Furious For Food

Bread Line
Line to receive bread.

One of the most humane rights and biological necessities is to be able to eat. Sadly however, after World War I had begun this basic right was incredibly hard to come by for the Russian peasantry. At the beginning of the war it was thought that as a largely agrarian empire it would have no trouble feeding its people. This was merely a fantasy as the reality of the World War took hold.  it became very evident that the Russian people were going to starve for many years to come because of poor planning and new governments trying to help its people.


As World War I drained Russia of its resources including food, and manpower there was very little left for the home front. Men had to join the army and food supplies were given to the soldiers as a priority over the common folk. As a result whenever food did reach the cities or country side, it was at a ridiculously high price. People would spend all their lives savings just to purchase a loaf of bread. As a result, a black market formed for bread. Men would go town to town purchasing bread and then trying to redistribute the bread in locations where they knew they could get the highest profit. These men became known as “bagmen” and became a serious problem for the government. Although they were doing a poor job as is, the government saw this black market disruptive of their efforts and eventually started simply killing any bagman they saw selling bread. This along with many other things caused many riots to form.

Women rioting in February Revolution
Women rioting in February Revolution

One of these riots just so happened to turn into a full fledged revolution. On February 23, 1917 while spectating part of a national holiday, women around the capital city became outraged and finally spoke out against the insane bread prices and lack of food. Shortly after the women gained force people from around the area flocked to the cause creating a giant riot. Over the course of a few days disgruntled soldiers and underground factions joined forces and stormed the capitol forcing the Tsar into an early retirement. Because of a lack of food and planning to feed the masses, the Romanov regime that had been running Russia for hundreds of years was overthrown by literally a hungry mob.

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The lack of food and problems with starvation in Russia is similar to that of what happened in Germany with the food shortage during WW1 that was a huge factor in them finally stopping fighting. The necessity of food and the unrest it caused in both Germany and Russia is comparable and a huge factor for both having to pull out of World War 1.


I also did my post on the food shortages in russia after world war one. Food is something we think of as a given here in the states so its hard to imagine a life with no bread. Russia normally had grain surplus but it had a drastic change once the war hit. This should open our eyes and make us appreciate what wwe have a little more.


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