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CBSE Class 9 History Notes Chapter 2: Socialism in Euope and the Russian Revolution

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Chapter 2 of History- Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution deals with the emergence of socialism in Europe and how the Russian Revolution came to change society differently and raise certain questions of economic equality and the well-being of the workers as well as the peasants. The other topics which are included in the chapter are the changes that were initiated by the new Soviet government, industrialization, and also mechanization of the agriculture and rights of citizens, etc. CBSE Class 9 Chapter 2: Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution is one of the best ways to prepare for the exam.

Socialism in Europe and Russian Revolution

Socialism in Europe and Russian Revolution

The Age of Social Change

When the revolution took place, individual rights and social powers came to be discussed thoroughly in many parts of the world, which included Europe as well as Asia. The colonial developments which reshaped ideas for societal changes were not viewed as fair and everyone did not support the complete transformation of society. With the help of the Russian Revolution, socialism became an important and also significant idea for shaping society in the 20th century.

Read More: The Age of Social Change

Liberals, Radicals, and the Conservatives

The views of liberals were that they wanted a nation that tolerated all religions and opposed the uncontrolled power of the dynastic rulers and argued for a more representative and elected parliamentary government, which had laws subjected and interpreted by some well-trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. The government they asked for was based on the majority of the population of the country. The conservatives after the 19th century came to accept the changes but also believed that the past needed respect and that change should be a slow process.

Industrial Society and Social Change

Social and economic life was changed through the industrial revolution, new cities came to be built and newly industrialized regions came to be developed. Men, women, and also children came to the factories in search of livelihood and work. But the working hours were long and the wages were very poor; also there existed unemployment during times of low demand for industrial goods, like that of recession. Liberals and radicals came to make wealth through the process of trade as well as industrial ventures. They felt that society came to be developed when the freedom of individuals was ensured if the poor could labor, and those who had the money and capital could operate without much restraint. In the countries like France, Italy, Germany as well as Russia; the revolutionaries overthrew the existing monarchs, and the nationalists were seen talking about revolutions to create “nations” which had equal rights.

The Coming of Socialism to Europe

Socialism came to be known well by the mid-19th century in Europe. The socialists came to be against the idea of private property and also saw it as the root of all the social evils which existed over the years. Socialists wanted to change it and also campaigned for it. Robert Owen came to build a cooperative community which was known as New Harmony in Indiana. Louis Blanc wanted the government to encourage cooperatives and also the replacement of capitalist enterprises.

Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels added other important ideas to the body of arguments according to Marx, industrial society was capitalist, who owned the capital invested in the factories, and the profit of the capitalists was produced by the workers. The ideas of capitalism and private poverty came to be overthrown.

Support for Socialism

By the years of 1870s, socialist ideas came to be spread through Europe and they formed what was an international body- which was named the Second International. Associations came to be formed by the workers who were in Germany and England to fight for better living as well as working conditions. Parties like the Labour Party and Socialist Party came to be formed by the trade unionists and the socialists by 1905.

The Russian Revolution

In the October Revolution of 1917, socialists came to overtake the government of Russia and the fall of the monarchy in February 1917 and the events of October came to be termed the Russian Revolution.

The Russian Empire in 1914

In the year 1914, Russia came to be ruled by Tsar Nicholas II and its empire. The empire in Russia included the current-day Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, also parts of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. The majority of the population belonged to Orthodox Christianity.

Economy and Society

At the beginning of the 20th century, the population in Russia had mostly agriculturalists, who cultivated land for the market and also for sustainability. St. Peterburg and Moscow were some prominent industrial areas and the craftspersons took much of the production, but there existed large factories alongside the craft workshops supervised by the government to ensure minimum wages and also limited hours of work. Workers were divided into social groups based on skills. Despite the divisions, workers stopped working when they came into disagreement with employers about the working conditions.

