Class 9 History Chapter 2 Important Questions Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution
Class 9 Social Science History Chapter 2 Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution important questions and answers cover the major concepts of the chapter. Solving answers of these important questions help students to revise the Chapter most competently. We prepared these questions with PDF as per the latest NCERT book and CBSE syllabus. Practising these questions before the exam will ensure excellent marks in the exam.
Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution Class 9 Important Questions
1. How did Social Democrats disagree with Social Revolutionaries?
Answer: (a) (i) Socialist Revolutionary Party was formed in 1900.
(ii) They were in favour of peasants’ rights.
(iii) They demanded that land belonging to the nobles be transferred to peasants.
(b) (i) Socialist Democrats disagreed with Socialist Revolutionaries about peasants.
(ii) Lenin felt that peasants were not one united group because there were poor, rich, labourers and capitalists among them. So they could not all be the part of a socialist movement.
2. Explain consequences of the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia.
Answer: Consequences of the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia are as mentioned below:
(i) Tsar abdicated on 2 March.
(ii) Soviet leaders and Duma leaders formed a provisional government to run the country.
(iii) It was agreed that Russia’s future would be decided by a constituent assembly, elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
(iv) The provisional government removed restrictions on public meetings and associations.
(v) Soviets, like the Petrograd Soviet, were set up everywhere, though no common system of election was followed.
3. Liberals were not Democrats. Explain.
Why do we say that liberals could not be called ‘democrats’?
Answer: The liberals could not be called democrats because even though they argued for are presentative, elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials, they did not believe in universal adult franchise and also did not want the voting rights for women. They felt right to vote should only be given to the propertied men.
4. How did Social Democrats disagree with Socialist-Revolutionaries? [CBSE 2016]
Answer: Social Democrats disagreed with Socialist Revolutionaries in the following ways.
(a) Social Democrats believed workers to be the main force of revolution whereas Socialist Revolutionaries argued that peasants would be the revolutionary class.
(b) Social Democrats wanted benefits for the workers and control on the factors of production. Socialist Revolutionaries, on the other hand, demanded land to the peasants.
(c) Social Democrats felt that peasants were not a united group as they were rich and poor and many owned large tracts of land. Socialist Revolutionaries favoured peasants as natural socialists.
5. What was the difference between Bolshevik and Menshevik group? [CBSE 2016]
Who were the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks?
Answer: The Bolsheviks were the majority group led by Vladimir Lenin who thought that in a repressive society like Tsarist Russia, the party should be disciplined and control the number and quality of its members. They were the group who conducted the Russian Revolution. Mensheviks, on the other hand, were the minority group who thought that the party should be open to all. They did not believe in revolution but wanted to bring changes through democratic means.
6. Discuss Lenin’s ‘April Theses’. [CBSE 2016]
What were the demands referred to in Lenin’s ‘April Theses’?
Answer: The following were the demands referred to in Lenin’s April Theses’.
(a) World War I should be brought to an end.
(b) Land should be transferred to the peasants.
(c) Banks should be nationalised.
7. Describe the sequence of events responsible for the Revolution of 1905 in Russia.
Answer: The sequence of events responsible for the Revolution of 1905 in Russia was as given below:
(i) Autocracy: There was autocracy in Russia. Liberals, Social Democrats and Socialist Revolutionaries demanded a constitution.
(ii) The year 1904: Prices rose and wages declined.
(iii) Dismissal of four workers of the Assembly of Russian Workers was the immediate cause that led to workers’ strike.
(iv) Demands: They demanded a reduction in the working day to eight hours, an increase in wages and improvement in working conditions.
(v) Bloody Sunday: A procession of workers led by Father Gapon was attacked by the police killing 100 workers. This led to a series of events that became known the 1905 Revolution.
(vi) Results: (a) The Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament or Duma.
(b) A large number of trade unions and factory committees of factory workers came into existence.
