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

Describe the problems that faced the Bolsheviks on their seizure of power in October 1917.

Extracts from this document...


Describe the problems that faced the Bolsheviks on their seizure of power in October 1917. The Provisional Government, set up after the abdication of the tsar after the February revolution, was badly organised, weak and hated. Many groups opposed this government and one group in particular, the Bolsheviks, planned to do something about it. Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, told the people of Russia his simple aim, to get "Peace, bread and land" for his people, in what was called his "April Theses." The revolution of October was a well organised event planned and carried out by a party that aimed itself at the workers and peasants. Lenin also promised the people elections, which the Provisional Government refused to carry out. The Bolsheviks went about taking power in October 1917 by seizing the key positions all over Russia such as the railway network, bridges, power stations and police stations. The Red Guards stormed the Winter Palace, and power was then taken. It was not just the weakness of the Provisional Government which allowed the Bolsheviks to take over, but also the leaders Lenin and Trotsky were shown to be strong, and the plans for the take over were well thought out and highly skilful. After the Bolsheviks had gained power, however, they faced serious problems. ...read more.


As Lenin guessed, the election results showed that the Bolsheviks had lost and the Social Revolutionaries had won the vote and so a Constituent Assembly was set up. Lenin dealt with this threat by condemning the assembly as an instrument of the Bourgeoisie and dissolving it, and replacing it with the All Russian Congress of Soviets, which was influenced by the Bolsheviks. Widespread opposition from many different groups was another problem the Bolsheviks had to face, as the Bolsheviks regime was unpopular amongst them, and strongly opposed. The Bolsheviks could have tried to compromise with the groups and joined together in a coalition but this would've been almost impossible as the views of each party were very different. Dissolving the Constituent Assembly was the first blow to the opposition, as it deprived them of a valuable platform. They also restricted other party's newspapers and removed the vote from the middle non-Bolshevik classes, and used terror and violence to control the opposition. Finally, by 1921, they had banned all opposing parties, which was rather dictatorial, but all the same helped the Bolsheviks. Civil war was also a great problem that the Bolsheviks faced, as opposition was surely going to create this sooner or later. Withdrawal from the war helped this however because they could then use the money and goods from that to prepare for civil war. ...read more.


power, promise of "peace, land and bread" which would cause problems which ever way it was dealt with, and the commitment to Marxism all presented problems for the Bolshevik party. I personally would say that the War was the most important, followed closely by the opposition to the party. The decision that Lenin made about the war would make or break Bolshevism in Russia, so it was a very important problem. Making a separate peace with Germany would result in appearing to be weak to other countries, and also the allies would become hostile. Not ending the war and continuing, as the Tsarists and Provisional Government supporters wanted, would cause even more serious damage to Russia, so this wasn't really an option open to Lenin. Going with Trotsky's policy of "neither peace nor war" could result in more serious consequences for Russia, so in the eyes of Lenin, the only thing to do was to sign the Treaty of Brest Litovsk, and this is what he did after persuading the other Bolshevik leaders. The skilful planning and organisation of the Bolsheviks, aiming propaganda at the peasants, and having strong, decisive leaders were advantages that the Bolsheviks had when they overthrew the Provisional Government. Where other groups would have most likely failed when faced with so many difficult problems, the Bolsheviks pulled through because of these advantages, and remained strong and in power throughout Russia. ...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. Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

    his iron will, single-handedly swung the entire party away from the conciliationist and potentially even defensist policies which it might otherwise have followed. There is no evidence whatever for this point of view, only the vague sentiment that it is difficult to imagine any other explanation for such a dramatic turn-around.

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

    and unity allowed the revolution to be more long term, the 'October Revolution', would not even have been debated if the Bolsheviks hadn't taken control from the Soviets and made it the strong and sustainable revolution it became. Hence the Soviets had a vital role in their own radical nature

  1. The Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917 mainly because of the effects of ...

    The war led to inflation, despite Russia having achieved financial stability by 1914 and their currency being on gold standard this position was destroyed by war. Between the years 1914-1917 spending rose from 4 million to 30 million roubles. Increased taxation and heavy borrowing from abroad were only partially successful in raising the capital Russia needed.

  2. Describe the problems that faced the Bolsheviks in their first year in government and ...

    This meant that a country already far behind the rest of the Western world industrially, had taken another large blow. The land lost was also extremely valuable, in terms of farming, agriculture and industry, which added to the growing shortages of food and employment within Russia.

  1. Account for the factors which lead to the Bolshevik's coming to power in October ...

    At the same time, the provisional government found itself opposed by the Soviet by whom it was seen as "a lowly up-start by the ex. Tsarist supporters". All this made the provisional government very unpopular with ordinary peasants and the masses and lead to nobody being prepared to defend it as it got attacked.

  2. Account For the Success of the Bolsheviks in October 1917

    This reflects Lenin's opportunism, despite his disdain for the peasants he realised that their support was crucial for the Bolsheviks to succeed in October 1917. Lenin also realised that satisfied rural workers were key to food production, which was key to fulfilling his promise of 'Bread,' which was necessary to keep the proletariat contented.

  1. Why did the Tsar lose power in 1917?

    By early 1917 there were a series of demonstrations and strikes in Petrograd, on the 18th February the strike at Putilov began, followed by the international women?s day demonstrations on 23rd February, bringing hundreds of thousands of workers onto the streets to demand bread, after the rationing of bread on the 19th February.

  2. How effectively did Weimar governments deal with the problems faced between 1919-1929?

    rose by 50% & only 1/10 as many days were lost through strikes as in 1921 this happened when Stresemann was appointed chancellor between 1923-1924. Overall, the economy was dealt with quite well as Stresemann introduced the Dawes plan and the Young plan which helped bring Germany?s economy back to normal.

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