Russian Revolution. The Reason Russia pulled out of the Great War

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1 Russian Revolution The Reason Russia pulled out of the Great War

2 Background: Alexander II, Czar of Russia from 1855 to 1881, was best known for his reforms to Russia. He freed the serfs (yes, Russia continued to have a feudal type system up until the 1800 s), and started plans to build railways. He also made changes to the structure of government. However, some people did not feel that Alexander II did enough for the commoners, so he was assassinated in March of 1881.

3 His son, Alexander III, then became Czar of Russia. Alexander III, however, took back control of the Russian government. He cracked down on anyone who seemed to threaten his government. He also oppressed all non- Russian people who lived within the Russian empire, especially Jews.

4 In 1894, Alexander III s son, Nicholas, became Czar Nicholas II of Russia. He continued his father s strong rule. He launched a program that aimed at building up Russia s industry. Russia quickly became a leading producer of steel in the world. However, this rapid industrial growth brought problems.

5 Working conditions were poor, wages were low, and children were forced to work. Workers grew angry and often went on strike. The wealth of the nation was in the hands of a few (the aristocracy). Revolutionary groups wanted to topple the government. Some followed the teachings of Karl Marx. What was Karl Marx known for?

6 In January, 1905, thousands of workers and their families marched peacefully to the czar s palace in St. Petersburg, to ask for reforms. Their requests were met by bullets from the czar s troops. The people answered by going on strike, which brought the country to a stop. Reluctantly, Nicholas II agreed to make reforms, but little changed.

7 The final blow to the Czar s rule was the Great War. When Austria-Hungary gave the ultimatum to Serbia, Nicholas II exchanged a series of letters with Kaiser Wilhelm II, in the hopes of preventing war with the German Empire. Nicholas wanted to only mobilize a partial army, along the Austria-Hungary border. His military, however, had no instructions or procedures for a partial mobilization. Nicholas put the army on alert, which looked like a military declaration of war.

8 The true outbreak of war, on August 1, 1914, found Russia underprepared. Russia had a standing army of 1.3 million, plus another 3.1 million in reserve, as well as the capability of millions more.

9 Russia did not have the railways in place to quickly transport its army, nor did it have the industry in place to equip the massive army. In the first few months of the war, Russia had four million soldiers killed, wounded, or captured. As the war worsened, the czar lost control of Russia.

10 In 1915, Nicholas left for the front, in order to lead the war effort. His wife, Alexandra, took over the every day running of the empire. Nicholas youngest child, and heir, Alexei, had a disease. This disease, hemophilia, did not allow the blood to clot. Doctor after doctor was consulted, but their treatments generally failed.

11 Alexandra turned to mystics and holy men, and found Grigori Rasputin. In October, 1912, during a family vacation, Alexei was injured, and the bleeding could not be stopped. Alexandra called in Rasputin, and miraculously, the bleeding stopped the next day. Alexandra took this as a sign that Rasputin was a holy man, and defended him.

12 When Alexandra was left in charge of the day to day running of the Russian Empire, she turned to Rasputin for advice. This, combined with Alexandra s German heritage (she was a princess of Hesse, one of the small kingdoms of Germany, prior to unification, and Russia was at war with Germany), made her decisions unpopular.

13 By early 1917, Russia was on the edge of collapse. Food prices shot sky high, and people starved. Russian workers marched through the streets of St. Petersburg, shouting End the war! and Down with the czar!. Soon, riots broke out and rebellion quickly spread across the country. Finally, even the soldiers refused to obey government orders to put down the revolt.

14 On March 15, 1917, Nicholas II gave up his throne. At the same time, leaders in the Duma, or the Russian parliament, set up a temporary government. The leaders of the temporary government wanted democracy. In addition, this temporary government wanted to keep Russia in the war. This decision lost the support of soldiers who didn t want to fight any longer, and also that of workers and peasants who wanted an end to food shortages. Across the country these forces formed local councils called soviets. In some cities, the soviets actually had more real power than the government.

15 In the middle of this, Vladimir Lenin was determined to bring about his revolution, which followed the teachings of Karl Marx. His slogan Peace, Land, and Bread was soon taken up by many people. In November 1917, armed workers took control of government offices. The fledgling democratic government was at an end.

16 To win peasants support, Lenin ordered all farmland be given to them. Workers were given control of the factories. Lenin also reached a peace treaty with Germany, which allowed Russia to withdrawal from the Great War. Lenin s next step was to make the Communist party the only legal political party in Russia. He and the Bolsheviks (Lenin s followers) formed a secret police force, called the Cheka. Lenin ordered the Cheka to track down anyone against his government. The Cheka killed or put into prison tens of thousands of men and women.

