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Why were the Bolsheviks successful in 1917?

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Jack Gammon Why were the Bolsheviks successful in 1917? The Bolsheviks succeeded in revolution on 8th July due to numerous factors, one major event "the Kornilov Affair" contributed greatly to kick starting the revolution. This along with the provisional governments downfalls and mistakes added together to make their seizure of power almost inevitable. Alexander Kerensky was the new leader of the Provisional Government, he was still the most popular man in the government because of his political past. In the Duma he had been leader of the moderate socialists and had been seen as the champion of the working class. However, Kerensky, was unwilling to end the war. In fact, soon after taking office, he announced a new summer offensive. Soldiers on the Eastern Front were dismayed at the news and regiments began to refuse to move to the front line. There was a rapid increase in the number of men deserting and by the autumn of 1917 roughly 2 million men had up and left. Some of these soldiers returned to their homes and used their weapons to seize land from the nobility. Manor houses were burnt down and in some cases wealthy landowners were murdered. ...read more.


The Bolsheviks were credited with the defence of the city, and became extremely popular. They soon dominated executive committees of soviets throughout Russia. Lenin had been watching events from Finland. He noted that the Bolsheviks had a strong control of the soviet; they were at a all time popular high, in elections across Russia and in general public opinion. After the Kornilov affair other groups such as the liberals were demoralized and weakened, and the provisional government had been exposed as helpless and weak. Lenin wanted to move into action immediately, to fill what he saw as a power vacuum left by Kerensky mistakes. However Trotsky who had been elected president of the Petrograd soviet suggested that they should wait till the "Second congress of all Russian soviets" as they could appear to seize control with the support of the soviets rather than simply a Bolshevik movement. In the mean time Kerensky was making things worse for himself. He sent away any perceived radical units within the army from the capital, severely weakening its presence. This allowed the soviet which was now under Bolshevik control to set up the military revolutionary Committee in the capital and increase its strength and power. ...read more.


The government also saw itself only in the short term governing of the country, and so therefore could not make the long term decisions about Russia's future the people wanted. The perceived lack of reform and general contempt for the government lead people into the arms of the Bolsheviks and other left wing groups connected with them. Its decisions on war also created large opposition, and refused to give minorities autonomy. In the end although the provisional government's intentions could be seen as for the good of Russia, the factors against it were not stacked in its favour. It is fair to say that in the end the Bolsheviks were the right group in the right place, and simply chose the correct time and acted accordingly for a successful revolution, careful planning was as important as luck in the course of events. They were successful in their goal, but this was mainly due to the government's incompetence and factors such as Kerenskys mistakes. Had the government made a few decisions that pleased the people as a whole it may have held onto power by the skin of its teeth for longer. But then was revolution inevitable anyway? ...read more.

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