Russian Revolution 1917 Depth Study B: Russia, 1905-1941 Assignment A: Objectives 1 and 2 Here are some of the causes of the Russian Revolution in March 1917: ~Failures in the War ~The mutiny in the Army ~The Tsarina and Rasputin ~Food Shortages ~Strikes PREFACE: In 1904 The Tsar of Russia (Nicholas II) embarked on a war with Japan, hoping for a quick and glorious victory that would unite the country, decrease support for the Tsar’s opponents and gain control over Korea and Manchuria. Unfortunately for the Tsar, the Japanese were well prepared, both industrially and military. The Japanese crushed the Russian army and destroyed most of it’s fleet. Damaged both militarily and industrially, Russia had to sign a peace treaty.
In 1905 the Tsar crushed the attempted revolution using the army that was loyal to him. In 1914, Russia entered the WWI, unprepared in any way it suffered countless losses and therefore all the problems that existed increased and new problems occurred. 1) FOOD SHORTAGES Food shortages frustrated the people and soldiers more and more as prices were rising dramatically. Food shortages were a result of two main reasons. One was that Russia’s population was around 130 million (and growing) at that time there fore a lot of food was needed to support such a large population, even though Russia was large enough to easily fit that amount of population, `most of it’s farm land was unsuitable for farming`1, this shows that farm land often became overcrowded and farmers demanded more land.
Russian farmers were `using ancient farming techniques`2 so one farmer had very little land and he used ancient farming techniques and so this dramatically minimized his productivity. `The population had increased by 50 per cent between 1860 and 1897 and was still growing fast`3 this shows how rapidly the population grew, there fore creating larger food shortages as the amount of farmland stayed the same but the amount of people it had to feed increased greatly. The other reason was transporting the crop once it was harvested. ` The USA could fit into Russia two and a half times and over and Britain nearly 100 times`4, the problem with transportation was that the railroads were very often the only way to transport large amounts of goods as Russia’s conditions often made roads impassable.
`By 1900 Russia had only as many miles of track as Britain`5 and Britain was 100 times smaller. This meant that there were very large delays of delivering food and most of it rotted before even reaching town. The only way of transporting goods from the industrial West to the unfarmable East was the Trans Siberian Express, which took more than a week to complete its journey from Moscow to Vladivostok. During the WWI (which started in 1914), Food Shortages increased greatly because more strikes begun demanding an end to the war. Strikes of course caused food shortages as peasants began striking and not producing any food.
Also more soldiers were needed to join the army and so the factory workers were taken to fight and peasants left the countryside to seek better jobs in factories so fewer farmers were left to grow food. Another very important reason that caused an increase in food shortage was that ` the Russian railway system was being used to carry supplies to the war front and so trains carrying food to the cities had been reduced`1so more delays in food delivery had been caused, so nor the people, nor the soldiers were being properly fed. Even though Russia got help from Britain and France, the goods were delivered into ports which froze in the winter and so the aid piled up at see and none of it could reach the population. Not only was there little food for the people, prices for food rose dramatically and very few could actually afford to eat what was produced. Food Shortages were a serious cause of the revolution because they could be linked to each one of the causes on the list because the reasons that they led to, led to other, serious causes.
Food Shortages linked with 1) Strikes: 2) Failures in the war: 3) Tsarina and Rasputin: 4) Mutiny in the Army Food shortages led to Strikes as people were underfed, so demanded bread, more strikes were forming as people demanded an end to the War because of the heavy losses which could be blamed on the ill feeding of the soldiers and the strikes that paralyzed industry, therefore the army had no recourses being produced for the fighting, also many soldiers got fed up of being ill treated and so many soldiers deserted from the Army and this led to more Failures as there were less men to fight. The Failures in the war could then partly share the blame for the Tsarina and Rasputin, who were left in charge of the country as the Tsar left to take control of the Army thinking he could do better, not only did the losses increase, but the Tsarina and Rasputin created chaos on the home front as they displaced able ministers with hopeless ones. This caused distrust to the Tsar and led to more strikes, as people wanted the German Tsarina to be put down, people also thought that the Tsarina and Rasputin had an affair and that the Tsarina was under great influence by the Rasputin and so the people began distrusting them and demanding them to be brought down. Failures in the war lead to the mutiny in the army as the troops began doubting the Tsar, as they were being underfed and ill equipped and so blamed this on the Tsar as they thought he left bad leaders in charge of Russia, they also died without the chance of victory against the Central Powers and so began to mutiny. Food Shortages were to be blamed for the Mutiny in the Army as soldiers got fed up of going to battle hungry, and ill equipped as food shortages created strikes that paralyzed the production of munitions.
The troops had no chance of victory against the well equipped Germans and Austrians. 2) A long-term reason is a reason that was going on for a very long time and so it was building up tension for a long time A short-term reason is one that either strengthened dramatically during the war or it developed during the war. a) Failures in the War: This was a reason that only developed in the WWI, however the Failures against the Japanese in 1904-1905 were bad memories that created some doubts about the government. This was a Short Term cause of the revolution as the main Failures that contributed to the revolution were from 1914-1917.
There were two main reasons for the Failures in 1917, one was that the Army was very poorly equipped and the other was that it had careless and incapable of victory commanders. `The War started well for Russia but the generals were careless`1 and also in August 1915 the Tsar took personal command of the army and `he was not a particularly able commander`2. As well as the Army being badly led: `The Minister of War, General Sukhomlinov, did not think much of modern methods of war. He and his generals’ favorite weapon was the Bayonet. Their preferred method of attack was to storm enemy positions and destroy them in hand-to-hand combat.
Against the machine guns and barbed wire of the well equipped German Army, such attacks were suicidal`3 The Russian Army also had a very old way of fighting and so it was no match for the well-equipped German Army. The other reason was that Russia’s industry was not producing enough munitions for the army and soon the Army began running out of rifles. ` By February 1915 about half of the soldiers who arrived at the front-line trenches had to wait to pick up rifles from those who were killed`4, this meant that before even a year fighting passed the Army began running out of rifles so a large amount of the troops had no rifles. Troops were also under fed (because of the reason discussed in question1) and this lowered the morale of fighting.
This contributed to the revolution for many reasons. This led to strikes as people demanded peace. This led to more food shortages as more people went on strike. Failures in the war lead to mutiny in the army as soldiers refused getting …