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The Russian revolution: Introduction

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2 The Russian revolution: Introduction
The Russian Empire (1900) One of the most important consequences of World War I was the Russian Revolution of 1917 To understand the causes of this revolution, we must understand a little of Russia’s history and the developments that took place in Russia leading up to WWI

3 The Russian Empire: Rule of the Czars
For most of it’s history (1547 – 1917), the Russian Empire was ruled by the “Czars” (Tsar/Emperors) Russia’s Czars were “Autocrats”, rulers with unlimited power (AKA: Absolute Monarchs) Over time, most European nations had gradually limited the power of monarchs However, by the early 1900’s, Russian Czars continued absolute rule without being controlled by a constitution The 1st Czar : Ivan The Terrible

4 The Russian Empire: Life of the people
Russia also lagged behind the rest of Europe in social and economic development The Industrial Revolution came late to Russia By 1900, Russia’s economy was still mainly based on agriculture For most of it’s history, there were two main social classes in the Russian Empire: Serfs & Nobles Approximately, 20% of the population were nobles. They controlled the majority of the empire’s wealth and land The majority of the people were considered “serfs” These people lived in extreme poverty, were bound to the land owned by the nobility and had very few rights In contrast, Russia’s Czar’s owned numerous palaces and lived in luxury

5 The Russian Empire: Life of the people
Although “Serfdom” was abolished in 1861, life for most Russian peasants did not improve much Extreme poverty was still an issue for most of the people Overtime, Russia began to modernize Peasants who moved to cities to work in Russia’s developing industries saved for a better life Opportunities for new business owners and educated professionals increased Eventually a new middle class emerged; however, the Czars still held absolute power Like the nations wealthy nobility, the newly created middle class was upset that they had no voice in government Combined with the discontent of millions of poor peasants and urban workers, this situation made Russia ripe for revolution

6 Bloody Sunday (1905) Things came to head while Russia was being defeated in the “Russo-Japanese War” (1904 – 1905) Citizens organized a petition, demanding an end to the war, fairer wages and voting rights “Bloody Sunday” (January 1905) government troops fired on unarmed protesters who were trying to present a petition to the Czar It is estimated that close to 1,000 citizens were killed or wounded Uprisings broke out across the country, peasants sized lands, workers protested and went on strike In response, Czar Nicholas II granted limited reforms, creating an elected legislature, the “Duma” However, only the wealthiest citizens were allowed to vote

7 Russia in World War I Although social improvements were made in the years following “Bloody Sunday”, Russia was not prepared for the hardships of WWI As a member of European alliances, Czar Nicholas II brought Russia into WWI in 1914 fighting against Austria-Hungary and Germany Due to poor training, outdated weaponry and inferior equipment, Russia suffered heavy loses throughout WWI The war became extremely unpopular with Russia’s soldiers and citizens Additionally; due in part to the war effort, there were massive food shortages in Russia

8 The Russian Revolution (1917)
Nicholas II (The Last Czar of Russia) In 1917, worker-led food riots broke out in cities across Russia When soldiers refused to fire on striking workers, Czar Nicholas II realized he was powerless to govern the nation and gave up his throne The “Duma” declared Russia a Republic; however, this new government failed to win the support of the people when they initially refused to withdraw from WWI

9 The Russian Revolution (1917)
Vladimir Lenin was a follower of Karl Marx, living in exile in Switzerland The Germans sent him back to Russia by railroad, hoping he would cause unrest in Russia, allowing Germany to shift focus away from Russia during WWI Lenin quickly gained followers by promoting “Communism” – a political and economic system which ideally leads to a classless society, no rich or poor Lenin’s supporters; known as the “Bolsheviks” promised “Peace, Bread and Land”. Peace to the soldiers, bread to the hungry workers and land to the peasants The Bolsheviks seized power by force in a second revolution in November 1917

10 The Russian Revolution (1917)
The Bolsheviks changed their political party name to the “Communist Party” They also changed the name of their new country to the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” (USSR or Soviet Union) Russia had become the world’s 1st “Communist” country with Vladimir Lenin as it’s new leader

11 The Soviet Union Under Lenin: 1917 - 1924
Nicholas II and Family Lenin added his own ideas to Marx’s original theory of Communism Lenin argued that after the revolution, a “temporary dictatorship” was needed because the workers, brought up in a capitalist society, could not be trusted to know their true interests ( In reality the Soviet Union would be ruled by dictators (Totalitarianism) until it dissolved in the 1990’s Once in power, Vladimir Lenin and the Communist Party immediately withdrew the country from WWI They transferred millions of acres to the peasants, and workers were organize and operate all factories The government also “nationalized” or took over all the countries major industries After defeating the last supporters of the Czar, Lenin had Nicholas II and his family murdered to ensure the monarchy could never be restored, securing the power of the new Communist government

12 Student assignment: create a “Multi-flow” map of key causes & effects of the Russian Revolution. Include at least 4 causes & 4 Effects

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