Why were the Bolsheviks successful in October 1917?

Essay by nic_groveHigh School, 11th gradeB, May 2006

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The October Revolution was led by the Bolsheviks under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky and marked the first officially Communist revolution of the twentieth century, based upon the ideas of Karl Marx. The crucial revolutionary activities in Petrograd were under the command of the Petrograd Soviet headed by Leon Trotsky and the Military Revolutionary Committee headed by Adolph Joffe. The revolution was widely regarded as a reaction to the strains that had been placed upon Tsarist Russia as a result of the Great War. As John Reed wrote in his book 'Ten days that shook the world' "It was against this background of a whole nation in ferment and disintegration that the pageant of the Rising of the Russian Masses unrolled...".

However why were the Bolsheviks so successful? Was it the high public demand for change? Was it the weakness within the provisional government? Or were other factors and conditions also at play?

The Bolsheviks were successful in the Revolution of October 1917 due to a number of actions, factors and conditions that co-existed at that time.

This polarized the people, which enabled the strengths of the Bolsheviks to overwhelm the Provisional Government.



When the authority of the Tsar's government began disintegrating in the February Revolution of 1917, two rival institutions, the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet, competed for power. As a compromise, a provisional government was formed that was to lead the country to elections for a constituent assembly. When Tsar Nicholas II abdicated on March 15 and his brother, Grand Duke Michael refused the throne the next day, the provisional government formally ruled Russia, but its power was effectively limited by the Petrograd Soviet's growing authority. The Soviet controlled the army, factories and railways, and this...