Bolshevik Revolution (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Bolshevik takeover of power. Result: Bolshevik victory; establishment of communist regime.
The Bolshevik Revolution, which began on October 25, 1917, was the culmination of decades of political, economic, and social discontent in the Russian Empire. The czarist system had collapsed in February, 1917, with the abdication of Nicholas II, followed by an eight-month period of rule by a provisional government. The failure of this quasidemocratic government to attempt to remediate many of the problems in Russia led to its downfall at the hands of the Bolshevik Party led by Vladimir Ilich Lenin.
Foremost among the crises facing the new prime minister of the provisional government, Alexander Kerensky, was Russia’s involvement in World War I (1914-1918). The army—poorly equipped, trained, and led—suffered catastrophic defeats against the German military. Since February, the breakdown of morale and discipline in both army and navy led to desertions and mutinies.
The peasantry spontaneously initiated violent land seizures, confiscating landowners’ estates and murdering the nobility. Urban industrial workers, seriously affected by rampant inflation, food and fuel shortages, and diminishing real wages, carried out strikes, industrial sabotage, and murder of foremen. The provisional government never recognized the demands and needs of the people but instead sought...
(The entire section is 665 words.)
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