CAUSES OF FEB REVOLUTION 1917 (War/Army (Soldiers (Army vastly…
CAUSES OF FEB REVOLUTION 1917
Role of Duma
Tsar had the opportunity to transfer responsibility for the war effort to a civilian government, but refused to contemplate such a move
In August 2016, over half of the Fourth Duma (Kadets, Octoborists and Progressives) organised themselves into this
They were essentially asking for a constitutional monarchy, in which they would have a dominant voice.
They established a union of zemstva to provide medical facilities which the state seemed to neglect
IN June 1915, zemstva and municipal dumas joined to form
which was chaired by Prince Lvov and claimed the right to help the tsar in the war effort. The tsar shunned it and consequently it became a focus for liberal discontent
The tsar's shunning of these organisations and unwillingness to consider change lead members of the Duma to become discontent and desperate for change, thus leading to the eventual abandonment of the Tsar when they disobeyed his order to dissolve on the 27th Feb
Army vastly undersupplied, e.g. only 2 rifles for every 3 men, ill-fitting uniform and having to survive in -35 conditions
Soldiers believed the officers to be incompetent, the accused them of cowardice, drunkenness and treason - they believed the officers were purposely trying to sabotage the army
They abandoned the Tsar, mutinying during the strikes
Deserters returned to towns and cities where they told of their horrendous experiences and the incompetence of those in charge. This led people to believe the Tsar's government to be weak and unstable and their support the Tsar waned
1.5 million desertions by the end of 1916
Battle of Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes
A failed offensive in which they lost around 250,000 men - an entire army - as well as vast amounts of military equipment.
Germany launched a series of offensives against Russia in which they were beaten and large area of territory taken over
The war took 15 million men from working in the farms, causing food shortages which were exacerbated by the severe winter of 1916/17.
Furthermore, the trains that carried the food were now being used to transport supplies to the army, so could not bring food to the cities
Economic distress in Petrograd
News that bread would be rationed from 1st March caused constant queues and violent exchanges.
The police were attacked as they struggled to maintain order
300% rise in the cost of living
This meant prices rose enormously, but wages rose only a small amount comparatively and money was virtually worthless
To pay for the war, the government had increased taxes and raised huge loans at home and abroad, producing enormous inflation, reaching
200% by 1916
Non-military factories were forced to close
Poland and Western Russian overrun with germans which vastly reduced their industrial output
Mistakes made by Tsar and government
Tsar becomes Commander-in-chief
This was a catastrophe for the Tsar as he now took responsibility for all military losses of which there was no short supply of
He left Petrograd and moved to the army HQ in Russian Poland
Nicholas knew little about the command and organisation of large military forces
This also damaged the Tsar's reputation as there were many rumours that the tsarina was having an affair with Rasputin, who himself was viewed unfavourably by the people as he was often drunk and said to sleep with all the wives of the court.
As the Tsar was away for the war, the Tsarina was left in control of political decisions in Petrograd. She was heavily influenced by Rasputin
The tsarina was rumoured to be a German spy.
In particular there was
as the tsarina didn't want anyone to be in a strong enough position to challenge her husband's authority