The Russian Revolution Essay

Submitted By TheRamdawg
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Pages: 4

Past Paper Question D, B1: The Russian Revolution

By November 1917 the Provisional Government was in complete collapse, whilst the Bolshevik party, had built up an efficient party organisation, including the brilliant propaganda slogan “bread, peace, land”. They were in possession of a powerful private army called the Red Guards. When Lenin moved to take over, the Provisional Government was unable to stop him, and the 'November Revolution' began.

The Bolsheviks obviously came out on top in this collision, and a reason for this was due to poor leadership skills of the white army. In source B, the map shows the areas ruled by the Bolsheviks, which is vast but it also shows where Foreign help was given to the White Russians, which was massive. This implies that the Whites needed help outside Russia to try and overcome the Reds, but this clearly didn’t work. Again, in source A we see that “Kolchak and Denikin faced a struggle against great odds”. The Whites didn’t have time to organise, which is down to poor leadership, whereas the Reds had a year to establish their position. The support for the Bolsheviks completely shadowed the Whites not to mention the 10 Red Guard to every single White soldier. Had the leaders of the Whites been different, the November revolution could have turned out very differently. Source C could also depict the poor leadership, as the three main leaders of the White armies are shown as dogs on leads, with their owners as USA, France and Britain. This was as if to say, they’re controlling the White leaders, as if they are nothing and upon asking for help, they realised that they are insignificant. Only Britain made a serious commitment, as shown in Source F.

Lenin was actively supported by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky had superb skills of organisation and improvisation. He created the Red Guards, a Bolshevik militia formed from armed factory workers, soldiers and sailors. Trotsky took charge of the detailed planning of the actual Bolshevik takeover at the end of October, to make sure that all the vital areas of Petrograd were well in Bolshevik hands. Trotsky was willing to use ex-tsarist officers, as he knew that they had the military experience the Red Army lacked. Source F states that “Trotsky was a brilliant organiser who created a regular disciplined army which became a very effective fighting force” and this reinforces the fact that with Trotsky and his efficiency, the Civil war wavered over the Bolsheviks, and without him, the war could have spiraled either way.

In 1918, at the start of the Civil War, the Bolsheviks controlled the key central area of Russia - between Petrograd and Moscow. This gave them a number of key advantages. Most of Russia's railways were in this area and this made communication between the various battlefronts much easier. Trotsky was able to move troops and supplies rapidly to areas under attack, and to take personal command from the front by train travel. The large population of the major cities in this central area was a key resource for the Bolsheviks. The cities provided fresh recruitment for the Red Army. In source B the map shows the Trans-Siberian Railways and these can be manipulated from the areas the Bolsheviks control. As seen in the map,