• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the importance of the Soviets to the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the importance of the Soviets to the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917. Historians have widely debated the importance of the Soviets to the Bolsheviks seizure of power. Where the more liberal, western historians under emphasise the role of the Soviets and giving the Bolsheviks no popular the mandate, Soviet historians over emphasise their role. Soviet historians give too much credibility to the Bolsheviks support from the Soviets. In fact although the Soviets did give some popular support to the Bolsheviks their importance lies, in their own radical nature and desire for change, which allowed Lenin and the Bolsheviks to use them and turn it into the 'October revolution' as we know it today. The Soviets were important in allowing the Bolshevik takeover due to their own radical nature. Throughout September and October the soviets became a lot more politicised and radicalised. Through their want for change, they actively went against the capitalist rule. By October bread rations were half of what they had been in February and this resulted in many strikes. Within the workforce there was widespread popular movement for an eight hour day, wage increases and workers being allowed to run their own factory. ...read more.

Middle

There is no doubt that there was a popular want for change however we must question whether it was economic motivation or political motivation. There were many unorganised groups whom formed their own organization and were of the most radical groups but had a low level of political consciousness. This is evidence for the Liberal interpretation that there was no popular mandate for the Bolsheviks but a more general movement. However in saying this, it must be taken into account when using evidence from liberal western historians the tensions during the cold war. The tensions between communist Russia and the Capitalist west causes the Liberal historians to stress the limitations of the Bolsheviks in gaining mass popular support. Moreover, we must acknowledge that many of the workers, identified with Bolshevik party line. They agreed with the hatred of the war, bitterness to the Bourgeoisie and moreover, had a drive for local level democracy through the local soviets and factory committees. This shows a commitment to socialism and not just change. We see this commitment and popular support of the Bolsheviks from the Soviets in the November election within the urban working class where they won 70% of the vote. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows Lenin's popular mandate was almost completely distributed in Petrograd. Lenin used slogans such as 'all power to the Soviets' to try and mask the takeover as popular and the Bolsheviks having a majority when at no point was this the case. However the role of the Soviets can not be ignored, although the Bolsheviks had no popular mandate outside of Petrograd they still managed to takeover which shows further importance of the Soviets. The Bolsheviks managed to takeover through the Soviets giving them Petrograd and paving the way for them while having no popular mandate in the rest of Russia. To conclude, debate whether the Soviets were important is often overestimated giving full credit to Lenin and the Bolsheviks and their popular support and often underestimated giving the Bolsheviks no popular mandate. The Bolsheviks did have some popular mandate but the Soviets radicalism was the main factor, which allowed the Bolsheviks to takeover. Without their radicalism and want for change and Bolsheviks wouldn't have been able to gain support and unite their antagonisms. Therefore the Soviets were a necessary factor and of great importance in the October revolution. Maya Wegrzyn 13BLK ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Russia 1905-1941 'Explain how the unpopularity of the Provisional Government contributed to the Bolshevik ...

    extreme left wing the Bolsheviks, had at some time professed to agree with Kornilov. This wiped out any real competition for the Bolsheviks. The Petrograd Soviets would no longer work with the Provisional Government because of Kerensky's apparent suppression of the military coup, and the coalition ceased to exist.

  2. Russia, 1905 - 1917, The Causes of Revolutionary Change. Using your knowledge of the ...

    Kornilov was a general who was fighting on the front. He was a keen supporter of the Tsar and the Tsarist system in the whole, and thought that the Provisional Government was doing a bad job of ruling over Russia.

  1. The Significance of Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1923)

    Although it was a very unpopular set of policies and had many negative outcomes, while in existence it crucially succeeded in keeping the Army supplied which was vital if the Bolsheviks hoped to win the Civil War. The machine behind the Bolshevik party was of course Lenin himself.

  2. The Bolshevik Consolidation of power 1917-21.

    * With that strategy the reds exhausted the whites as an attacking force and they surrendered. * Trotsky's organisation and leadership of the Red Army was a major factor in the survival of Bolshevik Russia. The Kronstadt Rising, 1921. * Bolshevik victory in the civil war didn't stop Bolshevik coercion.

  1. Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

    In early 1918 they strongly opposed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk because they feared that its disarmament provisions might include the shutting of their plants, and might thereby cost them their jobs. These factories thus became a receptive target for Menshevik agitation, and remained strongly anti-Bolshevik.

  2. The Bolshevik Consolidation of Power 1918-21.

    in convincing his colleagues, and gained his way only by threatening to resign. Lenin and Trotsky were primarily internal revolutionaries, and for them Russia was a means to an end - world-wide proletarian revolution. Not all Bolsheviks shared this vision.

  1. Leni Riefenstahl The Propagandist or Artist? A Historiographical Debate.

    She escaped and was re-arrested by the Americans four times. * On the last time the Army interrogated her for days on end about her Nazi Party Rally films, her knowledge of the final solution and her association with Hitler.

  2. Describe the problems that faced the Bolsheviks on their seizure of power in October ...

    Russia's allies might become hostile if the Bolsheviks withdrew from the war. This happened anyway and the Treaty of Brest Litovsk was later signed, giving away much of Russia's population and land as well as over half her industry. Lenin however insisted they would get it back when the Germans were defeated.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work