8. Briefly describe the general impact of First World War on Russia.
Answer: General impact of the First World War was as mentioned below:
(i) Initially the war was popular and people rallied around Tsar.
(ii) As the war continued, the support became less as Tsar did not consult the main parties in the Duma.
(iii) Defeat of Russian armies in Germany and Austria.
(iv) By 1917 there were 7 million casualties.
(v) As Germany controlled the Baltic Sea, Russian industries could not get supplies. Similarly there was break down of the railway lines and shortage of labour as most of them were fighting the First World War.
(vi) On their retreat, the Russian army destroyed crops and buildings to prevent the enemy from being able to live off the land. The destruction of crops and buildings led to over 3 million refugees in Russia.
9. Describe global impact of the Russian Revolution.
Answer: (i) In many countries, communist parties were formed e.g., the Communist Party of Great Britain.
(ii) The Bolsheviks encouraged colonial people to fight against imperialism.
(iii) Many non-Russians from outside the USSR participated in the Conference of the People of the East (1920) and the Bolsheviks founded Committee which was an international union of pro-Bolshevik socialist parties.
(iv) Some received education in the USSR’s Communist University of the Workers of the East.
(v) By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, the USSR had given socialism a global face which eventually led to the rise of cold war in Europe.
10. Why did the Bolshevik Party accept the April Theses’? Give any five reasons.
Answer: Bolshevik Party accepted the April Theses’ because of the following reasons.
(a) The Provisional Government under Kerenskii failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people like land to the tiller, peace, control of industries by the workers, etc. Rather it became more unpopular.
(b) The government was under the influence of landowners, army officials and industrialists that affected its decisions.
(c) Lenin felt that time had come to seize the power from the government.
(d) People’s demands were included in the programme along with exit from the war and nationalisation of banks.
(e) Lenin’s view was accepted when the Provisional Government began suppressing the Bolsheviks.
11. Differentiate between the ideas of the liberals and radicals in Europe (take the time period after the French Revolution).
Answer: The liberals did not believe in universal franchise. In contrast, radicals wanted a nation in which government was based on the majority of a country’s population. Liberals felt men of prosperity mainly should have the vote. They did not want the vote for women. On the other hand the radicals supported women’s suffrage movements and opposed the privileges of great landowners and wealthy factory owners. They were not against the existence of private property but disliked concentration of property in the hands of a few.
12. Why do we say that liberals during this time could not be called ‘democrats’?
Answer: The liberals opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers and wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments. They also argued for a representative, elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. However, they could not be called democrats. They did not believe in universal adult franchise and also did not want the vote for women. They felt right to vote should only be for men of property.
13. How should society, according to liberals and radicals, develop?
Answer: Liberals and radicals were often property owners and employers. Having acquired wealth through industrial ventures and trade, they firmly believed that such efforts should be encouraged — that its profits would be reaped if the work force in the economy was healthy and citizens were educated. They put forth that societies could develop if the poor could labour, freedom of individuals was ensured and those with capital could operate without restraint.
14. Why were socialists against private property and saw it as the root of all social ills?
Answer: The people who propagated socialism said that individuals who owned property, did provide employment to many people but they were concerned with personal gains only and did not bother about the welfare of the people. They felt that if society controlled property, more attention would be paid to collective social interests.
15. Describe the incident known as ‘Bloody Sunday’.
Answer: Over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg went on strike in 1905, demanding a reduction in the working day to eight hours, an increase in wages and improvements in working conditions. When this procession reached the Winter Palace it was attacked by the police and the Cossacks. Over 100 workers were killed and about 300 wounded. This incident, known as Bloody Sunday, started a series of events that became known as the 1905 Revolution.
16. What effect did the war have on the industry of Russia.
Answer: Russian industries were very few in number and the country was cut off from other suppliers of industrial goods by German control of the Baltic Sea. Industrial equipment disintegrated more rapidly in Russia than elsewhere in Europe. By 1916 railway lines began to break down. Able bodied men were called up to the war. As a result, there were labour shortages and small workshops producing essential commodities were shut down.
