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Socialism in Europe and the Russia

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NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 2

This chapter in your 9th-grade social science textbook likely explores the rise of socialism in Europe and Russia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here’s a concise breakdown:

The Seeds of Discontent:

  • Industrial Revolution: The rapid industrialization that swept across Europe created vast wealth for factory owners, but left many workers in poor conditions with low wages and long hours.
  • Unequal Distribution of Wealth: This growing gap between rich and poor fueled resentment and calls for social change.

Socialism Emerges:

  • Thinkers and Philosophers: Socialist thinkers like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels emerged, proposing radical solutions. They advocated for worker ownership of factories, a classless society, and fairer distribution of wealth.
  • Socialist Parties: Socialist parties were formed across Europe, pushing for reforms like better working conditions, social welfare programs, and workers’ rights.

The Russian Revolution:

  • Unique Circumstances: Russia, unlike much of Europe, was a Tsarist autocracy with a weak industrial base. This created a fertile ground for revolution.
  • The Spark: The humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War and worsening economic conditions sparked widespread discontent.
  • Bolshevik Revolution: The Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized power in 1917, establishing the world’s first communist state. Communism is a more radical form of socialism that aims to eliminate private property completely.

Contrasting Paths:

  • European Reforms: European countries, facing growing socialist movements, adopted some reforms like social security and labor laws to address worker concerns and avoid violent revolution.
  • Soviet Union: Russia, under communist rule, underwent rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture, but at the cost of strict government control and repression.

The Legacy:

  • Social Safety Nets: Socialist ideas influenced the development of social safety nets like unemployment benefits and public healthcare in many countries.
  • Cold War: The competition between communist and capitalist systems during the Cold War shaped global politics throughout the 20th century.

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 2

Exercise

1. What were the social, economic and political conditions in Russia before 1905?

Ans : Russia in the early 20th century, before 1905, was a tinderbox of discontent fueled by a volatile mix of social, economic, and political problems:

Socially:

  • Unequal System: Society was rigidly hierarchical. The Tsars held absolute power, the nobility owned vast estates, and the peasantry, the vast majority, lived in poverty.
  • Discontentment: Peasants yearned for land ownership and resented the traditional communal land system. Workers in newly established factories faced harsh conditions and low wages.

Economically:

  • Industrialization: Rapid industrialization was underway, but it was uneven and exploitative. Modern factories coexisted with a largely agrarian economy.
  • Modernization Issues: The rapid changes brought by industrialization caused social disruption and economic hardship for many.

Politically:

  • Autocracy: The Tsar, Nicholas II, ruled with absolute power. There were no democratic institutions or freedoms of speech and assembly.
  • Inefficient Government: The Tsarist government was corrupt, bureaucratic, and slow to address growing social and economic problems.

2. In what ways was the working population in Russia different from other countries in Europe, before 1917?

Ans : 

1. Industrialization Lag: Unlike many European nations that had undergone earlier industrial revolutions, Russia’s industrialization was a latecomer. This meant a smaller, more concentrated working class compared to Western Europe.

2. Peasantry and Industry: A significant portion of Russia’s working class wasn’t fully divorced from agriculture. Many factory workers maintained ties to villages, returning for seasonal farm work. This created a more fluid and less unified working class compared to some European countries.

3. Factory Conditions: While working conditions in factories across Europe were harsh, Russia’s industrial sector was notorious for its brutality. Long hours, low wages, and poor safety standards were commonplace, fueling greater worker discontent.

4. Government and Labor Relations: European governments often faced pressure to improve working conditions due to the presence of strong labor unions and socialist movements. In Russia, the Tsarist autocracy offered little to no worker protections, leaving them more vulnerable to exploitation.

5. Education and Organization: The Russian working class, due to a lower literacy rate compared to some European counterparts, faced challenges in organizing and advocating for their rights. This limited their ability to push for reforms through strikes or political participation.

3. Why did the Tsarist autocracy collapse in 1917?

Ans : The collapse of the Tsarist autocracy in 1917 wasn’t a single event, but the culmination of long-standing issues that finally reached a boiling point. Here’s a breakdown of the key factors:

Social Discontent:

  • Unequal System: The rigid social hierarchy with an absolute Tsar, a wealthy nobility, and a poor peasantry fueled resentment and calls for change.
  • Peasant Unrest: Peasants yearned for land ownership and resented the traditional land system. This agrarian discontent simmered for years.
  • Working Class Woes: Industrialization led to a rise in factory workers who faced harsh conditions, low wages, and a lack of rights.

