Who were the Bolsheviks?
A dedicated group of communist revolutionaries led by Lenin. They believed Russia was ready for revolution.
How did the Tsar maintain power?
He had a large army and a secret police force called the Okhrana.
What impact did WWI have on the military?
Large areas of the Russian empire in the west were lost. The Germans overran all of Russian Poland and Lithuania and most of Latvia.
What impact did WWI have on the economy?
The war was expensive for Russia, forcing them to print too much money (leading to inflation), the government borrowed huge amounts of money from other countries, therefore falling into debt. Also, taxes went up which hit ordinary people hard.
What impact did WWI have on society?
There was a huge decline in food production and food shortages grew worse.
What were the political effects of WWI?
In 1915 military defeats and criticism of the government forced the Tsar to allow the Duma to meet again after dissolving them in 1914. The Tsar refused to meet the Duma’s demands and by 1917 the Duma became a centre of opposition to his government.
Why did the Tsar’s advisers not want him to become commander in chief in September 1915?
He had no practical experience of warfare or of commanding armies in combat.
Why was the Tsar becoming commander in chief a mistake?
His new role meant he was usually at army headquarters (Mogilev) and rarely in the capital so when things started to go wrong in Petrograd, in February 1917, he was not there to take charge. Also the army was poorly trained and poorly led by its generals.
What effect did the war have on the Tsar’s rule?
It severely weakened it and lost him the respect and support of many. When the revolt of early 1917 came there was nobody ready to come to his assistance.
What effect did the war have on workers in the cities?
Inflation (when prices rise and money buys less than it used to) meant that prices went up faster than wages.
How bad was the inflation caused by the war?
Between 1914 and 1917, average wages went up by 200% but the price of food and fuel went up by 400% In other words, the living standard for workers in places like Petrograd was cut in half.
What else made life difficult for workers?
Food shortages meant that at the start of 1917, workers were cold and hungry.
How much did the Tsar’s government spend on the war?
Between 1914 and 1917, it spent over 17,000 million roubles on the war. Therefore, taxes went up to pay for government spending.
How much did the Tsar’s government’s spending increase between 1913 and 1916, causing it to fall into debt by borrowing from other countries?
It increased by 8 times.
Why did the war have such terrible social effects on Russia?
in 1916, the army took control of railways and roads and took large amounts of food to feed the army. The Russian railway system virtually collapsed under the pressure of moving huge numbers of soldiers and the food supply to towns and cities suffered.
Why was Petrograd particularly badly affected?
- It was far from food-producing areas
2. Petrograd was struggling to cope with many refugees from the war who had fled east to escape it.
How did the war impact on people’s rations in Petrograd?
In January 1916, the daily bread ration was 1.2 kilogrammes; by early 1917, this had fallen to 0.8 kilogrammes and poorer people in Petrograd were starving.
Was the situation any better in other large cities?
`No. Before 1914, 2,200 wagons of grain a month had arrived in Moscow. By February 1917, this had fallen to fewer than 700.
What were the social effects of the war on the countryside?
It brought huge unhappiness and suffering. Over 15 million peasant men fought in the Russian army, leading to massive loss of manpower. Many horses were seized by the military to haul (pull) guns and waggons. This had a huge impact on farms where horses were used for ploughing the fields.
What other effect did the war have on farming and food production?
It became harder to get hold of chemical fertilisers as industry was focused on making explosives and weapons. This further contributed to the decline in food production in both towns and the countryside.
Was the Tsar’s decision to take command of the army his worst mistake?
Possibly, but it would not have mattered if the Russian army had been successful. So it’s important to link this mistake with the fact that the army was poorly trained and poorly led by its generals.
Give an example of how the Tsar was let down by his generals.
At the Battle of Tannenburg in August 1914, general Samsonov failed to encode his messages, allowing the Germans to listen in live and therefore the Germans knew his orders and movements. The Germans virtually destroyed the Russian Second Army and Samsonov committed suicide.