Flashcards in Russia: Bolsheviks Deck (40):
What were the aims of the Provisional Government?
1) Constitution and democracy 2) Survival
What were the problems facing the PG?
1) It was supposed to be temporary but the economic crisis made elections impossible
2) Inflation got worse - prices 10x higher than in 1914
3) Food shortages became worse
4) Land - peasants wanted their own land but PG wanted to wait for a proper government. They were also worried this would lead to more army desertion as the soldiers would want to gain land - the peasants began to seize land anyway
5) War - they didn't want to be defeated, pay high reparations or anger allies but the war was going very bad and everyone (including the Soviets) wanted it to end
6) Petrograd Soviet - it had lots of support and power from workers and soldiers in St Petersburg which undermined the PG
- they issued Order No. 1 which gave them control of the armed forces in Petrograd
- led to dual power
What were the actions first taken by the PG?
1) Political prisoners were freed
2) Freedom of the press and speech
3) The right to strike
4) An end to social discrimination and the death penalty
Who led the PG?
Formed under the leadership of Prince Lvov then Kerensky
What were Lenin's April Theses?
1) he called for an end to the 'capitalist' war
2) he demanded that all power should be given to the Soviets
3) give land to the peasants
4) no-co operation with the PG and he demanded a revolution against the PG
How did the Bolsheviks prepare fro revolution?
1) Lenin's April Theses
2) They got increasing support - membership grew from 40,000 in January to 200,000 in July
3) July 1917 - Bolsheviks tried to take control of the government but were defeated and Lenin was forced to leave the country and flee to Finland. Kerensky turned public opinion against him by accusing him of being a German agent
4) Leon Trotsky led the Red Guards - a Bolshevik military force
5) Sep 1917 - The Bolsheviks won control of the Soviets and Trotsky became chairman of the Petrograd Soviet
How did the failing war effort cause the PG to lose support?
1) June 1917 - Kerensky launched a huge attack on the Germans and it was a disaster
2) The Germans counter-attacked, forcing a retreat and the collapse of discipline and morale in the Russian army
3) Many soldiers deserted the army and returned home - many of the soldiers were peasants, who didn't want to miss out on taking control of land
4) Peasants attacked the Kulaks and took land from the Church and Nobles
What happened during the Kornilov Coup in September 1917?
1) The Russian Commander in Chief, General Kornilov, turned his army back from the front and marched against the PG to seize power
2) Kerensky had to give up weapons to the Bolsheviks and the Petrograd Soviet to save his government from a military takeover
3) Railway workers stopped the trains carrying Kornilov's troops and the troops refused to fight members of the Soviet - Kornilov's attempted coup had failed and he was arrested
Why was the Kornilov coup a disaster for Kerensky and how did it weaken the PG?
1) He had shown a lack in power and showed desperation by giving into the Bolsheviks
2) He had lost support of the army, who were deserting
3) He had lost support of the peasants because he tried to stop them from seizing land by sending out punishment brigades
4) Lost support of towns and cities because food was rationed and prices were rising fast and he had shown his lack of power in Petrograd
How was the Kornilov coup a triumph for the Bolsheviks?
1) They had power over Kerensky as he had asked them for help
2) The Red Guard now had rifles
3) They were promising what people wanted (peach, bread and land)
4) They had defended Petrograd, gaining the support from the people
5) Sep 1917 - they won a majority in the elections to the Petrograd Soviet and Trotsky became its chairman
Describe what happened during the October Revolution in 1917
23 October - Lenin returned to Petrograd in disguise and convinced the Bolsheviks that they should seize power
- from HQ at the Smolny Institute, Trotsky organised the take over
7 November - the Red Guard, led by Trotsky, took control of most of the city throughout the day, troops offered little resistance, Kerensky fled
- the Bolsheviks continued to the Winter Palace
- at 9pm the 'Aurora' (a ship with Bolshevik supporters) fired a blank shot on the winter palace. only the Women's Death Battalion was there to defend, and they went back to camp
- the cadets and the PG offered no resistance
- the Bolsheviks had taken control
What was in the November Decrees?
1) Decree on peace - Russia would ask for peace with Germany
2) Decree on land - All land was nationalised, taken away from the Tsar and the old landlords and given to the peasants, who would form committees to divide it up fairly
3) Workers - max 8 hour day and 48 hour week for industrial workers + insurance against accident or illness
4) Women declared equal to men
What was in the December Decrees?
1) The cadets (liberals) were banned
2) All factories were to come under control of the workers' committees
3) All banks and church land to be taken over by the government
4) The army to be more democratic - elected officers, no saluting
What were some actions taken by the Bolsheviks straight after they came into power?
1) Soldiers were sent into the countryside to seize grain to feed the towns
2) The Bolsheviks controlled the main centres of power and used telegraph communications to spread their revolutionary message to local groups
3) December 1917 - Lenin set up the Cheka (secret police) who arrested, tortured and killed people considered dangerous or who spoke out against the government
What happened during the elections of 1917?
