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Flashcards in The Russian Revolution Deck (9)

How was the Russian Revolution started by incompetence in WWI?

Nicholas II attempted to emulate warrior tsars of the bast and assumed personal control of the army. Russian troops were massively under-equipped in WWI. In his absence, Nicholas left his wife Empress Alexandra to rule the country, who was incompetent and under the influence of Gregory Rasputin, who said he had the ability to control her son Alexis's hemophilia. Rasputin used his influence to put his cronies in high positions despite their incompetence.


What was the March Revolution of 1917? What did it lead to?

Order collapsed in the capital city of Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) as the population grappled with a food shortage. The soldiers then joined with the strikers and the tsar abdicated. The Provisional Government then took over. Composed of members of the Duma, it was only supposed to last until a constitution was written to create a republic.


What was a trend that undercut the creation of the Provisional Government?

The workers and soldiers continued to form soviets. These soviets were made of Russian Socialists, the majority of which belonging to the Menshevik and Social Revolutionary wings, while only a minority were Bolsheviks. Therefore, the Mensheviks, who dominated the Petrograd Soviet, initially supported the Provisional Government.


How did the split in Russian socialism occur?

Vladimir Lenin insisted that a small party of professional revolutionaries could seize power on behalf of the working class. His followers became known as the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks insisted that Russia had to proceed through the proven historical stages before it could achieve an ideal socialist society, like Marx said.


What were problems that faced the Provisional Government?

The Provisional government remained in WWI from a sense of responsibility to the other Entente powers and the need to repel German troops on Russian soil, which led the Government to try and rally a renewed war effort. They also delayed the redistribution of the great estates; when the peasants saw that their demands were not being met, they seized the great estates themselves.


How did the Bolsheviks increase their power?

Lenin returned from exile in Switzerland, aided by the Germans who wanted Lenin to undermine the war effort. The Bolsheviks gradually built up their strength in the Petrograd Soviet and eventually were the largest party by the fall of 1917.


How did the November Revolution occur? What happened?

Lenin and his Bolshevik figurehead Leon Trotsky rode the momentum of his party's electoral success and took over key positions in the city. The revolution was not very violent and the Provisional Government simply collapsed, but the years in which the Bolsheviks sought to maintain their power was very bloody.


Why was Lenin willing to make peace with Germany?

Lenin assumed that the revolution in Russia would inspire other Communist revolutions and were therefore willing to accept draconian peace settlements with Germany, thinking that Imperial Germany would shortly disappear.


What was the Treaty that removed Russia from WWI? What did it entail?

The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. German confiscated large areas of Russian land. It was never fully implemented because of Germany's defeat in the war.