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How far was the provisional government responsible for its downfall?
By Jessica Potter
During the 1917 the Provisional Government had many issues and problems that they had to
deal with. For example there was people protesting against food shortages which was
caused by the war that the provisional government chose to continue with. They gave other
radical groups a chance to undermine them because of their legitimacy. However unless
these problems and issues were used by Lenin to create a revolution it wouldn't have led to
one. This is why the Provisional Government was not responsible for its own downfall.
The return of Lenin was one of the most important factors to the downfall of the
Provisional Government. If Lenin hadn't returned there would have been no revolution
making him one of the most important factors. When he returned he was the only Bolshevik
who wanted an armed uprising. If Lenin had waited until after the elections that the
Provisional Government had proposed it would have been a lot harder to over throw them
because they would have gained legitimacy. Therefore it had to be done as soon as possible.
If Lenin didn't have an uprising then, then the likely hood is that there would have been no
change in power which shows that Lenin thought this through. If Lenin had not returned and
started an armed uprising then there would have been no revolution. Therefore it isn't the
Provisional Governments own fault for the downfall.
The growth of the Bolsheviks was also another factor causing the downfall of the Provisional
Government. In around September the Bolsheviks gained majority giving them a
considerable amount of power. Lenin adjusted the Bolshevik principle of keeping the party
small. After the Kornilov affair, which had 40,000 workers being armed many being
Bolsheviks, not keeping the party small paid off. Arming the Bolsheviks helped them seize
power. Therefore even though the Provisional Government should have stopped the
Bolsheviks being armed through the Kornilov affair the significance of the affair would have
been that much without the growth of the Bolsheviks.
On the other hand another factor for the downfall of the Provisional Government was
continuing in the war. This fact made the Provisional Government responsible for its own
downfall. The war cause huge food shortages as big proportion of the food was on the front
line feeding the soldiers. War also had a huge impact on the living conditions in Russia. This
caused disturbance throughout the Russian people and huge demands were being made.
Even though there were many protests against the war the Provisional Government still
carried on their involvement. This helped Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Lenin offered the people
an alternative which helped him gain support. If the provisional Government had stopped the
war there wouldn't have been food shortages which was the main cause of the disturbance
and unrest therefore there wouldn't have been a revolution and Lenin wouldn't have had
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Therefore Lenin is more responsible for bringing down the Provisional
Government as he took the issue further causing a revolution.
Another factor was that the Provisional Government didn't spread its authority effectively.
From the fact that there were over 700 complaints of peasants stealing land from
landowners, it is clear that the Provisional Government didn't have power of the agricultural