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Why was the Provisional Government unable to deal successfully with the problems it faced in 1917? (2002) Introduction- Post February- two rival bodies.

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Presentation on theme: "Why was the Provisional Government unable to deal successfully with the problems it faced in 1917? (2002) Introduction- Post February- two rival bodies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why was the Provisional Government unable to deal successfully with the problems it faced in 1917? (2002) Introduction- Post February- two rival bodies in Petrograd, Provisional Government and Petrograd Soviet Soviet had all real power in cities- controlled transport, communications, food supplies, factories, power stations Prov Govt had authority- Given financial help and support from Allied governments. What problems did the Prov Govt face in 1917?- Before August- continuation of war, land redistribution, national minority demands for autonomy, economic troubles After August- Liberals moving to right, army disintegrating, food + material shortages, declining influence of moderate socialists in Soviet, no control in countryside, lawlessness in cities, rising support for Bolsheviks Kornilov Affair- Armed Bolshevik Military Revolutionary Committee, Kerensky lost all support, Menshevik + SRs discredited because of association w/ Kerensky. How did the Prov Govt try to solve Russia problems and why did they fail?- War- Had to continue war to get continued support from Allies. Milyukov wanted offensive war (territorial gains, Constantinople) to hasten victory, ease pressure on govt. Enraged Socialists, but agreed to Summer Offensive. Disastrous attack increased public opposition to war. Linked Mensheviks + SRs to war effort. Why it couldn’t deal w/ problem- Forced to continue war by Allies, GB urged attack in East. Failure of summer offensive, propaganda in vain. Military discipline still non-existent after Feb. Led to new coalition govt w/ 5 socialists. Separate peace w/ Germ? Figes- Milyukov saw no reason to give up, secret treaty for Russian takeover of Constantinople. BUT on 27 March P.G brought out war aims, in line w/ Soviet peace calls. Milyukov forced to agree but still told allies Russia would fight on. Acton- Russia lacked leverage to force allies into peace and P.G unwilling to sue for separate peace, saw summer offensive as chance to move unruly soldiers out of Petrograd. Land redistribution- Peasants eager for land, after Feb no one could stop them taking it. Wanted P.G to approve their actions. P.G wanted Const Assem to take charge of land redistribution, wanted landowners to get compensated. Scared soldiers would leave front to grab land.

2 Land redistribution- Peasants eager for land, after Feb no one could stop them taking it. Wanted P.G
to approve their actions. P.G wanted Const Assem to take charge of land redistribution, wanted landowners to get compensated. Scared soldiers would leave front to grab land. Why it failed to deal w/ problem- Landowners supported P.G, land to peasants= lose landowner support. Felt they didn’t have elected authority for task this big. Chernov’s compromise rejected. Land seizures rose, peasants lost faith in P.G and SRs, turned to Bolsheviks. Brovkin- P.G not to blame for land seizures, fault lay w/ Bolsheviks for whipping up peasants. Wade- P.G’s infighting over compensation for landowners meant they couldn’t reach agreement National Minorities- After Feb Finns + Poles pressed for independence, Caucasian territories wanted more autonomy Ukraine (near front, good farming land) wanted self governance. Moderate socialists for Ukrainian autonomy, liberals against. Liberals thought would lead to break up of Russia Why it failed to deal w/ problem- PG infighting led to people losing faith in PG, Bolsh seen as only alternative Figes- Resignation of 3 Kadet ministers over Ukraine issue caused political crisis that eventually ended P.G. Economic Problems- Economic woes forced Tsar out, but problems did not go away w/ PG. Factories closed, 100,000 jobs lost, price of manufactured goods up, wages below inflation Food shortages- Grain prices up 100%, bad harvest, PG unable to do anything Why it failed to deal w/ problem- Not much could be done while war continued. Had to hope for swift victory. Tried to seize grain off peasants, made them more angry. Bolsh policies seemed to be only alternative-’Peace. Bread. Land’ After August- Lvov resigned, Kerensky PM. Seen as last hope. Figes- Kerensky was undisputed leader of people. Many political problems, Right wing Liberals, Bolsh support rising (radicalised workers), Moderate socialists out of touch with people Social problems- Chaos in cities, violence in countryside, soldiers deserting front, prices of goods and foods rising What Kerensky did- Wanted to continue war, territorial losses, had to find military leader to restore order, didn’t want to violently suppress Bolsh, did nothing w/ economy. Led to Kornilov Affair. Conclusion- When PG came to power faced with very tough issues, would have been very hard for any govt to deal with Also PG was temporary body, didn’t have power to enforce decisions, too much expected in short time?, Russia still in state of anarchy after Feb. However PG made mistakes that led to its downfall- Kadets blocked major decisions, if they’d let decisions through poularity might have been high enough to last out war + Const Assem elections. BUT- Continued aggressive war, blocked Chernov’s land compromise, sided w/ factory workers, didn’t improve economy Biggest mistake- being implicated in Kornilov affair, after that PG helpless Kenez- PG couldn’t defend itself from Bolsh

