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Russia: 1914-1917 - War And Revolutions

One part of GCSE History is Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. A very major event in this topic is the Russian Revolution and the circumstances which brought it about - mainly it's poor performance in World War One.

Russia did not perform well in World War One (the Great War). Harsh conditions at home led to the February Revolution, which toppled the Tsar, and ushered in the Provisional Government. This government chose, perhaps unwisely, to continue Russia's involvement in World War One - whilst Lenin prepared to unleash the Bolshevik Revolution, which was his life's ambition.

Test you understanding of how revolution came to Russia in this quiz.

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  1. Which noble was the first leader of the Provisional Government?
    This was an unenviable task. The new government consisted of many difference parties and factions. It had decided to prosecute the war, and at the same time keep a wary look out for signs of further revolutions
  2. Nicholas relinquished the throne on advice from liberal ministers, who feared a further revolution if the Tsar did not go. What was the precise decision that he made?
    Nicholas was in an unenviable situation. He felt bound to heed his ministers' advice, but was reluctant to break the oath that he had made at his coronation to keep autocratic power intact for his successors. He was conscious at the same time of the dire state of the Russian war effort and of the imminent danger of a communist revolution
  3. What nickname was given to the Tsarist Russian military machine, suggesting slow speed combined with great weight?
    Russia's armed forces looked impressive on paper, but they were slow to assemble. Hence the German plan to attack France first, and then to strike east at the Tsarist Empire
  4. Which warship from the Baltic fleet (and a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War) fired at the Winter Palace where the Provisional Government were in permanent emergency session, thus initiating the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917?
    The Baltic fleet was based at Kronstadt, a short distance downstream in the Gulf of Finland from St. Petersburg. Thus it would be easy for ships from this fleet to intervene on one side or the other in the event of a further revolutionary outbreak
  5. Why was the government which succeeded the Tsar, between February and October 1917, known as the "Provisional" Government?
    The Provisional Government concentrated on winning the war, always hoping that something would turn up
  6. Which former Social Revolutionary took over as leader of the Provisional Government until it was overthrown?
    Leadership of the government became increasingly difficult as the war effort flagged
  7. To which of her advisors did the Empress Alexandra refer as "Our Friend"?
    When her husband the Tsar left St. Petersburg to take over overall command at the front, political power resided with the Tsarina. She did not lack for advice
  8. Where did Lenin seek refuge after the failure of the "July Days", a premature attempt by a coalition of radical groups to overthrow the Provisional Government against the Bolsheviks' better judgement?
    Lenin feared that the Provisional Government would be less lenient with him, now that he had been directly involved in a violent attempt to supplant them
  9. Which Tsarist general did well with three successful offensives against Austria-Hungary in 1915, 1916 and 1917?
    Russia was much more likely to succeed against Austria-Hungary than against Germany. Hence these spring offensives were directed against the southern flank of the Eastern Front
  10. What was the main reason why the Provisional Government took the fateful decision to carry on the war?
    The Russian government was well aware that it was far from winning the war, that it had gone to war in the beginning to support a fellow Slav state and that it had also acquired allies in Britain and France. The more perceptive members of the regime realised that the war was not proceeding well, and that it was deeply unpopular among the Russian people

Author: Edward Towne

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