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World War I was the direct catalyst for the Russian Revolution of 1917. The poor performance of the Russian government in the Great War, along with the stress that the war put on the Russian society and economy, drove people who were already generally unhappy with the regime to rebel.
Russians had been unhappy for decades with the autocratic tsarist regime and the country’s economic backwardness. This unhappiness had been exacerbated by the country’s loss in the war with Japan in 1905. Less than ten years later, the country was at war again. Once again, Russia suffered humiliating defeats. This made people generally more unhappy with their government. The unhappiness was deepened by the fact that about 1.7 million Russians were killed in the war and about 5 million wounded.
The Russians, then, were unhappy with the regime's ineptitude and also with its apparent lack of concern for huge casualty numbers. They also came to be upset with the economic situation. The Russian economy was never very strong and now its efforts were being used to fight the war. This led to shortages for the civilian population and even more unrest.
All of this unhappiness on the part of the Russian people helped to create a situation where the Russian Revolution could take place.
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