1. Assess the role of Lenin in the success of the Bolshevik revolution.
Lenin’s political role in the success of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution was to a critical extent due to his thirst for power. However, to a reduced extent, the feebleness of the Provisional Government and the support/work of Trotsky guaranteed political accomplishment. Lenin’s strength within the political sphere was most accentuated by his April Theses – 7 April 1917. Lenin was a described by post-revisionist historian Robert Service as a ‘political warrior’ and a ‘power hungry politician’. Lenin aspired to achieve power and superiority over others, thus he founded a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party – The Bolsheviks in an attempt to overthrow the Provisional Government and gain rule over Russia “winning was everything for Lenin”– ‘Lenin: a biography’, Robert Service. Lenin postulated that “by offering a democratic peace straight away, by giving land to the peasants straight away, by restoring the democratic institutions and freedoms trampled on and crushed by Kerensky, the Bolsheviks will form a government that no one will overthrow…” – this was the basis of the Bolshevik series of directives the April Theses, of which Lenin was the mastermind. Lenin’s April theses influenced the July Days and October revolution in 1917 and also allowed political amnesty for exiles. The attainment of the April Theses was aided by the growing dislike of the Provisional Government for it could not and was unwilling to offer the directives. Post revisionist McCauley claims that it was a combination of Lenin’s skill as well as conditions in Russia at the time that enabled the Bolshevik to gain power. The momentum of the Bolsheviks was highly influenced by Lenin’s hunger and determination for power, Service asserts “he was a sinuous politician in pursuit of his ideological goals” The Bolsheviks would not have apprehended rule if Lenin did not call for them to seize power in the wake of the reigniting of their fortunes subsequent to the Kornilov affair and the acquisition of masses in the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets. Christian admits that Trotsky and Lenin were a “formidable team.” H.R Cowrie argues with more strength that Trotsky was a critical component of the Bolshevik ability to seize power “On 7 November 1917, the precise and brilliantly manipulated seizure of power took place, with Trotsky the central figure in its execution.” However such assertions are slightly weakened due to various factors such as Trotsky’s deflection to the Menshevik which illustrates how Lenin’s role was more long term and significant, and Christians claims that “The critical element was the leadership of Lenin… in 1917, he provided decisive leadership at critical moments. Lenin’s April thesis heightened his political role success in the success of the 1917 revolution, and furthermore was its prominent success in his Socio-Economic role.
Lenin critically understood the prominence of the Peasant class which represented 89% of Russia’s population, and with the support of the peasants he also understood that it would guarantee success for the Bolshevik revolution. This heightens Lenin’s Socio-Economic role in the success of the Bolshevik revolution to a Substantial extent. However, Lenin’s role in the Bolshevik’s revolutionary success was aided by the inability of the Provisional Government to solve pressing economic problems and its alienation of support bases. In the duration of the time while the Provisional Government was inactive in resolving the issues facing the Russian population, Lenin was the saviour of the lower class offering solutions to the concerns of bread and land. Service claims that Lenin was “insidiously clever”, which is undoubtedly true as Lenin wielded the critical understanding of which impacts on the 89% of peasants can have a highly significant and favourable result. One of the most desirable commodities for the peasant...
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