The Russian Civil War was not the means of seizing power, but of consolidation. The Bolsheviks were firmly in power by Christmastime of 1917, and the Civil War raged through 1921. The Bolsheviks seized power because of three main reasons, the weakness of the Provisional Government, the cohesion of Lenin's followers and the fact that he had ready money and his opponents did not.
The Kerensky government, formed after the May, 1917 overthrow of the tsarist regime, was determined to stay in World War I to support the French. The people as a whole were sick of the war and consequently the Provisional powers lost the support of the masses. The government's inability to effectively deal with hunger in the cities or control the tsarist counterrevolution or the left-wing agitators of the more radical socialist, communist and anarchist factions made things worse. The moderate liberals of Kerensky's government simply lost control.
Lenin's reputation with the more radical factions was...
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