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Russia : 1917 By Miss HoulsonDownloaded from www.SchoolHistory.co.uk
Russia : 1917June The Provisional Government uses troops to attack Germany. Russia is badly defeated. Demands for peace are made.July 16 – 18 Demonstrations in Petrograd turn into a premature Bolshevik uprising against the Provisional Government. Referred to as ‘The July Days’.
July It fails to overthrow the government and Lenin flees to Finland. Leon Trotsky creates the ‘Red Guards’, the Bolshevik military force. Trotsky becomes the Chairman of the increasingly influential Bolshevik administration and political centre – The Petrograd Soviet.Remember – Whoever controlled the soviet could also control Russia….
August 1 Kerensky, the leader of the Provisional Government appoints General Kornilov as the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian army.September 10 Right wing coup led by General Kornilov collapses in defeat. Bolsheviks and Red Guards have some of their old leaders released and armed by Kerensky in order to protect Petrograd. Kornilov’s men are hungry and scared and they mutiny to join the Petrograd soviet.
Meanwhile: Lenin is busy writing letters to other Bolshevik leaders urging them to make preparations for a revolution. The Bolsheviks’ popularity grows steadily and they are now a real power in Russia. Lenin encourages Trotsky to prepare his men for a violent seizure of power.
October 23 The Bolshevik Central Committee under Lenin vote for revolutionary measures. At this time in Russia, prices of goods are ten times higher than they were before the Great War. People are starving, food and supplies are not getting through (no thanks to the Provisional Government). All the while, Lenin is busy formulating his strategy – making the plans for the revolution.
November 3 Trotsky’s Military Revolutionary Committee take control of the Petrograd garrison after the mutiny in the July Days.November 6 Red Guards begin to occupy strategic government buildings across Petrograd. Kerensky flees. Provisional Government barricade themselves into the Winter Palace. Bolsheviks storm the palace during the night and around 2am they arrest the government ministers. The bloodless coup is over.
After the seizure of power… On the 8th November 1917, the All Russian Congress of Soviets give power to the 15 Bolshevik Commissars under the leadership of Lenin.But, why were they able to seize power?
Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power?They had a strong They were realistic,political and economic practical and clever incentre in the Petrograd setting their short termSoviet. goals.They had their ownarmed forces, the ‘Red The ProvisionalGuards’. Government was weakThey were organised and ineffective.and disciplined and had Lenin was an inspiringclear planned leader with vision,strategies. clarity and ability.