The Bolshevik Revolution

Essay by hucklbeary84University, Bachelor'sA, May 2004

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Contrary to the spontaneous overthrow of the czarist regime, the Bolshevik's November Revolution was a highly strategic military takeover, coordinated with the Second Congress of Soviets. However, Leon Davidovich Trotsky believed that if the Bolsheviks had attempted to revolt any later, they would have failed.

Leon Trotsky and Vladimir Lenin lead the Bolshevik's to victory on the night of November 7, 1917. Their attack was anticipated by the Provisional Government, and the Government was confident that any attempts would be easily thwarted. Colonel G.P. Polkovnikov declared that he was ready for the attack. Alexander Kerensky was hoping that the Bolsheviks would attack in a manner that would be easily crushed by the Government. Unfortunately, Kerensky had underestimated the Bolsheviks. On November 5, the garrison at Peter and Paul Fortress surrendered after a tirade by 20,000 Red Guards. After that small victory, Kerensky accused Lenin of treason and ordered the arrest of the Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) leaders.

In response to the accusation and the orders by the Provisional Government, the MRC took quick action. By the early hours of November 7, the Red Guards had taken control of the railroad stations, the central telephone exchange, and the State Bank. Later that evening, the Red Guards invaded the Winter Palace. The Women's Battalion was rounded up and dispersed, while the ministers surrendered without resistance. This attack could hardly be considered an "assault," as only six of the attackers and none of the defenders were killed. The Provisional Government had fallen almost without resistance.

After the seizure of power, Kerensky attempted one last counterattack. Backed by General N.N. Krasnov, Kerensky tried to move in on Petrograd. However, small military uprisings in Petrograd organized by modern socialists were crushed, and when Krasnov advanced with around 700 Cossacks, he was effortlessly thwarted. Within several...