How far was the February Revolution caused by the length of World War One?
The February revolution was caused by the length of World War One to a large extent, if the war wasn’t so long, the revolution wouldn’t have happened. However the revolution was also caused by Nicholas’ poor political decisions, which didn’t have anything to do with the length of the war. Russia decided to go to war in 1914 because Nicholas II and his ministers felt they had a good reason to go to war. Russia had at least two opportunities to win the war however their slow modernisation in industrialisation meant they were at a disadvantage because they couldn’t keep up with the social and economic changes caused by the war. Between August and September 1914 Russia’s chances of victory over Germany and Austria-Hungary were ruined at the battles of Tannenburg and Masurin lakes. There failure was entirely down to bad organisation and bad co-ordination between the armies of Alexader Samsonov and Pavel Rennenkampf. Samsonov eventually shot himself after his army were surrounded but Rennenkampf executed a skilful retreat at the Masurin lakes so that his first army could avoid the fate of Samsonov’s second army. The Tannenburg and Masurin lakes killed over 230,000 Russians, almost twice as many as the Germans, and the battles helped to equalise the forces fighting the First World War, which meant there was an increase in the war being an even longer struggle. In November 1914 General Nikolai Ivanov said that “it is impossible to detect Stavka’s instructions either an exact task or fixed objective.” Stavka was the name given to the command of the first Russian army. He didn’t set up an artillery section until early 1916, so until this was set up, Stavka had no idea how many shells the Russian army possessed. This explains why in May to June 1915 Stavka blamed Russia’s ‘problems’ on a shell shortage. However the shell shortage gave Stavka an excuse to avoid a review of its planning and...
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