Lenin's leadership was the main reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in October 1917. Discuss this view (50)

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Danial Alam

‘Lenin’s Leadership was the main reason for the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917’ How far do you agree?

The Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin managed to overturn the Provisional Government making the October Revolution the second of the year. The strengths of the Bolshevik party, including figures like Leon Trotsky as well the weaknesses of Kerensky were both important factors that led to the Bolshevik Revolution. Lenin’s role in the revolution was vital; however, Lenin would have been unable to seize power in October if it were not for the most crucial factor that caused the Revolution which was the failures of the Provisional Government.

Lenin’s charisma, his orating skills and his determination to take power was a key component to the success of the Bolshevik revolution. Lenin boosted the Bolshevik popularity and reached out to the peasants by means of the April Theses, where he spoke of ‘Peace, bread and land’. Lenin’s April Theses reached out to the Russian people and separated the Bolsheviks from the Provisional Government and the socialist parties that chose to cooperate with Kerensky’s government. Lenin’s greatest achievement in 1917 was his decisiveness to start the revolution in October. He convinced his fellow Bolsheviks in the Bolshevik Central Committee that the time for revolution was now, not only did this provide the spark for Trotsky’s plans to be carried through but ensured the party was a united, dedicated fighting force against the government unlike the other socialist parties like the Mensheviks. However, it must be noted that Lenin was absent for much of 1917 after the Bolsheviks were blamed for the July Days and the Bolsheviks only truly became a threat to the regime after the failure of Kerensky to deal with the Kornilov affair as this left the Bolsheviks armed. Therefore, Lenin’s role in the revolution can be interpreted as more of a trigger factor then the main factor of the October Revolution.

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Another reason that allowed the Bolsheviks to seize power in October 1917 was the strengths of the Bolshevik Party themselves. Without the organisation and unity that the party had as well as its popularity in Petrograd and Moscow, the revolution would not have been successful. As the other socialist parties had chosen to work with the Provisional Government they all became partially responsible for its failures, most importantly, the continuation of the war. This left the Bolsheviks as the only party against the war which vastly boosted their popularity. The Bolsheviks made it appear that they would take power in ...

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