The October Revolution was the second and final major part of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Trotsky led this Military Revolution Committee, which was able to gain the support of the Petrograd Garrison and Kronstadt sailors. In October, the Prime Minister ordered the arrest of Bolshevik leaders, sparking an armed uprising in Petrograd on October 25th, 1917. The Bolsheviks led the revolution, occupying government buildings on October 25th. The following day, the Winter Palace was taken. It was the headquarters of the Provisional Government, which was formed following the overthrow of the Tsars. Vladimir Lenin led the new government.
As the conflict between the Provisional Government and the Bolsheviks intensified, Lenin became concerned that the Provisional Government would establish a dictatorship. In September, he started making preparations for a coup against the government. Bolshevik supporters were gathered in the army, soviets, and factories. On October 16, 1917, Lenin convinced the Bolshevik Party and the Petrograd Soviet to approve a socialist coup. To plan the seizure, the Soviet created a Military Revolutionary Committee under the direction of Leon Trotsky.The event’s date was kept hidden.
On October 24, the uprising began. Sensing difficulties, Prime Minister Kerenskii had left the city to call in the military. Military men loyal to the government stormed the offices of two Bolshevik newspapers at dawn. Pro-government troops were dispatched to seize telephone and telegraph offices and guard the Winter Palace. The Military Revolutionary Committee quickly responded by ordering its supporters to seize government offices and arrest ministers. Late in the day, the cruiser Aurora bombarded the Winter Palace. Other ships sailed down the Neva, seizing various military positions. By nightfall, the committee had taken control of the city, and the ministers had surrendered. The majority of the All Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd approved the Bolshevik action. Other cities experienced uprisings. There was heavy fighting, particularly in Moscow, but by December, the Bolsheviks had taken control of the Moscow-Petrograd region.
Effects of October Revolution
Russian Civil War
- The Russian army began to disintegrate after the Bolsheviks ordered land redistribution. Soldiers, mostly peasants, deserted in order to return home for redistribution.
- Non-Bolshevik socialists, liberals, and autocratic supporters condemned the Bolshevik revolution. Their leaders relocated to southern Russia and organized troops to combat the Bolsheviks (the “reds”). The “whites” (pro-Taarists) and “greens” (Socialist Revolutionaries) dominated most of Russia in 1918 and 1919.
- They were attacked by troops from France, America, the United Kingdom, and Japan, all of whom were concerned about the rise of socialism in Russia. Looting, banditry, and famine became common as these troops and the Bolsheviks fought a civil war.
- Private property supporters among ‘whites’ took harsh measures against peasants who had seized land. Such actions eroded popular support for the non-Bolsheviks.
- By January 1920, the Bolsheviks had taken control of the majority of the former Russian empire. They were successful because of collaboration with non-Russian nationalities and Muslim jadidists.
- Cooperation did not work where Russian colonists became Bolsheviks. Bolshevik colonists slaughtered local nationalists in Khiva, Central Asia, in the name of defending socialism. Many people were perplexed about what the Bolshevik government represented in this situation.
- To address this, most non-Russian nationalities were granted political autonomy in the Soviet Union (USSR), the state established by the Bolsheviks from the Russian empire in December 1922.
Making of Socialist Society
Throughout the civil war, industries and banks remained nationalized. The land was made available to peasants for cultivation. A centralized planning process was implemented. Officials worked on how the economy will function and set five-year goals. The government fixed all prices during the first two ‘Plans’ to encourage industrial growth (1927-1932 and 1933-1938). Economic growth resulted from centralized planning. However, the rapid construction resulted in poor working conditions. A schooling system was established, and plans were made for factory workers and peasants to attend universities. Crèches were set up in factories for the children of female factory workers. Cheap public health care was provided. Workers were housed in mock-up living quarters.
Stalinism and Collectivisation
The early Planned Economy was associated with the disasters of agricultural collectivization. By 1927-28, Soviet Russia’s towns were facing a critical shortage of grain supplies. The government set the prices at which grain had to be sold, but peasants refused to sell to government buyers at these prices. Stalin, who took over the party after Lenin died, imposed strict emergency measures. He believed that wealthy peasants and traders in the countryside were stockpiling in anticipation of higher prices. Speculation had to be halted, and supplies had to be confiscated.
In 1928, Party members toured grain-producing areas, supervising enforced grain collections and raiding kulaks (well-to-do peasants). As scarcity persisted, the decision was made to collectivize farms.
After October Revolution
In November 1917, industry and banks were nationalized, which meant that the government assumed ownership and management. The land was declared social property, and peasants were permitted to seize nobility land. The Bolshevik Party was superseded by the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik). Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in November 1917, but they fell short of a majority. The Assembly rejected Bolshevik measures in January 1918, and Lenin dismissed the Assembly.
Despite opposition, the Bolsheviks made peace with Germany at Brest Litovsk in March 1918. The Bolsheviks ran for election to the All Russian Congress of Soviets, which became the country’s parliament. Russia has devolved into a one-party state. This resulted in experiments in the arts and architecture after October 1917. However, many people became disillusioned as a result of the censorship promoted by the Party.
FAQs on October Revolution
Question 1: What are the causes of the October Revolution?
A large population of landless agricultural laborers has resulted in an increase in the number of poor and exploited industrial workers. Communists desired the industrialized Soviet Union that would usher in economic and social development.
Question 2: Explain the October Revolution.
The October Revolution was the second and final major part of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Bolshevik Revolution is another name for it. Trotsky led this Military Revolution Committee, which was able to gain the support of the Petrograd Garrison and Kronstadt sailors.
In October, the Prime Minister ordered the arrest of Bolshevik leaders, sparking an armed uprising in Petrograd on October 25th, 1917. The Bolsheviks led the revolution, occupying government buildings on October 25th.
Question 3: What are the reds’ chances of victory by the end of the civil war in 1921?
By the end of the Civil War in 1921, the Bolsheviks had established their hold on power in Russia. The White Armies and foreign powers fighting on Russian territory were defeated. Equally important, rival political parties were prohibited. Dissenting voices had been silenced thanks to the Cheka secret police. Lenin had accomplished his ultimate goal of leading his small Bolshevik party to complete control of Russia.
Question 4: What were the most significant reforms enacted by the Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the October Revolution?
The Bolsheviks held elections for the constituent assembly, but they were defeated, and the legislature rejected the Bolshevik plans, prompting Lenin to dissolve the parliament. By November 1917, industries and banks had been nationalized, with the government assuming ownership and management. The nobility’s land was declared communal property, and peasants were given the authority to seize it. In cities, the Bolsheviks forced the division of large mansions based on family needs.
Question 5: What was Leon Trotsky’s role in the October Revolution?
In March 1918, Trotsky was appointed Commissar for War in the Bolshevik government. Trotsky, a brilliant organizer, and improviser formed the Red Army from the Red Guards and the remnants of the old Tsarist army.