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Impact of War on Russia: 1855-1964

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Mardiyyah Tijani

on 1 June 2013

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Transcript of Impact of War on Russia: 1855-1964

War and Revolution
and the Development of Government
hh Communists Tsars First World War 1914-18 The Second World War
1939-45 Cold war 1947-64 At the start of the war, the army consisted of about 1mil men made up mostly from peasants.
Accommodation was poor which had the knock-on effect of diseases spreding: from 1833 to 1855, about 1mil soldiers died from ill health
Tolstoy: ‘we have no army, we have a horde of slaves cowed by discipline, ordered about by thieves and slave traders’
1862-74, a string of military reforms were enacted under Milyutin. He reduced service in the army to 15 years, modernised training and provided rigorous instruction for officers.
Led to a far more professional army and one that was more in line with that of Western rivals.
The government now had an army that, in theory, could be relied on to help maintain civil order at home as well as fight wars overseas Reform of the military Resulted in reduced political role for the nobility at local level
Creation of the Zemstovs filled the gap but was also significant in that members of local government had to be elected
There were property qualifications attached to voting but there was some indication that tsars might lessen their autocratic grip
When the Zemstovs stated to flex their muscles, the tsarist regime returned to repression to quieten them Reform of Local Government Industrialisation had taken root in Russia but it was very slow. For many Slavophiles and Westernisers, the root cause of this stagnation was the continued existence of serfdom.
‘We are defeated not by the external forces of the Western alliance, but by our own internal weaknesses’ ‘reform from above’
Nicholas I had considered the idea but rejected it as it would have led to ‘an even more ruinous evil’
Serfdom had underpinned the way in which Russian society was structured, organised and administered, it was natural that the abolition of it would lead to some change in the way Russia governed The Emancipation of the Serfs Russia was prohibited from maintaining a fleet in the Black Sea and had to remove all naval fortifications along the Black Sea coastline.
‘at a stroke Russia ceased to be a leading guarantor of the status quo and became a revisionist power, dedicated to regaining sovereign power over its own coastline’
Terms of the treaty showed how fearful the other European powers were of the Great Russian Bear and that the military weaknesses revealed in the war might be easily remedied Treaty of Paris: March 1856 ‘the Crimean War involved far heavier casualties than any other European war fought between 1815 and 1914. between 650,000 and 750,000 are thought to have died. Britain lost 22,000, France 90,000, Russia 450,000 and Turkey about 150,000. Only one in five lost their lives in battle: most died of disease’
By August 1856, Russians were suffering from 2000 to 3000 casualties daily Casualties Poor showing of Russian military during the war coupled with the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris led to public discussion about the future of the Russian empire.
Slavophil's, in particular, questioned how great Russia really was
Many argued that Russia’s status as a great world power had been severely damaged
Had an indirect impact on the development of Russian government in that it appeared to act as an accelerant for a number of significant economic, social and political reforms.
A more direct impact came in the changes to the way in which localities were governed although this was linked to the major social reform of AII General Impact Say a lot about the Tsar’s concern to preserve Russia’s status as one of the Great Powers
Important for Nicholas to stand up to the British and French so that the Russian people maintained faith in the Romanovs and autocracy
Nicholas wasn’t confident that Russia had the right economic and social infrastructure to win a major conflict
Implication was that the Russian government would have to make radical changes if Russia was to maintain its standing in the world. Origins Expansion of the railway system – the war had revealed how slowly Russia had been to mobilise resources compared with the enemy. Thus, railway development became a priority
Using foreign loans, nearly two billion roubles were spend on constructing over 200,000km of track from 1861 to 1878.
Led to Russia having a transport system that boosted its ability to deal with the logistical problems of expanding, protecting and maintaining an empire.
