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Revolutionary Russia and Communism.docx

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McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Revolutionary Russia and Communism WAR AND REVOLUTION • Russia goes to war 1914 • socialists ◦ defensists ▪ Mensheviks + Soc. Rev. ▪ want workers defending Rus. ag. Ger. attack ◦ internationalist ▪ opposed the war ▪ its a struggle b/w capitalist powers ▪ workers just pawns in it • fall of autocracy and capitalism could happen w/o true bourgeois rev. (Lenin) • establish dictatorship of the proletariat • spread it to other countries Russia at War • WWI catalyst for demands for reform in Rus. ◦ management of the war ▪ upsurge of patriotism and pol. unity ▪ "sacred union" shattered 1 year in to war ▪ ill equipped draftees ▪ losses are crazy ◦ Rus. pol. life ▪ lib. Duma members begin to express open dissatisfaction ▪ factories can't meet needs ▪ army not supplied properly ▪ industrialists form War Industries Committee • gov't allows nat'l org. to exist that were once forbidden ◦ org. base for liberal opposition ▪ Liberal zemstvo establishes Union of Zemstvos ▪ relief of sick and wounded • war transformed Petrograd, delineating social polarization ◦ peasants flocked to capital seeking jobs ◦ refugees stream in ◦ most workers making war materials • liberals demand Duma be allowed to meet • military defeats + retreats • tsar establishes Council for Nat'l Defense ◦ summons Duma 1915 + replaces 4 ministers ◦ tsar assumes control of army • tsar is melancholy and superstitious of the number 17 • Tsarina Alexandra extremely controlling and conservating • Grigory Rasputin ◦ debauched holy man ◦ moved into inner circle of court ◦ assassinated by ppl fearing his control over tsar through tsarina The Progressive Bloc • 1915 liberal Duma ppl + Const. Dems form progressive bloc ◦ work with tsar for reform • food shortages eroded revival of working-class patriotism • growth of public org. ◦ helped mobilize opposition to autocracy ◦ resist high prices ◦ bolsh. build support among industrial workers • Nick dismissed strong-willed ministers with more pliable ones • Union of Z. pass resolution calling Duma to stop working with tsar • tsar and liberals need each other though ◦ state needs gov't voluntary committees and agencies on local level ◦ liberals need centralized apparatus of the state to carry out their work • food shortages peak 1916-1917 ◦ hoarding grain ◦ police repress strikes • Nick replaces members of Prog. Bloc with uncompromising reactionaries and withdraws into retreat The February Revolution • Rus. Rev. b/c of massive discontent of hunger and deprivation + frustration at tsarist blocking of reform • Petro. social segregation ◦ streetcars and running water and electricity don't extend to poorer areas ◦ poor overcrowding and bad health + sanitation • massive general strike preparations for Bloody Sunday anniversary ◦ half of Petro's workers on strike ◦ want provisional gov't to make reforms • massive factory protests and shut downs • general strike closes Petro. • tsar orders suppression of demonstrations ◦ some police and soldiers hesitate to do so • 100 Bolsheviks arrested • soldiers shocked and disillusioned, going over to insurgent side ◦ bad war conditions ◦ bad food ◦ unpopularity of officers ◦ empathy for workers' demands • districts start to fall to insurgents • Nick dissolves Duma ◦ Duma moves to new meeting place, vowing to remain in Petro. (think Tennis Court Oath) • provisional comm. begins to function as provisional gov't to fix food supply and organize soldiers • Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies created ◦ Mensh. take the lead • tsar tries to return to Petro but his train is blocked from stopping there • Nick abdicates March 2, 1917 ◦ his brother declines the throne The Provisional Government and the Soviet • prov. gov't + Petro Sov. stuck in dual or parallel governing position ◦ Sov. submits to prov. ▪ didn't want to stir up trouble yet • prov = const. dems who had just wanted the tsar to make reforms • Sov. = workers and soldiers who helped overthrow tsar • prov. grants civil liberties and announces constituent assembly to establish constitution The Army • army was the last functioning imperial inst. • sov. claimed authority of Petro Sov. to countermand orders of prov. on mil. matters • US + Br. + Fr. recognize prov. gov't The Revolution Spreads • news of Rev. + abdication spread quickly • some of the minority ppl want better pol. status ◦ demands are myriad and com
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