Russian Civil War 1918 - 1921

Just an overview of the Russian Civil War and how the Bolsheviks won

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Who was Involved ?

The Reds - The Bolshevik army and goverment

The Whites - Led by former officers of the Tsar's army & all other non - Bolshevik 


Foreign Interventionists - Countries such as USA, Britain & France who hated the 


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The Reds

The Reds controlled the railway stations and essential industries in Russia. They controlled the main industrial zone in Russia, including Petrograd and Moscow.

The Bolsheviks also had great support from the peasants as they were promished Bread, Peace and Land (The April Theses). Trotsky's war train also helped boost morale. He would go around Russia on his train handing out food and ammunition to the people.

Lenin created the policy of War Communism:

  • Surplus food was given to the army
  • The State controlled the railways
  • Money was abolsihed in favour of bartering
  • Terror was used so people obeyed

Although this policy created great hardships in russia and many people died of hunger it did help the Bolsheviks win the war

Leon Trotsky - He was a key figure in the Bolshevik party. He was a great public  speaker and could inspire a huge crows

Vladimir Lenin - He was the leader of the Bolshevik Party. Although not as good  a public speaker as Trotsky he was the tactical mastermind  behind every ploicy.

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The Whites

The main reason the Whites lost the civil war because each group with in the army were fighting for diiferent causes and they were not united. They also relied on supplies from abroad and it was difficult to transport it to all the sections of the army.

Admiral Kolchak treated his soldiers ruthelesly and his army was easily defeated in 1919

White Generals Deniken & Wrangel refused to co-ordinate & co-operate so an attack from Crimea in 1918 failed

The Poles thought their own wars against the reds

Admiral Kolchak - He was the leader of a large section of the white army

Deniken - Took over the White army in the south after Kornilov died

Wrangel - He was the leader of the white army coming from Ukraine but disagreed  with Deniken on where the White army should attack next

Kornilov - Strong follower of the Tsar and he tried to have the Bolshevik leaders killed in 1917 by calling them spies. This was the Kornilov affair.

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Foreign Interventionists

Countires such as USA, Britain and France disliked the Bolsheviks strongly so they tried to hepl the white army in bringing there downfall. Unfortunatley the soldiers were very tired after fighting in WW1 so they decided to leave in 1919. They weren't defeated in a battle they just went back to there respective countries.

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New Economic Policy

After the hardships of War Communism Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy. This stated that the goverment would take half of what farmers grew and then the farmers could sell what they had left. This meant that the hard working farmers would earn more money than the lazy farmers. It was very successful as industry boomed and food supplies increased massivley. However this did outrage some of the passionate communists as they felt Russia was becoming Capatalist.

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