The Russian Revolution

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  • Impact of World War 1 & Civil Unrest
  • The Czar Steps Down
  • The Rise of Lenin & the Bolsheviks
  • World War I showed Russia’s economic weaknesses. The huge country did not have sufficient food, appropriate armaments, or adequate roads to supply its army.When the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers, supplies from outside Russia were sharply cut. The Allies had counted on a large number of Russian soldiers. However, Russia’s army was not only poorly equipped but also poorly led. The corrupt, inefficient government could not deal with the problems of modern warfare. Russian war losses were enormous.
  • October Revolution & Treaty of Brest Litovsk
  • By the spring of 1917, the Russian people had lost faith in their government and in the czar. The elected legislative body, the Duma, had little power. Although serfdom had been abolished in 1861, debts, rents, and taxes kept most Russian peasants poor. Strikes and street demonstrations broke out in Petrograd, the capital.When the Duma demanded government reforms, the czar dissolved it. In March 1917 the czar abdicated, giving up the throne.He and his family were soon imprisoned. The Russian monarchy, and with it the rule of the Russian aristocracy, had come to an end.
  • Opposition & Civil War
  • The Petograd Soviet Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies began to gain a following. The Provisional constitutional assembly government pledged to continue the war. The Mensheviks lost a battle to control the Socialist party to the Bolsheviks. Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks. Lenin’s version of Marxism formed the basis of communism. Nov. 7, 1917 the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government, took control, and renamed themselves the Communist Party
  • The Allies and Communism
  • On November 7, 1917, the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government andtook control of Russia. This is sometimes called the October Revolution for the month that it happened in the Russian calendar. In 1918 the Bolsheviks renamed themselves the Communist Party and dissolved the constitutional assembly because they did not have a majority in it.
  • The Communists faced great opposition. Their opponents included the Mensheviks and other socialist factions, and groups who wanted to restore the monarchy. Civil war broke out early in 1918. To prevent any chance of the monarchy coming back to power, the Communists executed the imprisoned czar and his entire family in July 1918. The civil war lasted about three years. The Communists forces were called the Red Army, adopted from the symbolic color of the European socialist revolutionaries. Their right-wing, counter-revolutionary opponents were known as the Whites. The destruction of the civil war mirrored that caused by World War I.
  • The Allies were angered by the separate peace treaty Communist Russia had signed with the Central Powers. They tried to get Russia to renew fighting Germany, but the Communists stood by the treaty they had signed. The Allies also feared that the Communists would encourage the spread of revolution to their own countries. The Allies contributed arms, money, and even troops to the White forces. By 1921, however, the Communists had won. In 1922 the Communists renamed the land they ruled the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union.
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