The church, crown, and nobility owned most of the lands which were cultivated by the peasants and the nobles got their powers as well as positions based on the services to the Tsar. The peasants in Russia wanted the land of the nobles.

Socialism in Russia

The political parties formed and operated in Russia were legal before the year 1914. In 1898, socialists founded the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party concerning the ideas of Marx. Some of the socialists in Russia felt that the Russian peasant’s custom of dividing the lands periodically made for some natural socialists. The socialists came to be active in the countryside and also formed the Socialist Revolutionary Party in the year 1900 the party struggled for the rights of peasants and demanded land which belonged to nobles be transferred to the peasants and the party came to be divided over the strategy of the organization.

Vladimir Lenin felt that in a repressive society like that of Tsarist Russia, the party should be well disciplined and also control the number as well as the quality of its members and the Mensheviks felt the party should be open for all.

A Turbulent Time: The 1905 Revolution

Russia had been an autocracy and since the beginning of the 20th century, Tsar was not subjected to the Parliament during the Revolution of 1905, Russia along with the Social Democrats and Socialist Revolutionaries, worked with the peasants as well as the workers for demanding a constitution. For the workers of Russia, bad times started in the year 1904 as the prices of imported goods rose and their wages came to be declined by 20 percent. Workers went on strike and demanded a reduction in the working to eight hours, and an increase in wages as well as improvement in the working conditions.

The procession came to be attacked by the police as well as Cossacks when they reached the Winter Palace and the incident was named Bloody Sunday, which started a series of events that resulted in the 1905 Revolution, during which Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament and after 1905, the committees and the unions came to be worked unofficially, as they came to be declared illegal.

The First World War and the Russian Empire

The First World War broke out in 1914 between two European alliances- The Central Powers (Germany, Austria, and Turkey) and France, Britain, and Russia ( later Italy and Romania). The war became popular and continued, Tsar refused to consult the main parties at Duma. The war was different on both the eastern front and the western front. Between the years 1914 and 1916, the Russian army lost badly in both Germany and Austria. There was damage to food and infrastructure, and by 1916 winter, the people of the city began riots for bread and flour.

Read More: The Russian Revolution

The February Revolution in Petrograd

In Petrograd, on the right bank of River Neva, the workers’ quarters and factories were located and on the left bank, fashionable areas like Winter Palace and the official buildings were located. Food shortages affected the workers’ quarters deeply and on the right bank, the factory was shut down on February 22. Women also led the strikes and it is known as International Women’s Day. There was an imposition of curfew as the official buildings came to be surrounded by workers and Duma was suspended on 25th February. Streets were covered with demonstrators demanding bread, wages, better hours as well as democracy.

The government called for cavalry but they refused to fire on the demonstrators. Soviet or council came to formed by the soldiers and striking workers in the same building where Duma met and is termed as Petrograd Soviet. The provincial government was formed by Soviet leaders and Duma leaders for running the country. The future of Russia would be decided by the constituent assembly, elected by universal adult suffrage. Petrograd came to lead the February Revolution which brought down the monarchy in 1917 in February.

Read More: The February Revolution

After February

Under the Provisional Government, army officials, landowners, and also the industrialist came to be influential. The liberals and the socialists worked for an elected government. There were restrictions imposed on public meetings and associations were removed. In April 1917, Vladimir Lenin who was a Bolshevik leader returned to Russia from his exile and demanded three things termed to be April Theses. He emphasized on renaming of Bolshevik Party to the Communist Party and wanted the war to end, land to be transferred to peasants, and also the nationalization of banks.

Workers’ movement spread over the summers. The factory committees formed and also trade unions grew in numbers the provisional government saw its power reduced and that of the Bolsheviks increase, and decided for stern action against the spread of the Bolshevik movement. Peasants and their Socialist Revolutionary leaders pressed for a redistribution of land and encouraged by revolutionaries, peasants seized land between July and September 1917.

