Why did the Provisional Government last for only 8 months?

AQA Modern World History GCSE revision notes based on the syllabus.

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How effective was the Provisional Government?


  • Promised allies that it would continue the war, while trying to settle the situation in Russia.
  • 1917 - the war was failing: soldiers were deserting the army.
  • Kerensky became minister for war and rallied the army for a great offensive in June. It was a disaster.


  • They urged peasants not to forcefully take land.
  • Peasants ignored these orders from the government to wait - they simply took control of the countryside and the provisional government lost their support.


  • Failed to bring food into towns and prices had spiralled upwards.
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How were matters made worse for the Provisional Go

The Bolsheviks

The Bolsheviks urged the people to support them in a second revolution. In July, Bolshevik-led protests against the war turned into a rebellion led by Lenin, whose slogans were 'Peace, Land, Bread and Freedom' and 'All power to the Soviets'.

The people of Russia

Peasants ignored the orders of the government when asked to wait before taking control of the countryside, therefore revolt was on the cards. They found the government to be cautious in its actions, therefore the Bolsheviks were a better choice as they promised change.

General Kornilov

Kornilov marched his troops towards Moscow in September 1917, intending to get rid of the Bolsheviks and the Provisional Government, and restore order. However, Kornilov's troops refused to fight members of the Soviets, so his plans collapse. More importantly, however, Kerensky had had to call on Bolshevik Red Guards to put down Kornilov - this showed the Provisional Government's weaknesses.

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