What Had the Bolsheviks achieved by 1914?

Essay by crapmanCollege, UndergraduateA, February 2009

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Paul Marie

What had the Bolsheviks achieved by 1914?

In the period following the 1905 revolution, up until the beginning of the war in 1914 the Bolsheviks practically achieved very little. By 1914 the tsar remained in power as did the last vestiges of feudalism, and a bourgeois revolution seemed a long way off. The Bolsheviks had an extremely small hand in the Lena goldfield strikes however these were not in any way dangerous to the Tsar. However the Bolsheviks had achieved a clear, organised party structure which was prepared to take advantage of any revolutionary opportunity which occurred.

The aims of the Bolsheviks without doubt involved the removal of the Tsar and Tsarist system. They would have wanted to remove the remnants of feudalism and into the capitalist phase which would quickly be moved through, and communism introduced. In this respect the Bolsheviks must be said to have failed.

Despite the weakness of the Tsarist system in 1905 the Bolsheviks had not capitalised on this potential advantage and seized power, mainly due to the sporadic nature of the revolution and the appeasement of opposition. The liberals were appeased by the setting up of the Duma and the peasants by cancelling mortgage repayments. In 1914 the Tsar was still in power and capitalism had not yet been created in Russia. Lenin argued away the failure of the 1905 revolution by arguing that before a socialist revolution could occur Russia would have to go through the bourgeois phase in order to enable the development of capitalism and therefore the development of a working class capable of taking power. He disputed that the bourgeoisie were too 'cowardly' to revolt against the Tsar and so placed the failure of the revolution on them. This therefore led Lenin to believe that the revolution would...