Although Russia seemed to enter a more liberal phase of government post-Crimea, autocracy remained firmly in place. Other reforms The Crimean War 1853-6 Russo-Japanese War 1904-5 Russo-Turkish War 1877-8 Austria and Russia had an interest in the Eastern Question
Increase in the Slav nationalism appeared to be seriously destabilising the Ottoman Empire
Russian interest in the Balkans resolved around religious issues and the strategic importance of the Black Sea and Mediterranean
1870s witnessed a rise in Russian nationalism and pan-Slavism. One of the main influences was the Slavonic Benevolent Committee (SBC) which by 1877 had over 1000 committed members. Long-term origins Pressure on Russian government to take more direct action grew from different quarters. The SBC, Orthodox Church, military and individuals like Tolstoy all campaigned for the Tsar to be more belligerent.
By autumn of 1876 it was evident that the Serbs were losing the war. Russia threatened to attack Turkey unless a truce was called. Their wish was granted and a six-week armistice was granted.
AII declared war on Turkey in April 1877. the decision was aided by Austria agreeing to remain neutral as long as they could have jurisdiction over Herzegovina and Bosnia
Radicals and liberals saw the war as an opportunity to release fellow Slavs from the tyranny of an imperialist opressor Short-term origins March 1879: Treaty of San Stefano signed between Russia & Turkey
Conditions of the treaty offended and worried Austria-Hungary and Britain which made Russia fear that the offended might decided to provoke a bigger, more costly conflict over the Balkans
The Tsar then accepted an offer from the German Chancellor, Bismark, to broker a bigger peace conference in Berlin (mid 1878)
Although Russia gained territory, money and saw the Ottoman Empire weakened, many nationalists were unhappy because they believed the concessions made to Austria-Hungary and Britain were wrong.
AII found it hard to deal with the unrest created and some historians have argued that this is one event responsible for his assassination in 1884 Impact Japan felt threatened as the influence of the Great Powers increasingly started to impinge on Japan’s own sphere of interest.
Russia and Japan continued to reveal an interest in occupying and controlling Korea.
Ministers like Plevhe seemed to be pushing for an outright war with Japan to settle disagreements – which would have had the added bonus of deflecting the attention of the Russian public away from mounting social problems.
Others worried about financial cost and lack of preparedness so were against a war, which included Kuropatkin and Lamsdorff
Japan (1902) formulated alliance with Britain. France was an ally of Britain so were unlikely to take sides with Russia if a war between Japan and Russia broke out. Long-term origins Russia reneged on its promise to withdraw troops from Manchuria which angered the Japanese.
Feb 1903, Japan retaliated by launching a night attack on the Pacific Squadron at Port Arthur. This escapade was something of a shambles but it did result in damage to three Russian ships. Also had a negative effect on Russian morale
Japan proceeded to blockade Port Arthur. Preparations were made by both parties for a major sea battle to occur Short-term origins Battle of Yalu: outnumbered by about three to one, Russian forces were well beaten. Ernomous shock to the Tsar and Great Powers
Seige of Port Arhtur continued, isolating about 60,000 Russian troops. In December 1905, the port eventually surrendered
May 1905; Rozhestvensky’s Baltic Sqadron came up against Admiral Togo’s fleet at Tsushima Straits. Proved to be another terrible defeat for Russia, and emphasised Japan’s technological superiority
1905: Russia’s humiliating defeat at Mukden. Prompted peace talks and the signing of a treaty Main Events Led to doubts being expressed about the ability of the Tsar to maintain Russia’s world status and concerns about the efficacy of autocracy in general
In comparison to the Crimean War, the conflict with Japan was followed by significant reform as it seemed to spark more social unrest in the Russian homeland which in turn influenced the nature of reforms enacted by NII. General Impact Russia was forced to withdraw from Porth Arthur, south Sakhalin and south Manchuria
Russian leaders had to acknowledge Japanese sovereignty in Korea Treaty of Portsmouth, August 1905 The Public associated military incompetence with the Tsar himself which fuelled discontent at home rather than extinguishing it, which had been one of the key aims of the war.
Some believe the unrest of 1905 was tantamount to a revolution
NII, reluctantly, introduced an element of democracy to Russia by setting up the Duma. With the intentions that the public would be convinced that the Tsar was willing to become more accountable
Unlikely this would have happened without the war as the Tsar was a staunch adherent of ‘autocracy, orthodoxy and nationalism’. Supported by the fact that the powers of the Duma were greatly diminished in a short space of time
Trans-Siberian railway, still unfinished, failed to solve the logistical problem of getting troops and supplies to war zones quickly and efficiently. Resulted in further investment in the transport infrastructure and in industry.