Economic Strain:

  • Rapid Industrialization: While modernizing, industrialization was uneven and caused economic hardship for many. The gap between rich and poor widened.
  • Military Defeat: The humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 exposed the weaknesses of the Tsarist regime and dented national pride.
  • World War I: Involvement in World War I placed immense strain on the economy, leading to food shortages, inflation, and further hardship for the masses.

Political Failures:

  • Autocratic Rule: Tsar Nicholas II clung to absolute power despite growing calls for reform. This inflexibility fueled revolutionary sentiments.
  • Government Inefficiency: The Tsarist government was corrupt, bureaucratic, and slow to address social and economic problems. This incompetence eroded public trust.
  • Lack of Representation: The absence of democratic institutions and the suppression of dissent further alienated the people from the Tsar.

The 1905 Revolution:

  • Spark of Change: The crushing defeat in the Russo-Japanese War sparked the 1905 Revolution, a failed attempt to force the Tsar to share power. However, it weakened the regime and emboldened revolutionary movements.

World War I as the Catalyst:

  • Final Blow: The immense human and economic cost of World War I proved to be the final blow for the Tsarist regime. Food shortages, war weariness, and military failures eroded public support for the Tsar.

The Dual Revolution of 1917:

  • February Revolution: The February Revolution of 1917, fueled by war weariness and economic hardship, toppled the Tsar. A Provisional Government was formed, but it lacked legitimacy and struggled to address the country’s problems.
  • October Revolution: The Bolshevik Party, led by Vladimir Lenin, capitalized on the weaknesses of the Provisional Government and staged a successful coup in October 1917. This marked the end of the Tsarist autocracy and the beginning of the communist era in Russia.

4. Make two lists: one with the main events and the effects of the February Revolution and the other with the main events and effects of the October Revolution. Write a paragraph on who was involved in each, who were the leaders and what was the impact of each on Soviet history.

Ans :

February Revolution (1917)

Main Events:

  • Widespread strikes and protests: Triggered by food shortages, high prices, and war weariness, workers and women led massive demonstrations in Petrograd (St. Petersburg).
  • Military’s Disobedience: Soldiers, facing harsh conditions and low morale, refused to suppress the protests, siding with the revolutionaries.
  • Tsar’s Abdication: Facing a crumbling regime and disloyal military, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne, marking the end of 300 years of Tsarist rule.

Effects:

  • End of Tsarist Autocracy: The absolute monarchy collapsed, creating a power vacuum.
  • Formation of Provisional Government: A temporary government was formed by moderate socialists and liberals, but it lacked legitimacy and struggled to address pressing issues like war and land reform.
  • Dual Power: A situation emerged where both the Provisional Government and soviets (workers’ councils) held some power, creating instability.

Who was Involved?

  • Workers and Soldiers: These groups formed the backbone of the revolution, driven by hardship and a desire for change.
  • Social Democrats: Moderate socialists like Alexander Kerensky played a key role in the Provisional Government.

Impact on Soviet History:

  • Set the Stage for October Revolution: The February Revolution weakened the old regime but failed to address the needs of the people. This created an opportunity for the more radical Bolsheviks to come to power later in 1917.

October Revolution (1917)

Main Events:

  • Bolshevik Coup: Led by Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks staged a successful armed uprising, seizing control of key government buildings in Petrograd.
  • Overthrow of Provisional Government: The weak Provisional Government was overthrown, and power shifted to the soviets, now dominated by the Bolsheviks.

Effects:

  • Rise of Communism: The Bolsheviks established the world’s first communist state, with the aim of creating a classless society.
  • Russian Civil War: A brutal civil war erupted between the Bolsheviks (Reds) and the anti-communist forces (Whites), lasting for several years.
  • Withdrawal from World War I: The new communist government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, taking Russia out of World War I on harsh terms.

Who was Involved?

