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

How did the Bolsheviks consolidate their power in 1917 - 21?

Extracts from this document...


How did the Bolsheviks consolidate their power in 1917 - 21? The were many factors which helped the Bolsheviks consolidate their power in 1918 - 21, an overview can be seen in between this time if you take a look at the state Russia was in at the beginning of 1917 and at the end of 1921. In 1917, there were food shortages and people were beginning to starve. The cities population was decreasing on a rapid scale, which made conscription harder to utilise. However, at the end of 1921, with the help of war communism and NEP, things had picked up, cities had been revitalised and people were now being fed. Lenin achieved this in many ways. Lenin was faced with a number of problems after the October revolution, he needed to secure the revolution and set it up in a way that it would last. He had to extend control all over the country given the Bolsheviks limited power (only having 25% of the vote), deliver on the promises he made, to end the war and deliver peace. To help spread the revolution he needed to seize control of Moscow and once that was completed they could build a train link between Moscow and Petrograd to consolidate their access across Russia. Lenin took over the constituent assembly by force, as he couldn't work alongside the other parties and wanted full power even though he didn't ...read more.


leadership qualities of Lenin, the assistance of Trotsky's Red Army and the Bolsheviks ruthlessness throughout the war (the red terror and Cheka.) Although the Bolshevik situation seemed desperate in 1919, it appears that the white armies could not take advantage and their weaknesses were the main cause for Bolshevik victory, as the lack of communication and co-operating between each other allowed the Bolsheviks shift from one front to another and to attack each thread of the white army in turn. Also, before the revolution of 1917, most of the defence industries were located in Tsarist Russia (Petrograd) and so when the Bolsheviks achieved power they inherited virtually all the vast stores of war materials. This meant the whites had a great dis-advantage and limited defence capacity. With the exception of Finland (where the whites won) Russia was firmly in the hands of the Bolsheviks at the end of 1921 although it was achieved at tremendous cost as industrial production was low and over 5 million people had died from famine. (Due to the workers proved unable to run factories and farms effectively) Adding to the vast number of opponents the Bolsheviks had in the civil war, they were faced with allied intervention at the same time. This was a number of countries including the Czech legion, Poland, Ukraine, and especially Britain and France (Britain and France got involved in allied intervention mainly due to the Brest - Litovsk treaty sighed by the Bolsheviks in 1918). ...read more.


This was met with great surprise but due to the overall strength of power, the Bolsheviks supported him. Lenin introduced Russia to the April thesis; this was an attempt to gain support from the people of Russia. It included slogans such as "all power to the soviets" and "peace, bread, land" this was the first real time Lenin had showed his true leadership skills and talent. Lenin had the leadership qualities to make the revolution happen. His ability to analyse situations and take tough decisions is best shown by the treaty of brest Litovsk which Lenin accepted despite the harsh terms laid down by Germany (against Trotsky's wishes), because, if not accepted, Germany would continue taking territory by force. His ideological flexibility or pragmatism can be best seen by his abandonment of war communism and the introduction of the NEP in 1921, which helped consolidate Bolshevik rule. If Lenin was not included (or even as leader) as part of the Bolshevik party, many factors which took place between 1917-21 may not have been possible, the revolution would most probably not have happened in the first place. Although Lenin leadership qualities played a large part in consolidating the Bolshevik power, one of the most important factors must be the weakness of the white army. This was a decisive factor and it is surprising that it took 3 years to win the war considering the enormous advantages. ...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. The Bolshevik Consolidation of power 1917-21.

    * This resentment caused serious opposition to Lenin's leadership but his gamble that circumstances on the western front would make the treaty meaningless paid off. In fact his hold on his party grew stronger and he took the opportunity to expel the left SR's and outlaw them politically.

  2. How did the Bolsheviks consolidate their power between 1917 and 1924?

    Initially there was a political divide between what was to be done with the war. Trotsky called for neither going to war nor agreeing to peace, "neither war nor peace" however Lenin saw the threat the continuation of the war.

  1. Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

    Peasant ideology, insofar as it existed at all, held that nobody should own more land than was needed to support an adequate living, especially if one's neighbours were having difficulty getting by. Peasant self-interest demanded that this land be seized and redistributed at once, and so it was.

  2. How did the Bolsheviks consolidate their rule?

    The treaty was a huge blow. Russia lost its best agricultural land and industrial areas, 25% of its population, 26% of its railways and 75% of its iron ore. Russia also had to pay a 300 million gold rouble fine.

  1. How important was Lenin in bringing about the Bolshevik revolution of November 1917?

    If not for the uprising of the masses in March, then the Bolshevik party could not have orchestrated their own coup for power. After the fall of the Tsar, the Provincial Government was set up with faith from the Russian people; they would finally have a democratic society.

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

    The provisional government provided little support. It carried on the war, where increasingly there was low morale and a growing number of desertions. The provisional government didn't help the peasants with land and workers were unhappy with wages and living conditions.

  1. How did the Bolsheviks consolidate power?

    Other decrees were passed which indicated the promised socialist utopia, like a declaration of the equality of all people. In truth they were only introduced to secure power. Lenin and Trotsky achieved power by manipulating a vote which gave SOVNARKOM the right to rule by decree.

  2. How successful were the Bolsheviks in consolidating their power between 1917 and 1924?

    The Bolsheviks came under intense pressure from other political groups, such as the white army and the green army. There was also the rebellion by the sailors of Kronstadt and always coming under criticism by many world leaders and the Russian public.

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