The Revolution of October 1917

The conflict which took place between Provisional Government and Bolsheviks grew and by 16 October 1917, Lenin was persuaded by the Petrograd Soviet and also Bolshevik Party to agree to the socialist seizure of power and organized for the seizure. The Military Revolutionary Committee ordered its supporters to seize government offices and also arrest the ministers. By the end of the day, the city was under Committee’s control and ministers had to surrender. In the All Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd, the majority came to be approved by Bolshevik action.

What Changed After October?

By November 1917, banks and industries came to be nationalized and the land was declared to be a social property which allowed for the seizure of land of nobility the Bolshevik Party came to rename the Russian Communist Party and elections were conducted on 1917 November, to the Constituent Assembly but failed in the majority. The Assembly rejected Bolshevik measures and Lenin was dismissed from office in 1918. Despite the opposition, in March 1918, Bolsheviks made peace with Germany and participated in elections to the All Russian Congress of Soviets and Russia became a one-party state after October 1917, which led to experiments in arts and architecture.

Read More: October Revolution

The Civil War

The Russian Army came to be broken up and their leaders moved to south Russia and also organized troops for fighting the Bolsheviks. During 1918-1919, the Russian empire came to be controlled by the “greens” and “whites” who were backed by French, American, British, and Japanese troops. The Bolsheviks and these troops fought a civil war and by January 1920, Bolsheviks came to control most of the former Russian empire, and Bolsheviks colonists in the name of defending socialism, massacred the local nationalists. Most of the non-Russian nationalities were given political autonomy in the Soviet Union.

Making a Socialist Society

During the civil war, industries and banks were kept nationalized. Peasants were also permitted for cultivating the land and a centralized planning process came to be introduced. The officials worked on how the economy was working and also set targets for five years and during the first two “Plans”, the government had fixed all the prices for the promotion of industrial growth and economic growth. There was rapid construction which led to poor working conditions. Schooling systems came to be developed and arranged and women workers, creches were established and cheap public health care systems came to be provided as well as model living quarters for the workers were set up.

Stalinism and Collectivisation

The disaster of collectivization of agriculture occurred in the early Planned Economy. By 1927-28, the towns of soviet Russia had faced a shortage of grains and Stalin introduced some firm emergency actions by 1928, the party members began touring the grain-producing area and raiding the “kulaks”- who were the well-to-do peasants. After 1917, the land was given over to peasants. By 1929, Party forced all the peasants to cultivate in collective farms, which was known as kolkhoz peasants working but the kolkhoz profit was shared. The number of cattle fell by one-third and the government of Stalin allowed for independent cultivation. Inspite of collectivization, production did not increase, and the bad harvests of 1930-33 were where many people died.

The Global Influence of the Russian Revolution and the USSR

Communist parties were formed in many countries like the Communist Party of Great Britain and some non-russians from outside the USSR also participated in the Conference of People of the East and the Bolsheviks founded Comintern. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the USSR had given socialism a more global face and world reputation. USSR had become a great power and agriculture and industries developed and the poors were better off. By the end of the 20th century, the importance of the USSR as a socialist country came to be declined.

Related Links

  1. The Age of Social Change
  2. The Russian Revolution
  3. The February Revolution in Petrograd
  4. What Changed After October?

Frequently Asked Questions on CBSE Class 8 History Notes Chapter 2: Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution

Q1: How and when did socialism spread in Europe?


The ideas of socialism came to be spread in Europe by the mid-19th century and the main features of socialism included Collective ownership, economics and social equality, and also economic planning.

Q2: When did the Russian Revolution take place?


The Russian Revolution took place between the years 1917 and ended in the year 1923.

Q3: Who was the backbone of the Russian Revolution?


Bolshevik party majorly led the Russian revolution, leader was Vladimir Lenin in November of 1917.

Q4: What was the basic idea of socialism in the Russian Revolution?


The basic idea was the socialists were against private property and supported that means of production being under the government.

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Last Updated : 17 Apr, 2023
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