What is the course about?
At the end of the 19th Century Russia was an empire ruled over by an autocratic Tsar. However in 1917 two
revolutions swept the empire and by the end of that year the Bolsheviks (the smallest of Russia’s 3 main radical
parties) had taken power, setting into motion changes that would lead to the creation of the Soviet Union. This
course explores why the imperial government crumbled so quickly in February 1917 and how a small group of
revolutionaries were able to take power in October.
What will we cover?
* 19th century Russia and the autocracy
* the Russian radical tradition
* the 1905 revolution
* the impact of World War 1
* the February Revolution
* the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet
* the October Revolution.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
1) Explain how autocracy functioned in the Russian context
2) Explain why the Tsar abdicated in February 1917
3) Identify the challenges faced by the Provisional Government
4) Explain how the Bolsheviks were able to take power in October 1917.
5) Analyse and discuss primary and secondary documents.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No background knowledge is expected- this is an introductory course. You will need to be interested in modern European history, be willing to read and discuss short texts in class and have an open and critical mind.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
A mixture of lecture, Q & A, source work, pair/group and class discussion. A comprehensive bibliography will be given at the beginning of the course. Also (brief ) reading materials will be given at the end of each session. Please note, that supplementary reading is not a course requirement, but you will get more out of the course if you do some extra reading.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No extra costs. Pen and paper for note-taking as desired.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HH446 The Russian Civil War 1917-1922.