Russian Revolution 1900-1905. Alexa Ford, Alex Phan , Rachel Zhang, Jacky Ting. Land and People of Russia.
Alexa Ford, Alex Phan, Rachel Zhang, Jacky Ting
In the year 1900 5% of the land in Russia could be used for farming. The other 95% was useless. This was because of cold weather and large trees covering the land called taiga. These cold weather conditions also froze over Siberia lakes and rivers. This made river trade impossible for Russia.
About 125 million people lived in Russia in the year 1900. Less than half of the people in Russia were Russian. This also caused 6/10 people in Russia to speak a foreign language. Most of these people lived on farm land.
A typical farm in Russia
A densely populated town in central Russia
Nicholas II was the last tsar of the Russian Empire. He was an autocrat, which meant that he didn’t have to share power. He could make new laws, increase taxes and do whatever he wanted. Nicholas also did not allow people to oppose him. He had police to search books and newspapers and arrest anyone who criticized the government. He had little leadership skill and his inability to rule initiated Bolshevik Revolution and cost him and his family their lives. He was a leader that was blind to the political and social realities of his own land. He lived in a world of his own making.
Tsar Nicholas II
Tsar Nicholas II with his family.
In 1900 Russian was mainly divided into two groups, the rich and noble, and the peasants.
Until 1861 peasants had absolutely no rights, no land and no freedom. In 1861 peasants were allowed to own land, but they had to pay 49 installments in 49 years until the land was actually theirs. Which did not improve their lives. In 1900 4 out of 5 people were peasants. Although at the nobles were only about 1 percent of the total population, they had about 25% of the countries land. Many peasants went to St. Petersberg to find jobs.
A palace from Russia that the rich lived in.
Poor children living on the streets of Russia.
Karl Marx was born in Trier, Germany in 1818 and died in 1883. When he was older he wrote the book Communist Manifesto. The book suggested that in the future there would be a rebellion between the working class and the upper class. This book and what the readers interpreted it as, caused the divide of Russia. The Social Democratic Party (SDP) followed Marx’s ideas but eventually there was a conflict between the leaders and they divided between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. They both had the same overall goal, but the disagreed on the methods to complete the issue.
Sources for Information
Catherine Goslin, Hannah Cormack, Joanna Shieh, and Michael Gao
On Sunday January 22, 1905, 200,000 workers marched through the streets of St. Petersburg towards the Tsar’s winter palace trying to ask for better working and living conditions. The authorities got nervous and over-reacted by opening fire to this peaceful march. 500 marchers were killed and thousands more were wounded. This is why they call this Sunday, “Bloody Sunday”.
Tsar police gunning down the protestors
Protestors retreating from the palace
After Bloody Sunday, the Tsar issued the OctoberManifesto. It stated that Russia could have a Duma to help run the country. After this the Tsar issued a set of Fundamental Laws which stated that even with the Duma, Russia was still an autocracy. A Duma is a representative body that is elected by the people, which is what the public wanted but they weren’t fully satisfied. Many people wanted to elect a leader, not just a representative.
The public’s response to the establishment of the Duma
The first Duma representatives meeting
Russia’s economy had begun to collapse after they suffered defeat after defeat against the Japanese and Germans. All the young men had been recruited into the army so the factories had no people working in them. Everybody was starving and rebellions started up against the Tsar all over the country. The Tsar was forced to abdicate his position of power. Once the former government was overthrown, a new one was formed by the Bolsheviks. The Soviet Union.
Russian protestors during the October Revolution
The Russian army turning on the Tsar in the October Revolution
There were three main causes of the Spring 1917 revolution. The first was inflation. As money lost value, everything became expensive--including paying workers--which brings us to the second reason: the lack of workers. When inflation set in, factories lost money and therefore had to lay-off workers, which caused unrest. The third reason for the revolution was the inability to transport the necessities of everyday life, as they did not have the money for coal, or the workers to run the trains. During this time, revolutionary leaders (such as Lenin) saw a revolution brewing and began making their way back into the country from exile.
The protestors running away from the massacre
Protestors gather in the streets
Bloody Sunday: On January 22, 1905, 200 thousand workers marched throughout the streets of St. Petersburg and thousands were shot because the government thought there was an uprising.
Vladimir Lenin: A Russian Revolutionist, and the first leader of the Soviet Union.
Bolsheviks: They were the Communist party of Russia, and founded the Soviet Union through the chaos of the October Revolution.
Abdicate: To relieve a position of power, and give to someone else.
Duma: A group of representatives selected by the people that represent them.