17. Why was the decision to collectivise farms taken?
Answer: It was thought that rich peasants and traders in the countryside were holding stocks in the hope of higher prices. This created a shortage. As shortage continued, the decision was taken to collectivise farms as Lenin felt that the small size of farms caused the shortage. They also felt that these small size farms could not be modernised. They felt that the need of the hour was to develop modern farms and run them along industrial lines with machinery.
18. “By the 1950s it was acknowledged within the country that the style of government in the USSR was not in keeping with the ideals of the Russian Revolution.” Why was this said?
Answer: By the 1950s it was acknowledged within the country that the style of government in the USSR was not in keeping with the ideals of the Russia Revolution. Russia, a backward country, had become a great power. Its industries and agriculture had developed and the poor were being fed. But it had denied the essential freedoms to its citizens and carried out its developmental projects through repressive policies.
19. What was the role of the Tsar in the peasant revolt of 1905? Did the revolt fail? Discuss briefly.
Answer: During the 1905 Revolution, the Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative parliament or Duma. The Tsar dismissed it within 75 days and re-elected. Second Duma : within 3 months. He did not want any questioning of his authority or any reduction in his power. He changed the voting laws and packed the third Duma with conservative politicians. Yes, the revolt failed.
20. Discuss the civil war that took place in Russia after the October Revolution and its consequences.
Answer: When the Bolsheviks ordered land redistribution the Russian army began to break up. Non- Bolshevik socialists, liberals and supporters or autocracy condemned the Bolshevik uprising. They were supported by the French, American, British and Japanese troops. The Bolsheviks kept industries and banks nationalised during the civil war. A process of centralised planning was introduced. Rapid construction and industrialisation started. An extended schooling system developed. Stalin introduced collectivisation of the farms so that no shortage of grain should occur. The Bolsheviks controlled most of the farmer of Russian Empire.
21. What was the basic principle of the Marxist theory?
Answer: Marx believed that the conditions of workers could not improve as long as profit was accumulated by private capitalists. Workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of private property. Workers must construct a radically socialist society where all property was socially controlled. This would be a communist society and a Communist Party was the natural society of the future.
22. Discuss briefly the Five Years Plans.
Answer: A process of centralised planning was introduced. Officials assessed how the economy could work and set targets for a five-year period, on this basis they made the five-year plans The government fixed all prices to promote industrial growth during the first two plans (1927-32 and 1933-38) centralised planning led to economic growth.
23. Explain why did the Bolsheviks considered the Russian revolution as only the “first stage” of the revolution.
Answer: The Bolsheviks considered the Russian revolution as only the ‘first stage’ of revolution because merely seizing power was not their ultimate aim. They aimed at an egalitarian society. The next stage of the revolution included redistribution of land, nationalisation of industries and banks, collective farming. The power of the pro-Tsarist aristocracy had to be crushed. Rich peasants had to be forced to redistribute land. Their ultimate aim was to establish the rule of the proletariat – the peasants and workers.
24. What made the Tsar the ‘Autocrat of all the Russians’? Describe the steps he took just before the Russian Revolution.
Answer: The Tsar was not subject to parliament. Liberals in Russia campaigned to end this state of affairs. All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914. The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party founded in 1898 operated as an illegal organisation. Russia under Tsar Nicholas II was an autocracy.
25. Why did the Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917?
Answer: Anti-German sentiments were high. St. Petersburg (a German name) was renamed Petrograd. Tsarina Alexandra’s German origin and poor advisors made the autocracy unpopular. The defeats in the World War I were shocking – seven million casualties and three million refugees by 1917. This situation discredited the government and the Tsar. There was shortage of food, people were rioting as bread and flour became scarce. The large Russian army shifted its loyalty and began supporting the revolutionaries, Tsarist power collapsed.
