- The Age of Social Change
- Who were Conservatives?
- Who were Liberals?
- Who were Radicals?
- Industrial Society and Social Change
- The Coming of Socialism to Europe
- Support for Socialism
- The Russian Revolution
- Economy and Society during Russian Empire
- Socialism in Russia
- A Turbulent Time: The 1905 Revolution
- The First World War and the Russian Empire
- The February Revolution in Petrograd
- The Revolution of October 1917
- The Civil War
- Making a Socialist Society
- Stalin and Collective Farming
- Global Influence
The Age of Social Change
• The French Revolution opened up the possibility of creating a dramatic change in the way in which society was structured.
• Not everyone in Europe, however, wanted a complete transformation.
• Some were ‘conservatives’, while others were ‘liberals’ or ‘radicals’.
Who were Conservatives?
• They resisted change.
• After the revolution, they started accepting change provided it was slow and had links and respected the past.
Who were Liberals?
• They wanted a nation which tolerated all religions.
• They argued for an elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials.
• They were not Democrats.
Who were Radicals?
• They wanted a nation in which government was based on the majority of a country’s population.
• They disliked concentration of property in hands of a few, not the existence of private property.
Industrial Society and Social Change
• This was the time of economic and social change.
• Men, women and children were pushed into factories for low wages.
• Most of the factory owners were often liberals and radicals and they felt that workers’ efforts must be encouraged.
The Coming of Socialism to Europe
• Socialists were against private property.
• They had different visions of the future.
• Some believed in cooperatives.
• Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels added that industrial society was capitalist.
Support for Socialism
• By the 1870s, socialist ideas spread through Europe.
• Workers in England and Germany began forming associations to fight for better living and working conditions.
The Russian Revolution
• In 1914, Nicholas II ruled the Russian empire.
• The Russian Empire included territory around Moscow, current-day Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, parts of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.
Economy and Society during Russian Empire
• About 85 percent of the Russian empire’s population earned their living from agriculture.
• The industry was limited in number.
• Workers were divided into groups but they did unite to strike work when they were dissatisfied.
• Peasants had no respect for nobility, very unlike the French peasant.
• Russian peasants were the only peasant community which pooled their land and their commune divided it.
Socialism in Russia
• All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914.
• In 1900, the Russian Socialist Democratic Labour Party was formed.
→ It struggled to give peasants their rights over land that belonged to nobles.
→ As land was divided among peasants periodically and it was felt that peasants and not workers would be the main source of the revolution.
• But Lenin did not agree with this as he felt that peasants were not one social group.
→ The party was divided into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
→ Lenin led Bolshevik group.
A Turbulent Time: The 1905 Revolution
• Liberals wanted to end of the autocracy of the Tsar.
• They worked towards demanding a constitution during the Revolution of 1905.
• In 1904, Prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 percent.
• When four members of the Putilov Iron Works were dismissed, there was a call for industrial action.
• Over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg went on strike demanding a reduction in working hours and increase in wages.
→ This procession was attacked by the police and Cossacks.
→ Over 100 workers were killed.
→ Strikes took place as a reaction.
→ People demanded a constituent assembly.
• The Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament or Duma.
→ The Tsar dismissed the first Duma within 75 days and announced the election of a second Duma.
→ Tsar constituted the third Duma with conservative politicians.
The First World War and the Russian Empire
• In Russia, the first world war was initially very popular but later the support grew thin.
• Anti-German sentiments ran high.
• Russian armies lost badly in Germany and Austria.
• The war also affected the industry.
• There was labour shortage.
• By 1916, railway lines began to break down.
• The small workshops were closed down.
• There was shortage of grain and hence of bread.
The February Revolution in Petrograd
• In the winter of 1917, Petrograd was grim.
→ There was a food shortage in the quarters of workers.
• On 22th February, a lockout took place at a factory.
→ Workers of 50 other factories joined in sympathy.
→ Women also led and participated in the strikes. This came to be called the International Women’s Day.
• The government imposed a curfew.
• On the 24th and 25th, the government called out the cavalry and police to keep an eye on them.
• On 25th February, the government suspended the Duma and politicians spoke against this measure.
• On 27th February, the police headquarters were ransacked.
→ Cavalry was called out again.
→ An officer was shot at the barracks of a regiment and other regiments mutinied, voting to join the striking workers gathered to form a Soviet or council. This was the Petrograd Soviet.
• A delegation went to meet the Tsar, military commanders advised him to abdicate.
• On 2nd March, the Tsar abdicated.
• Soviet leaders and Duma leaders formed a Provisional Government to run the country.
• Restrictions on public meetings and associations were removed.
• Soviets were set up everywhere.
• In individual areas, factory committees were formed which began questioning the way industrialists ran their factories.
→ Soldiers’ committees were formed in the army.
• The provisional government saw its power declining and Bolshevik influence grow.
→ Therefore, it decided to take stern measures against the spreading discontent.
• It resisted attempts by workers to run factories and arrested leaders.
• Peasants and the socialist revolutionary leaders pressed for a redistribution of land.
→ Land committees were formed and peasants seized land between July and September 1917.
The Revolution of October 1917
• On 16th October 1917, Lenin persuaded the Petrograd Soviet and Bolshevik Party to agree to a socialist seizure of power.
→ A Military Revolutionary Committee was appointed by the Soviet to organise seizure.
• Uprising began on 24th October.
→ Prime Minister Kerenskii left the city to summon troops.
→ Pro-government troops were sent to take over telephone and telegraph offices and protect the Winter Palace.
• In response, Military Revolutionary Committee ordered to seize government offices and arrest the ministers.
→ The ‘Aurora’ ship shelled the Winter Palace.
→ Other ships took over strategic points.
→ By night the city had been taken over and ministers had surrendered.
• All Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd approved the Bolshevik action.
• By December, the Bolsheviks controlled the Moscow – Petrograd area.
• Most industry and banks were nationalised in November 1917.
• The land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility.
• Use of old titles was banned.
• New uniforms were designed for the army and officials.
• Russia became a one-party state.
• Trade unions were kept under party control.
The Civil War
• When the Bolsheviks ordered land redistribution, the Russian army began to break up.
• Non-Bolshevik socialists, liberals and supporters of autocracy condemned the Bolshevik uprising. → They were supported by French, American, British and Japanese troops.
→ All these fought a war with the Bolsheviks.
Making a Socialist Society
• The Bolsheviks kept industries and banks nationalised during the civil war.
• Rapid construction and industrialisation started.
• An extended schooling system developed.
Stalin and Collective Farming
• Stalin believed that rich peasants and traders stocked supplies to create shortage of grains. Hence, collectivisation was the need of the hour.
• Those farmers who resisted collectivisation were punished, deported or exiled.
• In many countries, communist parties were formed.
• By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, the USSR had given socialism a global face and world stature.
• By the end of the twentieth century, the international reputation of the USSR as a socialist country had declined.