History Study Unit 1: Russia in Revolution, 1905-17

History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson One: Russia and the major world powers in 1900
Aims and Objectives
1. To introduce the course content and form of assessment.
2. To develop essential contextual knowledge and vocabulary.
3. To develop understanding of the key characteristics of the major world powers in 1900.
4. To provide essential background information on the Russian Empire, focusing primarily on
geographical factors.
Course outline
World Powers card sort
Russia in 1900 task sheet
Map of Russia in 1900 (consumable)
OHT of Russia in 1900
Bare Essentials: Imperial Russia information and task sheet
1. Distribute books, course outline and glossary. The outline and glossary should be attached to
books. It is a good idea to leave a number of pages spare at the back of books to add further
definitions as the course progresses. Remind students that they will be tested on the meaning of
such terms and concepts.
2. Before focusing on Russia, it is important that students understand the international scene in
1900. Who were the dominant powers? Which nations/empires were in decline? What were
relations like between the world powers? Before distributing the cards, see if students can
identify who the major world powers would have been. What do they think constitutes a major
world power? Complete card sort activity. Students match each country to the appropriate
description and ruler. This information should then be copied into books in the form of a table.
3. Turn now to examine Russia in 1900. Bare in mind that our students have very little background
knowledge of Russia. The GCSE course does little more than mention the 1917 Revolution in the
context of World War I. A good place to start is therefore to examine the geographical nature of
Imperial Russia. Use the OHT and wall maps to emphasise the size of the Empire. Move onto the
task sheet. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of controlling a country of this size.
Students should also be given their own copy of the map to keep.
4. Extension/Homework The Bare Essentials: Imperial Russia worksheet should be completed.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Two: The Tsarist system of government
Aims and Objectives
1. To introduce the concept of Tsardom and emphasise the differences between this and the British
concept of monarchy.
2. To develop the ability to interpret historical sources.
3. To examine differing attitudes towards the tsarist system of government
4. To develop note taking skills.
Russian Society card sort and A3 diagram (consumable)
‘The Tsarist System of Government’ source and task sheet
Copies of both sources (consumable)
OHT of Source One
G. Darby, The Russian Revolution
Questions to accompany Darby chapter
OHT’s of first pages of chapter
1. Go over student’s answers to the Bare Essentials questions set last lesson. Focus on task 4 – the
structure of Russian society. Emphasise the hierarchical nature of Imperial Russia and the fact
that the Tsar had virtually no limits to his power. Distribute the Russian society card sort at this
point. Students must first match each statement to the correct group. They then have to
determine where each group belongs on the diagram. The Church runs right through as it had its
own hierarchy; from the Tsar, who chose the Head of the Church, right down to the local village
priest. The diagram is not drawn to scale and be sure to highlight this fact. The peasantry were
so large a group that they would dominate the entire diagram, making it difficult to add
descriptions of the other groups. The middle class were also very small, although growing
throughout the period but they belong above the urban workers and below the nobility.
2. Move on to examine the sources on Tsardom. Discuss the different attitudes towards Tsardom
expressed in each source. Use the OHT and encourage students to annotate their own copies of
each source. They should then attempt the tasks independently. Give them a set time to
complete this activity. The examination is source based so it is important that students are given
A Level standard sources and practice of writing in timed conditions from the start.
3. Distribute the copies of Darby, The Russian Revolution and the questions on Alexander II and
Alexander III. They will need to refer to pages 20- 27. Although our course focuses only on the
reign of Nicholas II, contextual knowledge of Nicholas’ predecessors will aid students
understanding of the dilemmas Nicholas faced and the course of action he adopted. Students will
find the tasks difficult due to the language contained in the chapter. Advise them on note-taking
skills. They should not copy huge chunks of text. Nor should they copy anything they don’t
understand. They should use a dictionary and add words to the glossary sections of their books.
Use the OHT’s provided to answer the first few questions together.
4. Extension/Homework Completion of the Darby chapter.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Three: Russia during the last half of the nineteenth century
Opponents and supporters of the Tsar.
Aims and Objectives
1. To develop note taking and summarising skills.
2. To examine the main opponents and supporters of the Tsar and the strengths and weaknesses of
each group.
