How Far Do You Agree That Trotsky’s Leadership Of The Red Army Was Responsible For The Survival Of The Bolshevik Government? (30 Marks)

1497 words - 6 pages

How far do you agree that Trotsky’s leadership of the Red Army was responsible for the survival of the Bolshevik government? (30 marks)
There were many factors that contributed to the survival of the Bolshevik Government, ranging from Trotsky’s leadership of the Red Army to the failings of the Bolsheviks’ rivals for power. This essay shows that the main reason for the Bolsheviks’ continued survival through the period was not Trotsky’s great leadership of the Red Army, but the opposition’s mistakes and failings. This will be demonstrated by analysing the key factors leading to the survival of the Bolshevik Government: Trotsky’s leadership; Lenin’s leadership; The Bolsheviks’ geographical ...view middle of the document...

However, Trotsky recognised that he was not the best tactician and enlisted the help of several advisors, one of whom, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, was held in the highest esteem by Trotsky and was widely regarded as the best general in the Red Army. Much of the strategy employed by Trotsky and his generals was designed to weaken the enemies transport system so that they could not effectively organise and coordinate troop movements. Therefore many battles took place near sections of train track and stations, which crippled many enemy attacks and allowed the Bolsheviks to crush each attack and then move on, rather than fighting on several fronts. This great strategy employed by Trotsky helped the Bolshevik Government survive, and without Trotsky and his control of the Red Army, the Bolshevik Government would most likely not have survived.
A further factor that contributed to the survival of the Bolshevik Government was Lenin’s great leadership of the whole Bolshevik party. At first glance, it appears as though Lenin played only a small role during the Civil War because he remained in Moscow throughout, however, when looked at more closely it can be seen that Lenin was a key decision maker. Lenin forced through the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk when many opposed it; he did this because he had promised peace to the public and he needed their support to have any chance of winning the Civil War, and therefore helping the Bolshevik Government survive.
Lenin also instigated the policy of War Communism, in which industry was brought under state control and was geared towards making armaments. All the state controlled industry was supervised by the Vesenkha, who were attached to the Sovnarkom. Further suppression of the workers also occurred under War Communism through the ending of workers’ control in factories, which was replaced by the traditional “one man management”. Also introduced were internal passports designed to stop workers fleeing to the countryside. This suppressed any chance of internal revolution from the workers and also increased armaments production. This helped the Bolshevik Government to survive as it meant that the Red Army forces could focus entirely upon external threats to Bolshevik rule. Grain requisitioning was also introduced under War Communism; this entailed taking grain from farmers where needed, although in practice this often became straightforward extortion of grain. This part of War communism both helped and hindered the survival of the Bolshevik Government; whilst it was the only way to feed the ever expanding Red Army, it simultaneously angered the peasants.
When the Civil War ended, Trotsky, among many other Bolsheviks, wanted to continue the policy of War Communism; however, Lenin realised this would anger the peasants and so he enforced the New Economic Policy, in which he conceded some Marxist ideals, primarily by allowing small businesses to be independent. Lenin realised that the New Economic Policy was needed in order...

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