The March Revolution 1917

1a) The conditions are so bad in Petrograd because peasants who used to work on the farms were forced to move into the towns to work in the factories to help in the producing of guns and uniforms for the soldiers.

This caused several problems; because all the people who worked on the farms were forced to move into the city there was a food shortage because there weren’t enough people to tend the land and the food that was being made was being sent off to the army so there was a near on famine. The second problem was that there were not enough housing for all the people that had suddenly moved into the towns so they often slept in the streets. Another problem was that the workers tended not to be all to good at working in the factories so they made little difference to the Russian army.

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Also their wages had gone up by 100%, which at first sights is good. However, the prices of food had gone up by 500%. Basically real wages declined.

Transportation of food was also another reason for food shortage. These again were used to carry the Russian army and supplies to their home front.

These are all reasons why conditions were so bad in Petrograd.

b) This could lead to a revolution because people were getting grumpy due to the lack of food and the way they had to work harder. The war effort was going badly and people were upset that they were losing so many battles. They were looking for someone to blame and the obvious people were the Tsar, the Tsarina and Rasputin. They would blame the Tsar due to him taking over the Russian army and the way they seemed not to win a single battle and all the countless lives that were being lost. Where as before he took over the army he wouldn’t have been blamed for all the loses of life.

The Tsarina would have been blamed because she was a foreigner. She was German for that matter. The people thought that they couldn’t possibly have a German leader, and many thought she might be a spy. People were so paranoid that the English changed its name because it was a German surname to Windsor and St. Petersburg because it sounded to German was changed to Petrograd.

Rasputin was the person who the Tsarina trusted the most and she often asked his advice in ruling the country. People did not trust this so called holy man. People thought that he was ill advising the Tsarina. Or as a picture shows Rasputin has the Tsar and the Tsarina in the palm of his hands.

People were being offered a better way of life than the one they currently had by revolting against the Tsar these were offered to them by the parties such as the SD’s and the SR’s. These could all lead to revolution.

2.) In source B it shows that the Tsarina had a laid back attitude to the situation around her in Petrograd. This could be to do with several things. This could be because she has not had to suffer from the affects of the food shortage and that she thought that people were screaming for food because they had nothing better, which would prove how much she didn’t get out. Or it could be because some of her servants were pulling the wool over her eyes. This could also be because she thinks that the matter would soon sort itself out and that she didn’t need to worry her husband who would already have a lot to worry about with the war.

b) This could be dangerous for the Tsar because he is unaware of the troubles at home and so he can’t possibly stop the riots from breaking out. If he doesn’t know what is happening how could he possibly save his throne.

3) Source C, which is a photo of a demonstration shows a different image of what it was like in Petrograd at the time the Tsarina wrote the letter to the Tsar in March 1917. In Source B (the letter between the Tsar and the Tsarina) the Tsarina says, “Young people run around and shout that there is no bread simply to create excitement.” However source C shows a mass of people in there thousands gathering in a protest for more food. This shows that it wasn’t just a bunch of kids that are doing it for excitement it was a serious issue, which needed to be tackled.

4) The army played such an important role in the abdication of the Tsar. Every country needs an army, why? So as to protect the country. If the army decides to turn against you then you have got a big problem. This is what happened to the Tsar while he was out commanding his army people started protesting against the bad conditions in which they all lived in. The big thing was that the army started mutinying against there leading generals. The Navy over took over a ship called the Potemkin. This gave them a big boost. It showed them that if they put there heads together they would be more powerful than the actual generals.

Having heard finally of all the riots which were happening in Petrograd he decided to head home. On the way home he met some of his generals who urged him to abdicate his throne. They did so because they were scared of revolution because they would lose a lot of land to the revolutionaries and in so become virtually penniless. This is known as, “A revolution from above.”

The Tsar left the throne to his brother however his brother eventually turned down the offer because he knew he would face the same problem as Nicholas.

Within a week the whole Romanov family was arrested and sent to a prison camp in Siberia.

5) “The overthrow of the Tsar was inevitable.” The Tsar seemed to of given lee way to the people of Russia to stop the revolutionaries from attacking his power. He did so by telling people they had the freedom of speech, he would elect a government (known later as the Duma) amongst other things. This put him back in the favour of the middle class and pleased the Cadets immensely for this is what they wanted, to help the Tsar rule the country not to overthrow him. However the Social Democrats and the Social Revolutionaries felt cheated. They wanted to completely overthrow the Tsar.

So the main groups were not beaten merely held at bay. They were going to have to strike at another time.

This time came when the Tsar issued the October Manifesto. The October Manifesto basically cancelled out the effects of what he had previously said. The October Manifesto said that the Tsar although elected by the people could sack the Duma at any time (which the Tsar did 4 times until he had a party which he liked, therefore no meaningful law was made).

So this statement is true because he had his warning back in 1905 and he had a chance to change things but he didn’t he just reverted them to suit him. In that sense the revolution was inevitable.

“It was the war that brought the overthrow of the Tsar.” The First World War was a great chance for Russia to show how great they were and superior they were to the rest of the world. This victory would have been important after there major loss against Japan. Before they lost the war to Japan the Russian people thought themselves superior to all the other nations of the world. When they fought against the Japanese it just showed how wrong they were.

So when the chance came for a major war although morale was down they jumped at the chance to prove themselves. This however was a bad mistake.

The Russians didn’t have an industrial revolution so most of the country was unfamiliar with how to use the machinery. This meant that they couldn’t produce the guns and other machinery needed for the war. They also didn’t have enough clothing to go around.

So what eventually happened was that many people went into the war without a gun or uniform and sometimes without boots. They were just a bunch of targets for the enemy.

Also a lot of the conscripts were farmers so there was a shortage of food not helped by the fact that if the farmers didn’t join the army they were often sent to the towns to work on the unfamiliar machines and live in appalling conditions.

The Tsar disappointed decided that if he wanted something done he would have to do it himself. So he took over the Russian army.

This was a bad mistake because before the people could blame it on the generals however know there Tsar was in charge he would get blamed for all the defeats.

So in a way I could see how this was accurate because he made many problems for himself by joining in the war. The massive numbers of lives lost was catastrophic which dampened spirits a lot.

I can see how both of these are accurate because the Tsar had a lot of problems with how to control the country and felt he had divine right. I can also see how joining the war in no way increased his popularity. I feel that the War was what finally set of the revolution and that the second quote is slightly more accurate.

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