Russian Civil War Essays

Submitted By shannonsmall
Words: 1443
Pages: 6

To what extent were the Reds victorious in the Civil War due to superior Resources?

It was 'not a matter of who was the stronger but,rather, who was less weak'. These were words from a histrian Victor Shklovskii. This simplistic view fails to incorporate the many factors which contributed to the ‘Reds’ victory over the ‘Whites’ but it establishes the essence of the argument. Both the Bolsheviks and the opposition White forces were ravaged by internal weaknesses and hugely influenced by external conflict and conditions. To try and pinpoint the real reasons for the Bolsheviks success one must consider a number of conditions which led to the eventual outcome. Opposition weaknesses, geographical isolation, poor military leadership, disunity, and an incapacity to capture the mood of the nation were all explanations for their failings. The Bolsheviks ability to gain vast amounts of superior resources was a evident success in terms of tactics as this almost inevitablity won the reds the war. Yet, this alone cannot bring military success nor can it bring stability. In the period leading up to, and during, the civil war the Red Army, under the guidance and influence of Leon Trotsky, were transformed from a ‘rabble to an incomparable fighting force’. They were vast in number and located in Russia’s key industrial centers providing firm foundations from which they could build and also resist attack. The formidable pair of Lenin and Trotsky combined to create a party which boasted military might and also political and social awareness. Propaganda and foreign intervention helped to portray the Soviet leadership as ‘leaders of a national liberation struggle against foreign imperialists’ and this won them support from the masses whilst the Whites reliance on foreign aid rendered them vulnerable if such aid was to be withdrawn. Final, yet equally crucial factors in the Bolshevik success can be seen in the flexibility of Bolshevik policy, The victorious treasure in which the civil war inevitably ended was due to the Reds superior resources used throught the war, however this factor could have only contributed to an extent.

Superior Resources:
As the Bolsheviks controlled a central area of western russia, this made it very difficult for whites, the opposiotion to gain any supplies , due to their control of Russia's heartland and the reds had access to munitions, Something the whites in the countryside greatly lacked. The white troops mainly conrolled waste land and farming terrain which despite giving them a slight advantage of having to feed there troops, the lack of arms and equipment impacted heavily upon them. There was also the fact that a concentrated piece of land was easier to defend and the Reds could push the whites until they scattered and surrendered. As the Reds had more supplies and weapons this lead to them able to crush the red armies and eventually led to their victory.

Organisational and Leadership skills:
However there are other factors that led to the Reds victory. The leadership and oraganisational skills is also identified as a key factor. Lenin and Trotsky were outstanding in their psychological prepration of the Bolsheviks for the struggle they faced.As,The Red Guard had been transformed into an efficient fighting force by Trotsky, who was a excellent organiser and a propagandist. He motivated the men to success with his energy and passion. In terms of organisation he used ex-Tsarist troops to provide experience in the army and used political officers to ensure loyalty to the Bolsheviks cause. However the problem that the Whites faced that there was several rivals, such as Yudenich and Wrangel vying for control. They were all ambitious man and each was determined to take control of Russia for himself thus making it hard for the Whites to gather a consist decision as all the leaders did not co-operate with each other, means that the White army would be fighting under different commands ,so