1917: American’s Entrance & Russia’s Withdrawal

America’s entrance:
German offensive at sea – open target on all Allied ships

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Results in America’s anger, and a break in diplomatic relations

City of Memphis, Illinois – ships with passengers that was torpedoed
Lusitania – passenger ship that was also carrying munitions and other goods to Britain was targeted (sign that the neutral US was actually supporting the Allied cause)

April 6, 1917: US declares open war on Germany as a result of the attacks and lost American lives

200,000 soldiers are sent
Weapons are outdated
Germany reacts with swift offensives knowing that they will soon be on the defensive

Russia’s departure: the Russian Revolution

WW1 had weakened an already fragile state (feudal system, outdated methods of production, the rich living off the poor, autocratic state)

Cities are weaker – soldiers needed, fewer men to work, food is re-routed to the front, not to the urban populations
1916-1917: a harsh winter leads to food shortages and greater costs for everyday items

Tsar Nicholas takes personal command of the army and leaves for the Eastern Front, leaving his wife to deal with her personal advisor Rasputin (untrusted by the people)

March 8, 1917: Petrograd riots over food prices
March 12, 1917: Army abandons Tsar and mutinies (the Tsar begins to lose power)
March 13, 1917: Nicholas is forced to abdicate, held under house arrest by new Provisional Government (Alexander Kerensky)

Provisional Government maintains war effort despite public dissatisfaction

Vladimir Lenin – Socialist revolutionary in exile comes back to Russia for a full revolution and takeover by the workers of the state (with himself at the head)

Promises to end the war, redistribute land to peasants and give workers freedoms and rights
November 6, 1917: Winter Palace is stormed, Provisional Government is arrested, Lenin assumes power

By March 3, 1918, Russia has changed to the USSR – Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Withdraws from the war – Treaty of Brest Litovsk
Loos of territory: Ukraine, Finland, Poland, Baltic States
Loss of resources: iron, coal

German troops go Westbound to the Western Front

The new Bolshevik government must contend with a crippled government, bad economy, food shortages, as well as a group of people who support change, but by non Bolshevik means – the Mensheviks

This leads to civil unrest – when all is finished, the Bolsheviks are in power, Lenin establishes a dictatorship and begins to rule with an iron fist


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