- Lenin held free elections for the New Constituent Assembly
- the Bolsheviks won 168 seats out of 703, with the most seats going to the Socialist Revolutionaries
- so after 24 hours of coming into being, the Constituent Assembly was dissolved by Lenin and shut down for good
- the Bolsheviks became the Communist Party, the only legal party in Russia
How were the failures of the PG/Kerensky a reason for Bolshevik success?
1) The continuing problems of famine with the food rationing and inflation was not dealt with by the PG
2) They hadn't stopped the war and soldiers were deserting the army, also causing a breakdown of law and order especially following Kerensky's disastrous attack on the Germans in June 1917
3) Kerensky asked for help with the Kornilov coup (Sep 1917) from the Bolsheviks
4) Kerensky sent out punishment brigades to peasants who were seizing land
5) On the 7 November, he fled the revolution
How were the successes of the Bolsheviks a reason for Bolshevik success?
1) They were strong in key political and administrative centres especially in Petrograd
2) They had their own military force - the Red Guard
3) They were ruthless and planned clear strategies
4) They were practical - they recognised the time for a true Marxist revolution was a long way off and so they changed their policies in order to seize power at the first chance. They claimed they ran a socialist government which was trying to create the right conditions for communism in the long term - so in the short term they could do whatever they wanted
What was the role of Lenin in the Bolshevik Revolution?
1) Lenin's slogans and speeches - "Peace, bread and land" , "All power to the Soviets"
2) He persuaded the Bolsheviks to seize power on the day
3) He drove the revolution with his vision and ability - he was a quick-thinking leader who inspired his party
What was the role of Trotsky in the Bolshevik Revolution?
1) He organised the takeover - made detailed plans e.g. to seize the buildings in Petrograd and arrest ministers
2) He was an ex-Menshevik
3) He was a Bolshevik and the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet
How did Russia get out of the war?
16 December 1917 - The Bolsheviks signed an armistice with the Germans, hoping to delay the peace treaties because they thought there might be a communist revolution in Germany too
- this didn't happen, and the German armies advanced
- March 1918 - the Bolsheviks quickly agreed to the harsh terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
What were the terms of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk?
1) Russia lost 27% of its arable land
2) Russia lost 74% of its iron and coal
3) 50 million Russian citizens were displaced
4) Russia promised to pay 3 billion roubles in damage
* Later in 1918, Germany was defeated by the Western Allies and some lands were regained
Why was there opposition to the communists / Why was there a civil war?
1) Opposition from foreign governments - Russia's former allies were outraged by Russia's surrender
- they were worried about Communism spreading to their countries and wanted the Tsar to return
2) Ending of the Constituent Assembly - SRs and Cadets wanted it to reopen and the Communists had outlawed political opposition
3) Peasants - the food crisis had got no better, largely due to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
- their national party, the SRs, had been brushed aside despite winning the elections
4) National Minorities - with the Tsar gone, they felt they had a chance to break away from Russia, but Lenin made it clear that this was not going to happen
- they were also upset about the elections
5) Anti-Communist army officers (many were royalists who wanted the return of the Tsar) were no longer fighting Germany and now they could attack the communists
Who were the Whites in the Civil War?
All the opponents of the Bolsheviks - tsarists and nobles, middle-class, democrats, Mensheviks and SRs
They had the support from foreign powers (Britain, France, Japan and USA) who sent forces to help the Whites
Who were the Greens in the Civil War?
Independent groups of nationalists, peasants or bandits who roamed Russia
They fought anyone who raided villages and towns
How was Red Military Strength a reason for Bolshevik success in the Civil War?
1) The Bolsheviks requisitioned food and strictly ordered rations - the Red Army remained very well-fed
2) Lenin ordered the execution of the royal family to show his enemies that he was determined to remove a figure head for the Royalists
3) Trotsky ordered extremely harsh discipline for the Red Army - displays of cowardice, desertion, disobedience or inciting defeatism were treated by immediate execution
4) Trotsky was an inspirational and highly capable leader - he organised the Red Army into an effective force of 5 million men and the Red Army did not take prisoners of war
5) The Red Army introduced conscription for all men aged between 18-40
How was White Weakness a reason for Bolshevik success in the Civil War?
1) White armies had very limited support from the population as a whole thanks to a combination of fear of the Reds and fear of the return of the landlords
2) The White armies were divided, did not always share intelligence and had different war aims
3) The White armies could not find enough common ground to launch joint operations and Trotsky concentrated on crushing one at a time
4) White atrocities against civilians and prisoners of war were widespread and widely known - over 100,000 civilian executions are estimated to have been carried out by the whites in Finland alone
5) Many soldiers in foreign armies had absolutely no interest in the war at all - as a result their morale was very low and there were many desertions
How was Red Terror and War Communism a reason for Bolshevik success in the Civil War?
