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Russia: The End of Imperial Russia, 1894-1917

4. The First World War, 1914-17

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In this module, we think about Russia's experience in the First World War, focusing in particular on Russia's military failures, its weakening economy (and uncertain food supply), and the growing pressure on an increasingly unpopular Tsar.


In this course, Professor Peter Waldron (University of East Anglia) explores the end of Tsarist Russia, tracing events from the beginning of Nicholas II's reign in 1894 to the Revolutions of 1917 that saw the rise of Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks. We begin in the first module by providing an introduction to the politics, society and economy of Russia in the late century. After that, we think about the events leading up to the 1905 Revolution, including the disastrous war with Japan and the rise of popular protests across the Russian Empire, before turning in the third module to the failure to reform Russian politics in the period 1905-14, despite the efforts of modernisers such as Pyotr Stolypin. In the fourth module, we turn to the First World War, thinking in particular about the series of events that led up to the abdication of Nicholas, before turning in the sixth module to the Provisional Government of March-October 1917, asking why it was that the regime that replaced Nicholas II was so unpopular and unsuccessful.


Peter Waldron is currently Professor of History at the University of East Anglia, having previously worked at the University of Sunderland, University College Cork and Durham University. He is a specialist in modern Russian and European history and teaches courses on 19th and 20th century Russia and Europe. His books include Governing Tsarist Russia (Palgrave, 2007), Between Two Revolutions: Stolypin and the Politics of Renewal in Russia (UCL Press, 1998), The End of Imperial Russia, 1855-1917 (Macmillan, 1997), Russia of the Tsars (Thames and Hudson, 2011). He contributed the chapter on 'State Finances' to the Cambridge History of Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2006) and has published a variety of articles and book chapters.

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APA style

Waldron, P. (2018, August 15). Russia: The End of Imperial Russia, 1894-1917 - The First World War, 1914-17 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Waldron, P. "Russia: The End of Imperial Russia, 1894-1917 – The First World War, 1914-17." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

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