12: Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union

This topic looks at the last Tsars of Imperial Russia, the growing clash between conservatism and modernization and the impact of industrialisation, through to the political upheavals of 1905 and 1917 which lead ultimately to the first Communist state under Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

Specifically, this unit examines:

  • The reforms of Alexander II
  • Political and economic developments under Alexander III
  • Nicholas II and the causes and impact of the 1905 Revolution
  • The impact of the First World War and lead up to the revolution of February 1917
  • the causes and consequences of the Revolutions of 1917
  • Lenin's consolidation of power, civil war and changing economic policies, terror and foreign policy

1. Imperial Russia, reform and reaction (1855 - 1894) (ATL)

The years 1855 to 1894 saw Russia experiencing some dramatic reforms, but also severe repression.Here are some different activities that you can do for this first part of Section 12. There is a mixture...

2. Imperial Russia: The last years of autocracy (1894 - 1914) (ATL)

This page covers a range of activities to help students understand the events of Nicholas II's reign: the growing tensions, impact of the 1905 revolution and outbreak of war.Videos and ideas for using...

3. The revolutions of 1917 (ATL)

On this page, there are ATL to help students understand the causes of the February Revolution and the events that led up to the October Revolution.Videos for this section and ideas for using videos can...

4. The Bolshevik consolidation of power (1918 - 1924) (ATL)

On this page, there are ATL to help students understand how the Bolsheviks managed to consolidate their power in the years 1917 and 1924 and survive a civil war.Note that this section can also be used...

5. Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union: Essay frames and writing exercises

This page contains a variety of essay writing exercises and essay plans for this topic.In pairs plan out the following essay question: 'Alexander II transformed Russian society' To what extent do you...

7. Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union (1855–1924): Videos and activities

On this page you will find some suggestions and links to videos that can be used as well as teacher notes with suggestions as to how the videos can be used with students. Questions for each video are...

8. Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union: Extra resources

On these pages you can find useful websites for this unit along with historians' texts that students might find enjoyable to develop their understanding further. There are also some suggestions for fiction...

6. Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union (1855–1924): Sample essays with marks

On this page you will find sample essays on this topic, written by students. There are also some suggested activities that you could do with the essays as well. To what extent was the February/March Revolution...

9. Imperial Russia, revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union: Quizzes

On this page you will find quizzes on this topic to help students learn key factsPhoto by Evan Dennis on UnsplashHere are 25 multiple choice questions on the the years 1917 to 1929 covering the two revolutions,the...

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