In January 1905, there was a revolutionary tide in Russia. This was mainly caused by the defeat of the Russo-Japanese War in September and the Bloody Sunday Incident in January. In the country, workers, peasants and merchants were holding demonstrations in order to express their discontent to the Tsarist government. Although Nicholas II issued the October Manifesto to pacify the discontent of people temporarily, he still had to face some problems after the 1905 Revolution. To regain the support from people, he needed to carry out the reforms in the October Manifesto.
How accurate is it to say that Lenin’s Leadership was the most important reason for the Bolsheviks success in the revolution of November 1917? The October revolution happened because of three main factors: Lenin’s leadership, the planning of Trotsky and the failure of the Provisional Government. Without one then it is likely the revolution would not have happened at all. However, I do not think that it was Lenin’s leadership that was the most important factor; I think the weakness of the Provisional Government was the main reason why a revolution occurred. Lenin’s leadership was crucial to the October revolution, during his time in hiding before April, the Bolsheviks that were in Russia supported the Provisional Government.
“The Bolsheviks were able to overthrow the Provisional Government because they had the support of the Russian people and armed forces.” Do you agree with this view? On the 7th of November in 1917, the Bolsheviks, who were led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government, which was led by Alexander Kerensky, after the long revolt against them. The Provisional Government initially came to power after the February revolution; after the Russian monarchy was overthrown in March of 1917. There are many different interpretations and opinions from historians; many suggest that the Bolsheviks were hugely supported by the ordinary people and citizens of Russia. Others indicate that their rise to power and the overthrow of the Provisional Government was more influenced by the faults and failures of the Provisional Government.
The main reason that Stalin was able to rise to power was his ingenious defeats of both the left and right wings of the Party. The key figure Stalin had to take down from the left wing was Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was important because in effect, it was his leadership of the Red Army during the Civil War that had won the war for the Reds. If it hadn’t been for Trotsky, the Bolsheviks may not have been in the position they were by 1924. The first step Stalin took towards removing the threat of Trotsky was to lie to him about the date of Lenin’s funeral.
Lenin also suppressed democracy, closing down the constituent assembly in January 1918 after ‘one day of democracy’. Both the Tsars and the communist rulers also showed no hesitation in the use of secret police and mass terror. Each regime had its own secret police - the Third Section under Alexander II, the Okhrana under Alexander III and Nicholas II, the Cheka, the NKVD and the KGB under the communists. The suppression of opponents was also a common practice throughout the period. Under the term of Pyotr Stolypin as Prime Minister (1906-11), hundreds of opponents were hanged - earning the hangman’s noose the nickname - ‘the Stolypin necktie’.
However, whether it was the most significant event must be evaluated against others, for example the 1905 Revolution, the February Revolution of 1917, and Lenin’s death. The October 1917 Revolution was a very significant event in changing the course of Russian history from 1855 to 1964 but I would not argue it as being the most significant event. The revolution was quite important due to the fact that it brought the Tsarist rule to an end and therefore led to the Provisional Government losing control and power to the Bolsheviks. Due to the Bolsheviks coming to power, they were able to attempt to solve their three main policies of peace; Russian people wanted to end the war, bread; there were many food shortages throughout Russia, and Land; they wanted to offer peasants land. The October revolution of 1917 in effect, led to the Russian Civil war which was the exact opposite of what the Bolsheviks wanted and this predominantly moved on to Lenin’s death and the power struggle.
At the time, the formation of political parties was illegal but despite this, they still existed. Every sector of society was represented through one of these illegal parties to act as opposition to the Tsarist autocracy. A number of parties set up used violence and terrorist activities to express their views. The Social Revolutionaries and the Social Democrats were set up to create a new society which gave power to the workers and peasants. The Social Revolutionaries were responsible for over 2000 assassinations from 1901-1905 including the Tsars uncle, Grand Duke Sergei in February 1905.
How important was Stalin’s use of the Lenin legacy in gaining power? Stalin’s use of the Lenin Legacy helped him gain support during the years 1924-1929, eventually resulting in him winning the power struggle and gaining power in Russia. Even though in Lenin’s final testament he made it clear that Stalin was trouble and he should be got rid of, Stalin’s political cunning and his use of the Lenin legacy meant that he was able to gain people’s support and become leader of the Communist party. One of the most noticeable was at Lenin’s funeral. Firstly, Stalin had told Trotsky (who was a major rival to Stalin at this time) the wrong date for Lenin’s funeral.
To what extent was the 1905 revolution successful? In 1905, throughout Russia, there was a widespread revolution by the peasants of the country. This revolution was kickstarted on january 22nd, as Russian armed officers fired into the crowd of 400,000 protesters, resulting in multiple deaths (suspected to be in double figures, almost up to a hundred.) This led to worker strikes throughout Russia, particularly in industrial towns. These were due to the horrendous living conditions that existed in industrial workplaces during that time.
Sergei Kirov was assassinated by a young party member, Leonid Nikolayev, on 1st December, 1934. Stalin claimed that Nikolayev was part of a larger conspiracy led by Leon Trotsky against the Soviet government. This resulted in the arrest and execution of Kamenev, Zinoviev, and fifteen other party members who had been critical of Stalin. However, it was Stalin's paranoia that led to such extreme actions. When Kirov was assassinated in December 1934, Stalin used this as an excuse to purge the Soviet Union.