17 Not all Russians were happy to see the Bolsheviks in control. Some who opposed them put together an army called the White Army. The Bolsheviks then formed the Red Army. A civil war followed, which lasted three years, and killed 15 million Russians. In the end, the Red Army won. In 1921, Lenin launched a new plan to rebuild the Russian economy. It allowed for some private ownership of property, relaxing Lenin s desire of complete state control. He also changed the government to form a new nation: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

18 In 1924, Lenin died, and Joseph Stalin took over the job of running the Soviet Union. Stalin believed his most important task was to make the Soviet Union one of the world s strongest nations. To produce more food, he ordered that farms be grouped together into collectives. These were large farms on which people worked together as a group. Stalin s secret police killed or put into prison peasants who were against the collectives. He then had hundreds of huge factories built and forced people to work in them.

19 Stalin placed all parts of the economy under government control. In doing so he created a command economy. He then laid out a path for economic growth in five-year plans. The plans set up production schedules for farms and factories. By the late 1930 s, Stalin had met his goal of making the Soviet Union a leading industrial nation.

20 Most Soviet people had jobs and enough food. They still had no voice in the government. In fact, when citizens protested and called for change, Stalin ordered purges. All those who opposed him were killed or put into prison. Millions of his purge victims were sent to forced labor camps in Siberia.

21 The Soviet Union became a work power under Stalin s government. It also became a totalitarian state - a state in which the government has complete control over people s lives. Even with all the changes, however, Soviet citizens had no more freedom or political power than earlier citizens had under the czars.

22 Notes: The Russian Revolution: Nicholas II was the last Tsar of Russia In 1917, peasants rebelled due to the lack of food, and the loss of life during the Great War On March 17, 1917, Nicholas gave up his throne In November 1917, Vladimir Lenin took over the government, and established a communist government. Lenin pulled Russia out of the Great War by signing a treaty with Germany. In 1921, Lenin restructured the government, and changed the name of Russia to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). In 1924, Lenin died, and Josef Stalin took over as dictator.

23 What happened to: Grigori Rasputin: Rasputin s influence over the royal family was used against him. Nobles in influential positions around the czar, wanted him removed. Alexandra, however, refused to listen. In 1914 (before Nicholas went to the front), there was an assassination attempt on Rasputin. A woman thrust a knife into Rasputin s abdomen, and his entrails hung out of what seemed to be a fatal wound. However, with surgery, Rasputin recovered.

24 In December, 1916, a group of nobles decided that Rasputin had far too much influence over Alexandra, so they plotted to get rid of him. He was invited over to one of the noble s house, where he was served wine and cakes laced with cyanide. Rasputin was unaffected. Since Rasputin was unaffected by the poison, the conspirators decided that they had to shoot him. He was then shot in the back. The group left the house, and since one member forgot his coat, he returned. As he returned, he decided to check on the body. Rasputin opened his eyes, and tried to strangle his killer. The other conspirators arrived back at the house, noticed what was happening, and shot Rasputin three more times. As the conspirators moved toward his body, Rasputin was struggling to get up. He was then clubbed into submission, and thrown into an icy river. Cause of death: drowning.

25 The Romanovs: Nicholas II and Alexandra, and their children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, Alexei

26 After Nicholas II resigned as the czar, the family was kept under house arrest at their primary residence, the Alexander Palace, not far from St. Petersburg.

27 In August, 1917, the family was moved to Tobolsk, in Siberia, since the government wanted to remove them from the capital and possible harm. There they stayed until Lenin s Bolshevik s took over in November, when they were moved to Yekaterinburg. While they were there, their life was uncertain, since they never knew if they would be separated or killed. They were allowed very few privileges.

28 On July 16, 1918, the family was told to dress. Thinking that they would be sent somewhere else, they put on coats (which had jewels sewn into the seams), and followed their guards. They were led, along with four servants, into the basement of the house in which they were staying, and executed.

29 The legend is that the youngest daughter, Anastasia, survived. She supposedly fainted, and was thought to have been killed. When she revived, she was allegedly smuggled out of the house, and escaped.

30 In 1991, 8 remains were found under a dirt road. In January, 1998, the remains were identified, using DNA analysis, as the (unrelated) servants, Nicholas II, Alexandra and three of the sisters. Alexei and one sister (thought to be Maria or Anastasia) were not among those remains. In April 2008, Russian authorities announced that they had found the two missing skeletal remains, those of Alexei and his sister, confirmed by DNA analysis.

31 Anna Anderson: Anna Anderson claimed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, who had miraculously survived the execution. Only a few surviving relatives of Anastasia actually believe she was who she said she was. Anna died in Later, tissue samples that had been obtained from medical testing were used for DNA testing she was not related to the Romanovs.

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