26. Mention the demands of the workers who went on strike at St. Petersburg in 1904.
Answer: When four members of the Assembly of Russian Workers were dismissed, there was a call for industrial action. Over the next few days over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg went on strike. Workers demanded a reduction in the working day to eight hours, an increase in wages and improvement in working conditions.
27. What was the impact of the First World War on the Russian economy?
Answer: The war caused large supplies of grain to be sent to feed the army. For the people in the cities, bread and flour became scarce. By the writer of 1916, riots at bread shops were common. The workers in Leningrad were the worst sufferers as a severe winter added to their miserable conditions. The economic crisis led to Revolutions.
28. Mention the important steps taken by Lenin to improve the agriculture and economy of Russia.
Answer: Lenin nationalist most industries and banks. He ordered land redistribution. He permitted peasants to cultivate the land that had been socialised centralised planning was introduced. Five year plans were made. The government fixed all prices during the First two year “plans”. There was increased production of oil, coal and steel. An extended schooling system developed, factory workers and peasants could go to universities. Communes were set up, members are in a communal dining hall and income was divided according to the principles of “cooperative commission”.
29. Why socialists were against private property?
Answer: The possibility of a workers’ state fired people’s imagination across the world. In many countries, communist parties were formed, for example, the Communist Party of Great Britain. The Bolsheviks encouraged colonial peoples to follow their experiment. Many non-Russians outside USSR participated in the Conference of the Peoples of the East (1920) and the Bolsheviks founded Comintern. Some received education in the USSR’s Communist University of the Workers of the East. By the beginning of the second World War, the USSR had given socialism a global face and world stature.
30. What was Lenin’s April Theses? Why were some members of the Bolshevik Party surprised by the April Theses? What made them change their attitude? What were the main objectives of the Russian Revolutionaries?
Answer: The three demands of Vladimir Lenin, after his return to Russia in April 1917′ were :
(i) He and the Bolsheviks had opposed the war since 1914. He felt in 1917 that was should be brought to a close.
(ii) Land should be transferred to the peasants.
(iii) The banks should be nationalised and the party should be renamed “Communist Party”. These three demands were called Lenin’s “April Theses”.
Most of the members of the Bolshevik were initially surprised as they thought the time was not yet ripe for a socialist revolution and the provisional government needed to be supported. The developments of the subsequent months made the party change its attitude the workers movement spread, trade divisions grew in number the power of the provisional government grew weaker factories and reprised them. In the countryside peasants pressed for redistribution of land and encouraged by socialist revolution’s ideas peasants seized land between July and september 1917. This led to the change of view and the Bolsheviks decided to size power.
31. Why did the Kerensky government became unpopular in Russia?
Answer: The Kerensky government tried to suppress the workers movement and the Bolshevik influence. It suppressed all demonstrations staged by Bolsheviks in July 1917. Many Bolsheviks had to go into hiding. Peasants in the countryside had started demanding redis. The Tribution of land. Kerensky was suspected of setting up a dictatorship and Lenin persuaded Petrograd Soviet and Bolshevik Party to agree to a socialist seizure of power. Kerensky had to leave the city to summon troops.
32. Mention any two changes introduced by Stalin in the Russian economy. How did Stalin deal with the critics?
Answer: Stalin introduced the collectivisation. All peasants had to cultivate collective farms (Kolkohz) from 1929. The profit was shared by the peasants working on the land. Before collectivisation, Stalin took steps to eliminate ‘Kulaks’ – the well to do peasants. He took away land from them and established large state controlled farms. Stalin severely punished the critics of his programme. Many were deported and exiled. He charged his critics with conspiracy against socialism. By 1939, 2 million were put in prisons or labour camps. A large number were forced to make false statements under torture and were executed. Several among them were talented professionals.
33. What steps were taken to improve the condition of factory workers and peasants in Russia after the civil war?
Answer: Five year plans were made to promote industrial growth. Industrial production was increased by 100 percent in oil, coal and steel. New factories were built. In Magnitogorsk a new steel plant was built in three years. Extended schooling system developed, creches were established in factories for the children of women workers, cheap public health care was provided. Model living quarters were built up for workers.