3 How important were the contributions of Lenin and Trotsky in bringing about the October revolution?
Introduction – April theses, July days, Trotsky becoming president of the Soviet, Lenin's push for seizure of power, Trotsky’s planning of the revolution But other reasons for revolution – disillusioned with PG, The War, Land Redistribution, Failure to reform factories, Kornilov, Failure of other socialist parties, Luck?? Provisional Government – Divisions between socialist and liberals Kenez- PG have lost all power and authority Temporary body – Waiting for elections, Decisions to continue war, Summer Offensive, nothing done about economy Rabinowitch – all other parties lost credibility because of Kerensky, Bolshevik support increased dramatically Bolsheviks – Only opposition PG, oppose war, supported by peasants In tune with workers and soldiers, power to Soviets Ponomarev – workers in guise of soviets took power Lenin's April theses gave Bolsheviks direction Lenin – Strong determined leadership, forced key policies on Bolsheviks Simple policies appealed to tired Russians – Peace, Bread Land. Only party not affiliated to PG, seen as only alternative All Power to Soviets appealed to political charged proletariat Made Bolsheviks organised and Disciplined but Lenin plotted to take power for himself?? Pipes – Lenin and Trotsky slyly took power. Classic coup d'état Trotsky – Leader of Petrograd Soviet, head of Military Revolution Committee, best orator in party Persuaded Lenin to delay revolution – Made it look like Soviets supported Bolsheviks Service – MRC and Petrograd Soviet controlled cities soldiers, workers in red guard armed and committed. Organised Rev- Pipes Putsch organised by Trotsky- surgical strikes. Myth of Bolsh surging to power on wave of popular support. Luck – Military and Economic Collapse in the summer played into Bolsheviks hands. Radicalised workers confused between power to Soviet and power to Bolsheviks Figes – Revolution took place amid social revolution that was centred on Soviet taking power Provisional Government gave Bolsheviks excuse for action, rose bridges to workers districts in Petrograd Conclusion - people wanted soviet power, Bolsheviks identified with this aim Acton – Popular support, for soviet power forced Kerensky out, explains why Bolsheviks took power so easily Lenin and Trotsky played a key role – April theses, planning revolution, MRC, policies appealed to wide range of Russians But other reasons for revolution taking place – Anger at government, Situation played into Bolshevik hands

4 To what extent can the decline of the Provisional Government be dated from the July days?
Introduction –July days- uncontrolled rioting in Petrograd against government, encouraged by Bolsheviks Lenin did not actively lead the uprising, created lack of leadership, July days were not successful Leading Bolsheviks arrested, Lenin in hiding, looked like Bolsheviks would not recover Some historians say PG could have held onto power after July days, others believe they were doomed before then. 2 Main Viewpoints Bolsh seizure of power was inevitable before July Days- were only opposition to mod. socialists + Libs, true aspirations of workers and soldiers. The PG was already doomed. The July Days could have been turning point. Bolsh should have been crushed. But PG’s mistakes after July were the main reason for their downfall. The PG were finished before July War- Soldiers + maj of pop against war. Summer Offensive. Caused political crisis (resignation of Milyukov)- Bolsh called for peace Land- Peasants angry over govt’s indecision over land redistribution, Bolsh called for land Cities- People feeling pinch of economic hardship. No improvement since Feb. Job losses, food shortages- Bolsh called for bread. BUT- people still willing to put up with PG?, July Moscow elections, Bolsh only 4th largest party, mod socialists + libs still in control July Days- Bolsh focus for revolutionary activities. End war, help workers, social reform, prioritising food supplies Rioting in Petrograd, vented frustration at govt. Capital defenceless (shows people not prepared to come out in defence of PG) Encouraged by low level Bolshies, BUT Lenin decide to sit back and see what would happen Without clear purpose, rising lost momentum. After July Problems still getting worse- war continued, economy ruined, no law, anarchy in streets, no military discipline Main event- Kornilov Affair, Kornilov sent loyal troops into Petrograd, tried to overthrow PG Bolsh came to aid of Kerensky, Red guard supplied w/ weapons, MRC set up- Kornilov failed, soldiers persuaded to give up Consequences- Kerensky lost all support, Mensh + SRs discredited for association w/ Kerensky, Masses distrusted liberals, Soldiers wouldn’t fight for PG, Bolsh support grew massively, took Moscow + Petrograd Soviet, Trotsky leader of Petrograd Soviet By October inevitable Bolsh would take power- control of soviet, most popular ever, liberals + mod socialists in tatters, PG helpless

