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HIS109Y1 (536)

The Russian Revolution / Anti-Semitism

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Kenneth Bartlett

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HIS109 th March 14 , 2011 The Russian Revolution • Single most significant event of the 20 century • Small professional middle class only up until the 19 century th • Influence of western ideas felt only in the 19 century • Tradition of autocracy, not liberalism • Tsar & middle class had reason to fear the oppressed peasants • Army officers attempted a coup d’Øtat by demanding a constitution (Alexander I died) • The Decembrists tried to introduce Western ideas of liberalism to the empire • Tsar & his officials became even more oppressive • Concepts such as progress, liberalism, & industrialization were outlawed in Russia • Pan-Slavism Russia father of all Slavic peoples • After the suppression of the Decembrist Revolt, Nicolas I established a secret police, to “protect” peoples from Western ideas (heir to the Byzantine Empire, goals could only be driven by the autocracy) • Russia viewed holier than the rest of Europe, Tsar portrayed as the father of his people, & his people were his children their duty was to obey • Secret police said to exist in order to keep the Slavic people pure, & Russia free from ideas such as competition, constitutionalism, freedom of speech & association, Liberalism • Hostility to Western powers • Russia became fearful about its place in Europe, & in the world surrounded by non-Slavic peoples that would spread ideas that would corrupt the Slavs Alexander II, 1855-1881 • State-system couldn’t deliver the source of military organization that a modern state could began to try to reform Russia, as a new form of autocracy • Realized that Russia had to modernize • Liberated the Serfs in 1861, this turned the group into adventured labourers, & they had freedom • There was an attempt to change the nature of the government so as to make it more efficient • Created a legal system, for the first time a large class of educated middle class professionals arose to practice this law • Liberal, educated, progressive, & secular urban professional class began to be seen in Russia army modernized, some brutal practices reduced, army became a means of centralization • Began to build railroads to move goods quickly, as well as harbours to allow for sea-born trade Russia began to enter the world economy • Western European industrialists began to import industry to Russia • Explosion of industrial activity, under the control of Tsar • Rapidly growing mercantile classes led to the spread of literacy, it was only a short period of time before Western ideas were brought into Russia • Russian response not one of oppression, but rather a search for an international voice to reflect the special nature of the Russian society • Effects of the middle class intellectual explosion of Russia as a cultured state was the exchange of ideas • The Tsar & his advisors supported nationalism through the perspective of Pan- Slavism • Western ideas such as Liberalism & Socialism began to take root in Russia seen as alternatives • After the Polish rebellion of 1863, the Tsar was driven into a more conservative position • Educated members of the elite that saw the need for change into underground cells, they couldn’t form political parties or have newspapers or journals became widespread & large (composed of members of the middle class, & of the gentry) • When the tsar noticed the underground activity, they became more & more oppressive • Following the assassination of Alexander II led to flirtation with Western ideals & Liberalism stopped Alexander III, 1881-1894 • Strengthened the police & army, used it against his people • Principle of autocracy default in Russian life • Couldn’t stop the growth of industrialization • Idea imported through the railways Russian economy boomed due to industrialization, the horrors of early industrialization occurred • The migration of peasants to the cities result was the alienation & the exploitation of factory workers (group that was seen in Western Europe) • Unplanned explosion of industrial growth almost destroyed the Russian economy for example: prices rose • The politicization of these classes occurred quickly, seeing as it already happened in Western Europe (where there were things that were already written that could be easily adopted by the worker) • Socialism, Communism & revolution began to galvanize the oppressed working classes • The role of autocracy sealed its own doom no freedom of speech & association, the attraction of the underground movements now began to attract members of the working class who saw the leaders as vanguards of revolution • 19
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