Causes of October 1917 Revolution

Strengths of Bolsheviks vs. Weaknesses of Provisional Government

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Strengths of the Bolsheviks


  • Small, organized group of revolutionaries
  • Broke away from the Mensheviks: small coup

April Theses

  • Produced by Lenin April1 1917
  • Called for: a worldwide socialist revolution, immediate end to WW1, end to co-operation with Provisonal gov't, Soviet to take power, land to be given to the peasants

July Days

  • Violence and rioting in Petrograd
  • Encouraged by the Bolsheviks (some members arrested)
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Weaknesses of the Provisional Government


  • Refused to pull out of World War 1
  • Launched Summer 1917 offensive - hundreds of thousands killed and even more territory lost to the Germans
  • Desertations increased - led to Petrograd uprising in July


  • No land reforms: 237 cases of peasant land seizures in July 1917
  • Fins, Poles and Ukranians demanded independence
  • Cost of living rose - black bread price rose 500% from August 1914-17


  • All resources directed to fighting the war
  • 568 factories closed in Petrograd - unemployment, violence
  • 100 000 jobs lost in Petrograd between Feb-July
  • Railway condition poor, dislocated by the war
  • Shortages of food, fuel and raw materials


  • No clear control over the country, working with Petrograd Soviet
  • Kerensky leader in July 1917 - popular choice, although did not solve any of the problems, moved into Tsar's palace
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