October Revolution

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 22-04-19 11:20

WW1 (At Home)

Economy:

- rapid inflation, by 1914-17 prices rose over 300% (as gov. expenditure increased from 4 million to 30 million roubles a year)

- grain supply reaching markets was 20% less in 1916 than in 1914 (printing money had increased wages but income still lagged behind prices)

Workers/Soldiers:

- resources continuously channeled towards the army (General Strike brings Petrograd to a standstill with workers demanding food + peace)                                                 1. General Khablov reports some soldiers defecting to the demonstrators

- soldiers saw little point in fighting for territory when everybody wanted peace (high rate of desertion, estimated 2 million in 1917)

Peasants:

- July-August PG sent troops to stop attacks on landlord's property on 39 occasions (it increased to 105 times from September to August)

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PG (Weaknesses)

- formed 2nd March - PG would ruled until a Constituent Assembly was elected               1. It was not elected by the people, but chosen by the Duma Committee                       2. It was made of leading figures from the Kadets & other liberal parties

Peasants:

- felt betrayed by the Emancipation Act of 1861 (saw the February Revolution as a chance to take land from nobility and wanted approval from the PG)

- liberals blocked Chernov, Minister of Agriculture (they would not hand over land without compensation for landowners)

In July to August the PG sent troops to stop attacks on landlord’s property on 39 occasions (105 times in September to August)

Economy:

- between February - July, 569 Factories in Petrograd closed with the loss of 100,000 jobs (printing money only increased wages by 100% which still fell short of prices at 300%)

- gov. expenditure increased from 4 million to 30 million roubles a year

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Lenin (1917)

Lenin’s April Theses (1917):

- offered ‘Peace, Land and Bread’ and proclaimed ‘All Power to the Soviet’ (12th September 1917, Lenin wrote to the Bolshevik Central Committee urging action)              2. appealing to the general sentiments of workers, soldiers & peasants

Zinoviev & Kamenev:

- 10th October 1917, Zinoview & Kamenev published views in Gorky’s Newspaper (believed Bolsheviks did not have enough support amongst soldiers or workers)             2. despite Lenin having spoken to them directly in Petrograd

Power Hungry:

- 26th October 1917, Trotsky urged Lenin to wait until the meeting of the Second Congress of All Russian Soviets (in order to appear that seizure was done with soviet support)

- Vote of the Congress would mean a coalition government made up of all the Soviet parties (Lenin was reluctant to share power + made all day-to-day decisions of business)

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Dual Authority

The PG was formed on the 27th February + Soviet was formed 2nd March...

Paralysis (Order No.1 on 1st March):

- the Petrograd Soviet offered no alternative leadership to the PG (while the PG continued to postpone elections for Constituent due to growing radical support)

- the Soviet did not take power in March 1917 (waiting for a 'bourgeoise revolution' + the growth of the Proletariat)                                                                           1. made no attempt to demand land redistribution or nationalisation of industry

Responsibilities:

- both worked to secure the popularity of the Proletariat                                          1. Tsarist ministers/officials imprisoned + Secret police were disbanded              2. Freedom of Speech/press established + Death Penalty was abolished at the front

Ultimately, this uneasy conjunction made it virtually impossible for effective action (Soviet often vetoed PG decisions + encouraged defiance of authority)

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Kornilov Affair (26th-30th August)

Kerensky Weaknesses:

- Kerensky Offensive failed as soldiers saw little point in fighting for territory when everybody wanted peace (high rate of desertion, estimated 2 million in 1917)

- Kornilov ordered 6 regiments to march on Petrograd to crush the Soviet (in response, Kerensky released + armed imprisoned Bolsheviks)                                          1. Kornilov’s supply lines were cut & coup leaders arrested

Bolshevik Strengths:

- Bolsheviks produced propaganda to show a weak Kerensky + PG                           1. PG & Kerensky sent more radical army units out of Petrograd in fear                   2. Kerensky was perceived to be abandoning the capital to the Germans

