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"The Bolsheviks did not seize power, they picked it up." How well does this statement describe the Bolshevik's success in October 1917?

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Introduction

"The Bolsheviks did not seize power, they picked it up." How well does this statement describe the Bolshevik's success in October 1917? In a coup on 25/26 October 1917, Lenin's Bolshevik Party suddenly and effortlessly got rid of Kerensky's Provisional Government. The issue to consider is whether the leadership of Trotsky and Lenin or the disunity of their opponents gave the Bolsheviks success in the October revolution. On the night of 24 October the Bolsheviks staged a coup, engineered by Trotsky; aided by the workers' Red Guard and the sailors of Kronstadt. They captured the government buildings and the Winter Palace in Petrograd on 25-6 October 1917, and the Provisional Government was arrested. This was done with relative ease, as the Bolsheviks were able to do this over a short time period and there was no resistance created by the Provisional Government. Only five people were killed during these events- mostly shot by stray bullets. Mobs only entered, looted and vandalized the Winter palace after it ceased to defend itself. During this piece of work I will assess the Provisional Government's "weaknesses" against the Bolshevik's "assets". Did the Bolsheviks seize power because they made provisions, or because the Provisional Government did so little to obstruct them? ...read more.

Middle

This however failed. However it did not failed because of the obstruction of the Government, but because the Bolsheviks organized he railway workers to sabotage the troop trains and block the rail-way lines. The Bolsheviks infiltrated Kornilov's army and encouraged his troops to mutiny. the Bolsheviks were able to claim that it was they, and not the provisional Government, who had saved Petrograd from Kornilov. The Bolsheviks gained publicity and popularity as a result. They soon won a majority on the Petrograd Soviet and Trotsky was made chairman. This event showed how influential and shrewd the Bolsheviks were, and it confirmed how un-prepared and ineffectual the Provisional Government was. It can be questioned whether the Government did enough to prevent the coup on the 24 October. They took many precautions, but it can be doubted that they didn't take enough. They cut telephone wires to the Bolshevik's headquarters, raised bridges over the River Neva to stop crowds entering the city centre, they sent the following to guard and protect the Provisional Government in the Winter Palace: three detachments of student soldiers (cadets), the women's death battalion, a bicycle unit, 40 war invalids led by an officer with an artificial leg and some light artillery (guns which fired shells). ...read more.

Conclusion

It is estimated that by the end of the revolution there were 7,000 Red Guards in Russia. This illustrates an image of the amount of militia the Bolsheviks directed. The red guards were an advantageous asset to the Bolsheviks as together they held potency resulting in two key beneficial events (Kornilov's affair and Winter palace capture). Without these men the Bolsheviks wouldn't have the fighting capability to overwhelm its opponents. The Bolsheviks were perceptive enough to seize opportunities. They noticed that the Provisional Government were very susceptible therefore they benefited from this. The Bolsheviks knew that people were growing restless toward the government so they produced the slogans which encapsulated the basic problems (i.e. the war) that were confronting Russia. By doing this the Bolsheviks gained the public's awareness towards Russia's state and made them realise the current system was not effective, therefore they gained more support as Lenin proved himself to be a charismatic leader that the Russian were waiting for. In conclusion, the Bolsheviks didn't simply pick up the power but they did produce their own efforts to seize it. However, they did have many advantages due to the Provisional Government's vulnerable state. It is clear to say that the Provisional government were incapable of ruling Russia at the time due to the challenges they faced, therefore the Bolsheviks cleverly took advantage of this by creating a people's party that's fuel were the weaknesses of the Government. ...read more.

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