Key Issue 4: How effectively did lenin deal with his problems he faced between 1917 and 1924?

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 25-11-13 10:50

Problems with Bolsheviks coming to power

  • Treaty of Brest Litovsk in 1918 - ended the war between russia and germany - lost land, 3 billion rubles in redemption
  • Losses recouped when germany lost the war however it was a gamble
  • In coming to power in order to survive and extened their power indrodused the 3 decrees:
    • The decree on land of 1917
    • The decree on workers' control of 1917
    • The rights of the people of russia decree
  • kept people happy to buy time
  • All titles were abolished - comrade becae standard greeting
  • Russia became the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (RSFSR)
  • Political opposition was at a high in the constituent assembley
    • Bolsheviks only got a 1/4 of seats beaten by SRs
    • Bolsheviks had no intention of sharing power
  • Lenin dissolved the constituent assembly at gunpoint in January 1918 using the Red Guards 
  • This power by force led to a Civil War 
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Causes of the Civil War

1. The collaps of the russian empire - collapse of provisional guv, Lenins decrees allowed nationalities to leave russia (self governing) many fought against them to keep russia united

2. Political Opposition - bolsheviks made many enemys by dissolving the assembly, opposition grew e.g mensheviks and SRs, Union for the defence of motherland and liberty was set up in jan 1918 organised 3 armed revolts

3. Allied Opposition (UK and France) - Bolsheviks seized all forign owned property and cancelled the tsars debts to allies (not happy), the treaty of brest litousk left their allies fighing germany without russia opposed bolsheviks for doing it

4. The Breakdown of Law and Order - people worried about lawlessness and longed for a stong government to restore law and order

5. Food Requisitioning - summer 1918 had no food due to the fact that Ukrain (named russia's bread basket due to its many crops) was lost, Inflation meant peasants didnt want to sell their food, Lenin wanted better off peasants (kulaks) to share with poor ones this made of them many enemies 

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Forces in the Civil War

  • Bolsheviks - Reds
  • Political enemies - Whites
  • Nationalities, fighting for independence and peasants who resented bolsheviks - Greens

Whites

  • Social revolutionaries
  • Deniken's voltunteer army in the south (wrangel took over deniken)
  • The Czech legion in Siberia
  • Admiral Kolchak's Army in the east
  • General Yudenich in Estonia
  • Foreign intervention from GB, France and USA (thinking it would get russia back into WWI)

Red Army

  • Led by trotsky - 3 million men
  • conscription 1918 - mostly workers 
  • extreme discipline - Red terror
  • recruted 50,000 former tsarist officers due to lack of experiance
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White Weaknesses

  • Divison - all wanted to get rid of the Bolsheviks but that was all they sghared in common
  • Different political beliefs - not united
  • Very territorial - did not want to advance from their own area
  • Lack of co-operation - reds could deal with each army seperatly
  • Lack of Commitment - lost soldiers, peasantes doubted policy on land
  • Hard to recruite - leaders were from ruling classes so did not co-operated with peasants
  • Due to divisions there was no one strong leader of the quality of Trotsky 
  • They were as brutal as the reds so failed to present themselves as a better alternative to the reds 
  • Too reliant on supplies from abroad - these supplies also rairly arrived, or in the wrong place and in not sufficient quantites
  • This help from allies enables the reds to portray them as puppes of the allies  
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White Weaknesses

  • Divison - all wanted to get rid of the Bolsheviks but that was all they sghared in common
  • Different political beliefs - not united
  • Very territorial - did not want to advance from their own area
  • Lack of co-operation - reds could deal with each army seperatly
  • Lack of Commitment - lost soldiers, peasantes doubted policy on land
  • Hard to recruite - leaders were from ruling classes so did not co-operated with peasants
  • Due to divisions there was no one strong leader of the quality of Trotsky 
  • They were as brutal as the reds so failed to present themselves as a better alternative to the reds 
  • Too reliant on supplies from abroad - these supplies also rairly arrived, or in the wrong place and in not sufficient quantites
  • This help from allies enables the reds to portray them as puppes of the allies  
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Red Strenghts

  • red army - conscription, organised by trotsky, disapined 
  • Location gave munitions and manpower - had majority of population and industry, had moscow and petrograd, in control of the heartland
  • soldiers more commited - propaganda
  • control of railwat centers - defend internal communication and stopped whites concentrating in large forces and getting their supplies - the key to control
  • use of terror - offering defeated enemys and civilians the choise of enlisting of being shot
  • trotskys leadership - dedicated and inspiring, strict on disloyalty 
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Red Terror

Cheka

  • secret police
  • created december 1917
  • political opponents arrsted
  • anserable only to lenin
  • unlimited powers of arrest, detention and torture
  • killed without trial (estimated 50,000 killed in 1918)
  • labor camps for political prisoners

Murder of the Tsar

  • local cheka detachment executed the tsar and his family without trial
  • lenin feared that the family could provide a focus for opposition to the Bolsheviks

Trotskys Role

  • endend independence of trade unions
  • put workers under military discipline
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War Communism (part of red terror)

