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Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power in 1917?

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Why were the Bolsheviks able to seize power in 1917? A diverse group of factors sparked the fire of the Russian Revolution. Each of these problems gradually over time built up and caused what would be a major event in Russia's history. In September 1915, when the Tsar took control of the Russian Army from his uncle Grand Duke Nicholas - even though the Tsar had no experience in battlefield warfare - he tried to lead Russia into victory. However, the German opposition, the best army at the time in the world, were better equipped and experienced which lead to defeat after defeat over the Russian army. These defeats were blamed on the Tsar which led to many soldiers, by 1917, supporting the Tsar's opponents the 'Bolshevik Party'. The failure of the Tsar to deal with all of the demands made by the people worsened his reputation. He appeared weak and unable to keep any promises he made, and worse still the democratic Duma he established held no effective power, and was obviously a ploy to please the people while the Tsar ignored them. The long term effects of the 1905 Revolution haunted the Tsar. The revolt had mainly been down to the terrible conditions the workers had to live and work in, as it had been a problem for Russia for the past 350 years. ...read more.


At the end of 1914, there were 6,500,000 men in the army but they only had 4,600,000 rifles. This lack of support meant that the Tsar was becoming unpopular and some of the people in Russia wanted a total end to the war, which was promised by the Bolsheviks. The rise of industrialisation in Russia affected the home front as well as the front line. The lack of raw materials such as metals and fuels made the economy of the country fall as money was unavailable. This led to the poor rail network as there was no metal to extend or develop the system which meant that supplies could not be transported to the troops or even the people in the cities. When the Tsar he came to power he wasn't greeted by a prosperous nation. Russia was about to enter industrialisation. Russia was so hard to rule that the sheer size of the country is 17 million SQ KM. It had poor trade links with other countries as it did not have much to offer. Overall it was a huge amount of space for one man to control. Apart from the two main cities Moscow and St Petersburg the rest of the country was cold waste land where poverty was widespread. Farming was the main occupation of people in Russia. There was a single rail track which ran through the whole of Russia called the Trans Siberian Railway. ...read more.


He noted that the Bolsheviks had a strong control of the soviet; they were at an all time popular high, in elections across Russia and in general public opinion. Lenin's ally, Trotsky made great use of his outstanding ability in leadership in order to help the Bolsheviks succeed. S.J Lee commented, 'The situation in 1917 favoured the group with the firmest revolution, the greatest discipline and the most effective powers of coercion.' He was very intelligent, good at public speaking and very persistent. Where Trotsky had holes and weaknesses in his qualities, they were filled by Lenin and as a result wee an effective pair of leaders, achieving results such as winning the October revolution in 1919. Trotsky had been allocated to, and was developing his main contribution to the Bolsheviks success, the Red Army. They were the fighting force for the Bolsheviks and without them no revolution could have ever taken place. As you can see, the above factors sparked the Russian Revolution with the Tsar being behind nearly all of them. Clearly then, the Tsar was the main cause behind all the problems leading to the collapse of the Russian Monarchy in 1917. He had entered the war but failed to realise the problems that would result from it. He thought that by forming the Duma he would gain support but in fact he lost even more support from the people of Russia. It was a series of key decisions that The Tsar made that ultimately caused the Bolsheviks to seize power. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Newell ...read more.

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