- the Bolsheviks formed the Red Guards - a force of 10,000 (membership also increased from 23,000 in February to 200,000 by October)                                             1. they won the majority in the Petrograd Soviets on 26th September

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1. Popular Support (Workers)

- September 9th, Bolsheviks won the majority in the Petrograd Soviet - not manipulated (Bolsheviks supported worker’s outright control of factories)                                 1. poor conditions were pushing workers to more radical views

War:

- During the war, the no. of urban workers in Petrograd rose by 60% - nearly 400,000 (estimated that worker’s committees were involved in running 74% of Petrograd factories)

- resources continuously channeled towards the army (General Strike brings Petrograd to a standstill with workers demanding food + peace)                                             1. General Khablov, reports soldiers defecting to the demonstrators

Disillusionment:

- Kadet papers either did not report strikes or condemned them, arguing that they were an attack on the property of factory owners

- May 1917, several thousand Petrograd laundresses went on strike (demanding an 8 hour day and minimum wages and more & gradually, by May 28th all demands were met)

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2. Popular Uprising (Peasants & Soldiers)

Peasants:

Half of all males had been conscripted by 1917 - 80% were peasants (2.6 million horses commandeered for the army, removing the other main source of labour)

- July-August PG sent troops to stop attacks on landlord's property on 39 occasions (it increased to 105 times from September to August)

Soldiers:

- food supplies 60% lower than pre-war + medical supplies were scarce (In June, Western Front, 181,000 soldiers fell ill despite 30,000 treated for wounds)

- Bolsheviks promised to financially support soldier’s wives + demobolise the over 40’s (their calls for peace also gained support)

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3. Coup d'Etat

Weak Influence:

- Trotsky claimed that 25,000-30,000 people ‘at the most’ were actively involved (about 5% of all workers and soldiers in Petrograd)

- restaurants, theatres + cinemas remained open and police reports suggested ‘everything was quiet on the streets’

Government:

26th October 1917, Trotsky urged Lenin to wait until the meeting of the Second Congress of All Russian Soviets (in order to appear that seizure was done with soviet support)

- according to Pipes ‘the masses neither needed or desired a revolution’ (Pipes believed that the only group interested was the intelligensia)

Workers:

- Worker’s grievances were mainly ‘bread and butter’ issues (over hours, wages, working conditions & terms of employment + wages fell between 10% & 60%)

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Kerensky Offensive (16th June)

- the Soviet allowed itself to be persuaded by the PG to launch an offensive (Kerensky, War Minister, made patriotic speeches + toured the front in order to raise support)

- soldiers saw little point in fighting for territory when everybody wanted peace (high rate of desertion, estimated 2 million in 1917)

Bolsheviks:

- Bolsheviks grew in popularity, forming the Red Guards after Kerenesky freed them - a force of 10,000 (membership increased from 23,000 to 200,000 by October)

Soldiers:

food supplies 60% lower than pre-war + medical supplies were scarce (In June, Western Front, 181,000 soldiers fell ill despite 30,000 treated for wounds)

- Bolsheviks promised to financially support soldier’s wives + demobolise the over 40’s (Lenin called for 'Peace, Land, Bread' & 'All Power to the Soviets!')

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July Days (3-4th)

Causes:

- grain prices had doubled in Petrograd (shortages of fuel/raw materials forced closure of 586 factories, Feb-July + the loss of 100,000 jobs)                                                                               1. PG refused to listen to worker's demands as they feared acting against industrialists

Sailors:

- 20,000 Kronstadt sailors appeared in Petrograd on July 4th using Bolshevik slogans (inspiring demonstrators to riot - attacking shops + even invading the Tauride Palace)       1. supported by SR's & Mensheviks

- in response to the rising pressure, Kerensky replaced Prince Lvov 8th July 1917 (Lenin was forced to flee + Newspaper Izvestia denounced Bolsshevik leaders as German spies)

- after shots were fired, chaos ensued + uncontrolled rioting (undermining Lenin's credibility despite his giving no authorisation for the event)

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