February Revolution (Document A)



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February Revolution (Document A)

SOURCE: At the beginning of February 1917, workers in the Russian capital of Petrograd began several strikes and demonstrations against the Tsar. The workers demanded bread, among other things. The demonstrations quickly intensified into a revolution. The following is the official announcement of the Soviet of Workers, a committee made up of the working class, which led much of the February Revolution.

“The old regime (the Tsar) has brought the country to ruin and the population to famine. It was impossible to put up with this longer, and the inhabitants of Petrograd (the capital of Russia) came out to the street to express their frustration. They were greeted by a volley of bullets. In place of bread, the Tsar's Ministers gave them lead (bullets).

But the soldiers would not act against the people and turned against the Government. Together, with the people, they seized guns and important government buildings.

The fight is still on and must go on to the end. The old power must be completely crushed to make way for populist government. Only with such a government can Russia be saved.

Yesterday, February 27, workers, rebel troops, and representatives from democratic and socialist parties formed a Soviet (workers committee) in Petrograd. The Soviet has the main task to organize the popular forces, and to fight for political freedom and populist government.”

October Revolution (Document B)
SOURCE: As a result of the February Revolution, the Tsar was overthrown. A Provisional (temporary) Government was then set up and elections were held. Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks, arrived in Petrograd soon after the elections. The following is a speech Lenin gave in September 1917 to his Bolshevik followers regarding his evaluation of the progress of the revolution. Not long after, Lenin would lead the October Revolution against the Provisional Government.
“The present situation in Russia represents a transition from the first stage of the revolution. We have overthrown the Tsar but, because of the inadequate organization of the proletariat (working class), we placed power into the hands of the bourgeoisie (wealthy middle class). The second stage must place power into the hands of the proletariat.

No support must be given to the Provisional Government. The utter (total) falsity of all its promises must be explained.

We must take power into our own hands. The majority of the people are on our side. The Provisional Government does not represent the revolutionary people. It represents the troublesome upper class of the bourgeoisie. We must not be deceived by the election results. Elections prove nothing. The Provisional Government is deceiving the people. It is giving them neither peace nor land. The Great War continues, and the people die by the thousands.

The Bolshevik Party alone will satisfy the demands of the people. The revolution has no interest in any division or balancing of political power. It bases itself on the domination of one all-embracing force: the creation of a Socialist order”



Guiding Questions
Document A (The February Revolution)


  1. Source: Who wrote this document? When was it written? What kind of source is it?



  1. Analyze: Re-read the first paragraph. What are some of the reasons the document gives for why people are revolting against the Tsar? Explain.



  1. Close Reading: Re-read the third paragraph. What seems to be the ultimate goal of the February Revolution? Do you think this is a good thing? Why or why not?

4) Close Reading: Re-read the fourth paragraph. What is a Soviet? What is its purpose? Do you think this is a good thing? Why or why not?



Guiding Questions
Document B (The October Revolution)


  1. Source: Who wrote this document? When was it written? What kind of source is it?



  1. Analyze: Re-read the first paragraph. Based on this information, does Lenin seem to think the February Revolution was successful or unsuccessful? Explain.


  1. Close Reading: Re-read the third paragraph. What does Lenin accuse the Provisional Government of? What evidence does he provide for this?

4) Analyze: Re-read the third paragraph. What does Lenin think of elections? Do you think this is problematic if Russia is to have a populist government? Explain.



5. Evaluate: Re-read the fourth paragraph. What seems to be the ultimate goal of the October Revolution? Do you think this is a good thing? Why or why not?


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