The Bolshevik Consolidation of Power: Detailed revision notes

AS Edexcel History

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Problems/threats faced by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, October 1917:
1. The War/The Economy:
The war was deeply unpopular and caused inflation and foot shortages. The army was fighting
at the front and disintegrating when the Bolsheviks needed it to crush their opposition, instead
of fighting the Germans
2. Peasant unrest/The Land Question:
The Bolsheviks had no control over the countryside (only 2 main cities). The peasant were
seizing the nobles' estates for themselves
3. Elections to the Constituent Assembly (November)
The Constituent Assembly was scheduled for November 1917. They would draw up a new
constitution and government for Russia. The Bolsheviks would no longer be able to claim they
were the legitimate government of Russia.
4. Growing opposition to Bolshevik rule:
Liberals, The Elite and the Mensheviks
Mensheviks were winning more seats in the Soviets. The Bolsheviks might lose their majority in
the All-Russia Soviet, and therefore their grip on power would weaken.
5. Civil War against the Whites:
The Whites were a diverse collection of political groups who wanted to remove the Bolsheviks.
They included the Mensheviks, Liberals, SRs and Tsarists. The Whites tried to overthrow the
Bolsheviks during the Civil War
Steps by which the Bolsheviks strengthened their grip of power 1917-1924:
1. Role of Lenin:
Land Decree
Gives peasants the land
Extends Bolshevik control of the countryside
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
Ends WW1
Bolsheviks free to fight internal enemies
Won the support of workers and peasants who were fed up of economic problems caused by
Lost of their farmland
Lost of their population
Lost ½ of industry
Cancels war loan repayments
Creation of the Sovnarkom
A council dominated by the Bolsheviks
Makes decisions on behalf of the soviet
Excluded other parties like the Mensheviks from the government
Closure of the Constituent assembly
If it had been allowed to draw up a new constitution, the Bolsheviks would have lost their
claim to be the lawful government of Russia
Closed after one meeting
Creation of the CHEKA
A secret police force
Used to wipe out opposition and terrify the population into supporting the Bolsheviks
(especially during the Civil War)
Executed peasants who resisted grain requisitioning
Burned villages who hid political opponents
War Communism

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Civil war.…read more

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Control of transport and banking ­ the state
took control ­ industry organised into trusts and
had to follow budgets (if budgets were not
followed, there would be no state bailout)
Impact of the system:
Industrial production made a rapid Created a get-rich-quick
recovery society
From 1920-1923, factory output rose by Prostitution and crime
almost 200% flourished
By 1923, Nepmen handled as much as ¾ Prices of food started to drop
of the retail trade Greater trade between
Ban of Factions
1921 at the…read more

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The Bolsheviks held the industrialised areas during the Civil War: used factories and railways
to make weaponry and transport it around
Lack of support
The Bolsheviks' opponents were not supported by the population, especially during the
Civil War
(e.g.…read more

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Slave labour
Why did Lenin introduce the NEP?
Introduced at the Tenth Party Congress as a temporary measure.…read more

Page 6

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Lenin worried that the NEP would cause a split in the party. If this happened, the Bolsheviks might
lose their grip on power.…read more


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