Such developments led to rapid urbanisation and mounting public health problems. Poor working and living conditions produced an increasingly discontented populace; reforms were enacted with the promise of raising living standards but they appeared to do the reverse. Reforms Duma had developed a progressive bloc before the war; known by NII hence why he restricted their composition and freedoms. NII was generally incompetent, it was only a matter of time before a serious challenge was made to depose him. War sped up his demise
Rise of the working classes as a distinct form of opposition to autocracy had built over time. Went hand in hand with large-scale industrialisation and urbanisation, which could be traced back to Witte’s Great Spurt.
Greater working-class consciousness was reinforced by the legalisation of political parties that represented their interests. War accelerated these trends and not responsible for their emergence Pessimists Military weaknesses and mounting economic problems gave fuel to the critics of the Tsar
Under pressure from military advisers, the progressive bloc in the Duma, friends and relatives, Nicholas decided to abdicate – Romanov rule was replaced by the Provisional Government
Continuation of war made it impossible for temp government to deal with the burning issues of land reform, the modernisation of industry and the call for a constituent assembly
War gave an opportunity to revolutionaries to overthrow the government completely and install their own form of direct rule
‘a turning point – which actually turned twice…’ Political consequences Financial burden of the war was huge: total cost was around 3bil roubles which far exceeded levels of government expenditure during peacetime (1913, it was 1.5bil roubles)
Cost was partly met through borrowing, increases in tax and printing more money – worked as money was invested into Russian industry to enable it to meet the projected demands of the military.
Russian workers were employed, receiving higher and regular income. This was offset by rampant inflation, the inevitable consequence of an increase in the circulation of money.
By 1917, prices had risen by 40% - those on fixed incomes suffered
The likelihood of being able to spend real income on bare necessities reduced as the war progressed. Particularly after 1915
Rapidly rising population, food requisitioning by the army, fall in the availability of fertilisers and transport problems all worked together to create food shortages.
Those in Petrograd had their bread ration falling 25% in the first three months of 1916
Such circumstances united those who suffered the most hardship to challenge the ruling elite and demand a far more representative form of government Economic and Social factors Poor strategic decision-making of Generals killed the soldiers' morale
Russians lost twice as many troops as the enemy during these early campaigns and the hope at home that Russia would score an early victory waned.
Industry was struggling to keep up with the demands of the army and workers had to put much more effort into increasing munitions production (industry already working near to full capacity)
Military administrators did not have the ability to cope with the logistical challenges posed by the war which was made worse by communication and transport problems (similar to those during Crimean and Russo-Japanese Wars)
Further defeats prompted NII to take personal control of the armed forces but his decision to leave Petrograd left a political vacuum.
Emergence of attrition warfare gave indication that the Tsar wasn’t capable of bringing the conflict to a satisfactory end
Domestic upheaval through 1917 meant that war was unlikely to turn in Russia’s favour and the Bolshevik decision to withdraw from the conflict in 1918 was, for many, sensible and logical
Many patriots wanted continuation of the war to the bitter end – supporting the view that the impact of the war was crucial in determining the development of Russian government Military failures Argue that tsarism and autocracy were extremely resilient to the forces of change – a dramatic and unique event needed for change
Russia were never able to get to grips with the demands of the world’s first industrial war and it was inevitable that the Russian people would point the finger of blame towards those who led them
Military failures resulted in economic pressures which in turn impacted on the daily lives of Russians on the Home Front. Consequence was that impetus was given to levels of social unrest not witnessed before.
The formation of the Provisional Government was not a disaster and was not necessarily doomed to fail; it was the continuation of the war that meant that the new regime struggled to establish its authority. The optimists Russian casualties for the whole war were around eight million, including 1.7 million dead and 2.4million captured Casualties Russia had an obligation to protect Serbia, a fellow Slavic state, against possible Austrian retaliation.
When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in July 1914, Russia reacted by issuing a mobilisation order which cased a dilemma for Russian politicians and military leaders.