5 Power vacuum created by Kornilov, Len pressed for uprising, led up to Rev
Kerensky’s final blunders Tried to send radical army units out of capital, allowed MRC to control soldiers, shut down Bolsh newspapers, closed bridges between working class districts and city centre- gave Bolsh excuse for action ‘Peace, bread, land’ Is this an adequate explanation of the October Revolution? Assessing main causes of October Rev- ‘Peace, Bread, Land Peace- End to war- After Summer Offensive majority of pop opposed war, soldiers deserted en-masse, Bolsh call for peace very popular amongst soldiers + regular citizens. Figes- The soldiers were so obsessed with the idea of peace that they would have supported the Tsar if he had promised an end to the war. PG continued war despite unpopularity, Bolsh seen as only real opposition to PG Bread- End to food shortages, economic problems. Cities had no food, 500% price increase in bread prices, 770% price increase in pork. Peasants wouldn’t give enough grain to PG. War meant key supplies diverted to army. Angered people in cities, couldn’t afford food. Peasants angry, forced to give up grain by soldiers. Things no better since Feb. Bolsh promised bread. Could be achieved by immediate peace. People desperate for solution, Bolsh support grew Land- Bolsh struck chord w/ peasants. Wanted to redistribute land to peasants. PG stalled over compensation to landowners, scared of land free-for-all. Chernov wanted temporary solution, let peasants get access to land while owners still kept it- blocked by liberals Once again Bolsh seen as only alternative to failing PG- popularity rose, Bolsh took maj in Petrograd + Moscow Soviets Peace, Bread and land were some of key issues for bolsh popularity to rise, and PG’s disintegration. Meant when rev broke out it was very easy for Bolsh to take control. But there were other reasons for the rev’s outbreak. Political- Coalition govt, bickering between Kadets + socialists. PG out of touch w/ people. Liberals moving to right. PG felt it didn’t have remit to deal with problems, waiting for Const Assem elections. Social- Increasing lawlessness in cities, land seizures up, army disintegrating, How PG dealt w/ situation- Unwilling to end war, territory losses too costly, Kerensky appointed Kornilov to restore law and order (see Kornilov affair), scared of rioting if he tried to suppress Bolsh violently, couldn’t help economy while war continued. Kerensky’s Errors- summer offensive, Kornilov affair left him discredited, Allowed Bolsh strength to rebuild after July Days

