Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution

Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution Class 9 Notes History Chapter 2 NCERT

You can access the Class 9 Social Science History Chapter 2 SST PDF for free download, which contains notes on “Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution.” These notes are designed to facilitate quick revision and are an integral part of Class 9 Social Science study material. In this chapter, we delve into the topic of socialism in Europe and explore the significant historical event known as the Russian Revolution.

Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution

Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution Class 9 Notes Social Science History Chapter 2


Key Topics for Focus Based on Past Examinations

In the context of the previous three years’ examinations, it is crucial for students to prioritize the following topics from this chapter:

Progress of the Russian Revolution: Understand the timeline and significant events of the Russian Revolution.

The First World War and the Russian Revolution: Explore the connection between the First World War and the Russian Revolution.

Events and Effects of the February and October Revolutions of Russia: Analyze the key events and consequences of both the February and October Revolutions in Russia.

Social changes that occurred in Russia: Examine the societal transformations that took place in Russia during this period.

The Age of Social Change

The aftermath of the French Revolution paved the way for a potential overhaul of societal structures. However, not everyone in Europe shared the same vision. There were distinct groups:

Liberals: These individuals advocated for a nation that embraced religious tolerance. They supported the idea of an elected parliamentary government, guided by laws interpreted by an independent and well-trained judiciary, separate from rulers and officials. It’s important to note that they were not necessarily proponents of democracy.

Radicals: Radicals envisioned a nation where the government was representative of the majority of the population. Their primary concern was the concentration of property in the hands of a few, rather than the concept of private property itself.

Conservatives: Conservatives were resistant to sweeping changes. Following the revolution, they began to accept change, but only if it was gradual, linked to tradition, and respectful of the past.

Industries and Social Change

This era marked a period of profound economic and social transformation. Factories became the workplace for men, women, and children, who received meager wages. Liberal and Radical factory owners believed in encouraging workers’ efforts.

Socialism in Europe

Socialists held the view that private property should be abolished. Their visions for the future varied. Some advocated for cooperatives, while others demanded that governments actively support cooperative efforts.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels went further by asserting that industrial society was synonymous with capitalism, which they deemed unprofitable for everyone. Marx envisioned a socialist society that would liberate workers from the shackles of capitalism, ultimately evolving into a communist society characterized by collective ownership of land and factories.

Support for Socialism

In response to challenging working conditions, laborers in Germany and England began forming associations to fight for improved living standards. They established support systems for members facing distress, campaigned for reduced working hours, and advocated for the right to vote. This burgeoning movement signaled growing support for socialism.

The Russian Revolution: A Turning Point in History


Introduction: Tzar Nicholas II’s Reign

In the year 1914, the Russian Empire was under the rule of Tzar Nicholas II. This period marked a crucial juncture in history, as the Russian Revolution loomed on the horizon.

Economy and Society: A Diverse Landscape

The majority of the Russian population during this time was engaged in agriculture. Industries were emerging, predominantly owned by private industrialists. While workers were divided into various groups, they would unite in collective work stoppages when they grew dissatisfied with their conditions. Notably, unlike their counterparts in France, Russian peasants held no reverence for the nobility. Russian peasants were distinctive in that they collectively managed their land, with the commune distributing land based on the needs of individual families.

Socialism in Russia: The Struggle for Rights

Before 1914, all political parties in Russia operated clandestinely. The Russian Socialist Democratic Labour Party was established in 1900 with the aim of securing peasants’ rights to land held by nobles. There was a prevailing belief that peasants, rather than workers, would be the driving force behind any revolution due to the periodic land distribution among peasants. However, Lenin disagreed with this assessment, as he saw peasants as a diverse social group. This internal disagreement eventually led to the division of the party into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

The 1905 Revolution: A Cry for Change

Russia was under autocratic rule, and the Tzar was not accountable to Parliament. Liberals were eager to alter this state of affairs and spearheaded the demand for a constitution during the 1905 Revolution.

