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October 1917 - The British Empire

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October 1917
The Bolshevik Takeover
The Provisional Government
• February 1917, The Respectable Revolution
– Mainly Liberals and Conservatives
• Some Socialists
– Kerensky
– International Support
• Britain and France don’t mind change of government
– AS LONG AS THEY CONTINUE TO WAGE WAR!
– Eases path of USA into World War.
– Tried to undo injustices of the past
• Frees all political prisoners
– Including many Bolsheviks!
В» Stalin
Missed the Boat
• Bolsheviks had been caught by surprise
by February Revolution
• Lenin in Switzerland
– He needs to return
• How does he do it?
The Sealed Train?
• By train through Germany
to Sweden
• He must avoid being
tainted with collaborating
with the Germans!
• They transported Lenin in
a Sealed Train like a
plague bacillus from
Switzerland to Russia.
—WINSTON
CHURCHILL, World
Crisis
• Not as sealed as he
claimed!
– Accepted money from
Germans in Sweden
Lenin Shakes things up!
• Arrives in Petrograd, April 1917
– Immediately attacks Bolsheviks for their
timidity (includes Stalin!)
• Questions why they have not planned to
overthrow the provisional government
• Why were the Bolsheviks working with other
Socialists and Revolutionaries
“Parliamentary-Bourgeois Republic”
– Issues “April Theses”
April Theses
1. Will stop Capitalist War
1. Only Revolutionary War permissible
2. February events were just a coup
1. Not a Revolution - A stepping stone to the Proletariat Revolution
3. No support for the Provisional Government whatsoever
4. Work through the Soviets
1. “All power to the Soviets”
5. Will smash all existing institutions
1. Army, Police and bureaucracy
6. Land Reform
1. Nationalisation - Give to Peasants and workers
7. Close all banks –
1. One national bank
8. Change name
1. From Social Democrats to Communist Party
The Provisional Government
Staggers On
• Dyarchy fatally weakening government
– Soviet countermanding Duma’s laws
• Eg soldiers do not have to obey officer’s orders
– Just those of soldier’s councils
• Government shifts leftward to try and gain
some support of Soviets
– Kerensky appointed War Minister
Kerensky’s June Offensive
• Honours pledge to Allies
• Low morale of troops
– Bolshevik agitation
• Promising to end war
– Democratic nature of new army
• Did not have to obey orders you did not agree with
• Germans easily repulse
– Widespread Mutinies
• Kronstadt Naval Base set up own government
• Lvov government falls
– Kerensky PM
– Kornilov new CinC of Army
Kerensky’s Unpalatable Options
• Page 47 of Red book
– Summarise problems facing Kerensky in
1917 then complete table below:
Course of Action
Negotiate
immediate peace
treaty with Germany
Find a General to
restore law and
order
Suppress
Bolsheviks
Hold elections to
Constituent
Assembly
Mark out of 10
How this might
help
Risks or Problems
involved
July Days
• Bolsheviks take advantage of poor condition of
Army (and Russia)
– At Lenin’s Insistence
• July 3rd to 6th
– Bolsheviks claiming to come to aid of Kronstadt
Mutineers
– Attempt a Coup
– Provisional Troops rushed back from Front
• Crush Bolsheviks easily
– Bolsheviks blame Mensheviks and SRs for starting it
• Soviet and Provisional Government Censure
Bolsheviks
– Lenin runs to Finland
– Soviet and Kerensky do not fully punish Bolsheviks
Is the Threat from the Left or Right?
• Kerensky (and most revolutionaries)
were experts in the French Revolution
– What happened to that Revolution?
Is the Threat from the Left or Right?
• Kerensky (and most revolutionaries) were experts in the French
Revolution
– What happened to that Revolution?
• The Counter Revolution
– Napoleon hijacked the revolution
• The Soviet was more forgiving of coups from the Left than from the
Right
– They thought that the Bolsheviks were wild and enthusiastic but they
meant to preserve the socialist revolution
– However the Soviet was hostile to any right wing counterrevolution
• Most liberals in Provisional Government happy to try and rule
alone
• Some Conservatives already becoming disillusioned and wanted
to return to the sureties of the Monarchy
• However in late August/September an event happens that forces
Kerensky to choose between the left and right
The Kornilov Affair
•
•
•
•
What was it?
Why was it important?
Who was involved?
What were the consequences?
• Pages 53 - 54
Kerensky relies on the Left
• Kerensky’s decision to rely on the
Soviet rather than the Russian Army
will have profound effects in October
– Why?
• The down and out Bolsheviks
recovered from their disastrous July
Days episode
– They were back in the game
The Bolsheviks are Back
• Time becomes their enemy
– Why?