3. To begin to consider the problems facing Nicholas II when he ascended the throne.
4. To conduct independent research on Nicholas II.
5. To develop ICT skills.
Opponents and supporters card sort
Nicholas II research task sheet
1. For homework students have answered a series of questions on Alexander II and Alexander III.
Rather than going through each question in turn and marking, an extended question and answer
session should reveal what students have discovered about the two Tsars and how well they
have understood it. Use the board to highlight the contributions students make. Make a note of
(1) the key events during each Tsar’s reign and (2) reactions to these events (e.g.) the scale of
support or opposition. Students should not write anything down at this point. Once all the
relevant background information has been provided students are to complete two tasks. Firstly,
they produce a timeline of the main events of the two reigns. (This should be done to scale
across a double page). They then produce a written summary of the reigns (no more than half a
page each). Be strict with the time allowed for this activity. We are summarising information so
it should not take too long. There is no need for full sentences.
2. Move on to the card sort. Students are required to match each description with the appropriate
group. This is a more difficult matching exercise than those of previous lessons, so allow a
reasonable amount of time before providing the correct answers. Ask students to then categorise
the groups in terms of support and opposition. You may want them to place them in a specific
order from strongest opponent to strongest supporter. They may feel that some groups were
supporters and opponents. The important thing is that they justify their decisions. Discussion is
needed to reveal why some groups were naturally loyal and others hostile. Students then
summarise the information contained on the cards as well as their decisions regarding support or
opposition in the form of a table.
3. Conclude the lesson by asking students to consider which group/s posed the biggest threat to
the Tsar in 1900. Be sure to emphasise the fact that Nicholas’ position was relatively safe in
1900. No opposition group possessed the necessary power or support to seriously undermine the
Tsarist system.
4. Extension/Homework Students are to produce a word-processed handout on Nicholas II. A
task sheet has been produced which directs them to the sorts of resources available. This is a
good opportunity to begin building up a list of useful websites relating to the course.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Four: The character of Nicholas II
Aims and Objectives
1. To utilise source material to reach a judgement on the abilities and character of Nicholas II.
2. To support the development of literacy skills required at AS Level History.
‘Character and Personal Qualities of Nicholas II’ source sheet
OHT’s of Sources B and C
OHT of the Romanovs
‘An Absolute Ruler: Nicholas II’ information and task sheets
1. Recap on what we know about Nicholas so far. He was faced with the enormous task of ruling
125 million people. What personal qualities/strengths would a Russian Tsar require? We are
going to assess whether Nicholas possessed such qualities.
2. Show students the family photos of Nicholas, Alexandria and their children. Ask for initial
impressions of Nicholas. Teacher exposition on individual family members is required.
3. Examine Sources B and C. Use the OHT’s. Highlights difficult words/terminology. Encourage
students to use the dictionaries and add definitions to their glossary. Once the sources have
been discussed and interpreted as a whole class, students summarise the content of each source
in bullet points in their books. They should use different colours to note down good and bad
impressions of Nicholas.
4. Distribute the source sheet at this point. Students are to continue noting down impressions of
Nicholas but tackle the remaining extracts independently.
5. Pull the session together by asking students to answer the question – “What is your initial
impression of Nicholas II?” Students will mention that Nicholas seemed to be a caring father and
husband. It is important to ask them to consider if that was a quality the Russian population
valued and whether it would help save the monarchy.
6. Extension/Homework Students complete tasks on ‘An Absolute Ruler’. These provide greater
detail on Nicholas’ position when he ascended the throne.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Five: The build up to the 1905 Revolution: Bloody Sunday
Aims and Objectives
1. To examine the causes for the outbreak of revolution in Russia in 1905.
2. To focus on the event known as ‘Bloody Sunday’ in greater depth.
3. To develop the ability to interpret and evaluate historical sources.
4. To continue to develop the range of students’ vocabulary.
5. To revise course content covered so far.
Test 1: Imperial Russia
Tolstoy source on OHT
Student copy of source, together with tasks (consumable)
‘Revolution of 1905: Bloody Sunday’ information/task sheet
Document exercise: Bloody Sunday
Unit 1: Bloody Sunday (further source work)
1. Begin the lesson by issuing the first knowledge and understanding test. Explain that tests will
follow each main chunk of the course. The first test covered all the work so far on Imperial
Russia and the last tsars. Students will sit the test next lesson and, as at GCSE, the pass mark
they must reach is 66%.
2. Refer back to the course outline. We have finished the introductory sections and are now
focusing on the first of the three main strands of the course, the 1905 Revolution. Begin by
examining the Tolstoy source. Use the OHT to highlight key points. Students annotate their own
copy of the source as appropriate and then answer the questions set.
3. Answer the last task together, drawing up a list of problems facing the Tsarist regime by 1902.
4. Give students around 15 minutes to answer the introductory questions on Bloody Sunday.
5. Distribute the document exercise on Bloody Sunday. Discuss each of the tasks together and
encourage students to make notes on answer technique. The exercise asks them to utilise the
sources in different ways, from basic comprehension/extraction to evaluation and discussion of
reliability. Students now answer the tasks independently.
