How the Bolshevik Dictatorship Evolved and consolidated its grip using the party, red army and secret police

Read through these cards on Russia during the Civil War

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Outbreak of Civil War

Possibly the October Revolution, or a general detorioration in law and order

Lenin's govt involved in a major conflict in 1918, all his enemies had the desire to remove Lenin, even though they were ideologically different

Whites - wanted a return to Tsarism/Prov Govt - under Kornilov until he died, then Deniken, Allies sent forces to help Russia defend the Germans in WWI

Communist Russia seen as a threat to stability

Czech Legion (created in 1917) moved from Siberia to Russia in 1918 and came into conflict with the Red Army

Many different nationalities wanted to form their own states; Finns, Poles, Ukranians etc fought for independence & leading Communists weren't of Russian origin

Treaty of Brest-Litovsk split the left SRs who launched an attack on Communism and an assassination of the Tsar himself

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Kolchak's campaign

Kolchak launched an assault from the East at the start of the year

Had 30,000 foreign troops supporting him and the offensive started well

April - his armies had travelled 200 miles + captured some important cities

End of April - Red Army launched a counter-attack and conscripted civilians into the Red Army and forced some to switch sides

July - Kolchak's men had been forced back and had lost most of their soldiers

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Deniken's campaign

Based in South-East Russia

Initially agreed to help Kolchak but changed his mind in March

March - went to the Donbass region, to fight the Red Army

Had some success at the start and many deserted the Red Army as it had retreated

He didn't have enough troops to fight over such a wide space and his attack had eventually failed

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Yudenich's campaign

Launched an attack on Petrograd in Oct 1919

Needed more men, foreign support had dried up after Kolchak's failure and the Finns refused to fight as independence wasn't promised if they won

Yudenich's attack started well, Trotsky intervened and helped the Communist victory

Foreign powers became annoyed with so many losses and by the end of 1919, most had withdrawn

Whites were left on their own, and had been cornered on the Crimean peninsula by the Red Army and was defeated by the middle of 1920

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Russo-Polish War 1920-21

1919 - Polish forces entrerned Ukraine and captured Kiev

Communists attacked the Poles and forced the retreat

Lenin then ordered the invasion of Poland hoping Polish workers would join the Red Army and stage a revolution against their govt but instead fought the Russians as an enemy

1920 - Red Army got to Warsaw, and were then defeated

After the Treaty of Riga (April 1921) Poland was given some of Belorussia

The R-P War was the biggest Communist defeat in the Civil War and ceased the hope of extending the Revolution beyond Russia

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Disunity of the opposition

Lenin a strong leader, had planned where the government should go and could follow through with it

Anti-Communist forces lacked strategy & direction

Whites fought to re-establish Tsarism, some Whites wanted a return to Prov Govt

Most of the public didn't want a return to Tsarism and this didn't win their votes

Some A-Cs fought between themselves e.g. Ukranians vs White and Red armies (seperately)

Green Army formed, who wanted to create a new society where local peasants ran the country - successful in 1918, defeated by the Red Army in 1919

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Geographical and organisational factors

Communists dominated mainland Russia (about 60 million people)

Controlled Moscow + Petrograd, important industrial centres & most of the railway network

Could produce more munitions than Whites, could use railways to distribute munitions and troops, could communicate easily as their territory was wider

Whites geographically dispersed and launched offensives at different times

Communists able to maximise production through war communism - conscripted people to work in factories and used tactics e.g. threats to force higher production

They took over war production and all of the economy, workers sent round to various sectors if not enough being produced

Grain requisitioning - taking grain by force, not popular with peasants + contributed to Green popularity but was important for the war effort

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The Terror

Lenin established the Cheka (political police force that engaged in terror tactics against all anti-Communists)

Terror tactics used against any resisters of Communist rule

Anyone who resisted grain requisitioning was executed

Villages thought to be hiding opponents were burned

Would-be opponents offered the choice of joining the Red Army or execution

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Trotsky and the Red Army

1918 - Trotsky founded the Red Army

By the end of the Civil War, had 5 million members (many conscripted)

Trotsky recruited former officers of the Tsarist army to fight for Communism, in a bid to gain high-level military experience in the party - he held their families hostage so they would sure to agree

Political officers assigned to all Red Army units to ensure they complied with Trotsky's orders and remained loyal

Trotsky toured every Front in an armoured train, checking on his units and delivering political speeches

ALL of this ensured the Red Army fought effectively

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