• Created by: Benlhunt
  • Created on: 08-05-15 18:58


Following Revolution

  • 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'

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.

Civil War

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 

State Capitalism

  • 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)

War Communism

  • 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.

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