• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain Trotsky's contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922

Extracts from this document...


Explain Trotsky's contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922 Trotsky made a vital contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922. As Lenin made clear in 1918 Trotsky was in his view the only person able to save the revolution. Trotsky was a member of the Social Democratic Party and was living in exile in America. Surprised by the February revolution in Petrograd in 1917 he returned to Russia arriving in May 1917. Although he had been a Menshevik (a branch of the Social Democratic Party which believed that there would be a workers uprising leading to a revolution) he was rapidly convinced by Lenin's views to become a Bolshevik (a branch of the Social Democratic Party that believed a small organised party was needed to spearhead a revolution) and by June 1917 he was regarded by Lenin as the 'number 2' in the Bolshevik party. Trotsky had exceptional leadership qualities that helped the Bolsheviks to success. He was an opportunist, flexible, intelligent, pragmatic and persistent. Trotsky shared many of Lenin's qualities but whereas Lenin's strengths were mainly intellectual Trotsky's particular strengths made him a man of action and together they made a brilliant team. ...read more.


It also gave the Bolsheviks the chance to stabilise the country and strengthen their grip. However after the end of the war there were many factions opposed to the Bolshevik Government. These various groups known together as the Whites included Tsarists, Landowners, army officers, industrialists and Cossacks. Russia's old World War 1 allies together with almost the whole of the rest of the capitalist world who were worried by the potential spread of Communism supported the Whites. Between 1918 and 1921 the Bolsheviks had to deal with the armed forces of fourteen foreign powers, on six fronts alongside the Whites army. Trotsky's greatest contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922 was leading the fight against these over whelming odds. Firstly he had to create an army. The Bolsheviks had successfully damaged the Russian Army through propaganda encouraging mass desertions. Now Trotsky had to re-build an effective army. As he wrote 'We were constructing an army all over again and under fire at that... what was needed for this? It needed good commanders - a few dozen experienced fighters, a dozen or so Communists ready to make any sacrifice; boots for the bare footed, a bath house, propaganda, food, underwear, tobacco, matches.' ...read more.


He toured Russia constantly during the civil war in a special train which had everything required to fight a war. He was able to bring hope and help to wherever it was most needed. As Alexander Barmine said in his description of Trotsky's leadership: 'Gomel was just about to fall into enemy hands when Trotsky arrived. Then everything changed and the tide began to turn... The situation catastrophic 24 hours earlier had improved by his coming as if by a miracle.' In 1919 the foreign armies of intervention were withdrawn from Russia leaving the White Armies to fight alone. The White Armies never acted as a united force and that enabled Trotsky to fight them one at a time. By the end of 1919 the tide had turned and only isolated groups of Whites were still fighting. The Bolshevik government was safe for the time being. In conclusion, as Lenin's right hand man Trotsky made a massive contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks. Without his Red Guard and organisational skills the October Revolution may not have been the success it was. More importantly however during the Civil War when Bolshevism was threatened by overwhelming military odds Trotsky created a Red Army with unity and discipline and then led that army brilliantly to ultimate victory. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Reasons for Napoleon's Success (to 1807).

    hardship, as did his reduction of the army medical services to save money (he may have declared that the men's health was of paramount importance to him, but the sick and wounded on campaign were left to die). * Despite these well-founded criticisms, some historians still believe that Napoleon was

  2. Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

    At the October 10 meeting, the Central Committee decided only that armed insurrection was the "order of the day". The political bureau founded at this meeting in order to guide the preparations for insurrection was stillborn, and there is no evidence that it ever met.

  1. Explain Trotskys contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922

    What is more, Trotsky was the cause of the Red Terror in the country. He was a ruthless man who made sure those who opposed him and the Bolsheviks were arrested or killed.

  2. How Did Trotsky Contribute To

    After Lenin's death in 1924, the USSR needed a new face to lead them and it was the Politburo's job to find the man to do it. The Politburo was seven men set up to lead Russia after the death of Lenin, both Stalin and Trotsky were part of

  1. Explain Trotsky's Contribution to the Success of the Bolshevik's Up To 1922

    gave it to them, even though the terms of the treaty of Brest-Litosvk were very harsh. However, he did not give in to the demands instantly, he was deliberately stalling in a vain effort that Germany would join the Revolution, but when he saw that this was unlikely he signed the treaty.

  2. Trotsky's contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922

    organised the Bolshevik takeover in 1917 and he also took control of the red army during the Russian civil war. However, Trotsky also had some points against him which proved to make him lose out during the election run because when he wanted to continue with war communism, this belief (one which he was not willing to give up on)

  1. Explain Trotsky's contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922

    Despite this, Trotsky had done what had been required of him and achieved peace, keeping the Bolsheviks momentarily safe. Meanwhile, Trotsky had been allocated to, and was developing his main contribution to the Bolsheviks success, the Red Army. Under his command, all men aged 18 - 40 were conscripted, and sent to prison camps on refusal.

  2. Account For the Success of the Bolsheviks in October 1917

    regarded Kerensky with contempt, his authority after the Kornilov revolt was so weak that as early as September 1917, Lenin considered a Bolshevik victory guaranteed,' The only option open to Kerensky was to arm the factory workers and members of the Soviet with rifles in order to expel the coup attempt.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work