RUSSIA 1914 - 1924

The Bolsheviks in 1917

The Bolsheviks in 1917

Who were the Bolsheviks

Bolshevik Military Meeting - History GCSE RevisionAs time passed, more and more people started to side with the Mensheviks, the Social Revolutionaries and, above all, the Bolsheviks, who were led by a man named Vladimir Lenin. The Bolsheviks were a very uncompromising bunch, and their goal since the moment the Provisional Government was set up was to take it down. The Bolsheviks were a political party, but they were also revolutionaries whose members had access to weapons and planned to make use of them to achieve their goals. In fact, they had their own military force, known as the Red Guard, which was led and organized very effectively by Leon Trotsky. The Bolsheviks’ slogans of ‘Peace, Bread, Land’ and ‘All power to the Soviets’ (part of Lenin’s April Theses) proved to be very popular, winning the Bolsheviks more and more popular support.

The Provisional Government

BolsheviksSo much support, in fact, that in July 1917 Lenin tried to lead a revolution to overthrow the Provisional Government, but they failed. Initially the defeat looked like it would be the end of the Bolsheviks. However, the next month they were called on by the Provisional Government to defend it against another uprising, this one being led by one of the Tsar’s old pals from the army who wanted a return to the Tsarist days.

BolsheviksDefeating this uprising made the Bolsheviks very popular once more, and they took advantage of this popularity to take control of the St. Petersburg (now called Petrograd) Soviet by force in September. Building on this, and counting on the support of sailors from the Russian Navy, they were then able in November to take over the Provisional Government’s buildings and declare themselves in charge. This was the October Revolution, and it made Russia the first Communist country in the world (note that it is called the October Revolution because at the time Russia used a different calendar to the one we all know and love today, and by that calendar the revolution took place in October rather than November).