Essay Example on In assessing how crucial World War One's Impact









In assessing how crucial World War One's impact was in the success of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution of October 1917 it is first essential that said impacts are established and said success is broken down into its determining components Certainly World War One presented enormous strain on Russia as with the rest of Europe but particularly on Russia s political social and economic structures which were already largely precarious Arguably the war was the crucial factor in pushing Russia into revolution the extent of famine and food shortage accompanied by poor performance in the war forced social revolt and ultimately Tsar Nicholas II's abdication perhaps leaving an open door for the Bolsheviks Though the extent to which this was truly the crucial factor in regards to Bolshevik success should be questioned Russian people were already and had long been largely dissatisfied with the Tsarist system as exemplified by Bloody Sunday of 1905 Furthermore in suggesting World War One was the crucial factor in Bolshevik success discounts the role of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as active revolutionaries fighting the peoples cause 

Ultimately I would suggest that the impact of World War One is an undoubtable factor in pushing Russia into revolution and the Bolsheviks subsequent seizure of power and for this its criticality should not be understated Though Russia s damaged structures prior to the war must account for something and Lenin's role should not be undermined therefore although WW1 was certainly a crucial factor in Bolshevik success the extent of its impact must be weighed against Russia’s long standing unstable pillars I will begin by discussing the political impact World War One had on Russia and how this may have led to Bolshevik success In August 1914 Tsar Nicholas II s decision to go to war was a popular one supported by a wave of anti German sentiment Russian civilians reacted by patriotically rallying around the Tsar though this initial sense of nationalism and pride in country was soon shattered following military defeats at the Masurian Lakes and Tannenberg which served to greatly weaken the Russian army during the first phases of the war and thus the morale of the Russian population Already conspicuous that the war could not end in a short swift victory as had been hoped reports of incompetence inflamed the rising discontent in Petrograd With political resentment simmering it is arguable that the Bolshevik Party were given an open door to overthrow the Tsarist regime thereby using the war to their political advantage 

This is perhaps true in reference to one of Nicholas many political mistakes as wartime leader appointing his cousin Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich as commander in chief of the Russian army His nepotism here highlights not only the Tsars poor leadership but also Russia s internal inadequacies Indeed following such military incompetence Nicholas himself became leader of the army despite his lack of military experience leaving the home front for the eastern front and rendering the government unmanaged and in the hands of his politically naive wife Alexandra This proved further detrimental when Nicholas was held responsible for the failure of the Brusilov offensive in August 1916 aiding the sapping of morale and provoking further desertions Here it is evident that the War had distracted the Tsar allowing discourse of government and chaos at both fronts perhaps giving leeway for the Bolsheviks to gain popularity particularly during a time of such political disorder Certainly the political impact of World War One depleted confidence in the regime both by that of the public and within the government itself Yet with the Russian empire teetering on the brink of collapse the Tsarist regime responded to the cries with its usual incompetence and obstinacy This is perhaps epitomized through Tsar Nicholas II s abdication on the 15th of March 1917 thereby ending 300 years of the Romanov dynasty and crucially leaving the leadership of Russia open Enabling the growth and arguable success of radical opposition Disputing this however is the extent to which the political impacts of WW1 were crucial in Bolshevik success in the Russian Revolution of 1917 Perhaps it is rather the weakness or incompetence of government an issue that spans decades of political Russia that is truly crucial in Bolshevik success Indeed it should be noted that Russia is already fractured structures prior to World War One had long since been a point of discontent and the population had already expressed dissatisfaction with the political regime arguably the Romanov regime fell under the weight of its own internal contradictions Orlando Figues Thereby questioning the extent to which the 

War was crucial in Bolshevik success or whether it was more appropriately the nail in the coffin of a long awaited political revolution Indeed nine years prior to the outbreak of war Russia was already on the brink of collapse with the uprising of revolutionaries demonstrations and strikes in main cities and the countryside culminating in 1905s Blood Sunday which had shaken the empire and sparked a further outbreak of rebellion This alone illustrates the long standing discontent with the Tsarist regime and a desire for revolution thereby substantiating the thought that the October Revolution was the product of the deeper historical trends in the Russian past Furthermore the development of the Social Democratic Workers Party began in 1889 implying a call for change a decade before the War and although this voice wasn t perhaps as profound in the late 19th century as it was the early 20th it does not undermine the eagerness for revolution Evidently weakness of government is a major factor in the success of the Bolsheviks Thus it is plausible that while the impact of World War One on Russia politically enabled the Bolsheviks to gain popularity while the Tsar had dismissed the deterioration of his own government it was not solely the crucial factor in their success

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