Why did a Second Revolution take place?

Read the cards on the Provisional Government and Bolshevik Coup to help you remember this period


Rise in Bolshevik support

Aug 1917 - Kornilov Affair led to fears of a R-W military takeover and the Bolsheviks were seen as defenders of the Revolution

Lenin supported a new programme of 'Peace, Bread, Land' e.g. 'Bolshevik opposition to the war, need to end food shortages, support for land seizures by peasants'

Bolsheviks gained support from industrial workers and poor peasants and membership was at 200,000 by the Kornilov Affair

10,000 'Red Guards' recruited for factories to acquire arms, like they did during the Kornilov Affair

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The timing of the seizure of power

9 Aug - Prov Govt proposed a timetable for national elections to a Constituent Assembly which would have the task of producing a new constitution

Elections on 12th Nov and the opening session of it would be 28th Nov

Lenin aware SRs were likely to win these elections & that the Bolsheviks would have to win power before the elections

Lenin suggested all political power to be handed over to the All-Russia Soviet where the Bolsheviks were well supported

End of Sept - Bolsheviks had the majority of seats for the first time in Petrograd

Prov Govt became more unpopular, A-RS retained public's respect

10 Oct - Lenin came out of hiding to meet the Central Committee and was able to persuade them that an armed takeover should happen

The planning was Trotsky's responsibility

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The seizure of power

24 Oct - Prov Govt tried to close down 2 Bolsheviks newspapers in Petrograd, then Lenin arrived at Bolshevik HQ and put his plan into action immediately through fears the Prov Govt were trying to stop Bolsheviks

Using the MRC, Bolsheviks planned to take over the capital on night before the Second Congress of the A-RS on 26 Oct

Trotsky controlled MRC, when they seized power- it would be announced to be on behalf of the Soviet

Eve of 24 Oct - MRC and Red Guards occupied areas of Petrograd and arrested some of the Prov Govt - no opposition apart from a company of women soldiers + officer cadets

25 Oct - Kerensky escaped Petrograd, Russian Parliament was dispersed by Red Guards

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The seizure of power continued ...

Eve of 25 Oct - A-RS delegates began meeting

26 Oct - Lenin announced Prov Govt had been overthrown

390 Bolsheviks in the A-RS accepted Lenin's actions

Mensheviks only had 80 seats, SRs had 180, A-RS endorsed the takeover

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Changing circumstances

Spring of 1917 - Bolsheviks seemed unlikely to overthrow Prov Govt

Before Lenin, leading Bolsheviks supported the Prov Govt

ALL efforts to overthrow Prov Govt before Aug 1917 had failed

Kornilov Affair gave Bolsheviks opportunity to act as defenders of revolution

They received weapons from the Govt necessary to launch a successful uprising

Prov Govt looked weak and dependant on the 'strong' Bolsheviks

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Weakness of the Prov Govt

Little support for the Prov Govt in Petrograd

Revolution raised hopes but Prov Govt failed to tackle the most important issues: food shortages, inflation, land questions, continuation of the war

Oct 1917 - failures had reduced its authority and popularity

Kerensky able to win support rfrom army units outside the capital

28 Oct - Cossack troops advanced on the city then 29th officer cadets (loyal to Prov Govt) attempted an uprising, put down by the Red Guards

30 Oct - large + disorganised force of Red Guards defeated a Cossack attack just outside Petrograd

These ^ were the last attempts of the Prov Govt to regain control - Lenin was now in power

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