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War Was the Most Significant Factor in Causing Change in Russia from 1856-1964. How Far Do You Agree?

  • Date Submitted: 01/22/2014 11:31 AM
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War was a very significant factor in causing change in Russia from 1856-1964 as it encouraged industrialisation through the emancipation of the serfs and also sparked a growth of opposition against the regime in power at the time, both under Tsarist control and later under Communism. However, it is also possible to argue that war wasn’t the most significant factor in causing change in Russia as there are other factors that shaped Russia throughout the period in question. During this period, there were many key individuals who were influential in how Russia was run, leaders such as Tsar Nicholas II who drafted the October Manifesto permitting free speech. Foreign influence may have also played a key role in the modernisation of Russia as it may have sparked many reforms in Russia as ‘westernisers’ insisted on the need to follow in the wake of Western civilization and imitate the Western socio-political system, civil society and culture. On the other hand, the factor that may challenge war as the most significant factor in changing Russia from 1856-1964 is opposition as it pressurised the regime to keep the population appeased and to achieve this, reform.

One way in which war caused change in Russia was that it sparked industrialisation and modernisation. Mostly military defeats in the early part of the period (1856-1917) encouraged reform, to improve the power of the Russian Army.   After the defeat in the Crimea, the Russian Empire had been shown their imperial weakness. To combat this, new military reforms were sanctioned such as the reorganisation of conscription and improved officer training in 1864. This would have strengthened Russia’s military and caused modernisation in Russia as they were competing with the military might of the western powers they had fought in the Crimea. The Emancipation of the Serfs was a very significant reform as “serfdom prevented the growth of Russian Industry... It also prevented the introduction of modern methods of...

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