What Enabled the Bolsheviks to Seize Power in Russia in November 1917
To understand how Bolsheviks could come to power it is necessary to understand the group mindset under the leadership of Lenin. Lenin's primary objective was to achieve the Utopian Marxist vision of the future, when all the world’s proletariat would rise up and put an end to the eternal conflict of history. Lenin would therefore do anything to light the fuse that would inevitably, in his view, set off a chain reaction that would lead to a European wide revolution. Europe at this time (1917) was becoming very war weary thus the time was right in Lenin’s eyes to secure the rapid spark that would set the world alight with socialism and therefore any measure, even opportunistic tactics, had to be employed. Thus like the Jacobin club of the French Revolution the Bolsheviks harnessed the rage of the working class and whipped up their demands to a level that they knew the provisional government would not give in to. This discredited the new provisional government allowing the Bolsheviks to make the grand statement that under the heading of the Soviet they represented the will of the people.
A major factor that played a part in the downfall of the Tsar al
Lenin's role as a radical Socialist leader played a key part in ensuring that out of the other radical competitors, it would be the Bolsheviks who won the race for power. A highly disciplined and well-organised party was an essential feature that enabled the Bolsheviks to seize power. Their promises to the people were extremely popular; however they merely attacked the most unpopular policies of the government. The party had been forged by Lenin since 1903 and once it had overthrown the provisional government, wasted no time in establishing the basis for what was to become a totalitarian regime with ruthlessly centralised power. Due to shrewd political manoeuvring on the part of the Bolshevik party, they managed to gain military support and thus the rioters were no longer enemies of the state, the provisional government were. This was consolidated during the Russian Civil War. It also enabled him to become president of the St Petersburg Soviet which, in turn added to the growing majority of the Bolshevik party in the Soviet. Over all, due to the provisional government's weak position, in so far as they lacked strong concise policies, they appeared to be failing. It would not be long before change occurred, and the winds of change favoured the Bolsheviks, who gained the support of the military and the Soviets. Many troops declared they would only take their orders from Trotsky. This is evident in the influential newspaper the Pravda which was under control of Stalin and afforded the Bolsheviks a mouthpiece from which it could spit the seeds of discontent and chaos. However the rulers at the time, the provisional government, had lost their credibility due to military failure and thus the support of its armed forces. This factor, which in essence brought down two regimes, was the Russian"tms view of their military prowess and was the key which turned the revolution in the Bolshevik"tms favour as under the tsarist system the war effort started to go badly for the Russians at the major defeat at Totenberg. In Russia's case it should have been the army who enforced the will of the rulers of the state.