The full mobilisation order of 30 July was designed to act as a deterrent but it didn’t prevent both Germany (Aug 1) and Austria-Hungary (Aug 5) from declaring war on Russia.
Was quickly followed by the implementation of the German Schlieffen Plan and further built on by the establishment of an Eastern front. This rapid escalation was what most Russian leaders feared the most. Short-term origins Russia, France and Britain joined together to form an alliance (the Triple Entente) to counter the threat of the growing partnership between Austria and Germany.
The continued break-up of the Ottoman Empire worsened the relationship between Austria-Hungary and Russia. Both had an interest in the Eastern Question. Im
The Balkan Wars 1912-3: significant in that it illustrated that Russia was not in a position to dictate how serious conflicts between the European powers could be resolved. Revealed a degree of political and military impotence which angered people at home. Long-term origins The Russian Revolution 1917 Can't really be deemed a war as there not much force and bloodhsed
What triggered the final takeover by the Bolsheviks is probably the most contentious part of the story and is inextricably tied up with the impact of WWI
Bolshevik seizure of power truly revolutionary in that it put an end to hundred of years of autocratic rule by the Romanovs. The promise, at the time, was that autocracy would be replaced by the dictatorship of the proletariat which would eventually give way to a stateless society (communism)
The dictatorship of the proletariat transformed into a situation whereby Lenin dictated to the proletariat and the rest of Russian society.
Dictatorship under Stalin became a form of totalitarianism - extreme autocracy. Supporting the claim that the Tsars were replaced by Red Tsars (Leaders that were different in appearance and background but almost identical in terms of how they went about their business0
WWI and Civil War didn't result in major changes to the governance of Russia even though the events themselves appeared dramatic. The Russian Civil War 1917-21 Origins Result of a culmination of events that led to the other two wars and doesn't have a distinct, separate set of causes
Bolsheviks' seizure of power in October 1917 sparked chaos throughout what was still the Russian Empire. Different political and regional groups reacted according to their individual wants and needs.
Some saw the Revolution as an opportunity to launch a counter-offensive against Bolsheviks while others moved to attempt to gain long-awaited independence from Russian central government.
Kerensky's Petrograd offensive could be a signal of the start of the war
The fact that the war lasted over four years gives testament to the scale and magnitude of the forces that were determined to overthrow Lenin and his comrades Effects of the Civil War on the development of Russian Government Defeat in the Polish campaign brought a similar kind of humiliation to the Bolsheviks as the Crimean War and Russo-Japanese War to the Tsars.
Russian army was defeated by another army, which on paper, was vastly inferior.
Foreign intervention during the war on behalf of the Whites and a general mistrust of the Bolsheviks by Western European governments put Lenin on the defensive.
Bolshevik government moved towards a foreign policy centered around developing peaceful relations
Victory had been achieved through a particular kind of discipline, administration and management.
Post-war communist government consisted of men who had served in the Red Army, Cheka and other bodies. Emphasis was on orderliness, trustworthiness, comradeship and loyalty to the party
Militaristic approach to government is well illustrated by introduction of War Communism, along with the actions of the Cheka - caused divisions within the party and a move away from the use of 'terror' to control the populace
NEP was introduced to bring stability to government even though it appeared to be in contradiction of all that the communists stood for.
War led to power being even more centralised. Power revolved around the Politburo and Orgburo. Caused the Soviet leadership difficulties
Russia had jurisdiction over the Eastern zones but there was mutual suspicion and tensions between the occupying forces right from the start.
Berlin Blockade of 1948 and the erection of Berlin Wall worsened relations between Russia and the West.
Unifying Germany was never resolved until communism started to collapse throughout Europe over 40 years later. Issue of post-war Germany Rewarded with further territorial concessions
Russia was given the Kurile Islands and South Sakhalin. Coupled with the Eastern European land, this meant that the Soviet Union had gained responsibility for a further 24 million people War against Japan By joining the Grand Alliance, Stalin believed that he placed Russia in a very strong bargaining position over making territorial gains
Russia gained some German territories as recompense
The new areas acquired allowed Stalin to exert governmental influence, which was to spread communist regime
As early as October 1944, Churchill agreed that Russia could maintain these areas as a ‘sphere of influence’ after the war
Stalin wanted to maintain a physical barrier between the West and the Western Russian border land. Foreign Policy Number joining the Communist Party actually increased during the war from 3.76million in 1941 to 5.8million in 1945.
