Russia AOS_1 - R Malone

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, War And Revolution (1914-1938), Russian Revolution
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Tsarist Regime, 1905-1917

Area of Study One

Richard Malone

HTAV Student Lectures


Revolutionary Stages Stage 1: 1905 “Dissatisfaction Erupts” Stage 2: 1906-1913 “Tsarism Stabilised”

Stage 3: 1914-Feb 1917 “Crises Exacerbated by WW1” Stage 4: March-Oct 1917 “Failure of Dual Government” Stage 5: Oct 1917 “Bolshevik Victory”

Stage 1: 1905 “Dissatisfaction Erupts” 1. Causes of 1905 Crisis • Russia a backward agricultural society • Witte (Minister of Finance) implemented industrial reforms in 1890s to strengthen Russia’s military power

2. Results • rapidly increased industrial production • built Trans-Siberian railway …but… • poor working conditions • severe overcrowding in cities like Petrograd • radically heightened social and economic discontent

1. Workers’ Solution = mass action • Workers’ Petition & march • mass strikes in October

2. Troops’ solution = military action • defeated in Russo/Japanese War • mutiny by navy crew on Battleship Potemkin • army troops mutiny & controlled portion of Trans Siberian railway

3. Liberal Solution = political action • shared power between the Tsar and an elected parliament • Duma was ‘principal request’ in workers’ petition

1. Social Significance • creation of a permanent rift between Tsar & his people

2. Political Significance • Tsar grants representative ‘Duma’ through October Manifesto

Stage 2: 1906-1913 “Politically Stabilised” 1. Unwillingness to compromise system of autocracy • in his opening manifesto of 1894 he declared that “I shall adhere as unswervingly as my father to the principal of autocracy.” • reasserted autocracy in his Fundamental State Laws in 1906 issued four days before opening of First Duma

2. Tsar unwilling to support radical political reform • dismissed First and Second Dumas in 1906 & 7 for radical reforms

3. Rising and unmet expectations • Tsar changed electoral laws in 1907 • Third & Fourth Dumas completed full 5 year terms

Stage 2: 1906-1913 “Economically Stabilised” 1. Stolypin’s agricultural reforms • Stolypin replaced Witte as Prime Minister in 1906 • “As the revolution is so strong… I must face revolution, resist it & stop it.” • reforms aimed to solve problems of land with overall aim of increasing the size of peasants land holdings • aimed to create wealthy class of land-owning peasants to stimulate the agrarian economy

2. Results • 5 million peasants began farming independently • number of primary schools doubled • increased expenditure on health & poor in countryside

Stage 2: 1906-1913 “Socially Stabilised” 1. Suppression of revolutionaries • belief in autocracy resulted in a willingness to use violence to suppress opposition to his regime • oppression of revolutionaries under Stolypin • further revolts temporarily avoided

2. Tsarism strengthened • political, economic and social peace restored

Stage 3: 1914-Feb 1917 “Crises Exacerbated by WW1”

1. Militarily Damaging • significant defeats due to lack of ammunition, poor internal organisation, demoralisation & impact of socialist propaganda • assumed that personal control of army would unite the troops & the nation

2. Politically Damaging • Tsar’s role in army symbolically isolated him from Petrograd and made him directly responsible for nation’s problems • left Alexandra in charge of government who was heavily influenced by Rasputin • Tsar’s main mistake was not recognising the extent to which he and his government were losing their traditional support base.

3. Economically Damaging • • • •

food shortages fuel shortages inflation & price increases unemployment

4. Socially Damaging – • • • •

all the above led to significant social depression violent resistance to conscription socialist agitation amongst industrial workers British Ambassador Lockhart, “it was his failure to harness the loyalty of his own people which eventually cost him his throne”

Significant Outcomes:

1. Tsar unwilling to recognise his government’s isolation • a politically and socially fatal division emerged between the upper classes and the Tsar. By 1917, the Tsar’s support had dwindled to the bureaucracy. Tsar unable to create a new support base.

2. Tsar unwilling to implement necessary reforms • Tsar had been unable and to unwilling to bridge the gap between his autocratic and agrarian society and the modern industrialised world.

3. FEBRUARY REVOLUTION • Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, ending 304 years of Romanov role • formation of Provisional Government and Petrograd Soviet

Nature of Nicholas II’s Leadership: Perspective 1 George Kennan, 1967 There was of course, eventually, the Duma…[but] it was obvious that the granting of it by Nicholas II came far too late and precisely in the wrong way – under pressure, that is, and with obvious reluctance and suspicion on his part…Poorly educated, narrow in intellectual horizon, a wretchedly bad judge of people, isolated from Russian society at large, in contact with only the most narrow military and bureaucratic circles, intimidated by the ghost of his imposing father and the glowering proximity of his numerous gigantic uncles, helpless under the destructive influence of his endlessly unfortunate wife: Nicholas was obviously inadequate to the demands of his exalted positions.