6 What Was October? Looking at how October can be viewed- popular revolution, coup d’état, planned, spontaneous Popular Revolution- Widespread support for Bolsheviks after Feb- Membership in Feb 10,000. October 250,000. PG lost all popularity- Summer Offensive, no land redistribution, no social reform in cities, food shortages Lenin’s return in April changed everything- dramatic entrance at Finland station, charismatic leader to focus revolutionary activities April Theses- worldwide socialist rev, immediate end to war, end to co-operation w/ PG, power to Soviet, land for peasants Peace, Bread, Land, All Power to Soviet- simple, key policies that appealed to masses Established Bolsheviks as opposition to PG- had purpose, plan- radically different, stood out from the rest July Days- showed large number of normal people angry at PG, not many keen to defend it Kerensky- didn’t deal w/ Bolsheviks well enough, PG disunited, army continued to breakdown, KORNILOV AFFAIR After Kornilov PG doomed, Bolsh support huge, armed Red Guard- rev only a matter of time Rabinowitch- Everyone wanted an end to PG after Kornilov When Oct Rev happened, Bolsh took power with amazing ease, no one would help PG, on the whole rev supported by masses Williams- rev enthusiastically supported by workers + accepted by peasants Coup d’état- Bolsh support was not because of their policies, but other parties’ failures Bolshevik support came because they were affiliated with Power to Soviets, had dictatorship in mind whole time- deceived Russia Rabinowitch- supporters deceived. Expected creation of govt w/ all socialist parties, not Bolsh dictatorship. Failure of PG and situation of anarchy in Russia created power vacuum that Bolsh took advantage of it Kenez- country in anarchy- Bolsh took advantage Not a revolution- planned by Lenin + Trotsky, armed uprising, series of tactical strikes against key points- bridges, telephone exchanges (meant counterattack impossible), railway stations, power stations, finally Winter Palace Pipes- Len + Trot slyly took power, classic coup, scheduled- proves it wasn’t a real rev, (see other Pipes quotes for more coup) Insurrection. only in cities- very fragile hold on power, if they’d been popular they would have had much firmer grip on power Trotsky- (Bolsh dictatorship) You are miserable bankrupts, your role is played out, go back to the dustbin of history Not willing to share power- forced ideology on unwilling population Very different to popular feb rev- no mass demonstrations, rev carried out by small revolutionary group Majority of Petrograd’s citizens woke up on 25th October with no idea what had happened=coup. Figes- Small scale military coup, unnoticed by Petrograd citizens. Not even popular amongst whole party- Zinoviev + Kamenev

7 Planned vs Spontaneous- Planned- Len + Trot planned out every detail of rev – timing, hitting specific places, Military Revolutionary Committee, armed Red Guard, Central Committee- An armed uprising is inevitable. The CC orders all party organisations to follow this path and discuss and resolve all practical issues. Planned rev early October. Even PG knew Bolsh were planning something major in Oct. Kerensky tried to bring in loyal troops, closed bridges between workers district + city centre. No spontaneity at all. Lenin decided time was right for overthrow of govt 12 Sept Lenin- The Bolsheviks can and must take state power into their own hands 10 Oct Central Committee agreed to Lenin’s plan for seizure of power Fact that every detail planned out in advance, swiftness at which they took over showed that it was not spontaneous Executed to perfection

8 Historiography Rabinowitch- 1. everyone wanted end to PG after Kornilov, Bolsh popularity rose dramatically, all other parties lost credibility because of PG and Kerensky. 2. Bolsh not as unified + disciplined as previously thought- unable to control various factions in party. 3. Kornilov wanted strong means to restore army discipline. 4. Provincial Russia not prepared for coup against PG. 5. disagrees w/ Pipes. Bolsh popular- had majorities in Soviet across country, however supporters deceived. Expected creation of govt w/ all socialist parties, not Bolsh dictatorship. Pipes- 1. Len + Trot slyly took power, classic coup, scheduled- proves it wasn’t a real rev. 2. Putsch organised by Trot- surgical strikes. Myth of Bolsh surging to power on wave of popular support. 3. Central Committee initiated July Days. 4. Bolsh relied on small disciplined units of workers and soldiers, carried out smoothly and efficiently = coup. Figes- 1. Small scale military coup, unnoticed by Petrograd citizens. Lie of storming of Winter Palace, incredible ease at which Bolsh took power. 2. Took place amidst social rev centred on Soviet power. Political vacuum left by this allowed Bolsh to take power. Kenez- 1. PG had lost all power + authority, PG couldn't defend itself from Bolsh, country in anarchy- Bolsh took advantage. Service- 1. MRC + Petrograd Soviet controlled garrison, workers in Red Guard armed + committed, not coup, revs always by small groups, Soviets in most cities had Bolsh majority- October was popular. 2. Trotsky’s decision to delay rev had no major impact. Pomomarev (Soviet)- 1. Working classes led struggle against bourgeoisie, workers in guise of Soviet took power. Williams- 1. Not mass uprising- very few people involved, enthusiastically supported by workers + accepted by peasants, possible coup, but majority of population behind it. Acton- 1. Popular support for Soviet power forced Kerensky out. Explains why Bolsh took power so easily, bolsh identified w/ Soviet power. Shapiro- 1. Administrative incompetence led to delay of Const Assem elections, key failure of PG Feldman- 1. PG thought offensive war vital to prevent breakdown of army 2. Summer Offensive poorly organised, no simultaneous Western Front assault, exposed Russia’s military weaknesses. Radkey- 1. Kadet ministers resigned because they were opposed to Chernov’s land reform plans, not Ukrainian issue. Rosenberg- 1. Kadets refusal to enter coalition PG fatally undermined power of PG Munck- 1. Kornilov became C-in-C because of pressure on Kerensky from industrialists 2. Kerensky chose Kornilov to appease right wing liberal politicians. 3. Kornilov wanted to act w/ PG rather than against it. White- 1. Kornilov could never have been successful- splits between his supporters (officers + industrialists), many of them didn’t support military coup Zohrab- 1. Majority of officers in October not willing to defend PG- “Betrayers of Kornilov” Brovkin- 1. Attempts by SRs + Mensh to stop Bolsh in Oct came too late.

