Kornilov Affair

Kornilov Affair


Kornilov Affair

  • The main counterrevolutionary episode of the Russian Revolution of Feburary 1917.
  • General Kornilov, was seen as the Napoleon of the Russian Revolution
  • After the summer offensive(The last offensive by Russia in WW1) failed, Kornilov used harsh measures to restore discipline in the Army.
  • The conservatives, liberals and some socialists pressured Kerensky to appoint Kornilov supreme commander in Chief, which he was on July 31st.
  • Kerensky did not trust Kornilov but hoped for him to appease the right and counterbalance the left.
  • Kornilov saw this as an opportunity to crush the radical socialists and restore order and authority in Petrograd.
  • Kornilov sent his troops marching towards the government to seize control. Kerensky denounced Kornilov and called in the soviets to help defend Petrograd.
  • The masses feared that, with Kornilov, mean't the return of old order. Soldiers feared that old discipline would be restored and they be sent to the front.
  • Most of the defence was organised by the bolshevikes (Red Guard).
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Consequences of Kerensky's appointment of Kornilov

  • Kerensky's reputation was utterly ruined and destroyed.
  • Menshevikes and Socialist Revolutionary leaders were discredited by their association with Kerensky. Their inability to change change their people condemned them in the eyes of the masses.
  • The masses distrusted the Liberals and Kadets, the agents of industrialists and large landowners.
  • Soldiers murdered 100's of officiers and officiers had felt that Kerensky had betrayed Kornilov as he negotiate his troops to flee.
  • Bolshevik support grew significantly as they were seen as the true saviours of the revolution. 9th september, Bolshevik gained overall controll of th Petrograd soviet/ Moscow soviet.
  • On 25th September, Trotsky was elected president.
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Was the October Revolution as Popular uprising or

  • The Soviet view ( 1917-91):
  • The October Rev. was a popular uprising which was led and carried out by the working class, supported by the poorer peasants.
  • The working class created the soviets which acted as the power bases through which the Revolution was accomplished.
  • The predominnant western view after 1945:
  • The October Revolution was a coup d'etat where a 'tiny minority' seized power and then imposed thier evil ideology on an unwilling population.
  • Lenin controlled a well organised and disciplined revolutionary party.
  • Leonard Schapiro and Robert Conquest see the October Rev. as a disaster ( Liberal View)
  • The Revisionists:
  • Suspected that the hostile accounts of the Oct Rev. were part of the cold war policies of the post war period
  • They concentrated on Lenin and the Bolshevik party in the Revolution.
  • They wanted to view history from a peasants point of view as well as from a bourgeosie.
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Was the October Revolution as Popular uprising or

  • Stephen Smith: View that the lower ranks of Bolshevik Party played  a much more active role in pushing forward the revolution.
  • Sheila Fitzpatrick: Suggested that it was the workers, soldiers and peasants who created the circumstances in which the bolsheviks could operate.
  • Recent Views:
  • Robert Service and Chris Read argued that Lenin was a key a figure saying that without his drive and persistence these probably would not have been October Revolution.
  • The way in which the Bolsheviks seize power demonstrated the similarities to that of the coup.
  • Peasants, workers, soldiers and sailors played an immensly important part in the october Revolution.
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Lenin in Power

  • Promised 'Peace, land and Bread'
  • Oct 26, Lenin asked Germany for peace.
  • Rules were created to allow the Bolsheviks to have centralized power.
  • Bolsheviks used their power against their enemies in a ruthless manner.
  • Bolshevik decrees:
  • 12 Nov: 8 hours work day, 48 hrs per week, Over time pay
  • 1 Dec: All non-Bolshevik paper banned
  • 20 Dec: Cheka Set up to maintain order.
  • 27 Dec: Factories put under worker committees and Banks put under Bolshevik control.
  • Bolshevik Dictatorship:
  • Lenin promised elections for constituent assemblies.
  • Socialist Rev. were in majority
  • Lenin sent in Red guard to close assembly, so the Socialist Rev. would not be elected.
  • He used congress of Soviets to pass laws.
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Making peace

  • Lenin put Trotsky in charge of negotiations
  • Lenin asked Trotsky to draw out peace negotiations believing Germany would have a socialist revolution.
  • Germany advance in Feburary 1918 forced lenin to sign.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk signed March 3, 1918.( Russia lost Ukraine, Polish and Baltic territories and Finland).
  • Russia lost:
  • Population=34%
  • Farming land=32%
  • Industry=54%
  • Railroads=26%
  • Coalmines=89%
  • 300,000,000 gold roubles for war reparations.
  • Oppostion to Lenin's actions of 'peace making':
  • Was show 3x by Socialist Rev.
  • Attempted to crush enemies with Cheka
  • Russian resistance united in 'white' armies
  • Most of Russia supported Socialist Rev.
  • Czech-legion (Czech and slovak volunteer fighting force) takes over trans-siberian railroad.
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