?Revolutions Occur When Governments are Weak.? Discuss in Terms of the Russian Revolution and One Other.

Essay by yoshimiCollege, UndergraduateC+, October 2004

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The strength or weakness of a government can be viewed in two ways. Firstly it may be interpreted as being literally the extent to which the government has control over the internal security of the state and in general its ability to resist challenges from opposition groups. Alternatively a government can be viewed as being weak based on its poor decision making and its failure to protect the national interest. In relation to the former definition there is little to support the view that revolutions occur when governments are weak. There can be little doubt that revolutions are more likely to succeed when governments are weak, however revolutions occur for a range of far more complex reasons rather than simply the opportunity arising. For example the present government Ireland would have very limited ability to resist a well organised revolution, however it does not occur because few if any of the requirements necessary for a revolution are present.

In the case of the latter, poor decision making of a government has indeed contributed to the birth of past revolutions, however it is only one aspect of the numerous and complex causes of a revolution.

Revolutions are by nature shrouded in misconceptions and false conclusion. This is unsurprising due to the conditions of chaos under which they occur. This confusion is confounded by the fact that, as such events are highly politically charged, their causes and their inspiration are often manipulated in order to serve a certain political cause. For this reason the causes of revolutions are often reduced by the casual observer to two simplex causes, the oppression and hardship suffered by a population under a weak and corrupt government. Although the causes of Great Revolutions such as the French and the Russian are more complex than this, they are...