1) Reds controlled major railways and industrial and agricultural areas
2) Effective Red propaganda convinced many that a Red defeat would result in a return of the landlords
3) Trotsky blackmailed and bribed around 22,000 well-trained Tsarist officers to fight for the Red Army
4) Factories in industrial heartlands were taken over by the government used exclusively for war supplies
5) Cheka was extremely active - anyone found hoarding supplied, showing a defeatist attitude or helping enemies of the Reds could expect harsh punishment, around 50,000 people executed
6) Under the policy of War Communism, Bolsheviks requisitioned and rationed food - Red Army remained well fed
How was Trotsky a reason for Bolshevik success in the Civil War?
1) Trotsky ordered extremely harsh discipline for the Red Army - any cowardice, disobedience, desertion or defeatism resulted in execution
2) Trotsky was an inspirational and highly capable leader - organised Red Army into an effective force of 5 million men. 3) He did not take prisoners of war
4) Trotsky blackmailed or bribed around 22,000 well-trained Tsarist officers to fight for the Red Army
5) Trotsky took advantage of the Whites not being able to find enough common ground to launch a joint attack - he concentrated on crushing them one at a time
What was War Communism?
The harsh economic measures the Bolsheviks adopted in order to survive and win the war
What were the aims of War Communism?
1) Put communist theories into practice by redistributing wealth among the the Russian people
2) To help with the Civil War by keeping the towns and the Red Army supplied with food and weapons
What were the rules of War Communism?
1) All large factories taken over by the government
2) Production planned and organised by the government
3) Strict discipline for workers and strikers could be shot
4) Peasants had to hand over surplus food to the government or they could be shot
5) Food was rationed
6) Free enterprise became illegal - all trade and production was controlled by the state
What were the causes of the change from War Communism to the NEP?
1) Peasants refused to produce surplus food because the government just took it away - led to food shortages and production was 2/3 of what it had been in 1913
2) Famine - because of the food shortages, bad weather and the breakdown of transport
- 20 million people died because of famine and disease
3) Peasant risings in 1920-1921 in important grain-growing areas e.g. Tambov Rising
4) Heavy industry had fallen to 20% of what it had been in 1913
5) Kronstadt Mutiny in 1921
Describe the Kronstadt Mutiny in March 1921?
- the sailors were unhappy with the lack of progress, the famine and the terror - many mutinied and seized the base near Petrograd
- they were demanding free speech and press, sale of peasant grain, free elections for soviets and free trade unions
- the sailors had supported the communists in 1917, especially Trotsky's leadership in Petrograd
- despite this, Lenin and Trotsky were worried that dissent might spread
- Trotsky ordered the Red Army to put down the mutiny - they attacked, losing many man, but captured it in a brutal battle
- many rebels were killed in the fighting and those who were left were executed or imprisoned as traitors
What was the New Economic Policy?
A series of economic measures which moved away from the tight state control of the economy introduced under War Communism. It effectively brought back capitalism for some sections of Russian society.
What were the aims of the NEP?
1) To increase food production by giving peasants incentive to grow more
2) To get the economy growing again after the chaos of the Civil War
3) To reduce opposition to the Bolsheviks
4) To relax economic policies
What the the terms of the NEP?
1) Peasants were allowed to sell surplus food for profit and would pay tax on it, instead of having to give it to the government
2) Small factories were handed back into private ownership and private trading of goods was allowed to stop the growing black market
3) In state-owned factories piecework and bonuses were introduced to try and raise production
4) The re-introduction of money
What were the successes of the NEP (1) ?
Foreign trade - NEP encouraged foreign countries, which had refused to trade with Soviet Russia before 1921 to resume trade links
- Western countries hoped that the move back to private trade and profit (capitalism) meant the failure of communist ideas
- Anglo-Soviet trade agreement in 1921 - marked the beginning of increased trade with the West, which gave a great boost to the Soviet economy e.g. large-scale exchanges of Western industrial goods for Russian oil and similar products
What were the successes of the NEP (2) ?
1) Electrification - improved industry
2) Production of coal, steel, pigs, cattle and grain dramatically increased
3) To the mass of workers it brought jobs that would be paid in money instead of valueless paper or rations - they had the certainty that with money they could buy food and necessities
4) Some peasants became quite rich buying up land and animals
What were the failures of the NEP (1) ?
1) The peasants found prices for manufactured goods high and were unwilling, after 1925, to sell their grain for money because they could not buy much with it
2) Many peasants remained poor and continued to used backwards methods of farming
3) Unemployment remained a serious problem throughout the NEP especially among young people and this lead to a high crime rate
4) Many people were angry about the profiteering of the NEPmen, who made high profits by buying goods and food cheaply then selling them for higher prices, and the growth of a class of rich businessmen