6. Extension/Homework Complete the document exercise. Further sources on Bloody Sunday are
also available (Unit 1: Bloody Sunday). Revise for class test.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Six: Interpretations of 1905
Aims and Objectives
1. To complete a formal test.
2. To develop the ability to interpret historical cartoons.
3. To encourage students to work collaboratively.
4. To develop students’ speaking, listening and presentational skills
Skeleton cartoon source/task sheet
OHT’s of political cartoons produced in 1905
Student copies of each cartoon (consumable)
1. Students are to answer test 1 questions. It is a good idea to read the questions to them so
everyone finishes at the same time. Students swap pages and the scripts are marked
immediately, Make a note of the results. Any students to fail to gain 66% must resit next lesson.
2. Move onto the group work, which provides a welcome contrast to the first activity. Place the
skeleton cartoon on the OHT and distribute student copies of this cartoon. These are stuck into
books and annotated during group discussion. Together discuss the opinion of the cartoonist.
Students are familiar with this type of source through their GCSE Paper 2 experience. Remind
them to add relevant contextual knowledge where possible. Give students 20 minutes to answer
the questions set.
3. Place students into small groups (2 or 3 members in each if possible) and give each group a
different cartoon to analyse. They are given a small copy (to be stuck into their books and
annotated as before) and an OHT also. Their focus question is “What is the opinion of the
cartoonist about the stability of the Tsarist system of government?” Allow them 25 minutes to:
(1) discuss the cartoon together; (2) answer the focus question and (3) be prepared to present
their cartoon to the rest of the class.
4. Listen to short presentations. Students place their cartoon on the OHP, distribute smaller copies
to the class and then explain the interpretation they have agreed upon. They annotate the
cartoon as the teacher has done in previous cases, whilst their classmates make their own copy.
Try to encourage all group members to contribute to the presentation.
5. Extension/Homework To answer the focus question for another cartoon.
NOTE: This lesson can go later, when the Revolution has been examined in more depth. However, it
fits well here too as most of the cartoons make reference to Bloody Sunday, which was the focus of
the previous lesson.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lessons Seven and Eight: The 1905 Revolution
Aims and Objectives
1. To develop note taking skills, by extracting relevant details from A Level texts.
2. To identify the main causes and events of the 1905 Revolution.
3. To consider the suitability of the term ‘revolution’ in relation to the events of 1905.
4. To produce an A Level standard essay.
G. Darby, The Russian Revolution, pages 32-36
M. Lynch, Reactions and Revolutions: Russia 1881-1924, pages 45-49
1905 Revolution Timeline
‘Was there a revolution in 1905?’ exercise
Essay guidance sheet
1. Students have already been introduced to the major long term and short term causes of the
1905 revolution, but information covered needs pulling together and reinforcing. This should be
done through a combination of group discussion and independent research. In the back of their
books, or on paper, students make a table with two columns (causes and events). They are to
use the relevant pages in the two textbooks, along with their own notes to complete the table.
They need not worry about the order they place information, as this is rough work at the
moment. Students will find the textbooks difficult but please encourage them to work
together and use dictionaries rather than asking for teacher assistance immediately.
2. As a whole group, produce a neat copy of the table (students should now be working in the front
of their books). The events section is relatively easy. The main causes would be:
 Dissatisfaction of the peasantry to the terms of emancipation
 Opposition caused by Alexander II’s other ‘liberal’ reforms
 Alexander III and the ‘Reaction’.
 Weaknesses of Nicholas II
 General economic problems
 Failure of war with Japan
 Bloody Sunday
As you can see, these are in chronological order. This is probably the most logical approach to
the essay question that follows.
3. Introduce the essay question – “What were the causes of the 1905 Revolution? Why did
the Revolution fail to overthrow the Tsarist regime?” Students should now feel confident
about tackling the principle question but the issue as to why the revolution failed still needs
examining. Distribute the timelines and let students stick these in their books. Then distribute
the sheet entitled “Was there a revolution in 1905?” This introduces an issue of historical debate
whilst at the same time answering the question as to why the Tsarist regime survived the events
of 1905. The exercise, once completed, will reveal factors missing from the 1905. One of the
most important of these is the fact that there was no army mutiny. The army stayed loyal to
Nicholas and this is an important reason why he was not overthrown. Equally important is the
fact that the protestors lacked unity and organisation.
4. Discuss essay writing technique/skills with students. It is also advisable to go through each point
in the essay together, allowing students to make notes as they wish. They are now ready to
answer the essay question independently. The finished product should be word processed.
