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lenin speaking to crowds brodsky 1917_ed

Russian Revolution

Life in Russia at the start of the 20thC (2-9)

Nicholas II as Tsar  (10-17)

1905 Revolution - causes and Bloody Sunday (18-21)

1905 Revolution and effects 1905-14 (22-26)

WWI & February Revolution 1917 (30-36)

Provisional Government & causes of the October Revolution 1917

(38-41; 42-44)

October Revolution 1917


How did the Bolsheviks stay in power and win the Civil war? (50-57)

What happened to the Tsar and his family in 1918?


How was Russia governed by 1900?

By 1900, the Romanov dynasty had been ruling for almost 300 years and had long outlasted all the other absolute monarchies in Europe.  It ruled over the largest land Empire in the world and could command an army of millions.  Yet by the start of the 20th century it found itself having lost wars in Crimea and about to lose one in the Sea of Japan against much smaller, seemingly weaker nations such as the UK, France and Japan.  For all its size and strength, it had found itself left behind by an increasingly industrial, military advanced and increasingly aggressive world.  The challenges facing Tsar Nicholas II as he approached his first decade in charge of Imperial Russia were indeed profound and needed facing if the Romanovs were to continue in power.  What exactly were these challenges, what actions did the Tsar take to deal with them, and why ultimately did these actions fail?

Using the videos 16-20 above complete the word doc attached to the video about the rule of the Tsars up to 1917.  

Why was there a 1905 Revolution?

Watch the video on the left and complete notes on the 1905 Revolution using the qs and hints below:

What were the causes of the 1905 Revolution?

- LT  - Pol - NII as leader + growing opposition

        - SocEc - Ind; pop growth; urbanisation

- ST  - protest about conds - Gapon's petition

        - Bloody Sunday

        - Russo-Japanese War loss

What happened during the Revolution?

        - strikes; minorities; repression; soviets est

        - Potemkin mutiny

How was it ended?

        - Army repression; October Manifesto

So how did 1905 events affect the Tsar and Russia as a whole?

Complete the googledoc on the right

using your reading from Walsh on the

1905 Revolution + the troubled years 


How did WWI weaken Romanov control of Russia?

WWI saw many countries affected both directly and indirectly. One such country was Russia whose 3 million casualties included over a million civilians who died as a result of attack, starvation or disease related to the war. 

The last of the Romanov Tsars, Nicholas II, was unable to rally his people behind him and instead was helpless in the face of a popular uprising in February 1917 which saw his Government toppled from both within and without and ultimately saw him walk away from his family's throne after 350 years of Romanov rule.  The replacement Provisional Government however quickly found itself also unable to unite the country and by the end of the year a revolutionary Marxist party called the Bolsheviks had successfully seized power themselves.  


Using the Walsh text (digital version on the left) and the video below left, complete the googledoc below by clicking the question mark...

Read the text above 108-109 - how did WWI affect Russia?
Read the text above 109-110 - why was there a revolution?

Why was there a Russian Revolution in February 1917?

By the start of 1917, WWI had devastated Europe, and in particular a backward Russian economy, further dividing an already splintered society.  Tsar Nicholas II was still however determined to rule in the only way he saw fir - as an absolute monarch.  Mounting strikes over 1916 and especially at the end of the year over mid-winter had little impact on his decisions.  However, when a bread riot on the streets of St Petersburg on Feb 24th escalated into a general strike which was then supported by significant portions of the Army, the situation had overtaken the Tsar's wishes.  It became clear that he had lost the support of everyone he depended on to stay as Tsar and so he abdicated on the 3rd March (Orthodox Julien calendar dates - replaced by Western Gregorian calendar by the end of 1917)

Use the tables and qs above to answer Focus Tasks A & B on Walsh p110 about the February Revolution

Why was there a second Russian Revolution in October?

In order to answer this question, we first need to establish what political ideology is because this was the reason why the Bolsheviks had grouped together in the first place, and how they then changed Russia into the USSR.  Political ideologies are different ideas about how people should live together and organise resources.  These ideas are largely based upon how we see one another and our needs, and have been traditionally organised since the French Revolution into left, centre and right on the political spectrum diagram we can see below, mainly on economic lines


In the 20th century, this diagram was modified when the birth of two extreme utopian ideologies saw an alternative political diagram invented.  The political horseshoe diagram shows how these two extremes were actually far closer to one another than to the rest of the traditional ideologies represented on the earlier spectrum.


However by the end of the 20th century and at the start of the 21st, our worldview is no longer just shaped by these narrow economic factors, and in fact as seen above it can lead to confusion about what these ideologies stand for.  The social impact of policy has started to be used as another focus for assessing these ideologies, or how we organise ourselves.  The Political Compass, as opposed to the traditional spectrum, tries to assess political ideology on both economic and social scales.  The result is a diagram similar to the one we can see bottom right.  Your job now is to work out where you sit ideologically in the 21st by clicking on the diagram, completing the test, seeing where your answers put the analysis which explains what your result means, and print your certificate to see your position in relation to a number of famous (and not so famous) historical figures.....

