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Defenders of the MotherlandThe Tsarist Elite in Revolutionary Russia$
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Matthew Rendle

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199236251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236251.001.0001

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The First World War

The First World War

(p.12) 1 The First World War
Defenders of the Motherland

Matthew Rendle (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of the First World War on the tsarist elite, arguing that concerns over Russia's military performance and over Nicholas II fostered a desire for political change. The roots of this alienation from the monarchy lay in the 1905 revolution, which saw elites adopt new political methods: creating unions, congresses, and publications. After a disastrous start to the war, the formation of the Progressive Bloc, a coalition of conservative and liberal parties in the Duma, prompted huge arguments among elites in arenas such as the United Nobility over whether to support the Bloc's calls for political change. The feeling that only change would result in military victory, alongside a recognition that the war was dramatically affecting landownership and the composition of the officer corps, prompted the majority of elites to favour some degree of political change by early 1917.

Keywords:   Tsarist elites, 1905 revolution, United Nobility, First World War, Progressive Bloc, Nicholas II, monarchism, officers, landowners

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