Rise was due to additions from the military who were regarded for their gallantry with official party membership
By the time of the 19th Party Congress, 1953, party numbers had declined though this didn’t’ affect the main function of the party
Continued as an administrative tool especially when it came to economic affairs Party membership Composition remained roughly the same
1948, the prominent members included Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov etc
All of them were part of the politburo in existence ten years earlier Politburo Stalin became the chairman od the State Defence Committee which had absolute control over the lives of Soviet citizens. Also took role of Supreme Commander of the Military, similar to NII
It would be incorrect to assume that the government became even more totalitarian – would have been difficult considering the high degree of control already in place
Until his death, Stalin retained two key political posts; those of head of government and party secretary Political effects Factories, production plants, mines, damns, roads, bridges and the railway were all badly affected – made worse by the fact that during the war many industrial enterprises had to be relocated for protection
Many factories had to be reconverted from munitions production back to their original function – costly, especially as the government had a command economy and was therefore responsible for all industrial enterprise
Fourth Five-Year Plan (1946-50): aim was to get the economy back to growth levels achieved before the war. The plan would then be followed by two others that would accelerate development
Production of consumer goods was neglected.
Targets set by the fourth plan were achieved after three years, way ahead of schedule; due to things like availability of ‘free’ labour (prisoners), unilateral trade agreements, external financial aid etc.
Biggest flop was his continuation of ‘gargantuan’ projects. Lots of capital used for schemes like the Volga-Don canal which had little economic return
Agriculture suffered from neglect. War led to reversion to a kind of small-scale ownership of land plots and a crumbling of some collective farms.
Khrushchev tired to implement farm amalgamation but this had a limited impact Economic effects After Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, France and Britain declared war on Germany.
Due to Nazi-Soviet pact, the period from Sept 1939 to 1941 was viewed as one of neutrality in Russia
Neutrality didn’t prevent Russia from taking further moves to protect itself against attack.
They had troops in eastern Poland with the intention of protecting Ukraine and Belarus. Finland refused a similar demand, refusing in the Winter War which highlighted military weaknesses; there were about 50,000 Soviet deaths as a result of the limited military conflict
Dissidents within newly occupied territory were brutally dealt with – Katyan Forest Massacre
Dec 1940: Hitler approved Operation Barbarosa but before it was launched Russia managed to sign a pact with Japan mainly in the hope of buying more time Short-term origins Very active during and after the war
Involved in the policing of prisons and the deportation of national minorities while the conflict ensured
Particularly harsh on Balkans, Chechens, Karachans and Crimean Tartars – all accused of collaborating with the Nazis
After the conflict, they reverted to purging the party and other groups of dissidents.
Had involvement in resolution of Leningrad affair which resulted in over 200 supporters of Zhdanov being purged NKVD Over 27mil Russians were killed. Civilians were 2/3 of this total
Shortage of all types of labour which was essential if Russia was to move successful into the new technological age
Around 50,000 Russian citizens fought on the side of Germany at the Battle of Stalingrad
There was still desertion from the armed ranks. About 13000 deserters were shot
Russian troops reportedly raped over 2million women.
Stalin’s treatment of prisoners of war, deserters and non-Russian women did little to enhance the relations with the allies both during wartime conferences and afterwards, when proposals for economic aid and reconstruction were discussed Social effects May 1934, Russia ended all Polish and Baltic non-aggression treaties
September 1934, Russia joined League of Nations as Germany and Japan opted out
Spanish Civil War (1936) – impacted Russia’s relations with other superpowers internationally
Stalin justified his policy of dealing directly and firmly with Hitler to the Russians by pointing out that appeasement was failing, a war had almost started, and that Russia was industrially strong enough to resist invasion
August 1939, Nazi-Soviet pact was made whereby they both agreed to stay neutral if either was the victim of ‘belligerent action by a third power’ Long-term origins
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