34. How did the destruction of Russian industries after the First World War become one of the causes of resentment of people?
Answer: The First World War had a devastating impact on industries. Russia’s own industries were few in number and the country was cut off from other supplies of industrial goods by German control of the Baltic Sea. Industrial equipment disintegrated rapidly. By 1916, railway lines began to break down. Able bodied men were called up to the war. As a result, workshops producing essentials were shut down. Huge supplies of grain were sent to feed the army. For the people in cities, bread and flour became scarce. By the winter of 1916, riots at bread shops were common.
35. Discuss the relationship between peasants and nobles in Russia during early 19th century.
Answer: Peasants cultivated most of the land. But the nobility, the crown and the church owned large properties. Except in few cases peasants had no respect for the nobility. Peasants wanted the land of the nobles to be distributed to them. Frequently peasants refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords. In 1902, such events occurred on a large scale in South Russia. In 1905 such incidents took place all over Russia.
36. Describe the three reforms introduced in Russia by Czar Nicholas II after the Revolution?
Answer: (i) The Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament or Duma.
(ii) Most committees and unions were declared illegal. Severe restrictions were placed on political activity.
(iii) The Tsar dismissed the first Duma within 75 days and the re-elected second Duma within three months. He did not want any reduction in his power. He changed the voting laws and packed the third Duma with conservative politicians. Liberals and revolutionaries were kept out.
37. What were the different notions of Liberals, Radicals and Conservatives regarding formation of the new Government in Russia? Discuss.
Answer: Liberals opposed the uncontrolled power of dynastic rulers. They wanted to safeguard the rights of individuals against governments. They argued for a representative elected parliamentary government with an independent judiciary. Radicals wanted a government based on the majority of a country’s population. Unlike liberals, they opposed the privileged of great landowners and wealthy factory owners. They disliked the idea of concentration of property in the hands of a few. Conservatives were opposed to radicals and liberals. They believed that the past had to be respected and change had to be brought about through a slow process.
38. What were the three main changes observed after the October Revolution in Russia?
Answer: (i) Most industries and banks were nationalised in November 1917. The government took over their ownership and management.
(ii) Land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility.
(iii) Large houses in cities were partitioned according to family requirements. Old titles of aristocracy were banned. New uniforms were designed for the army and officials.
39. Why socialists were against private property?
Answer: Socialists saw private property as the root of all social ills of the time. Individuals owned the property that gave employment but the propertied were concerned only with personal gain and not with the welfare of those who made the property productive. So, according to them, if society as a whole rather than single individuals controlled property, more attention would be paid to collective social interests.
40. Explain how a society, according to socialists, can operate without property. What would be the basis of socialist society?
Answer: Socialists had different visions of the future. Some such as Robert Owen, a leading English manufacturer, sought to build a co-operative community called New Harmony in Indiana (USA). Other socialists felt that co-operatives could not be built on a wide scale only through individual initiative.
They wanted that governments must encourage co-operatives and replace capitalist enterprise. This was propagated by Louis Blanc in France. They said that cooperatives were to be associations of people who produced goods together and divided the profits according to the work done by members. More ideas were added to this body of arguments.
These ideas were added by Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels. Marx argued that industrial society was capitalist. Capitalist owned the capital invested in factories. The profit which came to them through these factories was produced by the workers. The workers contributed to the profits but did not gain anything.
Their condition could improve only if the workers freed themselves from capitalists exploitation. For this the workers needed to construct a radically socialist society where all property was socially controlled. This would be a communist society. The second International was the body termed to coordinate their efforts.
41. What developments took place in Europe in support of socialism?
Answer: By the 1870s the socialists formed an international body, namely the Second International to coordinate their efforts. Associations were formed by workers in Germany and England to fight for better living and working conditions. To help members in times of distress, they set up funds and demanded a reduction in working hours and the right to vote. In Germany, these associations worked closely with the Social Democratic Party and helped it win parliamentary seats. By 1905 socialists and trade unionists formed a Labour Party in Britain and a Socialist Party in France.