The Bolsheviks are Back
• Time becomes their enemy
– They do not want elections to Constituent
Assembly (scheduled for Nov 12th)
– They do not want world war one to end
– They were popular
– The Provisional Government had lost the trust of
the army
• They prepare for a Coup D’etat
– At Lenin’s insistence
• Kamenev and Zinoviev against
• Trotsky and Stalin were non-committal
Kerensky’s Authority ebbs away
• Kerensky heard rumours that
Bolsheviks were going to seize power
– He sent away the least reliable troops
from Petrograd
• To try and prevent another February situation
• However, many thought he was abandoning
the capital to the Germans!
Trotsky takes the Initiative
• Bolsheviks set up a Military Revolution
Committee (Milrevkom) to defend Petrograd
– From internal and external threats!
– Germans are closing in on capital
• They ask permission of the Soviet (not of the
Provisional Government)
– Permission granted
• Bolsheviks had recently proved that they were willing to
defend the revolution from Kornilov
• Why did the Bolsheviks volunteer for this
onerous duty?
Trotsky takes the Initiative
• He arranges for the Second Congress
of Soviets for the end of October
– However, he only invites delegations
from Bolshevik dominated Soviets
• Lenin liked this idea
– Why?
Trotsky takes the Initiative
• He arranges for the Second Congress
of Soviets for the end of October (25th)
– However, he only invites delegations
from Bolshevik dominated Soviets
• Lenin liked this idea
– It would allow them to legitimise the coup
• If it was successful
Kerensky accidentally starts the
Bolshevik Revolution
• Worried about his position he orders:
– The closure of Bolshevik Newspapers
– The raising of the bridges linking the
central district to the working class areas
Kerensky accidentally starts the
Bolshevik Revolution
• Worried about his position he orders:
– The closure of Bolshevik Newspapers
– The raising of the bridges linking the
central district to the working class areas
• This gives the Bolsheviks the excuse that
Kerensky was starting a coup against the
Soviet
– Trotsky’s plan falls into place during the night of
October 24th/25th
A Classic Coup
• The Milrevkom activates to save the
revolution (from Kerensky)
– They seize all the bridges, telephone
exchange, railway stations and power
stations
• Peacefully
– Sometimes they just relieve the government
forces as if changing the guard
• Next morning seems to be a normal
work day
– Trams running, shops open etc…
A Classic Coup
• Kerensky appeals for help from the army
– Army ignores requests by radio
– He escapes Petrograd in a US embassy car.
– He drives to Pskov to try and get army support
• Irony of ironies the only unit in range of Petrograd was
Kornilov’s old unit.
– They tell Kerensky to get stuffed
• Eventually he convinces General Krasnov to
advance towards Petrograd
– Too little, too late
– Troop morale was undermined by Bolshevik
agitators
The Winter Palace
• The remaining Provisional
government members were holed up
in the Winter Palace
– With a functioning telephone line
• Bolsheviks had not realised that they used a
different exchange
• It was not stormed
– Famous Bolshevik Propaganda film
• Eisenstein
Winter Palace
• Guarded by a small collection of Cossacks, Cadets
(Junkers) and the woman’s battalion
• The Red army was repulsed 3 times
– Usually after just a few shots fired
– Some Red guards were captured by defenders
• Duma members realised that help was not on its way
– The telephone line
• Battleship Aurora Fires
– Blanks
• Cossacks drifted away
• Eventually the Duma members requested their own
soldiers to lay down their arms.
– 2am 26th October
• The Bolsheviks had seized control of Petrograd
Second Congress of Soviets
• Conveniently in session from October 25th
• Trotsky had made sure that there was significant
Bolshevik presence
• Some dissent from SRs, Mensheviks etc..,
– i.e. they would cause a counterrevolutionary backlash
– Or that they did not represent the working and peasant classes
• SRs and Mensheviks stormed out
• Remaining Bolsheviks and Left SRs voted the
following:
– The formation of a Bolshevik Government (Sovnarkom)
– Immediate moves to end the war
– Transferring all land to the Peasants
• They could claim that they were taking power on behalf
of the Soviets!
Why were the Bolsheviks
successful in October 1917?
• Weaknesses of
Provisional
Government
– Page 65
.
• Strengths of
Bolsheviks
– Page 66
Why were the Bolsheviks
successful in October 1917?
• Weaknesses of
Provisional
Government
• Strengths of
Bolsheviks
– Page 66
– Page 65
Essay Title:
It was the weakness of the Provisional
Government that brought the October Revolution
. the strengths of the Bolsheviks
about rather than
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