Monday, November 11, 2013

What's Your Russia?

            Today, at least as I start writing this, is Armistice Day, or the anniversary of the end of World War One. I know that I already talked about the origins of World War One and how absolutely high school they all were, but since this is the last Armistice Day before we start recognizing the 100th Anniversary of a bunch of WWI stuff (that’ll be huge in Europe and I hope I get a chance to see it) I’ll share one of my favorite stories from the war. No, it isn’t about the Christmas Truce, although that’s a pretty awesome story on its own. It’s about how Germany changed the world for centuries on a bid to kick Russia out of the war.
            I know that, when it comes to World Wars, we tend to blame Germany for just about anything and everything. I mean, WWII in Europe was pretty much Germany’s fault, let’s admit, but you’re no better than the Conference of Versailles if you think the first war was solely on Germany’s shoulders.
            HOWEVER. The beginning of the USSR is a pretty great story, and Germany has a pretty front-and-center role in the whole thing. In case you didn’t know, Russia wasn’t very good at being a country, since, like, ever. It came to head in the extremely costly Eastern front of the war headed into 1917. Russia was falling apart economically and militarily, and there was no real relief in sight. In early March (they called it late February because they were on the old calendar, once again, not very good at the whole country thing), a peaceful protest during International Women’s Day turned into a full scale rebellion, centered in the capital.
            It accomplished quite a bit. The February Revolution (that took place in March) kicked the Czar out, ruined the reputation of International Women’s Day, and set the stage for the underappreciated animated film Anastasia. But now without the Czar and the rest of the Russian Monarchy in power, a provisional government was set up shortly after, lead by moderate socialists. The brand new government did a lot of great reforms for the people of Russia.
            They missed one pretty important sticking point in the minds of soldiers, though. They forgot to pull out of the war. This is pretty important.