Gareth Parker How important was the Bolshevik threat to Tsardom in the reign of Nicholas II? The threat to Tsardom is complex and needs to be understood from different viewpoints. Initial examination of the Bolsheviks is vital from formation to the growing strength of revolutionaries such as Lenin and Trotsky and their influence on the downfall of Tsarism. Nicholas II was key to his own demise, not only his poor leadership but also his alienation from his own people and the average Russians way of life. There can be no ignoring the effect that World War I had on Russia, with the crippling affects of a major war and the resulting breakdown of infrastructure within the Russian Empire.
How did Stalin's dictatorship develop? Stalin made his way into becoming dictator by a series of manipulative and clever tactics he would use to aid his influence. After Lenin and his party took over the election of the Provisional government which had been elected after the fall of the tsarist regime through a series of well-aimed political hits and armed threats; Stalin ascended the ranks of the government through extensive manipulation and threats as well as gaining the strong loyalty of some socialist idealists. In 1922 Stalin received the majority vote to become the General Secretary of the Communist party; a role that really no one else in the party really wanted as they deemed it unimportant and much like “House-chores”. What the other members of the soviet party such as Trotsky did not realize however; was that Stalin would use the position to gain a mass of followers for his socialist ideals and would use it as a stepping stone to achieve greater political influence and manipulate his way even further in the ranks.
Lenin had also ended the war with Germany by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. However, this was a humiliating treaty for Russia as the Germans had been extremely harsh and the treaty took land, industries and people from Russia. After the Reds’ victory in the civil war, Lenin set about creating the world’s first communist state. He introduced war communism whereby the people saw the rapid nationalization of all industries as well as the requisitioning of all surplus grain from the peasants. Even though this solved all the immediate needs of the communist state, the majority of the peasants were unhappy about the new policies and rebelled against the Bolsheviks.
For Lenin, the party was to be a group prepared to seize power as soon as possible yet on the other hand, for Martov, the main purpose of the party was to spread propaganda and raise the level of consciousness of the proletariat. This was because he did not believe that Russia was ready for a Marxist revolution for many years. Lenin believed that is the Mensheviks had their way, it would take years to start the revolution; they would just waste time on useless discussion and argument. Martov, replied that the revolution would fail if it did not have the support of the whole working class. The social democratic party remained spilt on the issue.
Vladimir Lenin was a key part of the Russian Revolution. Under his strong leadership and with the help of his loyal followers, Lenin enabled the Bolsheviks to come into power, overturning the Provisional Government in the second revolution of the year. This has long been regarded as an important factor that contributed to this seizing of power. However, it is not the sole reason, nor is it the most important one, with two others being the incompetence of the Provisional Government and the poor military leadership of Kerensky. Lenin was a key figure in the eyes of the workers of Russia.
His harsh policy of war communism and the use of the checka in the years of the civil war, removed opposition to his power. Following the Civil War his introduction to the NEP gave the people a chance to recover from the harsh brutality’s from the civil war. However the role of Trotsky certainly contributed to the power held by the Bolsheviks and his active role in the revolution that saw the demise of the provisional government. Despite the fact that Lenin has spent much of his time in exile in Finland, when he returned in April 1917, it can be argued that he was the undisputed leader of the Bolshevik party. The April thesis was the promise of peace bread and land.
Ali Adenwala 12J Due: 5/1/15 Why did the Bolsheviks succeed in 1917 whilst other political parties failed to gain power? [2nd Draft] The Bolshevik’s seizure of power was due, significantly, to the external environment of deterioration festering around them at the time, the most incremental and significant being the failure of other political parties to act and distance themselves from the Provisional Government. This directly heightened Lenin’s role in the revolution, allowing him to exploit these weaknesses, with the help of Trotsky, whom he appropriated successfully to achieve the parties main end: a socialist, Bolshevik government, Sovnarkom. Lenin placed Trotsky as the leader of the Petrograd Soviet’s Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) on September 25th 1917, to carry out a planned uprising, where Trotsky, between October 24th and 25th, ordered the Bolshevik Red Guards to seize key positions in Petrograd. This led to the taking over of railway stations, and post and telegraph offices, meaning that the PG was left totally defenseless, allowing the Bolsheviks to seize control.
In December 1905 he was again arrested after showing his public support of the Bolsheviks during his imprisonment Trotsky developed the idea of Permanent revolution – he argued that a revolution could not survive in one country for long it would need an ally. In May 1917 Trotsky returns to Russia and witnesses food shortages and violence in the streets. By now both Trotsky and Lenin believe that the time is right for a socialist revolution. Trotsky’s life includes the significant role he played in the 1917 revolution. Initially he persuaded Lenin to hold off the revolution until November because he believed that the time and place for the transfer of power was the Second Annual all Russian Congress of the soviets so that the Bolsheviks could claim that they were claiming power for the
Yet, popular support alone cannot bring military success nor can it bring stability. In the period leading up to, and during, the civil war the Red Army, under the guidance and influence of Leon Trotsky, were transformed from a ‘rabble to an incomparable fighting force’. They were vast in number and located in Russia’s key industrial centers providing firm foundations from which they could build and also resist attack. The formidable pair of Lenin and Trotsky combined to create a party which boasted military might and also political and social awareness. Propaganda and foreign intervention helped to portray the Soviet leadership as ‘leaders of a national liberation struggle against foreign imperialists’ and this won them support from the masses whilst the Whites reliance on foreign aid rendered them vulnerable if such aid was to be withdrawn.
As the sailors were heroes of the 1917 revolution against the PG, their uprising came as a shock to the Bolsheviks, especially to Lenin. Nevertheless, Trotsky ordered the Red Guard to put down the uprising and Marshal Tukhachevshy rounded up the sailors, who shot them without a trial. Lenin realised that the peasants and some measure of economic liberalisation were essential for the regime to survive. Discontent could no longer be suppressed. Lenin said that the Kronstadt revolt was “the flash that lit up reality more than anything else”.