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Defending the Revolution

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Presentation on theme: "Defending the Revolution"— Presentation transcript:

1 Defending the Revolution
Smash the old order to forestall a Counter-Revolution

2 Rivals? After October, 1917 the Bolsheviks were far from secure. They had to consider threats from all sorts of rivals List the possible rivals for power?

3 Rivals? From the right From the left Internationally The Bourgeoisie?
Provisional Government Kadets Conservatives Monarchists The Army (at the front) From the left Mensheviks SRs Left SRs? Anarchists Greens Peasants? Internationally Non-Russians? Germans? Allies?

4 The Bolsheviks move fast to consolidate their power
Bolshevik dominated Second Soviet Gave land to peasants Why? Ended war with Germany Worker Control Decree Rights of the People of Russia Decree Established Sovnarkom Bolshevik dominated (some Left SRs invited)


6 The Constituent Assembly
Already planned for Nov 12th by Provisional Government Hypocritical if Bolsheviks cancel them However, they could load the dice… How?

7 The Constituent Assembly
Already planned for Nov 12th by Provisional Government Hypocritical if Bolsheviks cancel them However, they could load the dice… Outlaw freedom of Assembly Close down hostile Press Use government resources for Bolshevik Campaign

8 Why were the Bolsheviks dismayed by these results?
They immediately delayed the sitting of the Constituent Assembly until Jan 5th so that they could formulate a plan

9 The Opening (and Closing) of the Constituent Assembly January 5th
It could claim to be the legitimate voice of the will of the people Large group of protestors dispersed by Bolshevik forces before the meeting Hostile atmosphere Bolsheviks responsible for security? Bolshevik supporters allowed entry to public gallery Booed and hissed speakers Republic of Soviets Vote Including universal labour obligation Known to be unpopular Would make Constituent Assembly Bolsheviks lose vote 237 – 136 Bolsheviks storm out claiming the Constituent Assembly a Bourgeois institution Bolshevik Guards take place of Bolshevik representatives Intimidate speakers Let speakers out, but not back in again.

10 Third Congress of Soviets
January 8th Bolsheviks and Left SRs held 94% of seats in this loaded institution Token seats given to other socialists Declares Sovnarkom the legitimate government Passes all government business Contrast to Constituent Assembly Gives new name to country Russian Soviet Socialist Republic (RSSR) Changed to USSR in 1924 (United) Now Bolsheviks could claim that they were ruling on behalf of the Soviets Soviets represented the ‘will of the proletariat’

11 Are the Bolsheviks here to stay?
It seemed as if the Bolsheviks were more ruthless and determined than most people thought. It seemed as if only a Civil War would remove these fanatics Whites Reds Greens

12 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
The Bureaucracy Identified as being Bourgeois or Petty Bourgeois But they had the expertise and knowledge of how government worked Transport, education, finance, military, etc… White Collar Strike from November Lead to creation of Cheka Could not get money out of the banks! Constituent Assembly dissolution rips heart out of strike Bolsheviks are here to stay!

13 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Kadets Outlawed after November election Mensheviks and SRs happy at the outlawing of a Bourgeois Party Many fled to fringes to join White Army

14 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Monarchists/Conservatives Weary Further disillusioned with execution of Royal Family July 17th 1918 Most fled to fringes to fight with Whites

15 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Army Officer Corps weary of fighting Germans But not keen on surrendering and losing the war Soldiers content that war is over Return home Most officers join Whites But a surprising number fight for Reds! Savinkov Rebellion July 1918 16 day officer led fight in Iaroslaval First mass executions of 350 officers

16 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Provisional Government Kerensky had burnt all his bridges He goes to USA Dabbles in political intrigue from afar Remnants of government officials fight with Whites

17 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Socialists SRs Constituent Assembly elections deny them power Their powerful Soviet of Peasants was combined (subsumed) by the Bolshevik dominated Soldiers and Workers Soviet Given some token cabinet positions temporarily

18 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Socialists Left SRs At first loyal to Bolsheviks They like Revolution Not ruling Annoyed over Treaty of Brest Litovsk Assassinate German Ambassador With Cheka help Rise up and start serious insurrection July 4th – 7th Caught Bolsheviks by total surprise Dzerzhinskii arrested Could have arrested Lenin himself Latvians put down revolt

19 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Socialists Mensheviks Declared illegal after success in 5th Soviet elections Bolsheviks gave themselves 5 votes each to get a majority in the Soviet Claimed that the Mensheviks had cheated Nobody left to protest at their removal

20 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Nationalist Minorities Most content with Bolshevik promise to allow them independence Remain neutral Except for Latvians Become Bolshevik Storm Troopers Very Loyal SDs Happy to fire on Russians Wish to see International Revolution spread Handsomely rewarded

21 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Peasants Happy at Land Decree Concerned at grain seizures Perturbed by Bolshevik Brutality Food Requisition Units Confused by weak stance of SRs Will revolt in large numbers But not in a coordinated manner Dislikes White and Reds A plague on both their houses


23 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Germans Temporary Armistice whilst Negotiating Treaty of Brest Litovsk Bolshevik prevarication Know that it will be unpopular Lenin isolated German Army resumes advance when negotiations stall Petrograd under threat Forced Labour Battalions Enemy Internment without Trial Lenin puts his foot down Bolsheviks need time to consolidate against Whites


25 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Allies Annoyed at losing Eastern Front Too busy to join in fully USA, Britain, France and Japan send limited soldiers for defensive purposes only To defend stores given to Imperial Russian Army Japanese and then USA to defend parts of Trans-Siberian Railway. Give some limited financial aid to Whites When Whites are doing well

