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1917 Year of Revolutions

Key Questions Activities Resources
Why were there two revolutions in Russia in 1917? Read an overview of Russia in  1917 and gain a chronological understanding of the main events of this critically important year.

Spartacus has a number of excellent pages about the revolutions.
JohnDClare has a typically excellent exam based GCSE history section on Russia.

There are plenty of resources on Russia in 1917. The following provide references to the relevant page numbers in your textbooks. 


Why was Nicholas II forced to abdicate in 1917?

How important was the war as a cause of the February Revolution? 

Television documentary: examining the interpretation and techniques used in this BBC documentary. Lecture and discussion. 

Evaluating long and short-term causes. Lecture and notetaking from Darby (or preferred textbook). A copy of the diagram explaining the impact of the war is available here

Higher Level students only: Compare and contrast February 1917 with the earlier attempted revolution in 1905. Complete this table.


Video BBC History File - The Soviets (The fall of Tsarism) See the Spotlight section of Oxley (82-3) or Spartacus for more on Rasputin  and Spartacus for more about Felix Yusupov his assassin. A St Petersburg museum has recently put an interesting piece of Rasputin on display. 

Darby (68-87) is my preferred explanation of the causes on the February Revolution. His 'Analysis' (84-86) is particularly useful and his 'Essay' (87) forms the basis of essay discussion. 

Lynch (59-77) offers a rather more traditional, chronological view with an excellent analysis of the significance of the revolution (74-6). As always the summary diagrams are very useful.

Oxley (77-87) offers a good source based approach. 

Mason (106-7) the IGCSE text, has a typically good summary and diagram of the reasons for the February revolution. 

Why did the Provisional Government fail? Essay: Compare and contrast the causes and nature of the two 1917 Russian Revolutions. Lynch - Reaction and Revolutions: Russia 1881-1924. (Chapter 5) 
Darby - The Russian Revolution (Chapter 5)
Who were the revolutionaries and who were their opponents?  Empathy. Online activity from the Spartacus Educational website.

Simulation activity sheet. What happened to your character after 1917?

How important was Lenin's role in 1917?  Document questions.  Oxley (101-102)
So why were there two revolutions in 1917?  Lecture Lecture notes

Darby is brilliant on this. You should read the whole of chapter 5 but in particular make detailed notes on the analysis section (97-105)

Oxley -Chapter 5. Pages 109-10 gives a good 7 factor reasons why the Provisional Government lost support. 

Mason (108-110) covers the essentials well. 



Can you identify key historical facts about the period and can remember them? In groups, design a Hot Potatoes Quiz for the events about Russia so far studied.