Sources for Information
Alena Kim, Richard Li, Jessica Chung, and Paulo Wei
Alexander Kerensky was born in Simbirsk. After Tsar was overthrown, he became the minister of justice in the provisional government. He got promoted and became Minister of War and then became the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union.
While Alexander held the position of Prime Minister, he had made some terrible decisions. Kerensky made the Russian soldiers stay in World War I and didn’t supply the peasants with any food or necessities. There were also a lot of groups that had demanded different things that the provisional government did not provide. The Bolsheviks had gain more strength and began the Civil War in Russia.
The problems in the old empire were still there after the Tsar was gone. The Provisional Government had said that they would give out land to the farmers but that was months ago. The peasants got angry and started killing landlords and dividing the land. Kerensky couldn’t stop them because he had little loyal troops. Many soldiers had disobeyed orders and deserted the army. The Bolsheviks (otherwise known as the Red Army) had persuaded soldiers to stop fighting, the army was in chaos. Due to the violence, the harvest was delayed and people feared famine.
Vladimir Lenin was born in Simbirsk on April 22, 1870. He was a socialist and had been inspired by the teachings of Karl Marx. Once the Tsar Nicolas II had been overthrown in early 1917, Lenin came back to Russia after being exiled to Siberia.
Once tempers had faired within the country, Lenin led the Bolsheviks and started the Red Army in the civil war. It was a revolutionary event in which the Red Army beat the Provisional Government (also known as the white army). From that day forth, Vladimir Lenin was the Prime Minster of The Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.
After the October revolution Lenin created a new government called Sovnarkom. He changed the laws for the Russians people. One important one was he changed the work time for the workers, and treated them more like a human.
Lenin was also a person who like peace. So after he took power away from the king he signed a peace contract with the Germany.
Sources for Information
Travis Meng, Alexandre Wang, Steven Zhao
Trotsky and Lenin with Red Army soldiers in Petrograd
Lenin faced many problems during the civil war. He had opposition from the Czech Legion, the white Russians, and from Armies of Intervention. The solution to all this was the creation of the Red Army, a army created to combat these forces, the Cheka, who were violent secret agents, and the creation of the red terror laws. The laws made the red army fight harder, and they forced the armies of intervention to retreat out of Russia, which allowed the red army to crush the white Russians. Also, the Czech legion retreated.
Parade by allied armies of intervention
The civil war wasn’t easy for Lenin. He had opposition from the Czech Legion, a group of escaped Czech POWs, the white Russians, Russians against the Bolsheviks, and from armies of intervention, foreign invasion armies displeased with Russia pulling out of the WW2. The solution to all this was the red army, a army created to combat these forces, the Cheka, who were violent secret agents, and the creation of the red terror laws. The laws made the red army fight harder, and they forced the armies of intervention to retreat out of Russia, which allowed the red army to crush the white Russians.
Joseph Stalin was a Russian who was a key factor in the Bolshevik's rise to power. After Lenin’s death Stalin was named dictator of the Soviet Union. Stalin reformed Russia and made positive changes, such as mass industrialization that achieved increases in economic growth, and negative changes as Stalin executed the party of enemies. Leon Trotsky was the war commissar that lead the Red Army to victory. Trotsky and Stalin were both important members in the Communist take over. After Stalin’s rise to dictatorship, Trotsky was thrown out of the communist party, and sent into foreign exile. Stalin changed Russia to the USSR
Reds- Red army that fought for the communist party during the civil war, led by Lenin.
Whites- White army that fought against Lenin and his ideas during the civil war.
Cheka- The Cheka were Lenin’s secret police, and they carried out violent tasks.
Red Terror- The campaign of mass arrests and executions conducted by the Bolshevik party to fight back the white army.
War Communism- The economic and political system used during the civil war. The aim was to supply soldiers with food and supplies.
NEP- The new economic policy prevented economy to collapse, by letting small businesses to reopen for private profit and allowed farmers to pay agricultural products instead of tax.
USSR- A union of many Soviet republics. Formed after the Civil war.
Sources for Information
Ji Won Chae
To ensure enough food was produced to feed the peasants and the industrial workers Stalin introduced collectivization which meant that 100 million peasants would join their farms and work together. Peasants would then sell their grain to the government at a fixed low price and receive wages. The kulaks, the richest of the peasants, were most strongly opposed to Stalin’s plan. He dealt with them by deporting them, handing them over to the political police or gave them poor land. The peasants did not like the collective farms and killed their animals and destroyed crops, tools and farm buildings. This resulted in a dropdown in food production and led to a famine.
