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Why was there a Bolshevik revolution in October 1917?

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Introduction

Why was there a Bolshevik revolution in October 1917? There are many reasons for the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. In brief these are the strong influence of Marxism, unhappiness caused by the varying poor living standards of the peasants and working class, the population and structure and the conditions created by the Absolute Monarchy and the Provisional Government. Other reasons for the revolution are possibly Bloody Sunday, the Russo-Japanese War, and the 1905 Revolt by the working class. In addition there was the unsuccessful Duma in 1906, the conflicts between powers, World War One and more importantly the rise of Lenin and the increasing support of his Bolshevik Party. In the time before the 1917 Revolution Marxism was growing in support. Marx's theory that the state will whither away was attractive to many and once Capitalism had set into Russia more and more people turned to Marxism. In 1872 the first volume of Marx's 'Capital' passed the censor in Russia. Many began to read his theories and it gained more support from anti-capitalists and those against western policies. Industrialists in St. Petersburg also liked it as it described the type of factory system their rivals in Moscow were trying to imitate. It was also very popular with intellectuals. Lenin eventually adopted Marx's theory, along with Martov. Political parties were formed which played roles in the strikes of 1895, 1896 and 1897. These all display a feeling of discontent in Russia. Living and working standards were very poor in Russia. ...read more.

Middle

Russia also became involved in World War One. The Russian economy was not strong. Russian coal production was only 10 per cent of that of Britain's, steel production was only 50 per cent of that in Britain and one-eighth of that in the USA. A weak economy meant a weak military. The war meant many peasants and workers were conscripted, so little food was produced and industry slowed. During the war German troops penetrated into Russian territory, the Russian response was insufficient and supply of raw materials and food was severely disrupted. The war caused instability within the regime and an unstable army. The war was cracking Russia and the Bolsheviks were the only party wanting an end to the war. Whilst this havoc overwhelmed Russia, the likes of Trotsky and Lenin began to display their potential to provoke a change in Russia. Trotsky participated in the events of 1905 and won great distinction. He gained Lenin's respect as a great speaker and intellect. Trotsky's skill as an orator was unrivalled by any other socialist. He was often described as having 'the oratorical skill to set his listeners on fire'. Lenin was skilled in arguing but was unable to arouse the Proletariat causing it to follow their leadership. However, Trotsky remained with the Mensheviks until 1917. Lenin led the Bolsheviks from Germany whilst he was in exile until April 1917. ...read more.

Conclusion

They promised an end to the war, and Lenin adopted the quote 'Peace, Land, Bread', which appealed to the masses. All eyes were on the Bolsheviks. Action was expected and Kerensky used troops to close the Bolsheviks' printing press, enabling Trotsky to claim counter-revolution. Late at night on October 25 the Bolsheviks took the Winter Palace. Kerensky had no support and it was announced that power had been passed to the Soviet and a new government was set up with Lenin as the Chairman- 'The Council of Peoples Commissars'. Overall, all of these factors led to the Bolshevik Revolution in October 1917. However, not all factors were as influential as others were. The particularly significant events were the February Revolution as this produced a weaker power making it easier to overthrow. Also, the wars in 1904/5 with Japan and 1914 involving the great powers were important as they shook the regime and disrupted the economy. Bloody Sunday and the 1905 Revolt were influential as they displayed mass dissatisfaction, enabling the Bolsheviks to gain power. Furthermore, Marxism played a leading role in the revolution as it formed the basis of the Bolshevik Party and its ideologies. Yet, arguably, the revolution would not have occurred without Lenin who was the mind behind the Bolshevik strategies and timing. Perhaps Trotsky was also responsible as he had the oratorical skills to persuade the citizens to support him. Factors with smaller roles in the revolution are the population and structure, the July days and the Kornilov Affair. ...read more.

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