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

The Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917 mainly because of the effects of the First World War.

Extracts from this document...


"The Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917 mainly because of the effects of the First World War." Do you agree with this statement? The liberal school would agree with the view that it was the war that led to the Bolsheviks coming to power; as it had resulted in the collapse of Tsarism and left a suitable situation for the Bolsheviks to take over. The pessimist school would argue that it was more Russia's unresolved social, economic and indeed political problems that led to the need for revolution, which created the Bolsheviks opportunity. Overall there is a stronger argument that it was the immediate circumstances left after the war that meant Bolsheviks could seize power and that war merely played a role because of timing, Russia was ready to change and war gave the conditions for this, conveniently for the Bolsheviks, but was not the main reason. Framed against these political and social realities that pre-existed, the significant degree of popular support enjoyed by the Russian government at the start of the war was not to last. The war increased Russia's social and economic problems and presented new ones as well as creating a more negative view of, and putting enormous pressure on, the Tsar for the Russian public, decreasing his popularity and aiding in leading to the collapse of the Tsar. The length of the war helped to destroy Tsardom and create circumstances for the Bolsheviks to take power, the cumulative effect of the war was a prolonged struggle that proved over whelming. ...read more.


Right through his reign, Tsar Nicholas II had gradually lost touch with his people. On his orders, Cossack guards brutally repressed the 1905 revolution, named 'Bloody Sunday', and the 1912 Lena goldfields protests. The Moscow okhrana cited the Lena goldfield incident as the main reason 'the people can be heard speaking of the government in the sharpest and most unbridled tone'. The people of Russia realized their tsar was not the giving and compassionate leader they thought he was but that he was ruthless and was only concerned with keeping order. The Tsar's tyranny and autocratic rulings were most clearly seen in his dealing with calls to reform, and here is where unrest began. In 1905 he was forced, reluctantly, to introduce a limited constitution, a parliament and legalise trade unions. Liberals then unsuccessfully demanded more. However, over the following ten years he tried to reverse these concessions. The Fundamental Laws immediately rebuffed the October Manifesto and Order No. 1 gave the Tsar power of refusal over the Duma, itself obstructed by Tsarist conservatives. Furthermore this led to revolutionary parties like the Bolsheviks growing influence from 1905 to 1917. The economic instability was worsened by the militaries needs, as they were prioritised and put in front of things such as the railway improvement creating problems with migration. The economy was growing, but was in no way equal to the other European nations such as Britain, France and Germany. Living conditions were still poor. ...read more.


alliance of left socialist groups which would form a socialist coalition government to prepare for fundamental social reform and peace negotiations by a socialist-friendly Constituent Assembly; and a middle group of independent-minded leaders whose views on the development of the revolution fluctuated in response to their reading of existing conditions. By summer of 1917 it seemed the government was no longer in control of events. There was spreading of the soviets, workers controlled factories, widespread seizure of land by peasants and the creation of breakaway national minority governments. The July uprising ended in an apparent defeat for the Bolsheviks. Lenin was forced into hiding, numerous Bolshevik leaders were jailed, and efforts to form a united left-socialist front were temporarily ended. Still, in light of the success of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution, perhaps the main significance of the July uprising was that it reflected the great popular attraction for the Bolshevik revolutionary program, as well as the party's strong links to Petrograd's lower classes, links that would prove valuable over the long term. The failure of the provisional government was a sufficient cause of the Bolsheviks rise to power, it allowed them to manipulate the situation and take over. The war had been a necessary factor but the failure of the provisional government was entirely essential. The background causes that lead to the October revolution and the fall of the Tsar, set a path for the failure of the Provisional Government because of the situation they inherited from the Tsar and ultimately meant the Bolsheviks could rise to power ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Explain how the effects of the First World War caused the collapse of the ...

    4 star(s)

    This also meant that there were less farmers, and as a result of this, less food being produced. At the same time, this food was being transported to the army. The fuel shortage also meant that people were cold.

  2. The Russian Revolution of October 1917 was potentially the most politically formative event of ...

    form the Capitalist world. Undoubtedly, this led to rising anxiety amongst Western nations, underlined by sympathetic historians like E.H. Carr: "...for example, describes the allies' declared intention of re-opening the World War in the east against Germany as 'a pretext', and speaks of 'the fear and hatred felt by the

  1. Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution.

    enjoyed by the Bolsheviks, but this disadvantage should not, perhaps, be overemphasized. The Bolshevik secretariat is said to have consisted in this period of a half-dozen women and the photographic memory of Yakov Sverdlov. Faced with the overwhelming events of 1917, the Bolsheviks had to build much of their organization from scratch.

  2. In the process of consolidating his position, Napoleons reforms, had by 1808, destroyed the ...

    In conclusion, although in most of the Napoleonic Reforms, Napoleon had betrayed the principles of the French Revolution, he upheld them too, within his betrayals. His reforms are very interweaved and tangled between the milestones of upholding or betraying the principles of the Revolution; there is no complete betrayal or upholding of them - both elements exist in each reform.

  1. Vietnam war

    * Beginning in the summer of 1955, Diem launched a 'Denounce the Communists' campaign, during which communists and other anti-government elements were arrested, imprisoned or executed. Also at this time, people moved across the partition line in both directions. It is estimated that around 100,000 Vietnamese moved from South Vietnam

  2. Why did the Tsar lose power in 1917?

    factor that caused him to lose power but a number of factors that had built up over time that were then emphasised by the impact of the war. In 1914, Russia was not on the brink of revolution as it had been in 1905; however there were some elements of

  1. The Bolsheviks were able to seize power in October 1917 mainly because of the ...

    a difference, or a change in their lives which made the government very unpopular. As well as this the Provisional government were also very weak compared with the Petrograd soviet. The Soviets had a better claim to legitimacy as it had been formed from representatives of the workers.

  2. How significant was Lenin between the years 1902-1918 to the formation of the Bolshevik ...

    that without overthrowing capital it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic peace, a peace not imposed by violence. The most widespread campaign for this view must be organised in the army at the front. 2) The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that

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