Russian Revolution, 1917. The Russian Revolution began in March, 1917, with the overthrow of the monarchy and ended in November of that year when the Bolshevik (later called Communist) party seized power from the provisional government that had replaced the monarchy. The revolution was followed by nearly three years of civil warfare during which the Communists gained complete control of the entire country.

Russia was the first nation to come under Communist rule. The Bolsheviks viewed their revolution in Russia as only the first stage of a worldwide Communist revolution. The Russian Revolution thus marked the beginning of the struggle between Communist Russia and the capitalist nations.

Within Russia, the revolutionary turmoil of 1917 and subsequent civil war and Communist party dictatorship brought about a complete social upheaval and caused much suffering to the populace. The upper and middle classes were destroyed. The economy, already crippled by Russia's involvement in World War I, collapsed. In the breakdown of agriculture, millions died of starvation. Private industry fell into chaos, and production dropped drastically. Later, after the Communists seized power, all private industry was taken over by the state.

Background

The revolution was triggered by World War I. The war-weary masses suffered from shortages of food, fuel, and housing, and from the cost of replenishing Russia's casualty-riddled armies. The result was a growing disaffection of the Russian people with the czarist government. Even before the war, however, unrest and dissatisfaction with the autocratic rule of the czar had long troubled Russia.