9 Primary Sources Kornilov- (Ultimatum to PG) Demanded restoration of death penalty and “ruthless purge of the entire officer corps.” Sukhanov- Lenin’s urge to seize power was a cynical ploy by Lenin. Lenin- (call for uprising) The Bolsheviks can and must take state power into their own hands CC- (Upon agreeing to Lenin’s plan) An armed uprising is inevitable. The CC orders all party organisations to follow this path and discuss and resolve all practical questions. Milyukov- (On Russia’s war aims) The aspirations of the nation to continue the world war to a decisive victory has been strengthened. Lenin- (April Theses, end to war) We must prove that without the overthrow of capitalism it is impossible to end the war with a truly democratic and non-annexationist peace. Lenin- (April Theses, power to soviets) The Soviet of workers’ deputies is the only possible form of revolutionary government All-Russian Soviet (Kornilov affair) General Kornilov has instigated a revolt against the Revolution and the Provisional Government. The revolution and the fatherland calls upon you to perform your duty. Not a single order of General Kornilov is to obeyed. Zinoviev + Kamenev (opposition to Lenin) To declare at once to an armed uprising would mean to stake not only the fate of the party, but also the fate of the Russian and international revolution. Military Revolutionary committee (25th October) The Provisional Government has been overthrown. The power of state has passed into the hands of the Petrograd Soviet. The cause for which the people have fought has been assured. Sukhanov (Lenin’s return to Russia in April) Suddenly before the eyes of all of us, completely swallowed up by the routine drudgery of the revolution, there was presented a bright, blinding beacon (Lenin). Sir Bruce Lockhart, British Consul in Moscow (Celebrity appeal of Kerensky)- The huge crowd rose to greet him (Kerensky) as one man. Men and women embraced each other in a hysteria of enthusiasm. Old generals and young praporshicks (non commissioned officers) wept together over the man who all Russia feels can save the country from ruin. Sukhanov (July Days) Trotsky stretched his hand down to a sailor who was protesting with especial violence. The latter moved out of reach. The sailor was confused. Not knowing what to do, the Kronstadters released Chernov. Trotsky took him by the arm and hurried into the palace. Sukhanov (reflecting on causes of rev) The common ones were hatred for ‘Kerenskyism’, fatigue, rage and a desire for peace, bread, land…On the whole the mood was strongly Bolshevik, but rather slack and wavering with respect to action and rising.

10 Recap- Main Reasons for October
February Revolution- Spontaneity, No plan for governance after Tsar’s overthrow. – Led to dual governance PG + Soviet Poor governance between Feb + Oct- bad decisions by PG (no land redistribution, offensive war, ) PG couldn’t do anything because of unelected status, trying to hold out until Const Assem elections Russia didn’t improve- socially (still in state of anarchy, poor conditions for workers), economically (food shortages, poor wages, price increase), politically (PG not representative of people, mod socialists out of touch w/ masses) Rise of Soviets- Soviet had power in cities, controlled communications, transport, soldiers of Petrograd garrison, Kronstadt sailors Bolsheviks became only opposition- July Days, radicalised workers, soldiers, sailors Lenin and Trotsky- leadership of Lenin, April Theses, planning of rev by Trotsky, organised Bolsh, towered above rest of bickering politicians, speeches, Trotsky best orator, Trotsky at head of Petrograd soviet + Military Revolutionary Committee Kornilov Affair- Kerensky’s reputation destroyed, PG and mod socialists discredited, masses distrusted all other parties apart from Bolsh, soldiers wouldn’t fight for PG, Bolsh popular party, inevitable that Bolsh would seize power

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