The October Revolution


The October Revolution

Lenin had been hiding in Finland watching the events unfold. Thought it was time for Bolsheviks to seize power. No. of factors in their favour:

  • Bolsheviks had control of the soviet
  • their popularity was at an all time high, done well in elections across Russia to Soviets
  • Liberals and other Conservative forces were demoralised after the Kornilov affair
  • The PG was helpless

Worried that events may turn against the Bolsheviks, particularly if the Germans made a sudden move and a seperate peace was negotiated. On 12 Septermber, wrote to the Bolshevik central committee urging action, but they felt it was premature. Rejected initial demands but on 10 October secretly came to Petrograd and convinced them. Zinoviev and Kamenev (Bolshevik leaders) did not agree however. Worry that there was not enough support in the army or amongst workers to make a successful uprising. Trotsky urged Lenin to wait until the 2nd Congress of all Russian soviets on 26 October. Seen that seizure of power was done with the support of the soviets. 

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Kerensky's response

Kerensky tried to send radical army units out of the capital and there were rumours he planned to abandon Petrograd to the Germans. Allowed the Soviet to set up MRC (Military Revolutionary Committee) incase of another attempted right-wing coup. MRC dominated by the Bolsheviks and Trotsky had more direct control over the soldiers and the capital. Kerensky tried to stop by closing newspapers linking to the working class districts in Petrograd. Gave Bolsheviks excuse for action. Could say that Kerensky was attacking the Soviet, and the Revolution. Kerensky went to the Front. 

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Bolsheviks seize control

On the night of the 24-25 October, units of the Red Guar, sailors and garrison soldiers were sent out to seize the hep points in the city. Any troops on duty faded away as the Red Guards appeared. The Bolsheviks had decided to move in on the Provional Government in the Winter Palace. On the night of 25-26 October, Bolshevik soldiers entered the palace and arrested what remained of the government.

The same evening the All-Russian Congress of Soviets met and socialists from other parties declared the actions of the Bolsheviks. Argued that the Bolsheviks did not represent the ordinary Russian people. The main socialist parties stormed from the hall and only left-wing revolutionary socialists remained. Fortunate as it gave them a majority in Congress. Later, Lenin arrived and announced the formation of a Bolshevik government, immediate moves to an end to war and a decree transferring land to the peasants. They had a fragile hold however Bolsheviks were in power in Russia. 

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