March was the anniversary of the February Revolution and Women’s history month

… and I was a complete slacker, so my apologies.

However, I am going to address both of these topics now, in this post, as they are related.

Where does the Russian Revolution fit into the IB DP History program?

I would have to say just about everywhere if you teach 20th century history.  World War I and the Russian Revolutions were the most formative events of that century, and we feel their effects to this day.  Today, I am going to address Russia, and my focus is going to be on content rather than on exam prep – which will be coming next week.

Just remember that Russia fits into Authoritarian regimes in the World History topics and, if you do Europe, it fits into the HL option.  Additionally, just about every HL option is going to touch on the events in Russia as they had such a profound effect on what followed: Red Scares, rise of Fascism, Cold War, Civil Rights and independence movements – all are linked to revolutionary Russia in one way or another.

And women are linked in due to the precipitating event of International Women’s Day.  March 8 is the day of solidarity for women and in Russia, as in many other places, women were demonstrating to impress upon the powers that be the importance of women receiving the same rights of men.  There were definitely socialist links to this march but all women were invited to participate.  An article in last month’s Guardian agrees that one century ago, it was this march that sparked the revolution. And we know that Guardian is always right because it’s European.

International Women's Day March in Russai, 1917

March 8, 2017 Petrograd

What started as a peaceful march of solidarity became more raucous as the women textile workers got off work and joined in the march.  In their case, they had a more concrete plea: the price and availability of bread had changed and they were having difficulty feeding their families.

Per usual, men joined in the march and turned it into pandemonium and a bread riot.  (I’m just checking to see if any men are reading this: feel free to write to me and complain about my blatant sexism.)  The government sent in soldiers to disperse the crowds, but these inexperienced young men were unsure as to how to handle the unruly crowds that continued to grow and so they contributed to the chaos.  By the time that the crowds finally melted away (probably due to the cold of Russia in late February) the message was clear: not just women, but all people in Russia were tired of the ruling oligarchy and sought change.  And all this began with women.

I will leave this post with a quotation from Trotsky that I found, interestingly enough, in Fortune Magazine online (not so reputable as it is not European – am I right?):

“We did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets. “

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