The October Revolution 1917. One reason why the October

The October Revolution 1917 marked a radical shift in Russian and global governing and had a monumental impact on how the rest of the 20th century would unfold through the growing popularity of Communism. In the years prior to 1917, there had been growing unrest and disapproval with the hastily appointed Provisional Government and the forced abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. Furthermore, World War One had been raging throughout Europe since 1914 and Russian soldiers had suffered extreme losses, thus having a great lack of morale which caused many to defect into neighboring nations. There were multiple factors which caused the October Revolution 1917, although the failures of the Provisional Government were, to great extent, the most important reason. It is still crucial, however, to consider the overwhelming disapproval of the war effort in Europe, the appeal of socialist Bolshevik policies among the majority working class, the Kornilov Revolt and the July Days as key factors in the causes of the October Revolution 1917.   One reason why the October Revolution took place in Russia in 1917 was the continuing failures and disapproval of the Provisional Government. As suggested by its name, the Provisional Government was intended to be temporary until real elections could be organized, following the forced abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. However, elections were continuously pushed back, and an unelected government ruled over the Russian people. The Provisional Government was blamed for deciding to continue a resource intensive war and fatally poor decision making concerning Russian troops. In addition to this, the Provisional Government was extremely unpopular as it was unable to introduce much needed reform as a result of constant disagreements between the two parties that ran it. Historian A.J.P. Taylor argues that “Though called democratic, this government has no popular mandate and little popular support. It simply carried on the old system, just as a hen continues to run around the yard when its head has been cut off. No one knew how to change direction”. The failures of the Provisional Government is the most important reason for the October Revolution 1917 because they stayed in power for an extensive period of time whilst being unelected by the Russian people. In addition to this they failed to introduce reforms to meet the needs of the state. As a result of this, the Provisional Government became weaker and had a looser hold over Russia as people began to turn towards Bolshevik ideals. However, it could be argued that this issue is not the most important as had the army been winning the war against Germany, the public may not have been as outraged by the other failures in the government. The failures of the Provisional Government are the most important reason for the October Revolution 1917 because they directly radicalized the middle and working classes, who were the majority, for the Bolsheviks.   However, it could also be argued that the failures of the First World War and its tremendous cost in resources was a reason for the October Revolution 1917. Russia had been consistently defeated in many battles since the war began in 1914 leaving them on a strategically terrible footing. In the early months of the war, Russian armies were annihilated by the German Eighth Army at the Battles of Tannenberg and First Masurian Lakes, resulting in over 300,000 Russian casualties. By 1917, the front was in collapse and the armies’ counteroffensive was repulsed. Additionally, the war had bled Russia dry in manpower, money and food. This left the country in famine and economically broken. Many Russian people blamed this economic crisis on mismanagement by the Provisional Government. The fact that the government continued the war after coming into power lead the people to resent them even more, whilst turning to the Bolsheviks as Lenin promised to end the war and focus on healing Russia. The failures of the First World War and its tremendous cost in resources is an important factor in the October Revolution 1917 because the soldiers and the public were demoralized due to constant defeats and the demands the war had on resources. However, it could be argued that this was not important as the failings of the Provisional Government because even whilst the war had a tremendous toll on the country, the political climate had been leaning towards more communist ideals anyway and a revolution would most likely have happened regardless. Overall, the resentment of the First World War was a key factor in why the October Revolution 1917 occurred, although it was not the most important.   Lenin and his Bolshevik party also had a large hand in the cause of the October Revolution 1917. The Bolshevik party was very appealing to the Russian working and middle classes as Lenin’s policies directly related to them and would directly benefit them. The key principle of the party was “Peace, Bread and Land”. Peace meant that the Bolsheviks would end the war with the central powers on as best possible terms, but the peace would be immediate. Bread meant that everyone would eat equally while also recovering the infrastructure of the country following the damage done by the war. Land meant that the peasants would own the property that they worked to help themselves and the state. The Bolshevik defeat of Lavr Kornilov dramatically increased their support among the Russian people as the Red Guard defended Petrograd and disbanded Kornilov’s army, who were staging a coup. The growth of Bolshevism in Russia was an important factor in the October Revolution 1917 because in defeating Kornilov they increased their popularity and showed themselves capable of defending Russia while Lenin’s policy appealed to the masses and bought him a large loyal following. Yet, it could be argued that this was not the most important reason for the October Revolution 1917 because the country was so ripe for revolution that any party could have lead a successful takeover and the Bolsheviks were simply the strongest of the weak. Overall however, the organizational work by Lenin in forming the party and leading it helped to topple the Provisional Government.  The riots of the July Days were also a contributing factor to the October Revolution 1917. On July 3, some disgruntled Russian citizens marched through Petrograd, prompted in part by the resignation of some government ministers, to demand that the Soviets assume formal power. However, over the following days there were clashes, and the majority of protests were disbanded. The riots of the July Days were a key factor in the October Revolution 1917 because they showed the government the scale of dissatisfaction among Russian people. Furthermore, it showed the workers were willing and capable of taking matters into their own hands to express their beliefs. However, the July Days were not the most important factor because ultimately the revolution happened as a result of the failings of the government since the July Days. Overall, the riots of the July Days were not the most important factor for the October Revolution 1917.   Therefore, it is clear that the failures of the Provisional Government were the most important factor for the October Revolution 1917. However, the growing power of the Bolsheviks and their ideals led them to become extremely popular with their proletarian target of people. As well the huge failings in the Russian war effort on the military front and resources led to the people becoming further alienated from a government that promised reform. Although the revolution comes down to the fundamental failing of the Provisional Government as a body.

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