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How Far Was The Weakness Of The Provisional Government The Reason For The Bolshevik Success In October 1917?

1696 words - 7 pages

How far was the weakness of the Provisional Government the reason for the Bolshevik success in October 1917?

Undoubtedly, the numerous weaknesses of the provisional government played a significant role in the success of the Bolshevik party in October 1917. Their weaknesses included the lack of a shared vision between the many parties in the coalition, the fact that they believed the war was right, their absence of a strong leader and their failings when trying to deal with their opposition. However, their flaws were not the only reason that the Bolshevik party took control in October 1917 – the strength of the Bolsheviks also played a vital role.

The lack of a shared vision between the ...view middle of the document...

This made the Bolshevik party ever stronger and therefore, more likely to succeed when trying to overthrow the government.

Moreover, the Provisional government was further weakened by their absence of a strong leader. The dearth of a figure head in the provisional government was a key reason that the Bolsheviks were able to take control of Russia in 1917. Although the provisional government was led by Prince Lvov, he did not play that large a role in making speeches and rallying support for the party. Furthermore, the fact that he was not a working class man made him much harder to relate to for the Russian people, as they did not believe that he knew what they had to endure in day to day life. This put the party in stark contrast with the Bolsheviks as they had Lenin, an inspirational leader who was easy to relate to for many of the Russian people. This strength of the Bolshevik party made the lack of a leader in the provisional government even more apparent, weakening it even further. This demonstrates that the weaknesses of the provisional government were amplified by the strengths of their rival party, indicating that the Bolsheviks popularity (which led to their success) largely came from them playing on the provisional government’s many weaknesses.

In relation to the fact that the provisional government agreed that the war was right for Russia, this was another great weakness that they possessed, and was one which played a large role in the success of the Bolshevik party in October 1917. The war was one of the very few things that the Provisional government agreed on – they believed that it was financially necessary to carry on because, without fighting in the war, they would no longer receive the ‘war credits’ from the western allies that the Russian economy had come to be reliant on. Despite this, the people were adamant that Russia needed to leave the war. Not only were many being killed, but the men had to fight in poor health, with bad weapons and low food supplies. This led to chaos on the frontline and ultimately, a phenomenal number of Russian people strongly opposing the war. The fact that the war was needed by the economy but was strongly opposed by the people put the provisional government in a paradoxical situation – for Russia to survive they needed to remain in the war, but remaining in the war was destroying the provisional government’s chances of survival. Overall, the fact that the provisional government did not withdraw Russia from the war was one of, it not the most important reason that the Bolshevik party was able to succeed in October 1917.

The final significant weakness of the provisional government was their failure to neutralise their opposition during the political unrest in July and August 1917. In July, the Bolsheviks became much more active than they had previously been, and began to openly oppose the provisional government in many ways (such as organising strikes). This not only upped the anti of the...

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