The roots of the Cold War lie in the events of 1917 and the long shadows they cast on the politics - both material and ideational - of the 1920s and 1930s. At the same time as World War I continued to unfold with its unremitting sacrifice of human life, its multiple personal tragedies, the ineptitude of the generals and the inability of any one side to decisively prevail, a new sentiment was expressed - a new vision of human life and of global politics. In Russia, the Bolsheviks seized power and in a clear challenge to liberal democracies encouraged workers everywhere to overthrow the shackles of their bourgeois states. This was a startling turnaround for Russia. In August 1914, thousands of Russians had gathered in St Petersburg to welcome the outbreak of World War I in the expectation that war would bring about a rapid Russian victory. Political elites were convinced that a successful war in Europe would solidify Russian imperial power abroad and at home. But by 1917, millions of Russians had been killed and wounded, the Russian Imperial Army was near defeat and enthusiasm for war waned. The Russian economy faltered, prices rose and the cities were short of food. People gathered in the streets of the capital to protest against Tsar Nicholas II. He was forced to abdicate and a provisional government was established but was then overthrown by the Bolsheviks.
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