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

Why did 1917 end with Lenin in Power rather than Kerensky?

Extracts from this document...


Rob Williams Why did 1917 end with Lenin in Power rather than Kerensky? There is a popular myth, brought about mainly by Russian communist propaganda that suggests Russia was saved from a tyrannical reign by one man, Vladimir IIyich Lenin. His name has become (rightfully) synonymous the Russian Revolution, and the traditional view, in Russia at least, had been that Lenin was the catalyst behind the socialist revolution. On the other hand Alexander Kerensky's name has gone down in history as the failed pretender, the conservative revolutionary who failed to take advantage of the abdication of the Tsar and the scope it created for social and political change in Russia. The reality is obviously different to this, Lenin although dynamic and fundamental to the Bolshevik cause did not create the revolution himself. Similarly Kerensky was an able politician, one who would probably have, in times less volatile than this, an excellent, forward-looking premier. How much was the Revolution inevitable therefore? And how much influence did Lenin and Kerensky have over the events? Kerensky, when he came to power, initially was hailed as a saviour. One who would lead Russia from the brink of Civil War and unite the factions of the Soviet and the members of the (former) ...read more.


This was the so called 'Kornilov affair', once General Kornilov had begun to march his division towards St. Petersburg, Kerensky was left with out ' a leg to stand on' , and his only viable alternative to stop a military coup was to turn to the Bolsheviks for there support. In doing so he destroyed the only pillar supporting the derelict Provisional Government, the army. By choosing the Bolsheviks over the national force he almost gave the Bolsheviks carte-blanche to come to power whenever they wished, and although no conflict actually took place it certainly enhanced the cause of Bolsheviks, and put them in prime position to take control over the country. This is obviously a simplification of the facts, many other factors were involved in the downfall of the Provisional Government (such as the Summer Offensive), but to answer my first question, was the Revolution inevitable? This would suggest that it the downfall of the Provisional Government, unless Kerensky had acted remarkably astutely, and had extraordinary luck, was inevitable. What is does not suggest is that the acquisition of power by the Bolsheviks was inevitable, they were certainly were in the 'running' to take power, and the Kornilov affair put them into a good position. ...read more.


This could have, if Kerensky had more power, been fatal for the Bolsheviks and Lenin. Kerensky's major mistake (though it is debatable whether it affected the outcome in the long run) was to launch a summer offensive, the Galician offensive, which badly backfired and lead to the Kornilov affair. In conclusion therefore, on first viewing it would seem that the Bolshevik revolution led by Lenin was inevitable, yet I believe this is a misconception. The Provisional Government was in all essence doomed, yet it was not inevitable that the Bolsheviks would come to power, rather it was the drive and genius (as well as luck) of Lenin that pushed his peers in the Bolshevik party to rebel successfully. Historians will always debate the exact significance of Lenin in the Russian revolution, whether he was the catalyst for revolution or simply took advantage of the situation. For what it is worth I believe that Lenin saw his chance for power, for radical change, and his great conquest was to successful take his chance and secure it for the future, leading Russia from the turmoil it had been in since the beginning of the turn of the century to stability. It was something Kerensky failed to do, and is why Lenin was in power in 1917, and not Kerensky. ...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 Significance of Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1923)

    them to take violent action against the Provisional Government or the Soviet as he felt they were not ready. The confused rioters eventually died down. The July days were quite a blow for the Bolsheviks, it appeared as if they had been caught off balance and missed their chance of seizing power.

  2. During his lifetime, Lenin made many important decisions and policies which affected every citizen ...

    to produce high levels of output and peasants worked hard to produce surplus crops to sell for a profit. By 1926 the economy had reached pre-1914 levels and massive new investment was needed to turn the Soviet Union into a modern industrialized country.

  1. Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

    The party grew from strength to strength throughout 1917. This can be measured in a number of ways. Party membership grew from roughly 20-30,000 in February to 79,000 in late April and 250,000 in August. Figures for October are unavailable, but Leonard Schapiro believes, based upon the continued growth in

  2. The Russian Revolution of October 1917 was potentially the most politically formative event of ...

    The Russian Revolution was as marked near end to the First World War as the Yalta conference would be to the Second - Russian soldiers camped just outside of Berlin and allied forces were near marching on the Rhineland. Therefore, the Allied Nations sat together to divide Germany into four

  1. Did Kerensky hand over power to the Bolsheviks?

    the two agreed that a summer offensive was needed. Brusilov was a very democratic idealistic general which was unusual as he had worked under the Tsar, he wasn't liked amongst other generals but Kerensky appreciated his optimism. Pressure from France and Britain was mounting on the Provisional government to attack

  2. The significance of Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1923).

    on his arrival he made a demanding speech, in which he stated that: there should be no cooperation with the Provisional Government, the war should be ended immediately, land should be given to the peasants, and that the Soviet should take power, the points made in his speech were called the 'April Theses'.

  1. Outline the distinctive features of the major political groups vying for power in Russia ...

    The provisional government was made up from representatives of all major political parties at the time: Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs), Kadets and Social Democrats but it was largely based on the Kadet partyiii which made up a large proportion of its members and which will be looked at shortly.

  2. Why did the Tsar lose power in 1917?

    1905 revolution and Stolypin, who managed to mix both reform and repression in the period 1906-1911. If it wasn?t for Witte the Tsar may have lost power in 1905 and if it wasn?t for Stolypin the revolution would have probably come significantly before 1917.

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