War Was The Most Significant Factor In Causing Change In Russia From 1856 1964. How Far Do You Agree?

2246 words - 9 pages

War was a very significant factor in causing change in Russia from 1856-1964 as it encouraged industrialisation through the emancipation of the serfs and also sparked a growth of opposition against the regime in power at the time, both under Tsarist control and later under Communism. However, it is also possible to argue that war wasn’t the most significant factor in causing change in Russia as there are other factors that shaped Russia throughout the period in question. During this period, there were many key individuals who were influential in how Russia was run, leaders such as Tsar Nicholas II who drafted the October Manifesto permitting free speech. Foreign influence may have also ...view middle of the document...

.. It also prevented the introduction of modern methods of agriculture,” this suggests that even though the abolition of serfdom may have caused some problems in the short term it “... can be considered as the loosening of a chronic log jam,” as “improvements serfdom prevented were now not only possible but seen to be quite urgent.” War also caused industrialisation in Russia, during World War II, Russia’s production of materials increased massively and “steel production increased to pre-war levels in three years and higher than pre-war levels in five years,” which clearly shows that the Second World War initiated a post-war boom in Russia and production increased.

Industrialisation and modernisation were not the only significant factors to be changed because of war. Opposition to the regime had begun to increase at the beginning of the 20th century; this may have been because of war. The successive humiliating defeats in the Crimea and in the Russo-Japanese War led to growing unrest amongst the Russian population and also disappointed Nationalist Russians who wanted imperialist expansion but the defeats “...limited Russia’s power in the Near East.” Defeat in the Crimea began showing public opposition to the Tsar’s policies and the defeat against the Japanese may have sparked the 1905 Revolution in Russia which led to the creation of the Dumas and the October Manifesto. Similarly, the First World War, which the Socialist Revolutionaries called “a bourgeois conflict,” once again showed flaws in Russia’s military, leading to growing unrest. Food shortages were also reported due to it being commandeered by troops and farmers also being conscripted into the army.

The Bolsheviks demand of Peace, Bread and Land, a rallying point with the end of the war at its centre, was key to the 1917 Revolutions in Russia. This revolution led to the ending of the Romanov Dynasty and the introduction of the Provisional Government. After the Bolsheviks had succeeded in taking power in October 1917, the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk led to the loss of the Ukraine – Russia’s Bread Basket – and also the “loss of 32% agricultural land and 54% of industrial concern.” This loss of land would have obviously led to unrest as the growth of Russia’s agriculture and industry would have been stunted. However, the Bolsheviks’ policies of industrialisation led to masses of peasants moving into the cities from the land. The mass and rapid industrialisation was a consequence of the end of war and the defeat of Tsarism. Under Stalinist Rule during World War II, opposition to Nazism developed the industrialisation of the country. Support grew for the war after The Red Army had successfully defended Stalingrad against Hitler’s forces, as it ignited patriotic response throughout Russia.

On the other hand, it may be argued that it was the presence and actions of certain key individuals that was the most significant factor in causing change in Russia. Firstly, under Alexander II,...

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