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Why did the Reds win the Russian Civil War?

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Introduction

Question #5: Why did the Reds win the Russian Civil War (1918 to 1921)? Thesis: The Red's victory of the Civil War as mainly due to the White's lack of coordination and general purpose. The Whites lost the support of the Allies after the First World War and were left fighting the Reds on their own. In addition, Trotsky's leadership skills were much more superior to those of the White's leaders. Lenin's War Communism provided the Red Armies with greater supplies and the creation of the Cheka meant more soldiers for the Reds. Analysis/Argument: POV#1 - The Red Army was lead by a much more decisive leader and the introduction of War Communism by Lenin insured that the Red Army was always well supplied with weapons and food. Grenville, J. A History of the World in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000. * Grenville believes that the command of Trotsky over the Red Army was much greater than the command of White leaders over their armies. * In April of 1918, the Red Army was created and led by Trotsky. * Trotsky knew that if he did not lead the Reds to a victory, the Revolution would break up and communism would end in Russia. Knowing the importance of a victory, Trotsky used this knowledge to boost up the soldiers' morale and their will of fighting. * Trotsky was famous for using harsh disciplinary techniques which included the severe punishment of commanders who failed during their assaults on the Whites. * Trotsky made sure that the core of the Red Army consisted of officers from the days of the Tsar, who had superior military experience. * During the Russian Civil War, the Cheka were able to eliminate all threats to the Bolshevik quest for power and while doing so committed many atrocities. Wade, Rex. The Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War. ...read more.

Middle

o However, the peasants still feared a White victory because they believed that it would bring back the landlords because many white officers had helped ex-landowners to return their estates. o This fear resulted in greater support for the Reds from the peasant population. * Regarding national autonomy, the Whites in contrast to the Reds failed to grant self-government to places such as Finland, the Baltic States, Poland, and the separatist Ukrainian state. * Smith believes that the Whites failed to make a connection with the majority of the population consisting of peasants and workers. o The Bolsheviks took advantage of this by portraying the Whites as the toy of foreign capital. * The Reds were at an advantage to the Whites because of their occupation of central Russia. This allowed the Reds to take full control of the railway networks that branched out from Moscow and made the transformation of soldiers and supplies much simpler. o This advantage alone provided the Reds with better coordination of their Armies and enabled them to fully equip their troops for battles. The Whites were not as organized as the Reds and lacked the proper coordination which disabled them from properly equipping their troops with needed resources. * The White lack of organization and coordination is partly due to their geographic positioning. The White armies were widely spread on the boarders of Russia and this stopped the armies from attacking simultaneously. * However, even the positioning of the Reds in the Central part of Russia can be considered as a disadvantage as they were cut off from foreign support because of the Whites. * The Bolsheviks had firm control over central Russia from the beginning of the Civil War and it was almost impossible for the Whites to break the Reds control without simultaneous attacks. * According to Smith, the Reds certainly had the military advantages over the Whites: o The Red Army was much larger than the White army. ...read more.

Conclusion

* In addition, Kolchak had the opportunity of making a deal with the General Mannerheim (a Finish General). * In addition to strategic and military reasons that clarify the Red victory, there are socio-political factors that cannot be ignored because they are as important. * Until 1919 the White leaders had overlooked the problematic issues such as labour policy, national independence, local government and most importantly land reform. However, by 1919 they were forced to take action by inventing new policies that regarded these issues. o But Smith argues that these policies were "offered too little and too late" and resulted in staggering division in the White ranks. * Regarding land reform, the majority of Whites acknowledged the fact that the "status quo ante" could not be returned to. o However, the peasants still feared a White victory because they believed that it would bring back the landlords because many white officers had helped ex-landowners to return their estates. o This fear resulted in greater support for the Reds from the peasant population. * Regarding national autonomy, the Whites in contrast to the Reds failed to grant self-government to places such as Finland, the Baltic States, Poland, and the separatist Ukrainian state. * Smith believes that the Whites failed to make a connection with the majority of the population consisting of peasants and workers. o The Bolsheviks took advantage of this by portraying the Whites as the toy of foreign capital. Conclusion: The Red Army was lead by a much more decisive leader and War Communism provided the army with appropriate weapons and food. The Reds were also at an advantage geographically because of their positioning and were able to enlist much more volunteers into their armies than the Whites. However, the main reason for the White's failure during the Civil war was because of their lack of coordination and common purpose as they failed to attack the Reds simultaneously. ...read more.

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