Stage 4: March-Oct 1917 “Failure of Dual Government” 1. Why did the Provisional Government fail to win support? • • • • •

weak political & popular foundation continued fighting WW1 failure of June Offensive lack of focus on economic problems alienation of both upper & working class supporters

2. How did the Bolsheviks grow in popularity? • Lenin’s return and April Theses • Kornilov Revolt overturned failure of July Days • Growth in political support

Nature of Dual Government: Perspective 1 Sheila Fitzpatrick, 1994 In February 1917, the autocracy collapsed in the face of popular demonstrations and the withdrawal of elite support for the regime. In the euphoria of revolution, political solutions seemed easy. Russia’s future form of government would, of course, be democratic…yet within eight months the hopes and expectations of February lay in ruins. ‘Dual power’ proved an illusion, masking something like a power vacuum. The popular revolution became progressively more radical, while the elite revolution moved toward an anxious conservative stance in defense of property and law and order.

Nature of Dual Government: Perspective 2 Rex Wade, 2000 The discussion of the Bolshevik plans and calls for Soviet power took place within the context of deepening social and economic crisis and the growing popular demand for change. By late summer [July and August 1917] the revolution clearly had thus far failed to meet the aspirations of the people of the former Russian Empire. Indeed, unsolved political, social and economic problems created a mood of anxiety and tensions that fed directly into the growing clamor for a radical change of government.

Stage 5: October 1917 “Bolshevik Victory” Lenin’s plot publicly revealed & criticised in a revolutionary newspaper by prominent Bolshevik leaders Zinoviev & Kamenev. So why didn’t the government stop the Bolsheviks? 1. Inadequate suppression • On 23 October, closed down Bolshevik newspapers & telephone wires to their headquarters were cut. Too little, too late. 2. Inadequate defenses • Members of the Cadets, Women’s Battalion and Cossacks sent to guard the Winter Palace, but without heavy artillery or machine guns

Stages of Takeover: 1. Capture of key communication centres, like telegraph station & post offices 2. Capture of key installations like electric companies 3. Capture of key vantage points like bridges & railway stations 4. Capture of Provisional Government in Winter Palace

Significance: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Fulfilled Lenin’s April Thesis Ideologically motivated revolution Ended capitalist stage of Russian history Vertical transfer of power from monarch to proletariat Opportunity for Bolshevik dream of socialist utopia Broken dream of a socialist coalition government Began intense civil war

Nature of Bolshevik take-over: Perspective 1 Trotsky, 25 October 1917

What has taken place is an uprising not a conspiracy. An uprising of the masses of the people needs no justification. We have been strengthening the revolutionary energy of the workers and the soldiers. We have been forging, openly, the will of the masses for an uprising. Our uprising has won.

Nature of Bolshevik take-over: Perspective 2 Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1967 It was the triumph of Marxism-Leninism and demonstrated the significance and role of the revolutionary Marxist party. The working class and all other working people of Russia were led by the Bolshevik Party, which was guided by the revolutionary theory of Marxist-Leninism. The people saw that the party was devoted to them and provided them with judicious leadership and recognized it as their leader.

Nature of Bolshevik take-over: Perspective 3 AJP Taylor, 1967 Revolutions in short are made in the name of the proletariat, not by it, and usually in countries where the proletariat hardly exists. What is more, these revolutions do not bring the triumph or dictatorship of the proletariat. They bring the dictatorship of a new managerial class, or sometimes the old class under a new name. In any society, a few men will aspire to run things, and the great majority will allow them to do it…The Communists, from Marx onwards, were the chosen few who really knew what the proletariat wanted. They knew only because they said they knew. This was enough to convince them that they would always be right. Someone called Marxists ‘God’s prompters’. Lenin was the most confident and persistent of those prophets.”

Nature of Bolshevik take-over: Perspective 4 Pipes, 1994 argues that since both Lenin and Trotsky felt that the revolution was not inevitable, then communism is also not inevitable, which disproves Marxism. The ease with which the Bolsheviks toppled the Provisional Government – in Lenin’s words, it was like “lifting a feather” – has persuaded many historians that the October coup was “inevitable”. But it can appear as such only in retrospect. Lenin himself thought it an extremely chancy undertaking. In urgent letters to the Central Committee in September and October 1917 from his hideaway, he insisted that success depended entirely on the speed and resoluteness with which the armed insurrection was carried out: “To delay the uprising is death,” he wrote on October 24, “everything hangs on a hair.” These were not the sentiments of a person prepared to trust the forces of history. Trotsky later asserted – and who was in a better position to know? – that if “neither Lenin nor myself had been in Petersburg, there would have been no October Revolution.” Can one conceive of an “inevitable” historical event dependent on two individuals?

Nature of Bolshevik take-over: Perspective 5 Edward Acton, 1990 The central drama of the revolution was precisely the attempt of the Russian masses to assert direct control over their own lives… October marked the moment at which power began to move from the hands of the mass movement, then at full tide, into the hands of an organisation determined to exercise control from above. The popular vision paled, dimmed and faded away.

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