How Far Do You Agree World War One Was Mainly Responsible for the 1917 Revolution?
How far do you agree that world war one was mainly responsible for the 1917 revolution? World war one was one of the main reasons for the breakout of revolution in 1917, however other factors can be brought about to suggest that it wasn’t only the main reason for the breakout of revolution in 1917. Aspects such as the decisions and actions of Tsar Nicholas can also be identified as important features for the breakout of revolution alongside the social and economic strains and the lack of political reform.
All factors have characteristics to suggest that they were the main reason for the breakout of war, however the impact of world war one can be viewed as playing the larger role on the reason for breakout in 1917. The actions of the tsar Nicholas prove to be an important factor for the breakout of revolution in 1917. In 1915 when the Tsar decided to take full control of the army he was creating even further inconveniences for himself. Due to the fact that the Tsars main attention was spent on the army, the day to day running of the government was left to his Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.
The problem was created through the fact that the Tsarina was greatly influenced by Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin damaged the Tsars reputation as anybody who wanted to gain power would have to befriend Rasputin. Many governors and politicians either resigned or were relieved of their position due to Rasputin. This had a large effect on the Russian people as the Tsars attention was fully towards the war and not on the problems faced by the people.
This would have been a growing source of discontent which backs up the argument that the Tsars neglect of the Russian troubles back in Russia would have been one of the main reasons for the outbreak of revolution in 1917. The impact of world war one in Russia can be viewed as one of the characteristics that play a large role in the reason for outbreak of revolution in 1917. The war for the Russian people meant that all fuel, food and coal were being concentrated on being provided to the soldiers on the front line.
The effect of this was that Russian people were being neglected of these goods which they needed almost as profusely as the Russian soldiers did. Growing dissatisfaction would have occurred throughout the Russian people as nothing took place to try and relieve these hardships that they were experiencing. This would have led to the even further loss of faith and support in the Tsar and would provide an evidently profound reason for revolution. Furthermore, during world war one over a million soldiers were either killed or taken prisoner.
This largely lowered morale between the soldiers and many of them fled. The support of the army would have been lost due to these results as the Tsar was seen mainly as the responsibility for the horrific results of war. Dissimilar to the 1905 revolution were the Tsar had the army on his side, the fact that the Tsar lost the support of the army made his chances of surviving the revolution very thin. Moreover, another leading factor for the breakout of revolution in 1917 was the social and economic strains faced by the Russian people.
The outbreak of revolution during 1905 was partly due to the social and economical strains experienced by the Russian people however, conditions decreased further during the build up to revolution in 1917. The war was costing profoundly more than they could afford, Russia left the gold standard and started to print money which caused inflation. This added to the discontent of the Russian people as it meant that the price of living also went up yet they had no income to afford basic goods.
This was due to the fact that many factories were closed down and the crop yield was being directed to the soldiers at war. This left the Russian people isolated as they had little, if any means of income to buy basic necessary items. Too make matters worse for both the Tsar and the Russian people, little action was taken in aid of these inconveniences. Before the war Moscow had been receiving 2200 railway wagons of grain per month in 1914; however by Christmas 1916 this reduced to only 300.
This therefore resulted in the accumulative discontent of the Russian people which only made matters worse for the Tsar as the likely hood of the occurrence of revolution was high. The lack of political reform can accountably be taken in as one of the main reasons for the outbreak of revolution in 1917. The union of zemstva provided medical facilities for the army; however the government did not know how to incorporate them into its own war effort. Moreover, the progressive Bloc called for a government of public confidence in which the ministers would be responsible for the Duma.
However, Tsar Nicholas refused to listen to any of their demands, this resulted in the ministers who campaigned for change and reform; were either dismissed or resigned. Due to the fact that no reform was made, all the blame was directed to the Nicholas. Reform was needed greatly at this time yet no reform occurred, this accumulated the ever rising dissatisfaction of the Russian people. Furthermore, as a result of Nicholas’s lack of political reform the support of political parties became very minute.
In conclusion, I agree that world war one played a large characteristic in the reason for breakout of war; however it does not act as the aspect mainly responsible for revolution. Other reasons such as the lack of reform, the economic and social strains and the actions taken by Tsar Nicholas played an equal role in the reason for the outbreak of revolution in 1917. World war one can be interpreted as a ‘trigger’ towards the revolution rather than being the main cause. Revolution would likely occur even without the impact of world war one, yet due to the timing, acts as a catalyst towards the revolution in 1917.