Marxists revolutionaries disagree over revolutionary tactics. The more radical Bolsheviks are ready to risk everything. The charismatic Vladimir Lenin becomes the leader.
Marxists Revolutionaries split
Happened during the Russo-Japanese War. The two countries were fighting over control of Korea and Manchuria. Japan and Russia signed agreements to keep peace. Russia broke them. Then the Japanese attack happened to retaliated. They attacked the Port Arthur, Manchuria, in February 1904. Russia keeps getting hurt, and this attack led to unrest on the home-front. It was beginning to lead to the citizens revolting. It showed the government’s incompetence, because it was the first time a European country lost to an Asian country.
On January 22, 1905 around 200,000 workers and their families went to the czar’s palace. (Czar is a powerful Russian leader) The made and brought a petition asking for better working conditions and more freedom among the common people. However the czar, Nicholas II, ordered soldiers to fire at the crowd, because it was an act of violence against his leadership. More than 1,000 people were injured and more than 100 were killed. It was named “Bloody Sunday” because of how many people died.
Bloody Sunday increased the strikes and violence in Russia. In this month Nicholas (hesitantly) gave the people more freedoms. Duma was Russia’s first parliament. The leaders wanted Russia to become a Constitutional Monarchy. With Duma wanted to make this change, the czar got rid of it to keep his power. It only lasted ten weeks.
In August 1914 Russia joined WWI. However Russia was already in pieces and not ready to come together and fight. Their military was small and weak, their leaders were indecisive and weak, and Russia couldn’t even handle the economic costs of being in a war. Not even a year passed and around 4 million soldiers died. In hopes of boosting morality and effort, Nicholas moved to the war front to supervise what was happening. He left his wife in charge of running the country. The czar’s son suffered from hemophilia. A man called Rasputin came to the wife and child and seemed to ease their pain, since he was a religious man. In return for his kindness the wife let him make important decisions in the country. The people were worried after seeing his fast rise in power, and people assassinated him. The soldiers on the warfront decided to revolt against Russia, and food and supplies were very scarce. Prices inflated, and Russia was just in a bad place during this time.
In March 1917 the women of textile workers came together and rioted over shortages of bread, fuel, and other goods. The soldiers started out shooting at them on the czar’s orders, but then they joined them after knowing what they are doing was wrong. This lead to an uprising of the citizens of Russia. It also lead to Czar Nicholas II to abdicate his throne. Around a year later he was executed as well has his family. Russia’s government fell without protection. The Duma set up a temporary government. However, the leadership wasn’t very good, and the people of Russia were still suffering without food or money.
Red Guards Storm Palace
Armed factory workers who stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd called themselves the Bolshevik Red Guards. They took over government offices, and upturned the temporary government put in place by the Duma. While they had power they ordered that all farmland to be distributed between peasants. They also signed a truce with Germany to stop fighting. However they disappeared as soon as they came.
Treaty of Brest - Litovsk
This was the peace treaty signed by both Russia and Germany to stop their fighting during WWI. More specifically it was signed in March 1918. In this treaty Russia gave Germany a large part of its territory. This was very humiliating (they were such a big country who put so much effort into the war only to surrender to people who have killed so many of their people), and made many Russians feel hate toward their new government.
Civil War Rages
In Russia the people were divides and suffering. Their opponents on the home front were called the White Army. It was made up of different groups who were fighting for a new way their country to be run. There were people who wanted another czar to be leader, and those who wanted a democratic government. Others even wanted socialism. However they all wanted to get rid of the Bolsheviks , and through this they united. Many other countries surrounding Russia, including the United States, sent troops over to help the White Army. This lasted from 1918 to 1920. Also during this time Russia was in chaos from fighting, hunger, and a worldwide flu epidemic. Between all these things 14 million people died in Russia.
Lenin and NEP
Lenin after so much chaos, wanted to restore the economy and the government. The New Economic Policy (NEP) was a smaller scale version of capitalism. Under this reform , peasants could sell their surplus crops rather than giving them to the government. However the government still kept control of the major industries like banks. Because of this and peace policies Russia was recovering.
USSR formed/Lenin stroke
Lenin saw nationalism as a threat to unity, so he organized Russia into self governing republics, still under the rule of Russia. In 1922 the country was named the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In 1922 Lenin had a stroke, but survived. This event made others compete for the head of the Communist party. The main men being considered were Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. Stalin took over the Communist Party.