Started by Alexander III and continued by Nicholas II
Big Project: The Trans-Siberian railroad linking Europe to the Pacific Ocean (think about the road of bones, except it was longer and cost more lives)
Russia experiences problems associated with Industrialization (crowded cities, filth, long dangerous work, child labor, etc) when its people think they are free and life was supposed to improve...
Still way too far behind other European nations to catch up. Even Japan has surpassed them (even though it is only a fraction of the size and started later)
Unrest in Russia
Industrializing late had hurt them deeply in the Russo Japanese War, Crimean War, and WWI. (over 2 million dead in 1915 alone!)
Tsar ruled by fear.
Socialist power grows
Many identify with the class struggle described by Karl Marx between the proletariat and the Bourgeoisie.
Many now favor a communist revolution where the “workers of the world unite!” though just Russia-wide
Tsar Nicholas II
Lived a Louis XVI lifestyle of luxury while his people suffered
Got Russia into several wars it couldn’t win
Russo-Japanese War, Crimean War, WWI
“Bloody Sunday” massacre of Russians outside the palace when they show discontentment with the war and rationing. (peaceful protest, people unarmed)
Personally led his troops into battle during WWI
Just as bad or worse than his other generals (ordered millions to their deaths)
Left his wife to rule at home...drama….
When things got hard for him on the front, he just went home back to his palace and easy lifestyle
Hated by lower classes
A peasant from Siberia
Thought to be a “Holy Man” and have “special powers” because he helped the Tsar’s son, who suffered from hemophilia
Actually kicked out of a monastery, failed monk
Tells women that physical contact with him has a purifying effect so he can sleep with them.
This becomes well known throughout Russia, but the Tsar won’t believe it. Actually exiles people to Siberia for speaking out against him.
Even more hard to believe because he is notoriously dirty, and actually uses bear urine as a kind of cologne
When the Tsar left to fight WWI, Rasputin became the queen’s advisor……
Rasputin ascended to an even greater level of power.
Speaks for the queen
Makes government appointments (usually to incompetent people who give him money and favors)
In charge of organizing military on home front (totally incompetent at this too)
His rise to power makes people nervous
Russian officials HATE Rasputin
Several attempts are made to assassinate him. Including a girl who stabbed him in the stomach on a visit to his hometown
On the night of his murder
Given enough poison in his wine to “kill a rhino.” It has no effect on him
Shot, thought to be dead, gets up and attacks his shooters
Runs outside to be shot twice more and savagely beaten
Thrown into a freezing river to die
Tsars Step Down
Soldiers on the battlefield were poorly fed, clothed and provisioned.
Repeatedly humiliated by defeat in battle
Many mutinities (refuse to follow orders, sometimes means killing officers)
resort to robbing nearby farms for supplies/food
Protests in St Petersburg. March 1917
Troops are ordered to fire on civilians with legitimate grievances
Refuse, and refuse to follow more orders
Tsars are basically powerless
Called February Revolution
Tsar steps down from power a provisional government is set up.
Called “soviets”: council of workers and soldiers. A republic might form.
Revolution against THAT government in November 1917. “October Revolution.” It is a communist revolution!
These revolutions are FAMOUS! Named after the wrong month, the Russian calendar was outdated and 13 days behind other Europeans!
Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (adopted the name Lenin during the revolution)
Brother was executed by the government for planning to assassinate the Tsar. Grew to hate them
Read the works of Karl Marx (communism) when he was young
Sent to Siberia (exile) for distributing pro communist literature in Russia. (we remember Siberia from the “Road of Bones” right?)
Once he (and his wife) were released from Siberia, they went to Switzerland where they promoted the ideas of Marx.
Mensheviks were a moderate faction that favored communism but didn’t want a violent overthrow of the government,
Favored a gradual change into communism by incorporating socialist policies. (unemployment, social security)
Lenin represented the Bolsheviks, a group that asserted that only a revolution would bring about real change
Word of rebellion in Russia reached Germany who actually helped Lenin by sending him via special train to Russia so he could potentially bring down the government.
When he got there, he and another revolutionary named Leon Trotsky helped lead the revolution promising “Peace, Land, Bread”
The provisional government under Alexander Kerensky kept fighting the war, making this temporary government even more unpopular
The Bolshevik Takeover
Provisional government’s continuation of the war brings even more casualties
More troops mutiny (Army, Navy)
Many take to looting farms belonging to Russian elites
These troops are herded to Moscow, where they put the local Tsar’s palace and headquarters of the new government, under siege.
After a brief struggle, the Bolsheviks win
Moscow became the Bolshevik capital, and used the captured Kremlin (Tsar’s headquarters in the city) as home base.
Lenin, Trotsky, and the other Bolshevik leadership go about making changes
Civil War in Russia
No private property: factories, mines, etc. seized and given to the proletariat
Adopted a new flag (sickle and hammer)
Sickle: Agricultural Workers
Immediately made peace with Germany, surrendered HUGE amounts of land and even its own people to Germany.
Do NOT control the whole country
Civil War begins 1918
Reds (Bolshevik Communists)
Whites (former government officials, Tsarists supporters, and all others who oppose communism. United ONLY by their hatred of communism, don’t play nice, don’t coordinate)
War goes on for three years. Messy
Japan seizes more territory in the east
Ukraine (a HUGE piece of territory) almost realizes independence.
The Feud Begins
The US and other allies chose to meddle in the Russian Civil War.
Sent troops to support the Whites, but not enough to make a real difference
This move only solidifies support for Reds who use foreign invasion as a rallying cry.
