The Success of the Bolshevik Revolution
In order to understand the success of the Bolsheviks, one must first appreciate that they had no central role in the general revolution of March 1917. The government at the time of this Revolution was extremely weak. This was due to lack of loyalty in the army and consistent internal and foreign policy mistakes abdicated by Tsar Nicholas II, starting with the dissolution of the Duma and ending with the continued engagement in WW1 when Russia was in a state of famine, inflation, and general turmoil. It was only after this revolution that the Bolsheviks started to gain relevance in Russian politics by engaging in the new Provisional Government, and strategically taking advances of internal and foreign policy errors. An example of their lack importance during the revolution of March 1917 would be the Bolshevik’s leader, Lenin, was abroad and had given up on the Bolshevik cause in Russia at this point in time. After the March Revolution the Provisional Government consisted of not only Bolsheviks, but many military officers, Socialists, and a small amount of Conservatives who constituted a broad range of the Political Spectrum. Once the Provisional Government was in place the Bolsheviks methodically took bits and pieces of power through policy and the consistent ability to “rally the troops” of the Bolshevik cause. They continued to gain power from 1917- January of 1918 when the Constituent Assembly, ready to dissolve the Bolshevik’s dictatorship, was forcibly dismissed. During the summer of 1918 a major reform of the military took place in order to ensure the future of Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks then hung onto control, by a thread until 1920. At this point there was a more solidified grip on the political, and thus military, aspects of the country. The success of The Bolshevik revolution was due to the lack of power in the central government at the time of the revolution, the Bolshevik’s willingness to suppress any opposition even if violence was necessary, and the Bolsheviks aptitude to maneuver and swiftly change policy when necessary. The Central Government had been severely weakened by the Revolution of March 1917 and the Bolshevik’s had been able to capitalize quickly and effectively on this weakness. The state of the country during the time of the Revolution was comparable to that of the Stalinist era (Payne, 35). The major difference being there was no Stalin or police force to carry out systematic terror in order to keep people under control. On the other hand the economy and social aspects of Russia suffered comparably. (Payne, 35) Industry was emphasized without adequate pay, peasants were tasked with insurmountable quotas, and discontentment fell in all areas of life. (Payne 35) One of the major differences was the lack of loyalty found in the army. When a rebellious nature rippled through Russia it affected all the people within the country, and without a military force willing to brutally oppress such ideas, Russia became ripe for a Revolution. The necessary spark for a revolution came from within the political heart of Russia, Petrogrand, and with Tsar Nicholas’s initial indifference to the situation the Revolution quickly spiraled out of his control. The Provisional Government in power after the removal of the Tsar could have possibly retained power had they ended the war, but with Russia’s sluggish advancement politically, economically, and socially, Socialism, or some form of it, became the most attractive option for the average citizen. (Payne 36). © Although Bolsheviks were a part of these Socialist groups, they were by no means the most popular or powerful of the groups within the party at the time of the March Revolution. They did have certain advantages though, one of them being the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, without Lenin it is unlikely the Bolsheviks would have succeeded. His charismatic nature and innate ability...
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