Russian soldiers leaving the front

3. HenrySara MRC – Russian soldiers leaving the front

Source: The Henry Sara Collection at the MRC

Attitude of Russian soldiers:

Russia’s participation in the war left millions of their own soldiers dead. The ongoing fighting was fraught with chaos, as many of the soldiers were dispatched without enough arms, and there were extreme food shortages throughout the land, leading to outright opposition to the war effort. After George Lvov began leading the new Provisional Government, with Kerensky as War Minister, he attempted to continue the war, which was now growing heavily unpopular. Soldiers’ committees were formed and demanded peace; after a devastating July Offensive, morale amongst Russian soldiers was even lower and soldiers began refusing to move to the front lines or simply deserting. More and more soldiers joined the Soviets (councils), and their newfound power was evident when Kerensky had to call on them and the Red Guards to defend Petrograd from an attempted coup d’état by General Kornilov. The Bolshevik promise of peace negotiations gave them the majority support amongst soldiers, and their recognition of the need to end the war was a key factor in the success of the October Revolution.