Why did the Bolsheviks succeed in taking power in October 1917?

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There are many key reasons as to why the Bolsheviks succeeded in October 1917, some more important than others.  The membership of the Bolsheviks was low in February 1917 and a take over of the Bolsheviks seemed very unlikely. Many of the Bolsheviks supported the Provisional Government at the start of 1917, for example Stalin and Kamenev urged accommodationism, however this all changed when Lenin returned from exile to Russia in April 1917 and urged that there was to be no co-operation with other parties. Lenin had a huge role in the take over in October 1917, although there are many other factors such as, the mistakes made by the Provisional Government, the mismanagement and weaknesses of other parties, the failure to destroy the Bolsheviks after the July Days and Trotsky’s role, which contributed to the Bolsheviks taking power in October 1917.

Lenin’s Return from exile and his strong influence and leadership was a major reason as to why the Bolsheviks succeeded in taking power. He made many speeches in which he promised improvements to the working class and the peasantry, he issued the April These where he describes his ambition to give Russians exactly what they wanted ‘Peace, Bread and Land’. Lenin knew that this provocative slogan would appeal to all Russians and this is the main reason why his slogan became increasingly popular in Russia during 1917. The Bolsheviks gained the popularity of the workers through these campaigns, as it highlighted to them that the only way to finally address everyone’s needs was to gain ‘All Power to the Soviets’ by getting rid of the Provisional Government. The use of these slogans to gain popularity was a very important factor that resulted in the take over of the Bolsheviks in October 1917.

It must be taken into account, however, that the influence of these promises made by Lenin may not have proven as successful if the Provisional Government had not made so many mistakes. Lenin’s promises were so positively received as a result of the Provisional Government being unable to resolve the many problems that the war had caused such as the high inflation, the food shortages and also the consistent problem of the distribution of land within Russia. The Provisional Government not being genuinely committed to land reform enabled the Bolsheviks to gain the support of the peasants. This made Lenin’s slogans more successful and therefore this weakness of the Provisional Government increased the likelihood of the Bolsheviks…


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