NOTE: Rather than having each student write a complete essay, you may wish them to work more
collaboratively, each producing a separate point. Each student can then take away the group effort
and revise it as they see fit. Either approach is acceptable.
An essay guide is also available, although it is probably more appropriate to give it to any
students absent for this lesson, to ensure they can complete the work.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Nine: The aftermath of revolution and the October Manifesto
Aims and Objectives
1. To consider the consequences of the 1905 revolution upon Russian autocracy.
2. To continue the process of building a stock of historical vocabulary and terminology.
3. To revise 1905 Revolution work.
‘End of Revolution and the October Manifesto’ information and task sheets
Test 2: The 1905 Revolution
1. Collect in essays. Provide a brief recap of the situation facing Nicholas in 1905. (The ‘features
present’ section of the exercise completed last lesson will aid in this). We are now examining the
consequences of the Revolution and specifically the impact it had upon the Tsarist system of
government. Absolutism came to an end in Russia due to the events of 1905. However, before
revealing this fact, ask students to predict how Nicholas would react in 1905.
2. Move onto the information sheet. Before students work through the tasks it is important to
ensure they understand the content and implications of the October Manifesto. Encourage them
to continue to add definitions to their glossaries.
3. Extension/Homework Once the tasks on the Manifesto are complete, students write down the
research task in the back of their books. Their second piece of homework is to revise for their
second knowledge and understanding test. Again, they should be given the questions in
advance. Rather than letting them leave the room at this point give them a goal to reach (e.g.)
to provide 10 answers to the test. They may use Darby and Lynch to complete the research task
in this time too, but don’t allow them to take the books away. There are copies in the library and
it is important that they get into the habit of using this facility.
NOTE: Once, the essays have been marked, the following activity can be used effectively to
highlight good essay writing technique. Issue students with three coloured pens. On their own essay
they underline the following:
(a) Instances when the essay DIRECTLY answers the question
(b) Instances when the difference between causes is mentioned (e.g.) long/short term, economic,
political etc.
(c) Specific examples that have been used to support an argument.
If a model answer is available students carry out this activity on both essays, highlighting
further the changes they need to adopt to improve their extended writing.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Ten: The Dumas and the ‘Constitutional Experiment’
Aims and Objectives
1. To assess extent of knowledge and understanding of the course so far.
2. To continue to build stock of essential vocabulary and terminology.
3. To compare the content of the Fundamental Laws to the promises made in the October
4. To determine the success of constitutional reform, 1906-1914, and to begin to consider the
degree of government commitment to such reform.
‘The Dumas: The Constitutional Experiment’ Information/task sheet
Student copy of voting system diagram (consumable)
‘Russia in 1906/Britain today’ comparison tasks
1. Students complete the test in examination conditions. The pass mark is 66%.
2. Move onto the issue students were given to research – the Fundamental Laws and the difference
between these and the October Manifesto. Following brief discussion, distribute the information
sheet to reinforce knowledge and understanding. The voting system for the Duma was complex
and further teacher exposition will probably be necessary. A copy of the voting system is
available and should be stuck into student books. Students then work independently through the
12 tasks set. This only requires them to use the first 2 sides of the booklet. Do not read any
further forward at this point.
3. The task on the Dumas themselves should be tackled together. The comparison tasks on Russia
in 1906 and Britain today can therefore be issued at this point to the first students to complete
the previous set of questions. They provide valuable extension work and highlight the fact that,
despite constitutional reform, Russia was far from democratic nation.
4. Across a double page in their books, students construct a table focusing on the four Dumas that
sat between the years 1906-1914. The headings of the columns should be:
 Dates of Duma
 Group/s that controlled the Duma
 Achievements (e.g.) contribution to Russia’s political development, measures passed,
longevity etc.
 Failings (e.g.) government interference/lack of independence etc.
It is advisable to use the board and complete the table for the first Duma so students are given
an indication of the amount of detail they need to provide.
5. Extension/Homework: Complete the Duma table.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Eleven: Witte and Stolypin
Aims and Objectives
1. To familiarise students with the two men responsible for most economic development during the
reign of Nicholas II.
2. To assess the strengths and weaknesses of each man and to consider whether either man could
have saved Tsardom from its eventual demise.
3. To develop note taking skills further.
4. To produce an extended piece of writing focusing on the degree of government commitment to
constitutional reform, 1906-1914.
