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To what extent was the continuation of the First World War the main reason for the overthrow of the Provisional government in the October revolution?

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Introduction

History essay: To what extent was the continuation of the first world war the main reason for the overthrow of the provisional government in the October revolution. The overthrow of the provisional government was undoubtedly a direct effect of its own political weakness. While the importance of other factors leading to the revolution , such as the continuation of the first world war, should not be discarded as having no impact; ultimately the provisional Governments downfall was primarily the effect of its own incompetence. The Bolsheviks strength and popularity among the soviets, created a power strong enough to exploit the weakness within the provisional government and preempted the October revolution. The Bolshevik party enjoyed a huge growth throughout 1917, membership rose from 24,000 in February to 340,000 in October, providing the power needed to launch a successful campaign and create a domino effect of increasing support. The result of these high numbers resulted in the Bolsheviks being able to exploit the power vacuum created in October 1917. Miliukov; the Kadet leader at the time, stated, ?They knew where they were going, and they went in the direction which they had chosen.? The Bolsheviks had clear aims and direction, which the other parties lacked. ...read more.

Middle

However while Lenin's leadership was important in meaning the Bolsheviks were in the right position to take over in October; the situation at the time ,crucial in the Bolshevik's rise to power, would not have arose, if not for the continuation of the first world war and the weakness of the provisional government. The continuation of the first world was a critical mistake made by the Provisional Government which caused a snowball effect of events leading to the October revolution. The war was very unpopular among many groups in the Russian society, causing loss of morale as well as economic and social hardship. However the Provisional Government underestimated the negative feelings towards the war effort. They still believed that if they could win the war, they would gain the support of the Russian people. Moreover the Government wanted to honor its international obligations with the Allied countries-- Britain and France; If Russia had backed out of the war it would no longer have received the supplies and war credits being sent from the western allies. Tsardom had left the country on the verge of bankruptcy, meaning no Government could have kept control without the large injections of capital from abroad. ...read more.

Conclusion

As their name stated, they were 'provisional'. It was not an elected body, consequently it lacked legitimate authority. Therefore it did not have a constitutional claim to throne and it would be judged by the people on how it dealt with the country's problems; which it had failed to do in the time it was in power. So when revolution broke out people did not run to their aid. However, had they held on to control until the planned November elections, then it would have legitimized the provisional government and the future of the Provisional Government may have turned out completely different. The final failure made by the Provisional Government was their lack of even trying to defend their authority. Instead of putting up a fight they accepted defeat and handed over control with barely a fuss. In conclusion, although the continuation of the war was a significant factor in the cause of the October revolution, it was in no way the main reason. In fact the continuation of the war is an example of how the Provisional Government was not competent or strong enough to rule Russia effectively. The Government failed to deal with the outstanding issues in the country and as a consequence lost support from their public and paved the way for the Bolsheviks and Lenin to take control. ...read more.

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