February Revolution: Spontaneous or Popular - 1 October 2010 - IB 1 Blog - IB1 History Blog
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February Revolution: Spontaneous or Popular
Provide the best argument (supported with specific evidence) as to whether the February 17 Revolution was a "popular" or "spontaneous" revolution.
Views: 2243 | Added by: jeller9803 | Rating: 5.0/1
Total comments: 161 2 »
This revolution was definitely not completely spontaneous, yet it was definitely popular. A combination of both of these factors led to a revolution that could be compared to a fire, that broke out in a dry field. The revolutionary parties, even though in exile at this period in time, had left their impact on the common folk; different parties touching different rings of society. What could be said, is that the Bolshevik party's (Lenin's) aims, had been very successfully realized. The people were once unified, apparently, without clear leadership, yet with thought of revolution in mind - they wanted a just life. The spontaneous factor in the 1917 February revolution, was the fact that all different rings of society, and all different groups, almost simultaneously erupted in protest: Workers, Soldiers, Peasants, even members of higher classes. Some of these protesting groups searching for support in others, created a powerful chain, i.e. the protesters on International Women's Day, started out as a humorous protest, and ended up as a political one, drawing in workers from factories to support them. Eventually, a large portion of these protests and strikes, turned to blame the political aspects involved.
Conclusively, one can see how the spontaneous factor made this a successful revolution. If all these different groups, especially the forces of order hadn't united with the people, it would probably have turned out similar to the 1905 revolution, with these forces 'beating down' the protests.
Popular 50% - Spontaneous 50%*
*One couldn't lead to success without the other, in this specific scenario. book

how did u make the smiley face like that??

I believe the revolution in 1917 was spontaneous because it erupted from a small good-humored march to riots involving thousands of people in a matter of days. At first when women tried to persuade groups of men to join(the strike), many Bolshevik leaders told the women to go home and stop the strike since they were planning a big demonstration for May day but the women did not take notice and continued; I believe that this shows that even the Bolsheviks weren't ready at that point for an uprising since they were planning one months later, but once they saw that more people decided to join, then they wanted to make the demonstrations as big as possible and so they decided to start involving more groups of people in this uprising.

According to the text, revolution in 1917 was spontaneous as well as popular. In page 26, it says 'There seemed to be no general organisation of events' tells riots didn't take time to prepare for the revolution. On the other hand, in page 26 'Observers reported that there was almost a holiday atmosphere in the city as all classes of people - students, teachers, shopkeepers, even well-dressed ladies - joined the ranks of the workers marching towards the centre of the city' tells the Russian, regardless of their class, dissatisfied at their current government. Also revolution started from women seems to tell me it was very popular (It is hard to believe during early 20 century, women was the leader of revolution. (Am I biased?)). Finally, very bottom of page 26 tells, soldiers joined the revolution because they had some dissatisfaction about the war government was conducting.
So my final conclusion is........
Spontaneous- 30% Popular- 70%


The actual February Revolution was quite spontaneous, but the society could have absolutely expected it to happen soon enough, so if to ask if the revolution was fully spontaneous - then the answer would be a no. The revolution was also a very popular one.
Orlando Figes puts it this way: "The mutiny of the Petrograd garrison turned the disorders of the last four days into a full-scale revolution." From one point of view, the revolution was quite spontaneous. The reason why I say this, is because the flow in the beginning, the Thursday of February 23rd (International Women's Day), showed no sign of a specific intention of creating a strike that would lead to the end of the Tsarist regime. The day started with a good-humoured march where ladies from the society, student girls, and lots more peasant women, and ended with a revolution where most of the people of the society took place. The reason why I would say that it was not a spontaneous revolution is that so many years people (specifically the peasants) were suffering without any food or supplies, and suddenly they wanted to stop what was happening to their lives. On page 26, this is written: "Workers who had been laid off wandered the streets. Some women spent almost 24 hours in queues for food and other goods." In other words, people were dying just to stay live. They became so upset with the Tsarist regime, and this was the ending point - when not only the peasants were already dissatisfied, but everyone was. This revolution was a life-changing event, and when Tsar Nicholas left his ruling position, and his brother Michael refused taking his place, the Romanov Dynasty ended and the Duma started forming a new government. It was the starting point of a new path for Russia, and it made the revolution very popular.

Spontaneous- 40% Popular- 60%

The Revolution in Russia started due to the repression of ordinary people by the Tsarist regime.
From one side the revolution was spontaneous, the other rising up from a ground swell of popular causes and beliefs. There were many things that formed the backbone of it, but mainly the population wanted food and peace.
Only one conclusion can be reached, the revolution was definitely popular since all the people united to make a change and to be heard.
This was the key to its success, if the people hadn’t united, the revolution probably would have failed.
The Final conclusion 60% popular, 40% spontaneous.

The causes for the revolution had already happened a long time ago, it was forseeable that a revolution would take place. The revolution was popular if the whole picture is observed, since strikes etc. were planned by different partys involved. However the actual revolution, the actually protests that happened were spontaneous since they were not planned by anyone and just sort of happened. In other words that a revolution would happen within +/- a month from the actual revolution was completely popular, but the actual protests on that specific day were completely spontaneous.

In my opinion the February revolution was mostly spontaneous, because in the beginning, the women who gathered all the men were devastated by the way they were treated, they had no food and their living conditions were harsh, so they didn't plan to revolt, they were mostly moved because they were desperate about the situation happening. Since the government didn't do much to improve their living conditions, the people decided to put matters in their own hands, and so this is what led to mass demonstration only in a couple of days. However, the people must of planned to revolt sometime, if their situation was so sad, so this revolution would happen sooner or later. So all together I think it was "spontaneous" 60% and "popular" 40%

alrite, thinking that my opinion is accouted; i believe the revolution started mainly off Spontaneously. if it were to be popular then the events that occured would be planned with care avoiding the risk of failure.
"there seemed to be no general organisation of events" stated by the textbook in class.
after seeing the women standing for food in queues angered the folks (yet they were actually "persuaded" to join the protest said by the textbooks provided) and from there on after the protests grew. the protest took on more political nature and as an end result, we have the februaury revolution.

my percentages after seeing the others give them is
60% for spontaneous and 40% for popularity.

I am surprised to see that so many of you have put spontaneous as an answer. After reading the book, most of the evidence led me to believe that it was a popular revolution, yet maybe i am misunderstanding the real meaning of that. To me, it means that people were not opposed to it and events happened (causing people to act against something, whether peacefully or not) and they gradually built up more and more tension, leading closer to revolution.
More specifically, well, i found the fact that there was a cold winter and people were poor and starving, as fitting to the category of popular revolution, as this fact caused unrest among people, they weren't happy with the conditions and wanted it to be fixed. Later, the women's strike started out peacefully, but it grew to a larger scale conflict. Now others might say, yes, these events led to a revolution, but they don't necessarily make it a popular revolution. I believe that still, there were plans for revolution all along, from what i read about Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky, it is clear that all of them had an idea of revolution in mind, so it was bound to happen someday. It's not like it just came out-of-the-blue; all those events, the strikes, etc, were leading towards that, and people were angry and disappointed, and when the guards chose violence during February rev, that was the last straw for the people - they were ready to revolt.


Popular, even though the Bolsheviks didn't necessarily start it, they laid the foundation for the revolution and it wouldn't succed without it. So I think it was a popular revolution but of course nothing is black and white...

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