What was the short term significance of Russias entry into World War One up to 1917?

Authors Avatar by oopsy99 (student)

Lara Hopkins

What was the short term significance of Russia’s entry into World War One up to 1917?

World War One had great short term significance on Russia, particularly socially, economically and politically and historians have many views on this matter. By 1916, over 14 million Russian men had been mobilised and the heaviest burden of this fell on the rural peasantry as almost halve of their male labour force had been called up, and many people also moved to the cities to work in factories, as the demand for machinery increased. This meant that there was a rise in need for food and industry so between 1914 and 1917, annual government spending rose from four million to forty million roubles, inflation increased as the gold standard was lost and money became practically worthless. This pressure on the Russian people led to a dissatisfaction with the autocratic rule and ultimately, the Tsar was forced to abdicate.

One main significance of Russia’s entry into World War One was the greater political influence of Rasputin, a Russian holy man who treated the heir, Alexie. It can be seen from the historian Alex De Jonge that Rasputin’s power was not appreciated by Russia as he wrote that Rasputin’s enemies charged him of being “cynical” and of “using his religion to mask his drive for sex, money and power”. This increase in power and influence is depicted in Source A as Rasputin is shown in the middle of the court as the larger person to show his greater effect on the decisions of the rulers, with the Tsar and the Tsarina on either side of him to portray their dependence, which adds weight to De Jonge’s argument that Rasputin wished to increase his power. Rasputin was able to gain greater political control because when the Tsar took personal command of the army in 1915, the Tsarina relied upon him more greatly, with some people even believing that they were having an affair (Source B), which could be seen as reflecting De Jonge’s opinion of Rasputin’s drive for sex. This reliance can be explicitly seen in Source C, where the Tsarina is writing to the Tsar in response to his brother’s criticisms of the influence of Rasputin states that without Rasputin, “all would have finished”. This reveals that it was the Tsarina’s believe that they would have already lost the war if not for Rasputin. When considering the nature of the sources, it must be realised that both sources A and B were two of many anti –Rasputin post cards that circulated Petrograd, with Source A being printed in 1916, before Rasputin was killed, and with Source B produced in 1917, during the abdication of the Tsar. Even though this means that these sources were produced as anti – autocratic propaganda and it is highly unlikely that the Tsarina was sleeping with Rasputin, they are still useful as they show the people’s view of Rasputin’s political significance and how this was a factor for the negativity towards the autocracy, which was a great significance of Russia’s entry into the first word war.

Join now!

361 / 361 words

Another great impact of Russia’s entry into the war, which would also have contributed to the dissatisfaction of the autocracy, was food shortages. During World War One it was difficult for peasants to sustain agricultural output as by the end of 1916, half of the male labour force had been called up (Henry Cowper) and horses and fertilisers had been seized by the military for the war effort. Michael Lynch claims that the main blow to the Russian army were food shortages and bad internal production. This view is supported by Source G (p.55) which shows that ...

This is a preview of the whole essay