Presentation on theme: "The Great War and the February Revolution, 1914-1917."— Presentation transcript:
The Great War and the February Revolution,
Initial patriotic support Duma deputies Major cities middle-class Workers stopped striking Peasants – resignation and misunderstanding Large-scale anti-German propaganda (popular): e.g. Petrograd Initial military gains: East Prussia and Galicia
But soon ended, not a short war April-September 1915: Great Retreat from: – Galicia – Prussia – Russian Poland – Lithuania – Latvia Why? – Germans better armed – Russian generals incompetent Radicalized soldiers
Great Retreat’s effects Huge losses (G.F. Krivosheev) : Killed in action 1,200,000 missing in action 439,369 died of wounds 240,000 gassed 11,000 died from disease 155,000 POW deaths 190,000 deaths due to accidents and other causes 19,000 Total war dead 2,254,369 Wounded 3,749,000 POW 3,342,900
A Whole Empire Walking (Peter Gatrell) Massive refugees problem Military command incompetent Six million fled front zone One million forcibly expelled Jews, Germans and other foreigners Jewish pogroms ‘scorched earth’ Increased ethnic tensions
Peasants’ lives transformed Most soldiers were peasants – 50% of working-age men mobilized Livestock massively requisitioned Many impoverished Soldatki Stolypin land reform protests Bazaar riots against price controls
War’s economic impact Prohibition stopped vodka revenues Cut off markets Cut off foreign investment Impoverished government printed tons of money Inflation War effort greatly impeded food supply
Greater public participation All-Russian Union of Zemstvos and Municipal Councils (ZemGor) – Aid to refugees, injured soldiers Military-Industrial Committees – Involved middle-class, but workers often boycotted. Led to greater public self- confidence Progressive Bloc in Duma -- increasingly critical
Workers’ war situation Many mobilized Increasingly valuable to military production But real wages fell; by 1917 a quarter of pre-war levels Food supply and other necessities increasingly expensive and scarce Illegal to strike But by summer 1915 strikes began to increase – 1915: 1000 strikes – 1916: 1600 strikes, increasingly political and assertive demands.
Then, Nicholas went to front Aug 1915: Progressive Bloc demanded a “Government of public confidence” Nicholas refused, ignored the Duma, went to the front. Left Alexandra and Rasputin in charge The “German Woman” and the “Mad Monk” Ministerial ‘leapfrog’ Left no one else to blame for military failures Greatly undermined legitimacy of Romanovs
Nicholas at the front
Alexandra and Rasputin
1 November 1916: “Stupidity or Treason?” Pavel Miliukov State Duma Attacked Sturmer, Rasputin, and “the court party grouped around the young tsarina.” Nicholas replaced Sturmer with Trepov. MVD Protopopov remained. Trepov tried to work with Duma. Tried to remove Protopopov. Trepov dismissed. Liberal opposition united against tsarist government
Rasputin murdered, 16/29 December 1916 Prince Felix Yusupov Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich Vladimir Purishkevich Did not solve the problem.
February (1917) Revolution February 23 (March 8), 1917: International Women’s Day Women joined by locked out Putilov workers Police over-reacted. 25 February: General strike of 240,000 workers Key: (27 Feb.) Volynsky regiment mutinied.
February Revolution, final acts 27 Feb: Temporary Committee of State Duma (Chair: Rodzianko) 1 March: Petrograd Soviet issued Order No. 1 March 2 (15), 1917: Tsar Nicholas II abdicates at Pskov. March 3 (16): Grand Duke Mikhail declines the throne.