The Road to the Russian Revolution By: Ms. Valdner & Mr. Patten Global History II Mepham High School
The Life of a Serf • Serfs [an agricultural worker] in Russia were on the bottom rung of the social ladder. • They worked the land and produced the food for the giant country. • Very harsh life average age of 35. • Out dated techniques, short growing season, cold climate, cruel landlords, resulted in poverty for serfs
Tsar Alexander II • “It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to await the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below.” -Tsar Alexander II to Moscow nobility, March 1856
The “Tsar Liberator” • Russia was experiencing economic pressure, social unrest, and falling behind Western Nations. • Russia’s Step for Modernization by Alexander II • Eliminate the system of serfdom • Jury trials and relaxed censorship laws • Created zemstvos [local elected assemblies] to address local issues such as taxation and education • Increased industrial production • Expanded transportation such as the railroad
What steps did Alexander II take to modernize Russia? In your opinion, do you think that Alexander’s reforms were successful? Why or why not?
Tsar Alexander III • Alexander III believed that western ideals were incompatible with “the very nature of Russian character.”
The Tsar Takes a Step Back • Alexander III (1881-1894) wanted nothing to do with reforms. • Called for a policy known as “Russification,” which attempted to assimilate all non-Russian people. • Rigid censorship was imposed on people. • Secret police looked for those suspected of revolutionary ideas.
What steps did Alexander III take to roll back his father’s reforms in Russia? As a result, what feelings do you think arise in the people of Russia?
Karl Marx The Haves vs. the Have Nots Struggle Between Social Classes Workers of the World Unite! Classless Society
The Ideas of Karl Marx “We seized [take hold of] upon Marxism because we were attracted by its economic optimism [getting better], that Marxism was developing a new economy, with new social forces (including the lower working class) which would certainly sweep away the autocratic regime [the tsars rule]. With the optimism [positive feelings] of youth we had been searching for a formula that offered hope, and we found it in Marxism.” - Nikolai Valentinov
Difficult Times for Nicholas II “The tragic aspect of the situation is that the Tsar is living in an utter fool’s paradise, thinking that He is as strong and all-powerful as before.” -From the diary of an advisor to the tsar, October 1, 1905
Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) • Conflict over Manchuria & Korea • Nicholas II thought war with Japan would be easy • Russia possessed outdated weapons & was poorly supplied • Japan modernized (Mejii Restoration) • Clear defeat for Russia
“Bloody Sunday” January 9, 1905 “I saw these looks of hatred and vengeance on literally every face; old and young, men and women. The revolution had been truly born, and it had been born in the very core, in the very bowels of the people.” -Bolshevik Martyn Liadov
“The slogan of “freedom” must become the slogan of government activity. There is no other way of saving the state…The advance of human progress is unstoppable. The idea of human freedom will triumph, if not by way of reform, than by way of revolution.” Count Sergei Witte The October Manifesto Expanded civil liberties A limited monarchy Universal suffrage Trade union & political parties legalized Nicholas II Attempts at Reforms
Liberals: Favored evolutionary change towards a more Western European system of government. Two main Liberal parties: Kadets Octobrists Socialists: They favored a revolutionary remaking of Russian society. Two main Socialist parties: Social Democrats Social Revolutionaries The Rise of Political Groups
The Mensheviks were Marxists. Believed in a patient approach to political change. Socialism in Russia only after it had been achieved in the West. The Menshevik’s goal was to pave the way for revolution by organizing the workers toward class awareness The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, were Marxists who favored a socialist party that was directed by a small elite. Only militant revolutionaries could prevail then the masses could come into the party. Workers needed the Bolshevik leaders to guide their work in the street and the factories. Mensheviks vs. Bolsheviks
Who were the major political groups in Russia & what were their beliefs for the future of Russia?
“We Can No Longer Live Like This” • Russian peasants experienced: • Food shortages • Rigid social classes • Corrupt government • Few factories • Poverty • Lack of clothes & food
What were some of the major problems that a Russian peasant experienced? How could this problems lead to unrest in Russia?
Russia Enters the World War in August 1914 “Unarmed men had to be sent into the trenches to wait till their comrades were killed or wounded and their rifles become available” -Report from a British officer in Russia
The Effect of War on Russia • Russia leaves the war in late 1916 • Heavy losses of men • 3.6 million dead or wounded • 2.1 prisoner of war • Weapon shortages • Increased hunger & refugees • Spending money, but losing the war
The Monarchy Self-Destructs • Nicholas’s wife seeks help from Rasputin. • A peasant “holy man” semi-literate • Bragged about control of governmental offices & church • Corrupt, received bribes, & sexual favors • He damaged the monarchy
The 1917 Revolution Begins “Comrades, if we cannot get a loaf of bread for ourselves in a righteous way, then we must do everything: we must go ahead and solve our problems by force…Comrades, arm yourselves with everything possible-bolts, screws, rocks, and go out of the factory and start smashing the first shops you find.” -A Striker
Russia Debates Its Future “ A miracle has happened, and we may expect more miracles…almost anything might happen.” -March 23, 1917 poet Alexander Blok