- The Bolshevik position after overthrowing the provisional government (PG) was weak
- Russia was still at war, so the Bolshevik's first act was to issue a decree on peace.
- Lenin ordered a ceasefire, and suggested that a treaty had to be made however harsh, which met bad reception within the party.
- They came around, and the treaty was exceedingly harsh with Russia losing
- 1/3 of its agricultural land
- 1/2 of its heavy industry
- 90% of its coal mines
- Social Revolutionaries were more popular than the Bolsheviks 24% - 40.4%
- Lenin had little control over more rural areas of Russia, as his power was centralised in cities.
- This lack of power led to Lenin's succesful attempts at consolidating it through a 'Red Terror'
- Lenin + Trotsky argued that all internal struggle had to be removed in order to focus on the civil war.
- This led to the closing of the Constituent Assembly and any anti-Bolshevik party was banned.
- The Cheka was established to enforce this
- In the following months 800 socialists were arrested and shot without trial.
- The official figure for the amound executed in the first year was 6,300. (Priests + members of middle class)
- This was heightened especially after the assassinations on members of the Cheka and the attempted assassination on Lenin in 1918.
Opposition - White Armies
- SR's and Mensheviks opposed the one party state.
- Some national minorities wanted self government (Green Army)
- Some wanted to re establish PG or Tsarist rule.
- Allies invaded and occupied parts of Russia.
- Czech Legion formed by the Tsar wanted independent state. They were supported by the Western Powers to fight against the Bolsheviks.
- Numbered 30,000
- In Ukraine, Nestor Makhno led an anti Bolshevik army.
- In the South of Russia, Kornilov led a resistance
- The Bolshevik forces (Red Army) grew from a few hundred thousand to 5 million in 2 years.
- 83% of commanders were ex-Tsarist soldiers as Trotsky valued their experience
- Many enlisted purely because they knew that Lenin was distributing food to the Red Army forces first.
November 1918 - The allies withdrew from Russia, which spelled disaster for the Whites as they provided support.
July 1918 - Czech Legion began moving + Romanov's assassinated to demoralise Tsarist supporters and ensure they didn't have a figurehead for counter-revolution.
July 1919 - Denikin, Kolchak and Yudenich, the warlords, made significant advances but in July, Kolchak's eastern army was anhilated
October 1919 - Denikins Southern forces destroyed and Yudenich's forces were neutralised.
Why did the Reds win?
- The Bolsheviks only held 15% of the land and were surrounded by the whites. How did they win?
- Because it was a more concentrated area it was harder to penetrate.
- The Whites failed to control the peasants because they thought that they'd revert to the system of Land Captains.
- Leon Trotsky led the Red Army inspirationally
- Made sure that troops were well fed
- Made sure they were supplied with arms well
- The Whites were not unified
- Whilst the Whites had the support of the Allies in name, they did little to actively help the war effort, as they were sick of fighting. (withdrew 1918-19)
Bolshevik Economic Policy Post-Revolution
- October 1917 - the economy was in a poor state.
- Confiscated all land from landowners and redistributed it to the peasants.
- Allowed factory workers to run factories themselves. (Although later War communism let the government run some)
- Nationalising of land.
- Ended private capitalism and made all industry state controlled.
- Strikes Banned.
- Economy geared towards army and centralised.
- Grain requisiton from peasants (All surplus grain surrendered to state) - Increased by 750,000 tonnes in the first year
War Communism achieved some of its aims and was justafiable whilst the civil war was ongoing, as it supported the Red Army
- The economic strength of Russia fell below the 1914 level
- Mass migration to the countryside as people believed they could be self sufficient (33% moved from the cities)
- Number of factory and mine workers decreased by 50%
- There was heavy inflation
- A flourishing black market sprung up
Reactions to Harshness of War Communism
- Violent rebellions in Tambov and Siberia.
- Kronstadt Sailors mutinied
- Fear of a worker/peasant general uprising
- In 1921 Lenin redacted War Communism
- Lenin - Kronstadt uprising was the 'flash which lit up reality', as he realised the general distaste of War Communism.
- Small scale industries returned to their former owners (Heavy industry remained state controlled)
- Grain requisition was replaced by a small grain tax
- Peasants allowed to sell surplus
- The Rouble was revalued to counter the severe inflation.
- Private trading was permitted
All of this was good for the Russian economy; Agricultural and industrial output soared, particularly heavy industry
By 1923, agricultural production was at a healthy 75% of the 1913 level Similarly light industrial production was stimulated by this increase.