IB History Student Study Guide

Tsarist and Revolutionary Russia to 1924

IB History Standard Level

Unit Two

The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, 1917

“Ten Days that Shook the World”

1. Why am I studying this topic?

· Before 1917 the ruling classes of Europe had taken only the smallest steps towards democracy. In Britain and France, many working class people – and no women whatsoever – were allowed to vote.

· After 1917, though, it became clear that continuing to exploit, ignore and patronise ordinary working class people could lead to devastating consequences for the ruling classes.

· In that year, the Bolshevik (Communist) party seized power in Russia. Dedicated to a world revolution in the name of the working classes, their revolution sent shockwaves around the world that still reverberate today.

· Within Russia, millions of innocent people were murdered by a brutal regime led first by Vladimir Lenin and then by Josef Stalin.

· Internationally, the clash between East and West, between Communism and Capitalism, eventually cemented into a Cold War. This took the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation, where it remained until the collapse of communism in Europe between 1989-1991.

2. What will I learn about?

1. Causes

Political factors: Autocracy, Tsar Nicholas II and his advisors

Geographic factors: The natural features of, and resources in, Imperial Russia

Economic factors: Industrial and agricultural issues

Ideological factors: The growth of Marxism

2. Course: The main events leading up to the Bolshevik Revolution

The 1905 Revolution

The Impact of World War One

The February Revolution of 1917

The October Revolution of 1917


3. Consequence: Lenin’s Russia

Military results: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the Russian Civil War

Social results: Impact on National minorities, women and children

Economic results: War Communism and the NEP

Political results: Concession, Oppression, and the rise of Stalin

3. How will my progress be assessed?

· You will be produce a class presentation on a self-determined question

· There will be a factual test at the end of the first half term and occasional spot tests during the course of the Unit.

· You will write two research essays on prescribed questions (below)

· You will write two essays in exam conditions on unseen questions

· You will complete a number of ‘document questions’ at home and in class

· You will complete a well organised, comprehensive set of notes for inspection at the end of Unit

Research Essay Titles

1. “Tsarist Russia was doomed to collapse even before the outbreak of World War One”. Do you agree?

2. EITHER (a) Compare and contrast the nature and results of the two 1917 Russian Revolutions OR (b) Analyse the methods used and the conditions which helped in the rise to power of one ruler of a single party state.

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