"The enduring appeal of The Political Compass lies in its universality, and the fact that it’s neither a fly-by-night election-time survey, nor a shallow personality test. Our test profiles political personalities applicable to all democracies. Our expanding range of features enables you to compare the politics of different countries and political figures past and present. Here’s a brief video introduction:

Our essential point is that Left and Right, although far from obsolete, are essentially a measure of economics. As political establishments adopt either enthusiastically or reluctantly the prevailing economic orthodoxy — the neo-liberal strain of capitalism — the Left-Right division between mainstream parties becomes increasingly blurred. Instead, party differences tend to be more about identity issues. In the narrowing debate, our social scale is more crucial than ever."

Source -


Using your new-found political ideology knowledge, use the information in the text link at the top of the page to assess the political motivations behind the key events in Russia during 1917:

- February 1917 Revolution in opposition to the Tsar

- Growing opposition to the Provisional Government during 1917

- October 1917 Revolution in opposition to the Provisional Government

Why would the left, centre and/or right have opposed the Tsar and the Provisional Government?

Who was involved in the final act of 1917, the November Revolution?

Why was this the case and what did it mean for the future of Russia in your opinion?

Vladimir Lenin & the USSR 1918-24

With the success of Lenin and the Bolsheviks in the 1917 October Revolution and then the Russian Civil War 1918-21, there was no one left to stop him establishing a single party authoritarian state.  All other political parties were banned along with any free press and opposition of any sort with the use of ruthless repression and Big Brother brainwashing, or  indoctrination. 


The extreme War Communism of the Civil War was replaced in 1921 by Lenin when he realised he faced a counter revolution from the whole country who were sick of being treated this way.  His New Economic Policy, or NEP, allowed for some private trade and profits to be kept by a peasantry looking for some hope for the future. 


However, as soon as he passed this policy (using a ban on factionalism which banned all factions within the Bolsheviks who wanted to oppose him) he had the first of a series of strokes or heart attacks which would eventually kill him in 1924.  How did these last years of Lenin help shape the USSR of later years?  Who was going to succeed him when he passed away?  What would their rule be like?...

Firstly, to examine the last years of Lenin click on the propaganda poster below and activate the news reel exercise - click on Start and read the news reel item as it types out its message - you will then have about 30 seconds each time to make a quick summary of the key information - complete each news item under one another and you will create a perfect end of days Lenin timeline...

lenin prop poster ii.jpg


Soviet archives





Tsarist Russia

Lucy Worsley's Empire of the Tsars

- pt 3 - Road to Revolution - rule of Ni, AII, AIII & NII

Russia - Land of the Tsars 17-20

            Rule of AII, AIII, NII and collapse of Romanovs

Resources and worksheets on collapse of Tsarist Russia


War and Revolution in Russia 1914-1921



Revolution, Lenin and Stalin's Rise

Countdown to Russian Rev - BBC - Lucy Worsley on events in 1917

1917 podcast

Lenin's Russia 1917-24 podcast

Stalin's rise to power 1924-28 podcast

BBC History Files - The Soviets - Stalin's Rise

Vladimir Lenin documentary - 33.50-46.05


Stalin - Stalin : Man of Steel documentary - Stalin - Inside the Terror BBC documentary - Stalin : Declassified documentary - Shostakovich Against Stalin

Dizzy with Success


Collectivisation sources

Stalin, Industrialisation & 5YPs

Stalin - Inside the Terror BBC documentary

Stalin "Red Terror" - archival footage

shostakovich v stalin doc

Googledoc - Revolutionary Russia 'The Great Terror'


Timeline of Stalin


Summer 1903:      ·the Social Democrats split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

January 5, 1904:   ·Stalin escapes from Siberia, the first of many escapes from exile in the following decade.

Year 1905:            ·Revolution in Russia. Nicholas II announces constitutional reforms, creation of the Duma. Stalin marries Yekaterina Svanidze.

December 1905:    ·Stalin goes as a delegate to Bolshevik conference in Finland, meets Lenin for the first time.

March 1907:          ·Birth of Stalin's first child, Yakov

October 1907:       ·Death of Yekaterina

January 1912:       ·Bolsheviks officially separate from Social Democrats, Stalin appointed to the Party's Central Committee by Lenin.

January 1913:       ·Stalin co-writes, with Lenin, "Marxism and the National Question"

Aug-Sept 1914:     ·Outbreak of World War I.

March 1917:          ·Beginning of Russian Revolution. The Tsar's government falls, replaced with a Provisional Government.

                             Bolsheviks, including Stalin, hasten to St. Petersburg

April 1917:            ·Lenin returns from Switzerland, rebukes Stalin for taking a conciliar line with the Provisional Government.