Bloody Sunday: A Catalyst for Unrest

In 1904, the prices of essential goods skyrocketed, leading to a 20% decline in real wages. This situation came to a head when four workers from the Putilov Iron Works were fired. Over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg went on strike, demanding shorter working hours and higher wages. This peaceful procession was brutally attacked by the police and Cossacks, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 workers. The violent response triggered a wave of strikes, with people rallying for the establishment of a Constituent Assembly. In response, the Tzar allowed the formation of an elected Consultative Parliament, known as the Duma. However, the Tzar dismissed the first Duma within 75 days and called for the election of a second Duma.

The First World War and Its Impact on the Russian Empire

By 1914, the Russian Army stood as the largest in the world. Initially, the war enjoyed popular support among the Russian populace. However, as the conflict dragged on, this support waned. Anti-German sentiments surged, exacerbated by Russian defeats in Germany and Austria, resulting in 7 million casualties and 3 million refugees within Russia.

The war also took a toll on industry. Labor shortages, the shutdown of railway lines, and the closure of small workshops disrupted economic activity. Grain shortages and a decline in agricultural production led to food supply crises, adding further complexity to the situation. The stage was set for profound and transformative changes in Russia’s history.

The February Revolution in Petrograd: A Prelude to Transformation


A Challenging Winter, 1917

Petrograd experienced severe hardships during the winter of 1917, marked by food shortages in the working-class neighborhoods. International Women’s Day, February 22

On February 22, a factory experienced a lockout, which sparked sympathy strikes at 50 other factories.
Women played a prominent role in leading and participating in these strikes, eventually earning the name “International Women’s Day.”

Government Response and Escalation

  • In response to mounting unrest, the government imposed a curfew, particularly in areas housing the elite and official structures, which were besieged by workers.
     
  • On February 24 and 25, the government deployed cavalry and police to monitor the situation.
     
  • On February 25, the government suspended the Duma, prompting strong objections from politicians. The public responded with force.
     
  • On February 27, the Police Headquarters was stormed, and protesters took to the streets, chanting slogans.
     
  • The government called out the cavalry again, but they refused to use force against the demonstrators.
     
  • At a regiment’s barracks, an officer was shot, leading to mutiny in other regiments, with soldiers voting to support the striking workers. They convened in the evening to establish a council known as the Petrograd Soviet.
     
  • On February 28, a delegation approached the Tzar, and military commanders advised him to abdicate.
     Tzar Nicholas II abdicated on March 2.
     
  • The Soviet and Duma leaders formed a Provincial Government to govern the country.
     
  • Key participants in these events included parliamentarians, workers, women workers, soldiers, and military commanders.

A Transformational Period

  • Restrictions on public meetings and associations were lifted.
     
  • Soviets, akin to the Petrograd Soviet, were established in various regions.
     
  • Factory committees formed in different areas, initiating inquiries into the management practices of industrialists.
     
  • Soldiers’ committees emerged within the army.
     
  • The Provisional Government experienced a waning of its power, while Bolshevik influence surged.
  • Consequently, the government took stern measures to curb the spreading discontent, resisting attempts by workers to take control of factories and apprehending leaders.
     
  • Peasants and Socialist Revolutionary leaders advocated for land redistribution, leading to the formation of land committees and peasants seizing land between July and September 1917.
     The October Revolution: Shaping a New Future

Lenin’s Persuasion and Preparation

On October 16, 1917, Lenin convinced the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolshevik Party to support a socialist seizure of power. The Soviets appointed a Military Revolutionary Committee to orchestrate this takeover.

Uprising Unfolds, October 24

  • The uprising commenced on October 24. Prime Minister Kerensky left the city to summon troops.
     
  • Early in the morning, government loyalists in the military seized control of two Bolshevik newspapers’ buildings.   Pro-government forces were dispatched to assume control of telephone and telegraph offices and safeguard the Winter Palace.
  • In response, the Military Revolutionary Committee ordered the takeover of government offices and the arrest of ministers.
  • The ship ‘Aurora’ shelled the Winter Palace, while other vessels secured strategic locations.
  • By nightfall, the city had fallen into Bolshevik hands, and the ministers had surrendered.
  • The All Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd endorsed the Bolshevik action.
  • Fierce fighting erupted in Moscow, and by December, the Bolsheviks had gained control of the Moscow-Petrograd region.
  • Prominent figures involved in these events included Lenin, the Bolsheviks, and pro-government troops.

