crisis, industrial reforms, redistribution of land to peasants, and the growth of counterrevolutionary forces. Thirdly the Bolshevik Party was only significant party to clearly oppose the Provisional Government and to clearly support the aims of the soldiers and workers and peasants, and so, the people of Russia supported them. ...read more.

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