The First Few Months in Power
The Bolshevicks were able to survive the first few months in power for a number of reasons:
- Lenin provided clear and decisive leadership
- Sovnakom issued a series of decrees in response to pressure from the masses
- Bolsheviks crushed opposition. They develpoed forces of terror and coercion, CHEKA
- Lenin ordered as dissolution of the Constituent Assembly
- Lenin and Trotsky persuaded the Bolsheviks to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. They neede peace to survive
Who are the Whites?
- Mixed group of counter-revolutionaries, consisting of supporters of the Tsar, army geneals, liberals and other socialist groups such as the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries.
- Britain and France who wanted Russia in WW1
- Japan sought gains at Russia's expense
- Finns, Estonians and Lithuanians wanted their independance
- Poles sought to gain territory in the west
- Regiment of Czech soldiers who were captured as prisoners of war fought.
- However the Whites were divided among themselves they were unorganised and fighting for different reasons. There was little chance of co-ordination, especially between Tsarists and Socialists.
- They were not fighting for political reasons
Reasons for Communist Success During the Civil War
- Communists held a cental position in Russia, beased in Petrograd and Moscow with control of railways. Opponents were scattered all over
- Whites weaknesses, politically divided, no co-ordination, different reasons for fighting. Britain and France lost interest after WW1
- Peasants remained apathetic. They were fighting for their own reasons, siding ith neither the Communists or Whites. However the whites could not mobilise this massive support but the reds could.
- The Red Army was much better organised. Efficiency under Trotsky's leadership was good. The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army was introduced in January 1918. By 1920 the Red Army consisted of 5 million men. Disciline tightened.
As a result of the Civil War, the whole country was geared towards the needs of the Red Army. The main features of Lenin's War Communism policy was:
- Grain Requisitioning - Red Army soldiers went into the countryside to find grain. In May 1918 Food Supplies Dictatorship was set up to establish forcible requisitioning of frain. Peasants were fuming.
- Banning of Private Trade - Private trade and manufacture were banned becaus the state was meant to control this, but this was an impossible task during the war. A huge black market was set up
- Nationalisation of Industry - Industry bought under state control. Workers' committee became single managers to try and regain control. But some workers stole materials, intimidated management and voted themselves huge pay rises.
- Labour Discipline - Brought back to the workplace. Fines for lateness and absenteeism.
- Rationing - Labour force and Red Army given ration priority. Smallest rations were given to middle clas (the former people)