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To what extent is it fair to say that with the impact of the Civil War the Bolsheviks were able to consolidate their hold over Russia?

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To what extent is it fair to say that with the impact of the Civil War the Bolsheviks were able to consolidate their hold over Russia? Historical Investigation Ida Tammivuori cyd135 (001301-018) IB Section of Jyv�skyl�n Lyseon lukio Upper General Secondary School 31.08.2009 Word Count: 1 996 TABLE OF CONTENTS A. PLAN OF INVESTIGATION 3 B. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 3 C. EVALUATION OF SOURCES 7 D. ANALYSIS 8 E. CONCLUSION 10 F. BIBLIOGRAPHY 11 G. APPENDIX 12 To what extent is it fair to say that with the impact of the Civil War the Bolsheviks were able to consolidate their hold over Russia? A. Plan of Investigation The purpose of this investigation in to asses whether the Bolsheviks were able to consolidate their hold over Russia with the impact of the Civil War. This period was a turning point in Russian history that considerably changed the country. Conclusion will be reached by evaluating the effects of the war and the Bolsheviks policies that enabled them to survive through the war. Literature by historians in the field who have investigated the Russian documents from this period is mainly used in the study. Two of these sources, Lenin: A Biography by Robert Service, and The Black Book of Communism are evaluated for their origins, purposes, values and limitations. B. Summary of Evidence On October 1917 the Bolshevik party of Russia found itself from a difficult situation.1 It had been easy to take over the provisional government, but there was no guarantee of them surviving for long, since there was fierce opposition to their rule from the other political parties that had been outlawed by them.2 Furthermore, they did not respect democracy by taking over, without even being the largest political group3, and signed the Brest-Litovsk treaty.4 5 They were still a small party6 who had nothing like majority support in the country.7 To wipe out all their opponents, military and political, Lenin thought that a short, brutal struggle in the form of a civil war would help them to consolidate their power. ...read more.


For them, the Civil War was a fight for their lives. The uprisings that increased during the war demonstrate how discontent the people were. Because the Whites had been won in 1920, the government could no longer claim that they were fighting against the counterrevolutionary forces. The peasants understood that it was them who would be destroyed. The broad definition of kulak meant that the government could execute anyone they held dangerous. The peasants, most backward class in Russia, were not interested in politics or who the leader of the country was. What they really wanted was to cultivate their lands and be left alone. For them, it seemed that they were being more suppressed than in the tsarist times. The fact that the government was so isolated from the largest social group that was scattered around the country made it difficult to lead effectively. Given Russia's great size, taking over with military control is understandably difficult and time-consuming. Furthermore, the Red Army was made up of peasants and workers, who had to fight against their own kind. Obviously, this made them very untrustworthy fighters. People were not happy with being forced to join the Red Army, since most of them shared no common ideology with the Bolsheviks. Even the greatest supporters of the Bolsheviks, the sailors, turned against them. The contribution of national minorities that seeked independence made the already weakening government control even weaker. The fact that the attempts on Lenin's life had been so easy to commit showed how weak this control was - he was a leader of a dictate after all, but the subjects had no respect for him, and he could even be killed. The War Communism helped the Bolsheviks to survive through the Civil War, but at the same time it ruined the economy and caused revolts that threated to overthrow them. It seems quite clear that it would have been impossible for the Bolsheviks to stay in power if they had continued this policy. ...read more.


Lowe, p. 355 18 Lynch, Reaction and Revolution: Russia 1894-192, p. 146 19 Ibid., p.147 20 who were referred to as kulaks, hated by the Bolsheviks because they were thought to exploit the poorer peasants. 21 Lowe p. 351 22 The famine was direst in the cities, and the surplus grain was meant for the people working there. 23 the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for fighting Counter-Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation 24 St�phane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism, 1997 25 Ibid., p. 101 26 Ibid., p. 95 27 There were up to 315 of them, holding about 70 000 prisoners by 1921. Courtois, p. 103 28 Lynch, Reaction and Revolution: Russia 1894-192, p. 4 29 Courtois, p. 77 30 Lynch, Stalin's Russia, p. 4 31 Kenez, p. 38 32 Ibid., p. 53 33 Klas-G�ran Karlsson, Vaino ja vaikeneminen, 2005, p. 145-146 34 There were civil and ethnic wars in every neighbouring country of Russia that had belonged to the tsarist regime. Service, p. 463 35 Ibid,. p. 72-73 36 Service, p. 479 37 In the first half of 1920, there were strikes in 70% of the large and medium-sized factories. Courtois, p. 114 38 Ibid., p. 111 39 The area where most peasant uprising occurred throughout the war was the area around Volga. ibid., p. 136 40 Lynch, Reaction and Revolution: Russia 1894-192, p. 149 41 Many of the organized uprisings had very similar demands. The manifesto of the Kronstadt rebels is in the appendix. 42 Service, p. 435 43 Ibid., p. 151 44 New Economic Policy 45 They were replaced by a tax system that was less exploiting. ibid., p. 152 46 This policy greatly improved the economy. The wages doubled and the value of factory outputs grew, as well as the production of electricity. 47 Id. 48 Kenez, p. 43 49 Karlsson, p. 113 50 Heikki Eskelinen, foreword for the Finnish edition, p.14 ?? ?? ?? ?? Ida Tammivuori - cyd135 (001301-018) 13 ...read more.

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