'the First World War Was The Most Important Cause Of The Russian Revolution'. How True Is This Claim?

1562 words - 6 pages

At the dawn of the twentieth century, discontent was brewing in Autocratic Russia. Once a major force in the power balances of Europe and the Near East, Russia had become a paradigm of backwardness. Governance by a series of men who were out of touch with technology had produced an industrial dinosaur: little had changed with respect to the way the Romanov Dynasty ruled the sprawling empire, compared to leadership in antecedent centuries. 'The Romanovs estranged themselves from the Russian people and progressively undermined the legitimacy of their own rule' (www.sparknotes.com). It was only a matter of time before the grievances of Russian society triggered a collective awakening: this was the transpiration of a radical situation in 1917. The tsar's failure to solve the problems, and the communists' promise to do so, comprised the core of the revolution.The Russian Revolution was the culmination of an extensive period of repression and unrest and a combination of long term and short term causes. It was heralded by more than a century troubles, before 1917. The Romanov Dynasty, which ruled under the autocratic system had grown more unsatisfactory with time. It was threatened by modern institutions, and supported by institutions from the middle ages. In 1913, the trans-continental Russian empire encompassed 4,000 miles, from Europe to Alaska. There were millions of different ethnicities, languages and religions, in one vast nation. The emancipation of serfs in 1861 had negative far-reaching effects, and Industrialization, when it finally did take place, caused more problems. Pre-revolutionary Russia also lacked modern infrastructure or transport. Factory workers endured terrible working conditions and low wages. And, the economic causes of the Russian Revolution largely originated in Russia's outdated economy and the czar's failure to modernize it. The results of World War I and other wars damaged the image of Russian leaders, and caused widespread starvation, partly because the Russian already poor agricultural economy was forced to support the armies. Hence,Almost one hundred years prior to the Russian Revolution, the seeds of conflict were being sown in Russia, in December of 1825, after the death of Tsar Alexander I. The aftermath of the War of 1812 was coloured by a light arousal of pro-democracy activity, particularly among members of the military. This new spirit was animated by movements throughout Europe. Several persons advocated an established Russian constitution inclusive of what they considered 'basic rights'. Alexander toyed with this idea before his death, and even granted Poland a constitution. However, he failed to do the same for Russia, and his untimely death unearthed the Achilles heel of the Russian leadership: a discrepancy as to whom the successive leader should be, as Alexander failed to father legitimate offspring, and the elder of his two brothers was unfit for the throne. The coronation of younger, Nicholas I, stirred a...

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