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Lenin's Role in Creation of USSR

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Introduction

Assess the part played by Lenin in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and in the new Soviet State until his death in 1924. Vladimir Lenin, born in 1870, was a Marxist theorist and intellectual. He became leader of the radical Marxist Bolshevik party in 1902 and helped the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917. His main contributions to the Bolshevik revolution, was in gaining support for the party and giving the order to seize power in the right moment. However, because he was exiled for revolutionary activities his ability to act and hence his contribution to the revolution was very limited. This changed once the Bolsheviks were in power Lenin made major contributions to the sustention of Bolshevik rule and so the creation of a Soviet state. He directed his new government through many threatening situations, such as ending Russia involvement in the First World War, organising the party and the country to win the following civil war by setting up policies such as "War Communism" and reacting quickly to dangerous internal unhappiness after the civil war by introducing policies such as the "New Economic Policy". Historians, such as Terry Brotherstone, generally agree that Lenin's role in the October Revolution, in which his Bolshevik party seized power over Russia, was very limited. In early 1917, Lenin was in exile in Switzerland, because of revolutionary activities. ...read more.

Middle

Trotsky who led the Russian delegation to the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk was very na�ve and denied to accept the harsh terms demanded by the Germans. He and his delegations walked out of the negotiations announcing he would accept "neither peace nor war". The Germans used the chance and advanced further into Russian territory. The realists in the government, headed by Lenin rapidly agreed to even harsher terms. Hence Lenin played a very important part in saving Russia from German occupation and hence in ensuring that his new government stayed in power. And also in the civil war that followed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Lenin's role was very important, although many Historians such as Terry Brotherstone argue that Trotsky's role was at least equally important. The Historian David Christian argues that one of the three main reasons for Bolshevik victory in the civil war was that they enjoyed more support in the population. The whites failed to gain the support of the peasantry under which the Bolsheviks had little support and that made up 80% of the Russian population. The whites wanted to restore the land to the gentry while Lenin had written a Land decree, redistributing the Land among the peasantry. Hence the Bolsheviks found it much easier to recruit peasants than the whites. ...read more.

Conclusion

And once again it was Lenin, who introduced the solution to the problems facing the Bolshevik government. On the tenth party congress in 1921 he introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP), threatening the congress that he would resign if his policy were not adapted. Essentially the NEP was a partial return to capitalism. Private enterprise was partially legalised (although large industry and banks remained in government hand) and peasants had to fulfil certain government quotas, however were allowed to sell any surpluses for profit. Lenin's plan was successful. The NEP was a short term solution to the problems that faced the government in 1921. By giving the peasants what they had wanted for centuries, ownership of the land they worked, he increased support for the Bolsheviks in the largest social group in Russia. In 1922 rapid recovery, especially in agriculture, set in. The NEP was the last policy or government action in which Lenin played a major part. In 1922 he suffered his first stroke and in the last two years of his life he only took very limited action in Soviet policy. After an only limited involvement in the Bolshevik revolution the part Lenin played in the new Bolshevik state can be summarised as having been a major theorist and policy maker. His policies, especially "War Communism" and the NEP played a considerable role in saving Bolshevik power from several threats. ...read more.

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