  • Bolsheviks: Led by Lenin, they promised “peace, land, and bread” – ending the war, land reform for peasants, and improved living conditions for workers. This resonated with a war-weary and impoverished population.
  • Anti-Communist Forces (“Whites”): These included former Tsarist officials, army officers, and some socialist groups who opposed the Bolsheviks.

Impact on Soviet History:

  • Birth of the Soviet Union: The October Revolution marked the beginning of the Soviet Union, a communist state that would exist for over 70 years.
  • Reshaping Global Politics: The rise of communism created a new ideological and political force that rivaled capitalism, shaping the Cold War and 20th-century history.

5. What were the main changes brought about by the Bolsheviks immediately after the October Revolution?

Ans : The Bolsheviks wasted no time in consolidating power and enacting radical changes after their successful October Revolution in 1917. Here’s a breakdown of the key transformations they implemented:

Economic and Social Reforms:

  • Land Redistribution: One of the most significant changes was the abolition of private land ownership. Land was seized from the nobility and redistributed among peasants, fulfilling a key Bolshevik promise.
  • Worker Control: Factories and industries were placed under worker control, aiming to give the proletariat more power over the means of production.
  • Nationalization: Banks and major industries were nationalized, bringing key sectors of the economy under state control.

Political Changes:

  • Soviets in Power: The Bolsheviks established a new government based on soviets (workers’ councils), which they dominated. This replaced the provisional government formed after the February Revolution.
  • End of Democracy: Democratic institutions and freedoms of speech and assembly were curtailed. The Bolsheviks aimed to establish a one-party communist state.
  • Cheka: The Cheka, a secret police force, was formed to suppress dissent and opposition to the new regime.

Other Changes:

  • Women’s Rights: The Bolsheviks initially granted women legal equality with men, including suffrage. However, these rights were not fully realized in practice.
  • Separation of Church and State: The church was separated from the state, and religious property was confiscated.

6. Write a few lines to show what you know about:

(i) Kulaks

(ii) The Duma

(iii) Women workers between 1900 and 1930.

(iv) The Liberals.

(v) Stalins collectivization programme.

Ans : 

(i) Kulaks: Wealthy peasants in Russia, often seen as exploiting poorer farmers. They were targeted by Stalin’s collectivization program.

(ii) The Duma: A legislative body established in Russia after the 1905 Revolution. It had limited power but symbolized a step towards representative government.

(iii) Women workers between 1900 and 1930: This period saw a rise in women working in factories, often facing harsh conditions and low wages. They participated in some socialist and labor movements.

(iv) The Liberals: A political group in Russia advocating for reforms like a constitution and more individual freedoms. They were generally opposed to radical revolution.

(v) Stalin’s collectivization program: A forced effort in the Soviet Union during the 1930s to merge individual farms into collective farms. It caused widespread famine and hardship for peasants.

NCERT Solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 2

FAQ’s

What is covered in Class 9 History Chapter 2?

Class 9 History Chapter 2 covers the Russian Revolution, detailing the socio-economic and political conditions in Russia before the revolution, the rise of Bolshevism, and the impact of the revolution on Russia and the world.

What significant events are highlighted in Class 9 History Chapter 2?

In Class 9 History Chapter 2 Significant events include the February Revolution of 1917, the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the October Revolution of 1917, and the subsequent civil war leading to the establishment of Soviet rule.

How do the NCERT solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 2 help students?

The NCERT solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 2 provide clear and detailed answers to textbook questions, helping students understand complex historical events and concepts, thereby enhancing their overall grasp of the Russian Revolution.

What were the outcomes of the October Revolution of 1917 in Class 9 History Chapter 2 ?

In Class 9 History Chapter 2 the outcomes included the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, the beginning of Soviet rule, the withdrawal of Russia from World War I, and the start of extensive social and economic reforms.

How do the NCERT solutions for Class 9 History Chapter 2 help students?

The NCERT solutions provide for Class 9 History Chapter 2 clear and detailed answers to textbook questions, helping students understand complex historical events and concepts, thereby enhancing their overall grasp of the Russian Revolution.

How did World War I influence the Russian Revolution according to Class 9 History Chapter 2?

In Class 9 History Chapter 2 World War I exacerbated existing social and economic problems in Russia, leading to food shortages, military defeats, and widespread discontent, which ultimately contributed to the revolutionary fervor and the downfall of the Tsarist regime.

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