Food for the People
During 1927 Stalin wanted to improve the industrial economy of Russia. Today we know the time period 1927-32 the five year plan. During these years Stalin increased work loads on industrial workers. Due to this change, the amount of coal in tons rose from 35.4 million to 64 million. The amount of iron ore also rose from 5.7 million to 19 million. The industrial workers had to work more than twice as hard as usual, an estimate of about 127,000 workers died because of overwork in just these 5 years. Also workers who did not fulfill the work quotas were sent to gulags. This operation plan was successful to making Russia a leading economic superpower.
Stalin joined the Rightists to use them to drive Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev out of the Politburo. After Stalin got rid of Trotsky in 1927, he turned against the Rightists to end NEP and expand industry instead. The majority of people in the Politburo supported Stalin, so Bukharin and his supporters were easily purged from the Politburo. Stalin became the ultimate leader when Trotsky was exiled from USSR in 1929 and his supporters were either imprisoned or killed. In 1940, an agent of the NKVD posed as Trotsky’s supporter and killed him with an ice-axe at his own house.
Trotsky and Stalin
Stalin created his godlike cult of personality through the use of propaganda and the mass media, manipulating the public. This cult of personality was then used to obtain the devotion of the people, therefore giving Stalin ultimate power as a dictator. As the ultimate leader, Stalin controlled his image very carefully in order to expand the soviet power and create unison in the people. He censored all information which might represent badly of him. Using propaganda places were named after Stalin and pictures of him were put everywhere. Through the word of mouth, Stalin was known to be the “wisest man of the age”. To the extreme, history books were changed to make him the hero of the Revolution. Stalin was very successful in clouding the brains of his people and cloud their judgment.
a group of people who share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest
a farmer characterized by Communists as having excessive wealth
an extreme scarcity of food
plan to stimulate economic development in the Soviet Union
the penal system of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics consisting of a network of labor camps
the removal of elements or members regarded as undesirable and especially as treacherous or disloyal
(Narodnyĭ komissariat vnutrennikh del) People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs, Communist Secret Police
the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
Sources for Information
Lenin formed a new International known as the Comintern to promote world revolution on communism. The USSR used to have connections with all the major powers in the world but not necessarily friendly relations. When Hitler came to power, Stalin wanted to team with Britain and France. The two countries didn’t trust Communism, therefore Stalin decided to team with Hitler himself. On August 23rd, 1939, Stalin and Hitler signed a Nazi-Soviet Pact, agreeing not to fight each other. Japan was also a powerful country, and to prevent their attack, Stalin signed a Neutrality pact with Japan in 1941.
Soviet Union (USSR) Flag
Soviet Union Map
Josef Stalin, as the leader of the Soviet Union, held great power. The Soviet Union became a world power under Stalin’s command. He began the reconstruction of the Soviet Union after World War 2, commanding everyone to rebuild factories. To prevent the civilians from escaping from their work, he lowered an “Iron Curtain” across the borders of the USSR, sealing off all foreign access. This gave Stalin complete control over the Soviet Union.
Part of the Iron Curtain
Josef Stalin tightened his grip on his occupied territories. He gave power to the national leaders who were reliable and had fought alongside the Russians during the Battle of Stalingrad. He later supported communist movements such as Mao's in China, which in turn supported the communists fighting the French in Indochina (Vietnam). He inspired former Red Army officer Kim Il Sung to invade South Korea. Stalin worked hard to create new technologies such as nuclear weapons. He did this by a combination of espionage during the war, gifts of technology from the British and Americans, arresting German scientists, and promoting research.
After the WWII ended in 1945, the Soviet Union dominated most of the land they liberated from the Nazis. The Eastern Europe States were known to the USSR as the “Iron Curtain”, acting as a buffer zone and protected the western boarders of mainland Russia. The Cold War between USSR and US took place in the mid 1940’s when WWII just ended. During the Cold War, there were conflicts between the States and USSR as the two countries strived to be the first in every technological development.
Comintern: The Comintern also known as the Communist International was an international Communist organization founded in Moscow in March 1919 to promote communism.
Nazi-Soviet Pact: In 1939, Stalin signed the pact with Hitler agreeing not to fight each other. It is known as the Nazi-Soviet Pact.
Neutrality Pact: Stalin signed the Neutrality Pact with Japan in 1941, fearing that they would attack the Soviet Union.
Iron Curtain: The Iron Curtain is a boundary that physically divides Europe into two areas after World War II.
Reconstruction: To rebuild
Buffer Zone: A buffer zone is a zone that serves to separate two or more areas.
Battle of Stalingrad: The battle between Nazi Germany with its allies and the Soviet Union for control of the city Stalingrad.
Sources for Information