Do you agree with the view that the revolution of February 1917 was the unexpected outcome of local upheaval in Petrograd?
I partially agree with the view that the 1917 revolution was due to a local Petrograd rebellion - Do you agree with the view that the revolution of February 1917 was the unexpected outcome of local upheaval in Petrograd? introduction. It is because since the start of WW1 Russia had become more and more ineffective at supplying both the troops at the front line and the citizens at home. This led to animosity and resentment between solders and the working class.
Also because the war was going on food and fuel were taking longer to get to Petrograd, only one third of food needed got through while only half of all fuel needs got through. This caused civil unrest and many of the civilian population now began to believe that entering the war was a rushed and rash move on Nicholas’s part.
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The hardships of which the police put down people who complained about the war was also a trigger that turned many moderates against Nicholas. The repression the police used was eventually resented and many riots started, the problem with these riots was that the army was needed to put them down so more resources were used to carry the troops from the front to Petrograd.
Source 3 says that the army’s campaign was going well but the deterioration of the rear (the home cities) was threatening to cause chaotic anarchy. In this report by the Petrograd police it says that although the armies offensive is going well it can all be undone if the situation in Petrograd and other cities are not removed.
Source 4 says that many of the working class are becoming violent and hostile to the authorities; they are also calling for an immediate withdrawal from the war. The report goes on to say that many left-wing circles are convinced revolution is coming, this is a further testament to the tsar’s incompetence he had the warning that revolution threatened but stayed at the front. The report finishes by saying that this revolution has the potential to be worse because many of the revolutionaries are former or newly deserted solders.
Source 5 goes on to say that it is hard to pinpoint a decisive blow to the Tsar which forced him to abdicate. The source says that the tsarist regime survived the 1905 revolution by making concessions and Stolypins cunning. The tsar had clearly forgotten about this previous rebellion or he would have thought ahead and made vital concessions where necessary. It would also have helped if the tsar hadn’t kept changing the Dumas to just have his supporters in it. This act helped to alienate many moderates who may have supported the tsar in the 1917 revolution.
However there were many factors which did not originate in Petrograd and which helped undermine the Tsar’s regime even more. The army generals began to question the Tsar and his ability to rule. Many generals argued that the army couldn’t fight a war and keep returning to deal with revolutionaries. The loss of support of the army generals was a blow the tsar was never able to recover from.
Another reason why this revolution was more widespread then Petrograd was the many ministers who asked for the Tsars permission to resign, the Tsar refused because the ministers were advising making a Duma ministry which would mean the Tsar would lose his very pro-Tsar Duma. Since the tsar refused to allow ministers to resign they simply fled and joined the revolution they saw that the Tsars end was coming but the Tsar didn’t.
The railways also was found to be a problem during the winters of 1916-17 because the railways were becoming snowbound and trains delivering supplies to the army and to the cities were again delayed which caused widespread discontent especially in the army where Nicholas got most of his support from. The number of army deserters was very high because many solders were peasants who were taken from their home, this made them ineffectual solders and discontent grew.
The tsar also took no heed to the help from his now few loyal advisers, Rodzianko told the tsar that he needed to make political concessions in order to survive this new more determined rebellion. The Tsar took no heed of this good advice and told Rodzianko to dissolve the Duma. If this did anything it made the Tsar lose more previously loyal supporters.
Finally the final blow to the autocratic rule of Tsar came when he abdicated. The revolutionaries didn’t mind that a new Tsar was to come they just didn’t want it to be Nicholas. The Tsar chose his brother Grand Duke Mikhail to succeed him, however his brother refused when he say how difficult it was and refused the job. With nobody else to take the job Russian autocracy came to an end, as did the Romanov dynasty.
In conclusion many factors of the revolution centred on Petrograd such as the police repression and the mass mutiny of the Volhynian regiment. However many factors centred on the war and other factors other that Petrograd. For example the desertion of the generals meant that the Tsar had lost the majority of the armies support. Also the fact that nobody else wanted to succeed Nicholas meant that the autocratic regime of the Tsar came to an end