Chapter : 2. Socialism In Europe & The Russian Revolution

First World War And Foundation Of Soviet State

The First World war broke out in 1914. The Czar took Russia into the war. This proved fatal and brought about the final breakdown of Russian autocracy. During the war period there was shortage of production which gave birth to an economic crisis. By February 1917, 600, 000 soldiers had been killed in the war. In order to increase the strength of the army, farmers and workers were forcibly recruited to the army. So there was discontent in the masses.
Course of the Revolution : The revolution was accomplished into two stages :
(a) February Revolution (March 1917 Revolution).
(b) October Revolution (November 1917 Revolution).
(i) First Stage, February Revolution : Shortage of food became the immediate cause of the revolution.
1. It began with a demonstration by working class woman trying to purchase bread on March 7, 1917.
2. On 22, February a lockout took place at a factory on the right bank of river Neva.
3. A general strike of workers was followed which was soon joined by soldiers and others.
4. On Sunday, 25 February, the government suspended the Duma, Demonstrators, returned in force to the streets of the left bank on the 26th.
5. On the 27th, the Police Headquarters were ransacked. The Government tried to control the situation and called out the cavalry, who refused to fire on the demonstrators. By that evening, soldiers and striking workers had gathered to form a 'soviet' or 'council'. This was the Petrograd Soviet.
6. Military commanders advised Tsar to abdicate. He followed their advice and abdicated on 2 March.
7. Soviet leaders and Duma leaders formed a Provisional Government to run the country. Petrograd had led the February Revolution the brought down the monarchy in February 1917.
The fall of the Tzar came to be known as the February Revolution because, according to the old Russian calendar, it took place on 27 February 1917.
Failure of the Provisional Government : However, the new government failed. Its policy to carry on with the war created disrest among the masses. Peace, land to the tiller, control of industry by workers and equal status for the non-Russian nationalities were the four-fold demands of the people, but the Provisional Government failed to meet with any of these demands. As a result, it lost the support of the people.

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