L9 the october revolution

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L9 the october revolution

  1. 1. The October Revolution Lenin, the Bolshevik’s and the end of the Provisional Government
  2. 2. So far… So Russia 1. Russia – an introduction 2. The Crimean War 3. Alexander II – Reform 4. Opponents of Alex II and Alex III 5. Alexander III & Industrialisation 6. Russo-Japanese war 1905 7. Revolution of 1905 8. Nicholas II, Stolypin and Russia on the eve of war 9. World War 1 10. Revolutions of 1917 11. The Russian Civil War / Lenin 12. Rise of Stalin 13. Five Year Plans, Collectivisation and the Great Terror 14. World War Two 15. Last Years of Stalin Question To what extent did war provide a catalyst for change in Russia between 1853-1953?
  3. 3. Spot the difference.
  4. 4. Why two revolutions? • From previous lessons you should know about the July Days, the Kerensky Offensive and the Kornilov Affair. • You should also be aware of Bolshevik activities in the months prior to October 1917. • Each event showed the new Provisional Government to be weak and generally unstable. • It is clear with hindsight that February 1917 was only the start of the revolutionary process as the PG could not fill the power vacuum. • The continuation of the war sapped the initial optimism that surrounded the PG.
  5. 5.  Your task - Countdown to Revolution • Read Lynch p.92-96 and construct a timeline of events explaining how the Bolsheviks seized power. Use these dates to help you: • Mid-September • 12 September • 7 October • 10 October • 23 October • 25-27 October • 27 Oct Also include the July Days and the Kornilov Affair.
  6. 6. Countdown to Revolution • Mid-September Bolsheviks gained majority in Petrograd & Moscow Soviets • 12 September Time was ripe for revolution: ‘History will not forgive us if we do not assume power’ • 7 October Lenin returned to Petrograd in secret • 10 October Central Committee pledged support for armed insurrection (uprising)
  7. 7. • 23 October Bolshevik Papers Pravda & Izvestiya closed down • 25-27 October Support for PG collapses and members of government flee abroad. Bolsheviks and Kronstadt sailors seize the Winter Palace. • 27 Oct Lenin notifies Congress of Soviets that Petrograd Soviet (controlled by Bolsheviks) had seized power & set up new revolutionary government, ‘Sovnakom’
  8. 8. This picture showing the storming of the Winter Palace was staged in 1920. Why would the Bolsheviks do this?
  9. 9.  Homework Task • Read Lynch p.96-99 and list the reasons why the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 was successful. • Highlight different causes of change. • Social, economic, political, individual, inevitable?
  10. 10. Reasons for Bolshevik success • Other parties co-operated with PG, e.g. promise of elections to Constituent Assembly allayed Liberals • Bolshevik opposition to War, compared with SRs & Mensheviks • Menshevik adherence to Marxism – Feb Rev was a prelude to proletariat revolution • Bolshevik aims & methods clearer than opponents • Weaknesses of PG – interim govt, lacked legitimacy • Failure of PG to suppress Bolsheviks, e.g. ignored the Smolny Institute • Lenin’s charisma • Growth in membership of Bolsheviks & dominance of Soviets • Factory committees • Radicalisation of Russian politics
  11. 11. How does this poster portray the revolution? Who do you think would have produced it?
  12. 12. Traditional Soviet view (1918- 1980s) • February Revolution only a step on the revolutionary process towards Russia becoming a socialist state The February bourgeoisie-democratic revolution did not bring the working masses of Russia either liberation from the domination of their exploiters, or Russia’s withdrawal from the imperialist war. The struggle over the issue of war and peace graphically demonstrated the anti- popular essence of the Provisional Government. Kukushkin, History of the USSR: An Outline of the Socialist Construction • The second revolution was inevitable but the Bolsheviks did play an important role in influencing events. • A rising of workers and peasants guided by the Bolsheviks under Lenin • Bolsheviks outmanoeuvred other groups. • Importance of Trotsky played down.
  13. 13. Liberal view • Was a coup carried out by a small group. • Was successful only because the PG had lost all authority • No organisation had the power or the will to stop the Bolsheviks • Revolution was bloodless. • Opposition finally woke up post-revolution and caused the Russian Civil War. • Some Liberals claim that the Bolsheviks high jacked the struggle of the working classes to remove Tsarism and replace it with another authoritarian regime. • Some also argue that the Bolsheviks were not as organised as Soviet historians made out – party made up various factions. Lenin had difficulty imposing arguments of April Thesis.
  14. 14. Post-communist era Russian view • Continue to recognise significance of Lenin • Agree with Western liberal view that it was carried out by a small but well organised group.
  15. 15. Which historical view supports this painting?
  16. 16. October Rev: Coup or not a coup? EVIDENCE FOR A COUP • Few people took part in an essentially bloodless struggle • Power seized by organised party not the working classes • Seizure of power remarkably smooth – government collapsed without a fight EVIDENCE AGAINST • During previous nine months of 1917, Bolsheviks gained much support amongst workers In reality, the insurrection is only part of the revolution.. Nine-tenths of the tasks were already accomplished before-hand, by winning over the decisive majority of workers and soldiers. Woods, Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution • Bolsheviks were small but represented much larger numbers – Lenin's argument
  17. 17. J. Laver, Modernisation of Russia, 1856-1985 • The truth lies somewhere between all these interpretations • Feb Rev more spontaneous than Oct Rev • PG probably fatally weakened before Oct 1917 • Bolshevik victory was not inevitable, whatever support they had on the ground. • At a time of national crisis, an extremist group was always going to have an advantage over moderates. • Storming of Winter Palace was of great symbolic and propaganda importance, but only that. Arguably did not cause great political and social change immediately. • Struggle for Russia still to come…

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