Heading Back To School? Here's Some History Help...
If you're going to learn about the Bolsheviks in History this year, then here's some help...
I remember going back to school one year, and I loved history. It was my favourite subject and I had the best teacher. I was always top of the class and never got anything below an A. BUT, then we started doing the Cold War and Stalin and my brain had a bit of a meldown. Of course, I eventually got my head around it all and I was fine, but I looked all over the internet to help me learn extra outside of class. So, I thought I'd share a mini exam question answer that I wrote and got the teacher to check.
So, the Bolsheviks were a far-left, highly radical revolutionary faction, that Lenin founded. They promised 'Peace. Land. And Bread.' the Bolsheviks are not to be confused with the Mensheviks - they were their enemies.
How far do you agree that the main reason why the Bolsheviks stayed in power from October 1917 – 1921 was their victory in the civil war?
Finally, after two revolutions taking place in 1917, the Bolsheviks took control of Russia. However, the next four years would come as a troublesome time for the Bolsheviks – eventually leading to the civil war. The Bolsheviks may have started off as a small minority, but their success of staying in power is vastly owed to the victory they acquired in the Civil War.
The Bolsheviks’ victory in the Civil War is one of the main reasons for them being able to maintain their power. Their success in the Civil War however, was mainly down to the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky. The leadership of Lenin was very important for the Bolsheviks. The Cheka (secret police) executed around 1000 people a month due to their political views. This struck fear into many Russian people, especially those who were anti-Bolshevik. By Lenin involving the Cheka, he could insure that the opposition would not be able to fight against the Bolsheviks. If the Bolsheviks had not succeeded in the Civil War, they would not have been able to maintain governmental power.
As well as victory in the Civil War, Lenin’s overall leadership skills were able to keep the Bolsheviks in power. His inspirational speeches and ability to motivate people, were able to keep the party running. Lenin knew what he had to do to keep his supporters loyal. By coming up with the slogan ‘Peace, Land and Bread,’he was able to show the people that he cared for what they wanted. As well as Lenin’s leadership skills, Trotsky was another reason the Bolsheviks were able to maintain power. He was appointed the leader of the Red Army; therefore, he led the Bolsheviks to win against the whites in the Civil War. This was because the Red Army were better trained and better supplied than the original Russian Army.
Lenin negotiated with Germany and Russia in 1917 – this resulted in Russia leaving the war, (with Russia signing the Brest-Litovsk treaty). The war was hugely unpopular in Russia and Lenin’s ability to remove them from the war, made him ever-more popular. Lenin realised that to stay in power, that was the action he had to take. The great loss for Russia was humiliating. However, when the war ended with Germany being defeated, Lenin annulled the Treaty and regained all land which was lost. This meant that the Bolsheviks may have been seen as ‘heroes’ as they were able to regain parts of Russian land.
The struggle for the Bolsheviks staying in power was a hard battle, but the Leadership skills of Lenin and Trotsky were ultimately the reason why they did remain in power. The success in the Civil War vastly helped the Bolsheviks but that success would not have been without the leadership of Lenin.