November 1917:    ·Bolsheviks overthrow Provisional Government, seize power. Stalin plays only a minor role.

February 1918:      ·Stalin marries Nadezhda Alliluyeva

1918-1920:            ·Civil war in Russia. Trotsky organizes Red Army; Stalin commands forces in Tsaritsyn, Petrograd (St. Petersburg), and elsewhere.

1921:                     ·Birth of Stalin's second child, Vasily

1922:                     ·Official founding of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

April 1922:            ·Stalin elected General Secretary of the Communist Party

May 25, 1922:        ·Lenin suffers his first stroke

January 4, 1923:    ·Lenin, in a postscript to his Testament, warns the Party to remove Stalin from his position of power.

March 7, 1923:      ·Lenin suffers final stroke, loses his powers of speech

January 21, 1924:   ·Death of Lenin. Stalin survives the reading of the Testament by the Central Committee in May.

1924-25:                ·Stalin publicly attacks Trotsky for being unfaithful to "Leninism."

December 1924:    ·Stalin publicly articulates his theory of "Socialism in One Country."

December 1925:    ·Allied with Bukharin and the "Rightists," Stalin begins attacks on Zinoviev.

February 28, 1926: ·Birth of Stalin's third child, Svetlana

Oct-Nov 1926:       ·At the Fifteenth Party Congress, Stalin attacks the "United Opposition" of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Trotsky.

1927:                     ·Beginning of the first Five-Year Plan

November 1927:    ·Kamenev and Zinoviev expelled from the Party; Trotsky expelled and sent to Central Asia.

April 1929:            ·Stalin begins assault on Bukharin

November 1929:    ·Bukharin removed from the Politburo

December 1929:    ·Stalin announces "liquidation of the kulaks as a class"; collectivization begins in earnest.

1931-32:                ·Terrible famine across the Soviet Union; millions die

Nov 8, 1932:          ·Suicide of Nadezhda

December 1, 1934: ·Murder, by Stalin's agents, of Sergei Kirov. Beginning of "Great Terror," which continues until 1938.

January 1935:        ·Zinoviev, Kamenev, and others are arrested, accused of complicity in Kirov's assassination.

August 1936:         ·First "Show Trial." Zinoviev, Kamenev, and their allies confess and are executed.

January 1937:        ·Second Show Trial

June 1937:             ·Purge of the army begins, top generals are tried and executed

March 1938:           ·Third Show Trial, conviction and execution of Bukharin, Rykov, others.

March 1939:           ·At Eighteenth Party Congress, Stalin announces end of the Great Terror.

August 23, 1939:    ·Nazi-Soviet Pact is signed in Moscow

September 1939:    ·Outbreak of World War II

August 20, 1940:     ·Trotsky assassinated, by Stalin's agents, in Mexico City.

June 21, 1941:         ·Hitler invades Soviet Union

Aug 1942-Feb 43:   · Battle of Stalingrad. Germans are defeated, marking the turning point in the war.

November 1943:    · Stalin meets with Roosevelt and Churchill in Teheran

February 1945:        ·Stalin meets with Roosevelt and Churchill at Yalta

April 31, 1945:        ·Hitler commits suicide in bombed-out Berlin, ending war in Europe. Red Army controls all of Eastern Europe.

August 1945:          ·United States uses atomic bomb against Japan, bringing an end to the war in the Pacific.

February 1948:       ·Communists seize power in Czechoslovakia, cementing Soviet control of Eastern Europe.

Summer 1948: ·Soviets blockade East Berlin.

1949: ·Communists, under Mao, are victorious in Chinese Civil War.

September 1949: ·Soviets explode their first atomic bomb.

December 1949: ·Stalin celebrates his seventieth birthday.

February 1950: ·Sino-Soviet Treaty signed

1950-53: ·Korean War

January 1953: ·Announcement of Jewish "Doctors' Plot" against Stalin, plans for new wave of terror.

March 5, 1953: ·Death of Stalin 

 "Animal Farm" 1954 cartoon - animated version of George Orwell`s account of the Russian Revolution and it`s results

iGCSE revision lectures - End WWI; PPC; TOV; Impact; Fair or not?

iGCSE revision lectures - LON est & structure; LON 20s; Manchuria; Disarm Agreements; Great Depression; Mussolini & Abyssinia

Googleshare PPC 11D class verdict

PPC Top Trumps



BBC TOV documentary

Paris 1919 - 6 months that changed the world

National WW1 museum lecture - Margaret McMillan episode

Successes and failures of LON

Failure of LON song - BBC revision...:)

Rise & Fall of Japanese Empire pt I

- Manchuria & Korea

LON and Manchuria

Abyssinia Crisis

People's Century - PBS/BBC production 

- good background to interwar period

ep 5 -Lost Peace 1919

ep 6 -On the Line 1924

ep 7 - Breadline 1929

ep 9 - Master Race 1933

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