Beginning of Russian hatred of US
New Communist Government
Use of Checka (secret police) just like Tsar’s to enforce order
Shoot suspected traitors without trial
Forced labor camps
Conscript civilians into the army or force people to work in factories
“War Communism” put into effect. Think total war, but farmers give EVERYTHING to the Red Army
The Russian Civil War
Occupy central Russia
Commissars (party members assigned to work with military leaders) drilled party loyalty as commanders drilled military discipline.
Create an effective fighting force
If a military unit performs poorly, they give orders to shoot every 10th man
Have to attack from all sides on the center
Might have worked if they ever coordinated or worked together
Both sides resort to desperate measures
Multiple assassination attempts on Lenin
Tsar and his entire family murdered so they couldn’t unify the Whites
War ends in 1921 with the defeat of the Whites
The Soviet Union Under Lenin
Government is officially established. Now called the Union of Soviet Social Republics (USSR)
USSR created a new constitution
Elected a legislature to represent the people
All citizens over 18 can vote
Provinces have equal rights/representation on paper
People own the means of production (factories, mines, farms, etc)
Though it has elements of socialism, it sounds democratic! (It really isn’t)
“Republic” of Russia is the largest, and dominates all others
Though it is now a “classless society where the people rule” there are two classes: High ranking party officials on top, and everyone else on the bottom
Though there are elections, everyone is from the SAME PARTY
Death of Lenin; the Rise of Stalin
When Lenin died, there was a power struggle within the party for leadership
Highly educated, brilliant speaker and Lenin’s right hand man
Wanted to take communism global
Uneducated, more of a thug
A shrewd politician
Before his death, even Lenin privately voiced fears about Stalin
Stalin turned legislature against Trotsky
Had his party membership revoked
Forced him into exile
Had him assassinated in 1940 (Mexico)
Stalin proved to be as ruthless and conniving as Lenin predicted. Used fear and violence to become dictator for life.
The War is Over!
The Central Powers signed an agreement to end the fighting (armistice).
The First World War officially came to an end on Nov 11, 1918.
The world waited while the Allied Powers decided what to do.....
US President Woodrow Wilson, Britain’s Prime Minister Lloyd George, Italy’s minister Vittorio Orlando, France’s leader Georges Clemenceau and delegates from other participating nations met in Paris to discuss terms of the peace.
They had a lot to discuss…...
The Real Costs of WWI
17 million people died in WWI (soldiers/civilians)
20 million injured. Many crippled or severely injured/disfigured
An outbreak of the Spanish Flu turned into a global pandemic (biological disaster or deadly disease) 1918 killed another 20 mill
Warring nations spent over a combined 208 Billion to fight the war (this is A LOT MORE in today's $)
Areas that saw the most fighting were destroyed. This will cost billions more!
Destruction of military property (mostly ships sunk/trade lost)
Political Instability as worldwide govts collapse
Disillusionment with the government in general.
Radical ideas started to spread give rise to socialist and fascist groups
Millions of refugees
A LOT of Problems to Address
Italy had formed a secret agreement with England which gave Italy more territory from Austria.
No-one else agreed to this
These people don’t want to be Italian…
What to do with the many nations in Austria/Hungary, and Ottoman Empire that clamor for independence?
How do we determine who gets what?
Where do we draw new borders
How do we make them all happy?
Do we start a "League of Nations" (one of Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points) to make sure this doesn't happen again?
What are the rules?
Who is in charge?
It was not easy to get everyone to agree, even though they had fought the war with one-another.
Each major nation had a different agenda where peace was concerned, and there were a lot of issues to deal with.
US president Woodrow Wilson urged the other leaders to use his 14 Points. Most were rejected
Great Britain wanted to build a new nation "fit for heroes" which would cost a lot of $
Georges Clemenceau (France) wanted to weaken Germany so badly, that it would never be strong again.
Italy’s representative Vittorio Orlando argued to get Italy the land it was promised
Treaty of Versailles: Eastern Europe
Self-Determination (the process by which a group of people, usually possessing a certain degree of national consciousness, form their own state and choose their own government)
in territory belonging to former Russia, Austria, Hungary, and Germany (territories there can break away and form their own nations)
Poland becomes an independent nation after 100 years of foreign rule (parts from Russia, Austria, and Germany)
Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia take advantage of Russia’s weakness and also declare independence.
Serbia gets its wish! It ceases to exist. The New nation of Yugoslavia was created with Serbia as it’s leading force. Takes a lot of territory from former Austrian empire
Rest of empire breaks up into Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria
Bulgaria seizes territory of former Austria/Hungary and Russia
Treaty of Versailles: Terms for Germany
Germany had to accept full blame for starting the war
Germany had to pay huge reparations (payments) for what had been destroyed in the war.
Had to pay pensions for men who had died in the war for Allied Nations.
This will bankrupt Germany
Reparations and other expenses are the equivalent of about 4 trillion dollars today!
Germany's military had strict limitations
Germany had to give back Alsace-Lorraine to France, gave other territory to Poland, and lost all of its overseas colonies.
Treaty of Versailles: Overseas Colonies
Many colonies who sent troops were hopeful that they too would be allowed self-determination
Soon find out that the altruism of the leaders at Versailles ends within the borders of Europe.
All territories outside of Europe would be divided among the victorious nations (with a few parcels given to Japan) and run through a system of mandates (an official order to do something)
In theory, these territories would slowly gain the right to be independent. In reality, they just became more colonies of European powers.
Treaty of Versailles: An (Almost) Bright Spot
The only one of Wilson’s 14 points to be adopted was the idea of the League of Nations.
Basically a world-wide system of alliances.
If one nation starts acting in a way that threatens the security of everyone, the League of Nations members would take action to halt the aggression
More than 40 nations sign
Wilson returned home, only to find that America didn’t support his idea. They didn’t want to be obligated to enter into foreign wars.
America’s failure to join (it WAS our idea after all) weakened the league.
It was a good idea, but ended up being kind of a failure