The Russian Revolution (1917–1918)
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
1. Compare and contrast the February and October Revolutions.
2. Compare the collapse of the Russian monarchy with the collapse of the provisional government. Did the two governments fall apart for the same reasons or for fundamentally different reasons?
3. Bolshevism was a rather extreme political movement and did not have widespread popular support. Discuss the reasons why the October Revolution nonetheless succeeded and why it faced so little serious opposition.
Suggested Essay Topics
1. How did the Bolsheviks differ from more moderate socialist groups like the SRs and the Mensheviks?
2. Explain the Bolsheviks’ German connection and the ways in which it affected them politically.
3. Discuss the decline of the Romanov dynasty over the century preceding the revolutions of 1917. What were the sources of discontent with the monarchy, and what events weakened it over time?
4. Trace the events of the summer of 1917 and the struggles among the political forces at the time. Consider the effects of events including the First Congress of Soviets, the June offensive, the July Putsch, and the Kornilov affair. How did each of these events affect each side?
5. Consider the role of the Russian military in the February and October revolutions as well as in the events in between. How did the military’s loyalty shift over time? How did the various sides attempt to gain its loyalty?