OHT of photographs of Witte and Stolypin
‘Witte and Stolypin: Potential saviours of Tsardom?’ information booklet
A3 Constitutional reform spider diagram/writing frame (consumable)
1. Because of the complex nature of constitutional reform following the 1905 Revolution it is
important to recap on the issues covered in the last 2 lessons. An extended question and answer
session is therefore advisable. Set homework at this point. Students are to answer the question
– “What evidence is there to suggest that Nicholas II was not committed to
constitutional reform during the period 1906-1914?” Brainstorm the main points that need
covering before issuing students with the A3 writing frames. Each of the main points are given
but students need to add the relevant examples and explanations under them. Complete one box
together to demonstrate the detail and style of writing required. Students’ existing notes will
enable them to complete all boxes but the one regarding talented politicians. It is to Witte and
Stolypin that we now turn.
2. Place the photographs on the OHT. They show Russia’s first two Prime Ministers. This lesson will
assess the importance of these men to the period of economic and political development
experienced in Russia prior to World War I.
3. Distribute the booklets and read through the information on Witte together. Make sure economic
terminology is explained fully. Students now construct a table across a double page in their
books. The headings should be:
 Personal qualities
 Positions held
 Aims
 Economic Ideas
 Achievements
 Criticisms
 Other details
Complete the section on Witte together. Make sure that specific examples of economic
development are taken from the statistics included in the information booklet.
5. Read through the section on Stolypin together. Students complete the Stolypin section of their
table independently.
6. Extension/Homework Extended piece of writing on constitutional reform.
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lessons Twelve and Thirteen: Stability of the Tsarist Regime in 1914
Aims and Objectives
1. To examine an issue of historical debate.
2. To develop ability to interpret and evaluate historical sources.
3. To improve examination technique by answering source-based questions in timed conditions.
4. To develop note taking skills.
5. To support the development of literacy skills required at AS Level.
‘Stability or Strife?’ Source and task sheets (the source task should be annotated and is therefore
OHT of sources
‘Was the Tsarist regime stable or unstable in 1914’? information booklet and OHT’s
1. As students are already aware, the Tsar was overthrown in a revolution in 1917. However, the
issue as to whether Nicholas’ downfall was inevitable or not is one of considerable historical
debate. The source exercise introduces the main arguments surrounding the issue, while the
following note taking tasks expands on them. Distribute the source sheets and work through
tasks 1, 2 and 3 in class. In each case, read through the relevant source/s, highlighting key
points, terms etc. Use the OHP as appropriate. Then give students a set amount of time to
answer the question. Question 2 is important as it introduces students to the Soviet
interpretation of history.
2. As each of the first three tasks require a different use of the source material, students should
then be able to answer the remaining questions independently.
3. Before moving on to the second main theme of the course (World War I) it is important to
examine the position of the Tsarist system in 1914. As the source work highlighted, many
historians believe that Russia’s disastrous performance in the war is the chief reason for the
overthrow of the Russian monarchy. Distribute the information booklet which is taken from G.
Darby, The Russian Revolution, Chapter Three. The chapter seeks to measure the extent of
discontent towards the monarchy in 1914 by examining each of the main social groups in Russia.
Go through the initial sections of the chapter together using the OHT and board. Students should
underline/highlight/annotate the booklet where appropriate and then make their own notes
under the headings provided. Encourage them to attempt the remaining sections independently.
The booklet is very detailed so it is essential that students condense the information. They need
to prioritise and remember that full sentences are not required at this point.
4. Extension/Homework After reading and note taking from the booklet students should answer
the question – ‘What is Darby’s opinion of the stability of the Tsarist regime in 1914?’
History Study Unit 1 [5b]
Russia in Revolution: 1905-17
Lesson Fourteen: Russia’s entry into World War One
Aims and Objectives
1. To understand the nature of Russian foreign policy.
2. To understand how the alliances of 1914 had emerged.
3. To appreciate the consequences of such alliances for Russia in 1914.
Test 3: The Dumas
‘The Road to World War I’ information/task sheet
‘The outbreak of war’ information sheet
1. Begin with a quick summary of last lesson’s work. There is considerable historical debate
regarding the demise of tsarism in Russia and whether it’s demise was inevitable as early as
1914. Undoubtedly the war had a huge impact on the stability of the regime. From the GCSE
course students are already aware that the Russia’s fought a disastrous campaign and were
forced to withdraw from the war in 1917 due to mounting domestic problems. In this lesson we
will see why Russia had little choice but to enter the war on the side of her allies.
2. Distribute the ‘Road to World War I’ information/task sheet. Discuss the tasks together, allowing
students an opportunity to note down relevant points. They should then work through the
questions independently.
3. Together read through the ‘outbreak of war’ information. Students construct an accurate timeline
to show the order of countries entering the war and Nicholas’ reaction to unfolding events.
4. Extension/Homework Issue students with Test 3. They will complete this test next lesson.
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