Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War?

Authors Avatar

Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War?

The Civil War, lasting three years, began in 1918.  It followed on from the First World War, which left Russia in a bad way, with economic problems, illness, starving of its people and ten million dead.  The war began in the Spring of 1918, the Bolsheviks had seized power and they alone wanted to run Russia.  Other members of the Soviet weren’t happy about this, as they wanted a share of the power.  So the Bolsheviks had almost every other political party in Russia and their supporters, against them.  Despite the odds being stacked against them, the Bolsheviks, or the Red Army, as they were known, won the war.  How did they do it?

        The war was a confusing period in which the sides weren’t clearly defined, but there were three main forces.  The Bolsheviks were known as the Reds, their army was made up of sailors and Red Guards, as well as workers and soldiers.  They were fighting in order to stay in power.  Their main opponents were the Whites, who were a coalition of different enemies of the Bolsheviks.  Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, former Tsarists, nationalists etc. made up this force against the Red Army.  They were all anti-Bolshevik, but they were divided, due to their other ideas, for example, the Socialist Revolutionaries wanted the Constituent Assembly to run Russia instead of the Bolsheviks, other groups had their ideas about the issue.  The third main force in the Civil War was the Greens, they were peasant armies, some fighting for the Bolsheviks, some fighting against.  Most of them simply wanted to protect their land from the other armies involved in the war and some were fighting for independence.

Join now!

        The fighting began when Russia was taken out of the First World War and the Czech Legion, who had been fighting with the Russian army, wanted safe passage to fight on the Western Front.  The Soviet Authorities arranged for them to travel on the Trans-Siberian railway to Vladivostok, they would then travel by ship to Western Europe.  However, the Czechs didn’t trust the Bolsheviks and there were clashes with them along the railway.  The Bolsheviks tried to disarm the Czechs, but they resisted and ended up taking control of large sections of the railway.  White armies came to their aid. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay