To what extent would you consider the failure of the Provisional Government and the success of the Bolsheviks in October 1917 to be a direct consequence of Russia’s involvement in World War 1?
Russia’s involvement in World War One had been a topic of much bitterness within Russia for a number of years and continued to be a source of much resentment. The working class and peasantry had suffered greatly, thousands of soldiers had been lost in the war and a general feeling of military humiliation overcame Russia with the army beginning to desert the government, unwilling to fight for territory when people simply wanted peace. Domestically, practically every family had lost a loved one as a result of war and the resentment amongst the people towards the Provisional Government grew swiftly and unforgivingly. Nevertheless, it is important to consider the other key factors that led to the ultimate failure of the Provisional Government and the success of the Bolsheviks, which may or may not have linked to the role of war.
The Summer Offensive of 1917 when the Provisional Government decided to launch a major offensive against the Germans in response to its treaty obligations concerning World War to the allies was a key element of war that led to the ultimate disintegration of the Provisional Government. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were killed and territory was lost. Domestically, the episode shattered the people’s moral and the offensives allowed Lenin’s fast paced propaganda to gain more of an audience and increase his confidence and popularity. It was also the reason that the July Days sparked up leaving the capital defenseless for two whole days. The July Days though could be seen as a controversial topic. Initially it could be seen that this incident had worked to the benefit of the Provisional Government as some historians had seen the incident as an early attempt by the Bolsheviks to take power. But, because of lack of coherent leadership and precise action, the rising had lost momentum. This had brought out the confusion of hierarchy within the Bolsheviks party and weakened their image. On the other hand, although the July Days were seen as a failure from a Bolsheviks perspective and a positive for the Provisional Government as it allowed them to regain the people’s support whilst highlighting Lenin’s weaknesses, the failure forced Lenin to reflect on his parties’ weaknesses and mistakes and to consider making the necessary changes resulting in the July Days being ultimately beneficial for them. The Provisional Governments lack of support became clear during both these incidents and this helped boost the Bolsheviks moral and inevitably shattered the remaining motivation that the Provisional Government had.
The war became a crucial factor for the Provisional Government and as it continued, the potential for things to go drastically wrong increased, shaping the revolution. Although in 1914 during the Tsar’s reign, the war had allowed the people to unite once again behind their leaders in a moment of fleeting glorification, this did not last and soon the suffering amongst the people resurfaced. The cost of fighting the war and maintaining the countries large armed forces strained the economy and resources resulting with higher taxes and inflation. A loss of agricultural workers because a higher military force was needed which led to the countries production of food dropping drastically. As long as the war continued, resources would be channeled towards the army and this resulted in class antagonism between workers and employers. Strikes began to increase and workers committees began to take over the running of some factories completely. In retaliation, the workers all turned their antagonism on the government. Soldiers, especially by the time of the Summer Offensive of 1917, began to question the reason as to why they where fighting this war and became aggressive and uncooperative. The Russian people...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document