26 Who could have stood up to the Bolsheviks
Czechs Ex-Prisoners of War Austro-Hungarian Army On way to France along Trans-Siberian Railway Trotsky accidentally starts off Civil War when he tells Czechs to hand over their armaments Allies ask them to stay in Russia to see if they can start a new front against Germans Very Highly motivated and well trained Take control of Imperial Russian Gold Reserves So very wealthy and can buy a lot of support Set up a rival government with SRs, Kadets and Constituent Assembly Members in Siberia

27 Showing that the Bolsheviks are Serious: The Red Terror
Left SR, Savinkov and Czech insurrections Fannie Kaplan Assassination attempt August 30th Seriously wounded Lenin Lenin wanted Class War: To remove internal rivals Counter-Revolutionary forces To say that there was no going back We’re in this together ie Execution of Royal Family Decree on September 4th Hostage taking allowable – to be executed in reprisal for future attacks on Bolsheviks Round the clock executions by Cheka Decree on September 5th Class enemies to be isolated in Gulags White Guardists to be executed immediately (no trial) Up to 140,000 victims between 1918 and 1920

28 The One Party State! The Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Lenin insisted that the Bolshevik Party run the Russian Government They control the Soviets who run Russian Government If anything goes wrong, the Bolsheviks can blame the failure on the Government not the party Problem of not enough Bolsheviks! Massive increase in bureaucracy ,000 ,000 ,000 Attracted by Party Card Given better housing, food and immunity from prosecution Old Timers versus Careerists

29 War Communisim Centrally Planned Economy (Pure Communism)
Bukharin manages to outmanoeuvre the more pragmatic Lenin with Socialist Utopian Promises Government Monopolies Prices set centrally All Private Trade Banned Food to be requisitioned and rationed according to status Land equitably distributed Inheritance Outlawed Compulsory Labour Nationalisation of banks Defaulted on international debts Strikes outlawed, no collective bargaining Productivity Collapses, Hyperinflation takes off Why?

30 War Communisim Reasons for failure
Lack of Incentive to work Hoarding by Peasants Explosion in Black Economy Chaos of Civil War Difficulties and failures blamed on Civil War Hence the name: War Communism Although planned before the War

31 The Russian Civil War 1918 – 1920 What strengths and weaknesses did each side have? Chapter 6 big red book Use Spider Diagrams




35 Where was the fighting 3 Fronts Siberian Front Southern Front
Czechs started Disinterested after WW1 Kolchak and remains of Constituent Assembly Uneasy alliance between Provisional Government supporters and socialists. Southern Front Denikin and Wrangel Cossacks heavy army Tsaritsyn Moscow Offensive Gets to within 200 miles of Moscow, October 1919 Overstretched, lack of Polish support Retreat to Crimea (holds on to Crimea until 1920) Petrograd Front Iudenich Smallest but most professional army 150,000 Reaches outskirts of city Kronstadt sailors help defend city British and US forces landed in Archangel and Murmansk



38 Bolsheviks hold on to power
Why did the Reds win? United Command Geographically centralised Comms hub Rush troops to fronts Economic and population centres Red Army Harsh Discipline Trotsky Divided Enemies Whites, Greens, Poles, Allies, Nationalists Propaganda Promising utopia Fighting foreign invasion ‘whites will confiscate land’ Why did the Whites Lose? Geographically isolated Lack of population, industry Lack of a clear Vision What were they fighting for? Empire? Tsar? Provisional Government? Constitutional Assembly? Etc… Divided aims Eg Cossacks v Russians Weak international support Britain, France, Japan, USA Indiscipline Reliance on volunteers ‘spoils of war’ Corruption

39 Selling Communism Communist Party Activist Toiling Masses
Design a speech to win over proletariat converts to the Bolsheviks. Include: Economic Situation Military Needs during war Longer term objectives of Communism Need for control of economy Harsh treatment of Bourgeoisie Importance of Grain Requisitioning Problems of workers’ committes and Trade Unions Toiling Masses Design questions to ask the Bolshevik spokesmen. Explain your personal circumstances Include questions on: Civil War Post Civil War Food & Product shortages Food requisitioning Representation Neighbours Repression Economic Situation

40 Bolshevik Problems continue even after the Civil War
By 1921 the Russian economy and infrastructure was in tatters. How did these help degrade facilities: World War One Civil War War Communism Problems in the Countryside Bad Harvest in 1920 Lack of Incentives Grain Requisitioning Peasants desperate to hold on to what little food they had Why were requisitions needed after the Civil war? Huge Rebellions eg Tambov region Problems in the City Food shortages Bread Rationing Terrible working conditions Compulsory labour Destruction of Union Power Bolshevik speakers not welcome

41 ‘Soviets without Communists’
Kronstadt Naval Base Anarchist sympathies Close contact with aggrieved Petrograd workers Happy with ridding the old Bourgeois government. Not happy with its replacement Mutinied from Bolshevik control Demanded multi-party democracy, civil rights Ferocious fighting as Red Army forced to reassert control

42 Internal Bolshevik Divisions
The Workers’ Opposition Alexandra Kollantai Left wing faction Wanted reinstatement of workers rights Criticised Trotsky’s plans for Trade Unions With external and internal dissent, Lenin realised that some relaxation of communist economic policies essential for the Bolsheviks to survive

43 New Economic Policy What was it? How similar/different was it from War Communism Pages 108- of Red Book How significant a change did the NEP represent for the Bolsheviks?

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