42. Discuss Stalin’s collectivisation programme.
What was Collectivisation? How did stalin use this programme?
Answer: Stalin felt that collectivisation would definitely solve the problem of shortage. From 1929 the Party forced the peasants to cultivate in collective farms (Kolkhoz). The bulk of land and implements were transferred to the ownership of collective farms. Peasants worked on the land and the Kolkhoz profit was shared. Enraged peasants resisted the authorities and destroyed their livestock. Between 1929 and 1931 the number of cattle fell by 1/3. Those who resisted collectivisation were severely punished. Many were exiled and deported. The peasants argued that they were not rich and were not against socialism but they opposed collectivisation for a variety of reasons. Some independent cultivation was allowed by Stalin’s government but such cultivators were treated unsympathetically. In spite of all these measures production did not increase immediately.
43. How did socialism spread in Europe?
Answer: The International Workingmen’s Association — the First International–was formed in 1864. With its formation “Socialism stepped onto the stage of history as a World Movement”. Its slogan was “proletarians of all countries unite”. It worked for the emancipation of the workers and laid stress on the ‘‘abolition of all class rules”. It continued up to 1872. In 1889, the socialists formed the Second International to coordinate their efforts. Associations were formed by workers in Germany and England for better living and working conditions. They set up funds to help members in times of distress. By 1905, socialists and trade unionists formed a Labour Party in Britain and a Socialist Party in France.
44. Discuss the causes that led to the Revolution of 1917.
Describe the circumstances which were responsible for Russian Revolution.
Answer: Russian peasantry was in a miserable condition. Feudalism and serfdom prevailed till 1861. The capitalist industrialists exploited the workers by making them work 12-14 hours, for low wages. The despotic rule of Tsar Nicholas II. The bureaucracy was corrupt, rigid and inefficient. The common people were fed up with the absolute rule of the Tsar. Karl Marx propagated scientific socialism. Liberal ideas of the west through literature entered Russia plus Tolstoy and other thinkers infused revolutionary thoughts in the youth.
45. Comment on the role of Vladimir Lenin in the revolution and his contribution to the economic policy.
Answer: Vladimir Lenin played an important part in the Russian Revolution of 1917. He led the revolutionaries after the fall of the Tsar Under Lenin’s leadership, the Bolshevik Party put forward clear policies to end the war, transfer land to the peasants and advance the slogan ‘All power to the Soviets’. He was of the opinion that no genuine democracy could be established unless all the non-Russians were given equal rights. These were the real objectives of the Russian Revolution and he fulfilled all these objectives. That is why Lenin’s name has become inseparable from the Russian Revolution.
46. Discuss the role and importance of Lenin in the history of the USSR.
Examine the role of Lenin in Russian Revolution.
Answer: In April 1917, the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia from exile. He said it was time for the Soviets to take over power. He declared that the war be brought to a close, land be transferred to peasants, banks be nationalised. These three demands were Lenin’s ‘April Theses’. He argued that Bolshevik Party be renamed the Communist Party. In January 1918, Lenin dismissed the Constituent Assembly. There was only one party — the All Russian Congress of Soviets. It also became the Parliament of the country. The secret police OGPU and NKVD punished those who criticised the Bolsheviks. By 1920, the Bolsheviks controlled most of the former empire. The Bolsheviks created the USSR from the Russian Empire in December 1922.
47. What were the immediate consequences of the Russian Revolution? (CBSE 2010)
What were the impacts of the Russian Revolution on Russia?
Answer: Most industries and banks were nationalised in November 1917. This meant the government took over the ownership and management. Land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility. In cities, Bolsheviks enforced the partition of large houses according to family requirements. They banned the use of old title of aristocracy. To assert the change, new uniforms were designed for the army and the officials. The Bolshevik Party was renamed the Russian Communist Party.