  • brought in to deal with desperate sistuations of the civil war
  • Tough economic measures
  • aimed to bring industry and agriculture ubnder central control
  • Industry - the decree of nationalisation 1918 meant all major industry was brought under central guv vontrol - did not lead to industrial growth
  • Agriculture - food was requisitioned, not just the surplus but peasants were left without food for themselves
  • Attack on Kulaks because bolshviks thought they were hording food (they wernt)
  • Result: Famine - grain production in the ukrain was only 20% of its pro war total 
  • There was reports o n cannibalism
  • Attack on the church - saw it as a stong oppostion, lenin tried to exploit the famin by shooting priests
  • seized church valubles he said to be sold to help win the civil war but the underlying reason was to undermind the church
  • Requisitioning tuned many peasants against bolsheviks - led to risings 
  • Reds won the war but lost support
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End Of War Communism (Kronstadt Rising)

  • Industrial and agricutlutal output had fallen alarmingly - leading bolsheviks still wanted war communism in place as it represented true revolutionary bolshevikism
  • widespread anti bolshevik rising 1920-21, one in particular was most seriouse

Kronstadt Rising 1921

  • Lenin described it as a 'Lightening flash' which revealed the true reality of things 
  • opposition to war communism from within the party itself - 2 prominant bolsheviks led risings and groups of petrograd workers went on strike
  • sailors at the krostadt navalbase linked up with these workers and demanded that they should not be worse off than they were under the tsar
  • They produced a 15 man revolutionary committee and produced a manifesto of grievances 
  • Kronstadt sailors had previously been a source of great support to the bolsheviks 
  • Trotsky restored order brutally using the red army, ringleaders were shot and any who escaped were hunted down by the cheka  
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End Of War Communism (Kronstadt Rising)

  • Industrial and agricutlutal output had fallen alarmingly - leading bolsheviks still wanted war communism in place as it represented true revolutionary bolshevikism
  • widespread anti bolshevik rising 1920-21, one in particular was most seriouse

Kronstadt Rising 1921

  • Lenin described it as a 'Lightening flash' which revealed the true reality of things 
  • opposition to war communism from within the party itself - 2 prominant bolsheviks led risings and groups of petrograd workers went on strike
  • sailors at the krostadt navalbase linked up with these workers and demanded that they should not be worse off than they were under the tsar
  • They produced a 15 man revolutionary committee and produced a manifesto of grievances 
  • Kronstadt sailors had previously been a source of great support to the bolsheviks 
  • Trotsky restored order brutally using the red army, ringleaders were shot and any who escaped were hunted down by the cheka  
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NEP 1921

brought in to solve the food shortages, and because there was mass hatered of war communism

  • ROTCOM
  • Requisitioning of grain stiooped
  • Ownership of small businesses allowed
  • Trade ban lifted
  • COMmanding heights of industry with the state
  • lenin called it the great defeat - stressed that it was temporary
  • move away from communist principles 
  • introdude to encourage the peasants to produce more grain
  • Trotsky saw it as a sign that bolshevikism was degenerating but the party did not split over it because lenin banned all factions within the bolshevik party - you agreed or you went
  • under the NEP econimy began to increase (ceral production in 1923 up 23% from 1920)
  • small businesses, factory output incresed significantly due to NEPmen (private traders)
  • Scissor Crises - food prices fell because there was more of it to sell, but factory goods prices rose because they were scarse. Scissor (on the graph the two lines one increasing and one decreasing look like open scissors) peasants lost the initiave to sell there goods which was the reason the NEP was introdused in the first place
  • The years 1917-24 show the wide gap between revolutionary theory & economic reality
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Constitution and Government

Totalitarian - Absolute state control, no rival loyaltyd permitted

  • LENINS RUSSIA
  • Other parties were banned by 1921 - no SRs after attempting to kill lenin, no mensheviks, in 1919 bolsheviks changed their name to CPSU (communist party of the soviet union.
  • Civil war led to centralisation - no local demoracy or decision making, everything was run from the middle
  • Party Centralised and hierarchical - ban on factons in 1921 stated that once a policy had been agreed all had to accept it or get out, meaning no debat of discussion
  • The Politburo (inner cabint of the CPSU) Power lay with a few people at the top 7-9 members took over decision making from the unwieldly Central Committee of around 40 memebers
  • The Party dominated the Sovnarkom (cabinet) - Lenin was the government like the Tsar
  • Soviet sidelined by sovnarkom - all bolshevik 

 

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Lenin's Strengths As a Leader

  • Strong leader - won civil war
  • Good public speaker - influential
  • Able to adapt and change policies if they are not working
  • Abandoned war communism to stop people starving
  • Kept a tight hold on Russia, use of terror
  • Was able to persuad people to comply with what he wanted
  • reshaped Marxist theory to make it fit Russian conditions
  • Trusting - delegated military control to Trotsky in the civil war
  • Ban on factions - stifle any criticism from the party
  • establish a one-party state
  • Cheka 
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Lenin's Weaknesses As a Leader

  • Failure of War Communism - NEP was not communism
  • Did not declare a successor after his death
  • Use of terror was inhumane - checka and camps, unjust
  • wasnt much different than the Tsar
  • The USSR was the only communist state so had strained relations with the outside world
  • Accepted foreign aid to help victimes of power (+-, because it was admitting defeat but for a good reason)
  • politicised the law - was no longer to protect individuals but extend political control (good for the bolsheviks but not for the people)
  • NEP cased splits within the party
  • Prohibited public worship, churched looted, clergy arrested or dispersed
  • War communism cased immense suffering and famin
  • he ignored complaintes of the Kronstadt sailor and sent in the red army to crush them
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