DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT CREATED BY DAVID WILLIAM PHILLIPS
In 1914, a lack of experienced military leaders and outdated weaponry left the Russian Empire ill prepared for the Great War. The poorly trained and equipped Russian army suffered terrible losses on the Eastern Front against the Central Powers.
By 1917, the Russian will to continue fighting in the war had disappeared . In March 1917, working-class women in St. Petersburg, upset by the war and food shortages called for a massive strike to shut down the factories.
Czar Nicholas II responded by ordering his troops to break up the crowds with force. However, many soldiers refused their orders to fire and instead joined the demonstrators.
On March 12, 1917, the Duma urged the czar to abdicate his throne, which he did. Power was handed over to a provisional government.
The provisional government decided to continue fighting the Great War. This was a grave mistake; workers and peasants wanted to end the terrible years of fighting.
The government was challenged by the power of the soviets — councils representing workers and soldiers — which came to play an important role in Russian politics. Soviets sprang up around Russia. Most were made up of socialists .
The Bolsheviks were a radical Marxist political party whose influence was on the rise. They were led by V.I. Lenin , and were dedicated to beginning a violent revolution to overthrow the capitalist system.
The Bolsheviks promised to end the war , redistribute land to the peasants, transfer control of factories and industries from capitalists to the workers, and transfer government power to the soviets .
By the end of October, 1917, the Bolsheviks held majorities in the St. Petersburg and Moscow soviets. On November 6, the Bolsheviks seized the Winter Palace and the provisional government collapsed.
The Bolsheviks renamed themselves the Communists . In March of 1918, Lenin ended the war with Germany. By the terms of the Brest-Litovsk treaty, Lenin surrendered vast amounts of Russian territory to end the fighting.
He did not feel it was a loss because believed that these territories would soon return to Russia as the Marxist revolution spread through Europe.
Civil war soon broke out in Russia. Many people were opposed to the Communists, including czarists, liberals, and anti-Leninist socialists. They were aided by the Allies , who gave them troops and supplies, hoping Russia would rejoin the war.
But, by 1920, the Communist Red Army emerged as the victor.
By 1921, the Communists had complete control of Russia. The country had become a centralized state dominated by a single party . However, the country and government were both on the verge of collapse .
The Five-Year Plans set clear economic goals for five-year periods. The plans emphasized rapid industrialization and production of capital goods and greatly increased the output of heavy machinery and production of oil and steel .