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HIS242H1 Lecture Notes - Saint Petersburg, Petrograd Soviet, April Theses

Course Code
Jennifer Jenkins

of 3
Bolshevik Revolution- Oct 25, 1917
1898- Jan Bloch-
The Future of War/ Is war now impossible?
- Book prophesizes the future of war. Foresees war as industrial, mass use
of men and technology that would result in a deadlock due to sides
being evenly matched, cannot overpower other.
- Held the minority view that war would be long and prove costly
(human, economic, political)
- Said war would create social unrest, spinoff wars and revolution. Also,
war would destroy the social fabric of warring nations.
- Western War- attrition
- Eastern War- movement- Russians initially advanced but were pushed
back (Tannenberg, Missourian Lakes)
- German and AustHung organize a joint campaign against Russia. Take
Warsaw in 1915 and advance into Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.
Nicolas then assumes control of army (inexperienced).
- Russian Army- massive manpower. (11 million + additional 4 mil) in
field. 18 million reserves
- Army has the human power to fight on but war proves very costly.
1916/7 Russian economy collapses and state is in jeopardy
- Sealed Train- starts in Zurich, ends in Petrograd on April 3rd, 1917.
Passage is secured by the Germans which is why Lenin insisted the
train was sealed (prove he had no contact with Germans)
- 2 revolutions; 1st in February (Tsar abdicates to Prov Gov’t), 2nd in
- Lenin believed the initial Revolution needed to be followed by a
radical, Social Revolution. However, this was a minority view even in
Lenin’s small Bolshevik Party
- Vladimir Ilych Lenin- born in Bulga, Russia. Son of teachers. He was a
lawyer/journalist/political activist. University at Kazan
- Inspired by brother Alexander- executed for failed plot to assassinate
the Tsar
- League of Struggle for Emancipation of Working Class (1895)- group of
Marxist intellectuals
- Russia was still predominantly agrarian although large cities were
industrialized. Country played host to profound social inequalities
- Lenin was arrested in 1895, jailed for 1 year and send to Siberia for 3
years. Released in 1900, left for London then Switzerland
- Printed newspaper “The Spark” in Switzerland. Paper was smuggled
into Russia
What is to be Done?
- main work, printed in 1902. Lenin preached a
revolution rather than seizing power through a parliament (@ odds
with majority of European socialists)
- Believed a small party lead by revolutionaries would guide state and
society (Party is the head, People are the body)
- Ideas eventually become central to Bolsheviks
- February Revolution- topple Tsar, does not involve Bolsheviks.
- Russia is torn by social unrest, starvation, strikes in cities and war
- Order breaks down and People’s Militias and Soviets are formed
- Tsar orders fire on demonstrators and kills 40. Feb 25- troop unrest,
refuse to move on demonstrators. Troops give weapons to crowd
- Nicolas unable to reach Petrograd (no support). Abdicates March 2nd,
Russia becomes a liberal Republic
- Provisional Government in Duma and Petrograd Soviet (Dual
- Prov Govt declares end to death penalty, grants civil liberties but
measures are not enough b/c Prov Govt does not have a head of state or
proper govt
- Soviet holds most power
- Lenin arrives to a stalemate,
April Theses
- distinct plan, do not
cooperate with government b/c they cannoy stop the war
- Political situation is radicalized by the war