Dissent Among the Ranks

Photo:  http://www.dhr.history.vt.edu/modules/eu/mod03_1917/evidence_detail_20.html
Soldiers with a sign saying Down with the Monarchy.

The Great War for the Russians may have started out as simply a decision that had to me be made in order to be a prominent power but by 1917 there had been enough signs to show it had to end. One of the first signs to show a political failure was Germany communicating in a way to paint the Russians as the aggressors. When Russia was using the propaganda of being surrounded by skulls its not hard to seem like the “bad guys.” This is already not a great start to have public support behind them. Then when the Tsar publicly replaces the generals because they are losing is just showing more incompetence at the highest levels in the military. To proceed losing the war now moves the blame from the generals directly onto the Tsar reducing public opinion further. Putting these together make it out to be the aggressor losing which is NEVER good for gaining the people’s trust.

Now the military is often associated as a government tool by which political leaders order’s are carried out but during the early 20th century the soldiers of Russia were a tool of revolution. In case there were not enough signs that continued fighting in Russia was simply illogical, the soldiers being sent to put down protests were instead joining the protesters. When you send soldiers into battle without a weapon so they can eat bullets, it should have been no surprise that they were not happy about the situation. Yet for some reason, despite their own military cheering for mutiny, the Russians are convinced to stay strong on the eastern front. No military, no war. This should have been the end.

With the support of the military, the Soviets participated in two revolutions and came out as the leading power. (Big surprise that having soldiers on your side makes things easier). Something is to be said about not having the public opinion fully backing you. Since the Soviets did not have the majority of support they turned to their close friends of the military which became a form of reliance by the Soviets. A simple connection can be made of the amount of care the Soviets had in mentioning soldiers constantly in their rhetoric in a way which praised or benefited the common soldier. Years later we see a Russia in which industry, science, education, and communications are controlled by the government which is controlled by generals.

As a leader who wants to stay in power always keep your army happy, especially when everyone else isn’t.

Sources:

*http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1917-2/revolution-in-the-army/

*http://www.dhr.history.vt.edu/modules/eu/mod03_1917/evidence.html