Why did Lenin adopt War Communism?

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Lenin was forced to adopt War Communism for two main reasons:

1) He had to keep the city workers producing munitions, war supplies and other crucial goods.
2) He had to feed the workers.


COLLAPSE OF INDUSTRY/ FACTORIES: Lenin had given in the pressures from the workers after the October Revoltion, 1917, and allowed unions to run the factories. However, they proved unable to do so, and production fell apart (though, this had already started before the unions had taken control, so they cannot be blamed) This was mainly due to severe shortages or raw materials due to the Civil War. Workers fled from the factories to join the Red Army, leaving little left to run the factories. Population in the cities dropped severely.

INFLATION: Industrial output dropped as a result of incompetant workers, causing prices to rise and the value of the rouble to collapse. Peasants would not trade food, if there were no products to exchange it for. Paper money became worthless. 

- FOOD SHORTAGES: Peasants were unwilling to trade food when there were no products available to exchange with, and Russia had lost the fertile Ukrainian areas in the Brest-Litovsk treaty, 1919. Rations increased.


Main features of War Communism:

1) GRAIN REQUSITIONING: May 1918, 'Food-Supplies Dictatorship' established to take grain.

2) BANNING OF PRIVATE TRADE: State trading a failure, caused a black market (illegal trade)

3. NATIONALISATION OF INDUSTRY: State control under the 'Supreme Council of National Economy' (Vesenkha). Workers' Committees replaced by old bourgeois managers ('specialists') to stop revolts and chaos. Some workers wanted nationalism; only way to prevent their buisnesses from closing; desperate to keep their jobs.

4. LABOUR DISCIPLINE: Fines for lateness/ absentees, internal passports to prevent workers feeling to the country, work book needed to get rations.

5. RATIONING: 'Class system' on rationing - Workers and the Red Army; civil servants and professionalsl; Burzhui and middle classes ('former people')

Other features of War Communism:

1. THE RED TERROR: Systematic terror was used to stamp out opposition to War Comm.

- Workers: angry about food rations, state violence and the ecenomic crisis. Wanted new Soviet elections and an overthrow of the Snovarkom. Down with Lenin!

- Anarchists: Disaproved of the authoritarian control of the government.


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