48. How did communism in Russia influence capitalist societies?
Answer: Karl Marx argued that industrial society was capitalist. Capitalists owned the capital invested in factories. The profit of capitalists was produced by workers. Workers had to overthrow capitalism and the rule of private property. A radically socialist society had to be constructed. A communist society was the natural society of the future. By 1870s, socialists ideas spread through Europe.
49. What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?
Answer: Social conditions : People of different social status, classes, religions and diverse nationalities were there. Imposition of Russian language was made to belittle the cultures of these people. Main groups of Russian population were farmers, workers, landowners, capitalists, industrialists and traders. Economic conditions : 85 percent of Russians were agriculturists. Agriculture provided employment to a vast population. Cultivators produced food for market as well as their own needs Political conditions : Nobles got their power and position through their services to the Tsar, not through local popularity. This was unlike France where peasants respected nobles and fought for them. In Russia, peasants wanted the land of the nobles, they refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords.
50. In what ways was the working population is Russia different from other countries in Europe, before 1917?
Answer: Workers were a divided social group in Russia. Some had strong links with villages, some had settled in cities. Workers were divided by skill. Metal workers considered themselves aristocrats. Despite division they did unite to strike work when they disagreed with employers. Like workers, peasants were also divided. But they had no respect for the nobility. They wanted the land of the nobles. They refused to pay rent and even murdered landlords.
51. What were the main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution?
Answer: Most industry and banks were nationalised. This meant that the government took over the ownership and management. Land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility. In cities, Bolsheviks enforced partition of large houses according to family requirements. Use of old aristocratic titles were banned. New uniforms were designed for the army and the officials. The Bolshevik Party was renamed the Russian Communist Party. Russia became a one-party state. The secret police OGPU and NKVP punished those who criticised Bolsheviks.
52. Comment on the global influence of the Russian Revolution.
What were the international consequences of the Russian Revolution?
Answer: Existing socialist parties in Europe did not wholly approve of the way the Bolsheviks took power and kept it. Still the possibility of a workers’ state fired their imagination across the world. In many countries communist parties were formed. Bolsheviks encouraged colonial people to follow their example. Many non-Russians received education in the USSR’s University of the Peoples of the East. By the time the Second World War broke out, the USSR had given socialism a global face and world stature.
53. How did Russia’s participation in the World War caused the fall of the Tsar?
Answer: The war was initially popular and people rallied around Tsar Nicholas II. But as the war continued, support became thin and Tsar’s popularity declined. Anti-German sentiments became high. The Tsarina Alexandra’s German origins and poor advisers, especially a monk called Rasputin, made the autocracy unpopular. Defeats were shocking and demoralising. Russia’s armies lost badly in Germany and Austria between 1914 and 1916. There were over 7 million casualties by 1917. The destruction of crops and buildings led to over 3 million refugees in Russia. The situation discredited the government and the Tsar. The war also had a severe impact on industry. Many of them producing essential goods were shut down. Able bodied men were called up to the war. Large supplies of grains were sent to feed the army. For the people in the cities, bread and flour became scarce. By the winter of 1916, riots at bread shops were common.
54. What conditions led to the Russian Civil War in 1918-1920? Any four points.
(i) The Russian army began to break up after Bolsheviks ordered land redistribution. Soldiers who were mostly peasants wished to go home for the land and deserted.
(ii) Now Bolshevik Socialists, Liberals and supporters of autocracy condemned the Bolshevik uprising. Their leaders organised the troops to fight the Bolsheviks.
(iii) During 1918 and 1919, the ‘greens’ (Socialist Revolutionaries) and ‘whites’ (pro-Tsarists) controlled most of the Russian empire. They were backed by French, American, British and Japanese troops. As these troops and the Bolsheviks fought a civil war, looting, banditry and famine became common.
(iv) Supporters of private property among ‘whites’ took harsh steps with peasants who had seized land.