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The Russian Civil War


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The Russian Civil War

  1. 1. The Russian Civil War (1918-1921)<br />
  2. 2. What is a Civil War?<br />A Civil War is fought between two sides or factions in the same country.<br />For example, the American Civil was fought between Americans in the northern and southern states.<br />In Russia the war was fought between two armies – the White and the Red.<br />
  3. 3. Why did Bolshevik rule lead to a civil war?<br />The EPIC changes brought in by the Bolsheviks made them many enemies.<br />WHO WOULD HAVE OPPOSED THE CHANGES?<br />Supporters of the Tsar (including some soldiers)<br />Socialist Revolutionaries who had won the election but then seen the Constituent Assembly closed down.<br />Mensheviks who opposed the Bolshevik methods.<br />Landlords and capitalists who had lost their land and investments.<br />The Church which had lost land and any authority they had under the Tsar.<br />White Army poster depicting Trotsky as a Jewish Devil<br />
  4. 4. No Ballot = Bullets<br /> When the Bolsheviks used the Red Guard (Bolshevik Armed Force) to shut down the Constituent Assembly they left opponents with no peaceful way to protest.<br />Violence became the only method left to resist the Bolsheviks…<br /><ul><li>In August 1918 a Socialist Revolutionary agent shot Lenin three times.
  5. 5. He survived and in December established the CHEKA (the Bolshevik secret police) to crush his opponents).</li></li></ul><li>Armed and dangerous<br />By the end of 1918 anti-Bolshevik elements had united in an attempt to crush the Bolsheviks.<br />They were known as the ‘Whites’ (in contrast to the Bolshevik Reds).<br />Opponents from inside Russia were joined by enemies of the Bolsheviks from outside Russia.<br />Foreign troops from Britain, USA, France and Japan. They hoped to overthrow the Bolsheviks and force Russia back into the war against Germany.<br />
  6. 6. Bolsheviks surrounded<br />The Bolsheviks controlled the cities of Moscow and Petrograd.<br />They also controlled the area around these cities.<br />Most of Russia was controlled by the Social Revolutionaries and their followers.<br />These areas included Generals Yudenich, Wrangel, and Admiral Kolchak who were opposed to the Bolsheviks.<br />
  7. 7. Bolsheviks surrounded<br />
  8. 8. Czechs please!<br />During the war ethnic Czechs from inside Russia had formed a legion to fight against Germany.<br />They hoped to win the respect of Britain and the United States. <br />Their goal was to have land taken from Austria-Hungary after the war and used to create an independent land for the Czech people.<br />Trotsky had the Czech legion sent to Siberia and disarmed.<br />They escaped and killed any Bolsheviks between them and the Pacific Coast….<br />
  9. 9. Whites on the move<br />General Yudenich and Wrangel marched towards Bolshevik-controlled western Russia from the west.<br />Admiral Kolchak approached from central-southern Russia.<br />General Kornilov lead an army from southern Russia.<br />They were joined by forces from Britain, France and America.<br />The White Armies would eventually number 2,400,000. The western allies contributed 150,000 troops.<br />The White army completely surrounded the Bolsheviks.<br />
  10. 10. Trotsky’s Response<br />Trotsky rapidly created a new Red Army of over 300,000 men.<br />He used former Tsarist Officers as leaders.<br />He gained their ‘loyalty’ by holding their families hostage and threatening to kill the families of unsuccessful officers.<br />If a regiment retreated against orders they were machine-gunned.<br />During the war he travelled from one front to another in an armoured train to inspire and lead the troops.<br />
  11. 11. The Red Terror<br />The Bolsheviks ruthlessly dealt with anybody in their territory who supported the Whites.<br />The Cheka used beatings, torture, hangings and shootings to ‘control’ opposition.<br />Around 250,000 people were executed by the Chekaduring the war.<br />The executions included the Tsar and his family in July 1918.<br />The Bolsheviks were worried that an advancing White army would liberate them from their house arrest in Ekaterinburg. <br />If Nicholas was free it would inspire some of the White Army to try to return him to the throne.<br />A mass grave of Cheka victims<br />
  12. 12. Bolsheviks fight back<br />Trotsky’s Red Army destroyed Admiral Kolchak's forces at the end of 1919.<br />The White Armies did not work together well and Trotsky was able to destroy them one by one.<br />He used the central position of the Bolsheviks to their advantage – moving from front to front as required.<br />The last major White Army was defeated in the Crimea in November 1920.<br />By 1921 the Bolsheviks controlled Russia.<br />
  13. 13. Trotsky the slayer<br />
  14. 14. The impact of the war<br />Destroyed military opposition to the Bolsheviks.<br />Peasants in occupied territories were brutalised by both sides.<br />800,000 soldiers died in combat.<br />Over 8 million people died of starvation and disease (both the White and Red armies had confiscated food supplies from peasants….).<br />
  15. 15. Brilliant Bolsheviks?<br />Committed to the same cause - Bolshevik revolution.<br />Brilliantly led by Trotsky.<br />Kept the towns and armies fed (by confiscating food from peasants).<br />Kept the army supplied by taking over factories of Moscow and Petrograd.<br />Red Terror kept civilians in line.<br />Used propaganda to spread fear of foreign influence and White Army brutality.<br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. Weak Whites?<br />…but at least we sleep on our own land now.<br />The Red Terror may haunt our dreams….<br />Different groups, different aims (Social Revolutionaries forced to fight along supporters of the Tsar!).<br />Spread widely so Trotsky could defeat them one by one.<br />Peasants hated both sides but knew the Whites would bring back landlords!<br />