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The Russian Revolution 1914-1921 - Essay Titles

Three short essays are required from three different sections.

Deadlines are Week 7, Week 12 and Week 18.

Alternative titles available on request.


1. Why was the government so opposed to Nicholas's decision to make himself Commander-in-Chief?

2. ‘Russia’s poor performance in the war arose from administrative incompetence rather than economic weakness’ Discuss with reference to the period 1914-16.

3. How spontaneous was the February revolution?

4. ‘The most significant feature of the February Revolution was the sudden disappearance of autocratic power. Discuss.

5. Discuss Lenin's role in the July days.

6. Assess the role of peasants in the revolution from February to October 1917?



7. Assess Lenin’s view in October 1917 that the transition to socialism would be ‘gradual, peaceful and smooth’.

8. Assess the role of the Soviets in the Russian Revolution between February and October 1917.

9. "More peasant than proletarian." Discuss this view of the urban working-class in Russia in the period from 1905-1917.

10. Did Kornilov pose a serious threat to the revolution in July-August 1917?

11 ‘The establishment of Soviet power in October was more coup d’état than revolution.’ Do you agree?

12. Assess Alexander Kerensky's contribution to the revolution in 1917



1. To what extent did Lenin have a strategy for the transition to socialism when he took power in October 1917?

2. Why did Lenin turn to ‘iron proletarian discipline’ in early 1918?

3. The impact of the war against the Whites on the development of the Soviet system has been greatly overestimated.’ Discuss.

4. Why did the principles on which the Red Army was organised cause controversy within the Bolshevik party?

5. 'The chief advantage of the Reds in the Civil War was that they had internal lines of communication'. Do you agree?

6. Why did Lenin become increasingly concerned by the effects of bureaucratisation and careerism in 1919 and 1920?



7. Account for the emergence of the Workers’ Opposition?

8. What was the significance of the Tambov rising of 1920-1?
OR Why did the government suppress the Kronstadt rebellion?

9. Assess the significance of the Tenth Party Congress.

10. How justified were opposition claims that the revolution had become bureaucratized by 1921?

11. Did writers and artists make a significant contribution to the Russian Revolution?