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The Russian Revolution. Overview. 1917: war, collapse, revolution Tsarist government collapsed Provisional government proved unable to govern Lenin’s Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government Two revolutions:

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Presentation Transcript
  • 1917: war, collapse, revolution
  • Tsarist government collapsed
  • Provisional government proved unable to govern
  • Lenin’s Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government
  • Two revolutions:
    • Feb/March 1917: more collapse than overthrow, signaled failure of old autocratic system and created vacuum
    • Oct/Nov 1917: Leninist seizure of power in Petrograd

To horse, Proletarian! (1919)

incompetence of nicholas ii
Incompetence of Nicholas II
  • Autocratic philosophy in an increasingly democratic age
  • Failed promises of 1905 (Duma, Constitutional limits)
  • Decision to enter WW1 and become Commander-in-Chief linked tsar to military failure
  • Dependence upon conservative, aristocratic advisers
  • Family dependence upon Rasputin (killed 1916: poisoned, drowned and shot twice)
urban economic disaster
Urban Economic Disaster
  • Economic infrastructure minimally developed
    • Massive inflation without wage increases
    • Most workers lived beneath poverty line
    • During war industrial output fell by over 50%
  • WW1 strained economy further: factory closures, strikes, bread riots
  • Urban revolutionary potential: unemployed, riots, deserting soldiers
march revolution
March Revolution
  • Nicholas returned from WW1 front to chaos in Petrograd
  • Faced with strikes, riots, deserting soldiers, and military losses, Nicholas II abdicated 3/17 to his brother, who also abdicated
  • Abdication was final attempt to save monarchy, preferable to revolution
  • Provisional Government created by Prince Lvov
  • Liberals: advocated moderate change and Constitution
  • Executive of P.G. by committee: Kerensky became Prime Minister
kerensky s provisional government
Kerensky’s Provisional Government
  • Policies
    • Maintain the war effort to support allies
    • Tsarist estates were expropriated by state
    • Amnesty for all political exiles
    • Destruction of secret internal spy system
  • Struggle within PG for power:
    • Socialist Revolutionaries (leftists)
    • Mensheviks (moderate leftists)
    • Bolsheviks (radical leftists)
    • Conservatives (military and bourgeoisie)
  • Inadequacies of PG caused local governments to take power: Soviets
  • Petrograd Soviet vied with PG for national authority

Kerensky (writing) and the PG

bolshevik policies
Bolshevik Policies
  • April 1917: Germany transported Lenin from Switzerland to Petrograd in “Sealed Train”
  • Lenin's "April Theses"
    • Exit "capitalist" war
    • All power to the proletariat (workers)
    • Overthrow capital in Russia
    • No support to Provisional Government
    • "All power to the soviets!"
    • Abolition of police, army, and bureaucracy
    • Confiscation of all landed estates
    • Soviets to control all production
    • Create international socialism
  • Condensed platform: "Peace, Land, and Bread!"
leninist seizure of power
Leninist Seizure of Power
  • Use of the Petrograd Soviet: organize military under Trotsky
  • Support from Battleship "Aurora" in Petrograd harbor
  • 6 November 1917: Petrograd Soviet troops seized key points in Petrograd
  • 7 November 1917:
    • Seizure of "Winter Palace," center of P.G.
    • "All Russian Congress of Soviets" assembled
    • "Council of People's Commissars" named as government
    • Announced elections for Constituent Assembly
  • Lenin made two decrees:
    • Begin efforts toward democratic peace
    • Abolished private property: "state" ownership
  • Bolsheviks took power without proof of popular support, but majority did support policies(“Vanguard of the people”)
  • Authoritarian methods were to clear way for democratic ideals
  • Authoritarian methods boded poorly for true of democracy
  • For the allies, Bolshevik seizure implied:
    • closure of the eastern front
    • impending focus of German strength to west
    • seed for revolution in west
    • demonstration of fate of the losing aristocrats
    • suggested that logical direction of democratization was socialism

Nicholas II is considered a martyred saint by some Russian Orthodox Christians.