Comparison of the Russian and French Revolutions

Topics: Communism, Russia, Vladimir Lenin Pages: 8 (2962 words) Published: October 9, 2013

The Russian Revolution as a Reflection of the French Revolution
The year of 1917 was a historic time for Russia (Baggins.) Tension among the people and the government had been building up and the country was ready for change. Czar Nicholas II of the Romanov dynasty was forced to renounce the thrown in fear that a mass of angry people would dismantle the government. A provisional government was then set up, but did not listen to the people much like the government of the Czar. While the provisional government failed, the Bolshevik Party rose and took control of Russia. This was possible because of the three existing conditions in Russia: the poverty of the people, the intellectual revolution in government ideology, and the inefficiency of the existing government. History is often repeated and most events are reflected in others. The French Revolution, which preceded that of the Russians by more than 100 years, mirrors the Bolshevik Revolution or Russian Revolution. The Russian Revolution reflects the French Revolution in the causes of the revolutions and the violence during the revolutions.

Russia was in a dire state before the Revolution especially at the beginning of the rule of Czar Nicholas II. Financially, Russia was not well, the people were not happy, and many questioned the Czar’s ability to lead. Russia had lost the Russo- Japanese War in 1905 (Koeller) and Japan had forced Russia to abandon its aspiration of expansion in the Far East. Russia was also involved in World War I at the start of the war in 1914 (Baggins). WWI had taken a tremendous amount of Russian lives and was taking a heavy financial toll on the people.

In 1917, before the Revolution, many families were starving since more than 50% of Russian farmers were fighting in the War (Baggins) and desperate crowds of women had begun raiding shops and stores in hopes of feeding themselves and their children. The Russian Revolution also occurred because of the government of Russia before the Revolution. Russia’s government was a monarchy where the Czar was an autocratic leader. The only people who had a voice in the government were the nobles and the wealthy. Although the people were unhappy with the Russian government, there had not yet been any attempt to overthrow the government until the Russian Revolution. However, the crowning of Nicholas II seemed to be a catalyst for the Revolution. In 1894, Nicholas II assumed the throne and replaced his father. During his reign, Russia was defeated by Japan in the Russo- Japanese War, which caused the almost complete annihilation of the Russian fleet, and, as the leader of the government, he also approved to mobilize Russian troops on August 14 to fight in World War despite the people’s protests. The people were deeply unhappy with the way the government was run and the Czar’s advisors warned him several times that something had to be done to change this, yet the Czar did not take action. (Donald.)

Another cause for the Revolution was the change ideology before the Bolshevik Revolution. Because of the people’s desperation, Russia was ready for a change and readily accepted the ideology of Karl Marx. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher and revolutionary (Kreis). He wrote several books about his beliefs like The Poverty of Philosophy, as well as The German Ideology, but is most famous for writing The Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in Trier Germany. Marx studied in the University of Bonne in Germany where he wanted to be a poet and playwright, and then later moved to France where he was committed to study the history of the French Revolution and its economy and there he became a member of the Communist Party. During his life, Marx was considered a social pariah because of his radical ideas. Marx believed in complete equality for the people. He believed in a system of government where there were no class systems and no inequalities. Marx believed that Capitalism was...

Cited: Koeller, David W. 1996-8. Then Again. 2013 February 2013 . .
Kreis, Steven. "Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History ." 2000. History Guide. 2013 February 2013. .
Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. London, 1848.
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