A New Social Order Takes Shape

  • The Bolsheviks staunchly opposed private property.
     
  • In November 1917, most industries and banks were nationalized.
     
  • Land was declared as social property, and peasants were granted permission to seize land from the nobility.
     
  • The use of old aristocratic titles was banned.
     
  • Fresh uniforms were designed for the army and officials.
     
  • Despite conducting elections in November 1917, the Bolsheviks failed to secure majority support.
     
  • Russia transitioned into a one-party state.
     
  • Trade unions were brought under party control.
     
  • Centralized planning was introduced, fostering economic growth.
     
  • Industrial production witnessed a significant upswing.
     
  • An extended education system was implemented.
     
  • The process of collectivization of farms commenced.

The Civil War: Disintegration and Conflict

The Bolsheviks’ land redistribution policy led to the fragmentation of the Russian army.
Non-Bolshevik socialists, liberals, and supporters of autocracy condemned the Bolshevik uprising, receiving support from French, American, British, and Japanese troops. This conflict evolved into a civil war.

Building a Socialist Society: Centralization and Modernization

  • The Bolsheviks retained the nationalization of industries and banks during the Civil War.
  • Centralized planning was introduced, promoting rapid construction and industrialization.
  • An extended educational system was developed.

Stalin and Collective Farming: Modernization and Resistance

  • Stalin believed that affluent peasants and traders were hoarding supplies, creating grain shortages. Hence, collectivization was deemed necessary to modernize farms. Farmers opposing collectivization faced punishment, deportation, or exile.

Global Influence: Diverse Interpretations of Socialism

  • By the 1950s, it became evident, both within and outside Russia, that not all aspects of the Russian Revolution’s ideals were being upheld. While industries and agriculture had developed, essential freedoms for citizens were being denied. Nevertheless, the ideals of socialism still garnered respect among the Russian populace. Each country interpreted socialist ideas in various ways, leading to diverse implementations.

FAQs

Q 1- What were the main causes of the Russian Revolution?

Answer: The main causes included social inequality, economic hardships, political discontent, and the impact of World War I.

Q 2- Who were the Bolsheviks, and who was their leader during the revolution?

Answer: The Bolsheviks were a faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party led by Vladimir Lenin.

Q 3- What event is often considered the start of the Russian Revolution?

Answer: The February Revolution of 1917, marked by widespread protests and the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, is often seen as the beginning.

Q 4- What was the significance of the October Revolution in 1917?

Answer: The October Revolution led by the Bolsheviks resulted in the overthrow of the Provisional Government and the establishment of Bolshevik control, paving the way for a socialist state.

Q 5- Why did the Russian Civil War break out following the revolution?

Answer: The civil war erupted due to opposition to Bolshevik rule, with various factions, including the White Army and foreign intervention, fighting against the Bolsheviks.

Q 6- What was the outcome of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918?

Answer: Russia signed a peace treaty with Germany and its allies, ceding significant territory, but gaining relief from World War I.

Q 7 – Who was Joseph Stalin, and what role did he play in the aftermath of the revolution?

Answer: Joseph Stalin was a prominent Bolshevik leader who rose to power after Lenin’s death, becoming the leader of the Soviet Union and implementing policies like collectivization.

Q 8- What were the key economic policies introduced by the Bolsheviks during the revolution?

Answer: The Bolsheviks implemented policies like the nationalization of industries, centralized economic planning, and the formation of collective farms.

Q 9- What were the main outcomes of the Russian Revolution in terms of governance?

Answer: The Russian Revolution led to the establishment of a socialist state, the Soviet Union, with one-party rule and centralized planning.

Q 10- How did the Russian Revolution impact global politics and ideologies?

Answer: The Russian Revolution inspired revolutionary movements worldwide and influenced the development of socialist and communist ideologies, shaping the 20th century’s political landscape.

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