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HIS2117 (26)


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University of Ottawa
Corinne Gaudin

The Challenges ofWWI • There was tension and discontent and poverty prior to 1917,and that by itself was probably not enough to bring down the monarchy • WWI posed a test to the monarchy,and it didn't pass the test • The early months of the war were okay for the govt,the people had sort of allowed for a political truce during the war because of national rallying for the war • Tissue truce would be short lived because the war started going quite badly for Russia • The middle of 1915 is known as the great retreat,lost Poland,Belarus,etc.the Russian army was loosing men badly and those territories led to massive evacuations of civilian populations • Many had to leave the west and find refuge in the interior of Russia • And further disloacated the transportation system,which created a huge problem for the economy • So raw goods like grain couldnt get anywhere,so food shortages and inflation • Difficulties in factories keeping up production rates to supply the army • With all of that,popular discontent began to increase • These kinds of peoblems plagued all the belligerent nations in the war however • What was unusual with russia was how they dealt with these problems ⿞With other countries they rallied to get all citizens and other political parties on board for the war,truce until peace,and corporations would make money by investing in the war ⿞But in Russia they didn't do any of that.In fact they rejected most non governmental organisations who were trying to mobilise efforts for the war ⿞This is because it was suspicious of the intentions of these organisations ⿞The Czar suspended the Duma for a large part of the war ⿞He was afraid groups would use the excuse of the war to take over power for themselves • And as the military situation got worse and worse,opposition started saying that something is very wrong, the govt is incompetent ⿞In three years of total war,Russia had 4 different prime ministers,many others get switched around even faster.How can this be possible? Rumours of treason at the highgest level start to sweep through pop. • These rumours were very important in undermining the Gov'ts ability and legitimacy,even though they were not true • The importance is that with the govt tainted with rumours of treason,it became patriotic to oppose the government • And within this general situation that by early 1917 a small incident could snowball and have a huge impact The February Revolution • 23 feb 1917 (old calendar) some women demonstrated,potesting the lack of bread • There had been lots of these but this was in Petrograd and after three years of war • The next day they were joined by the workers in Petrograd • The workes then spontaneously went on strike,which basically stopped the war production • This took everyone by surprise,all political parties and the monarchy and the people • The Czar who was off in the front,ordered the garrison in Petrograd to dispers the demonstration • Most of the troops refused to shoot on the demonstrators • The Czar starts to panic,dissolves the Duma,the liberal opposition within the Duma disobey the Czar • They reconvened and discussed forming a new government • At this time it is about 1 week into the protests • So at the same time workers and others were also organising,meeting into councils,or soviet • So at these hundreds of local councils,delegates were elected to meet in a city wide council • Dominating this new Petrograd Soviet,were reps from the factories • By march 1,the soviet and the rump Duma meet and decide to start a provisional govt • Czar tries to get back to Petrograd but the workers divert his train so he can't even get to Petrograd • On March 3,he abdicates the throne,ending monarchy in Russia • It collap
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