How far do you agree that the main reason the Bolsheviks stay in power between 1917 and 1919 was winning the Civil War?

Topics: Communism, Russian Civil War, Vladimir Lenin Pages: 5 (1916 words) Published: November 2, 2013
There were many factors that kept the Bolsheviks in power, and allowed them to make Russia a totalitarian state such as the ending of the constituent assembly, the ending of the First World War, War Communism, NEP, suppression of other political parties, the use of the Cheka and the Civil War. The outbreak of the Civil War began in 1918, historians are still unsure why exactly the war started, the closest estimate is that there was a deterioration in law and order as the Communists established their control during early 1918. All of the enemies of the Communists all had a common desire to remove Lenin and his government. The Communists had many opponents such as; the Allied Intervention Forces in 1918 who wanted to overthrow the Communists and get Russia back in the First World War, the White Armies which wanted to return Russia to rule by a monarchy and to establish democratic rule, the Green Armies who wanted to create a society based on local organisations of peasants, the Left SRs wanted to create a more open society with major social and economic change to aid the peasants and finally the Nationalist movements which wanted to gain independence from Russian rule. In June 1918, the Left SRs launched their own attack on the Communist rule, with Lenin himself suffering an assassination attempt. One of the most important factors in the cause of the War was that many countries wanted independence from Russia, and to become their own state. Finns fought for their independence, as did the Poles, Ukrainians and the peoples of the Caucasus region. Even within the Communist party, they themselves had many leaders of non-Russian origins. Lenin was part German and part Kalmyk, Stalin was Georgian and Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev were Jewish. 1919 was the crucial year of the War, because at several points in the year the Communists almost lost major battles, however they managed to repulse the Whites and the last minute. Given the diverse forces massed against the Communists, it is surprising that they won the War; their success was due in part to their own skill and organisation of their forces and also in part to the failures of their opponents. The Communists had strong central leadership under Lenin; they were united and well-organised with the ruthless determination to win. By contrast, anti-Communist forces lacked a clear strategy or direction in their War effort. The Communists dominated the heartland of Russia, and area between Petrograd, Moscow and Volgograd with a population approximately of 60 million. This was a huge advantage for the Communists because they could provide more munitions than the White armies who had to rely on foreign support, they could use the railways to distribute munitions to various fronts, they could use the railways to quickly send troops to wherever they were needed and finally, they could communicate more effectively because their territory was continuous, allowing them to coordinate attacks against their enemies. By contrast, the Whites were geographically dispersed. In addition, White generals launched offensives at different times, allowing Red forces to move around and defeat them one by one. One major factor to the success of the Communists was the military leadership of Leon Trotsky. In 1918, Trotsky founded the Red Army which by the end of the Civil War had reached 5 millions in number. Trotsky held complete control of all of the armies’ missions; he himself toured every Front in the War in an armoured train to check up on his units and delivering political speeches. These measures ensured that the Red Army fought effectively. Overall, the Communists won the Civil War mainly because of the un-organisational and unskilful White Armies and because of how well thought out, developed and well-organised the Red Army was. During the Bolsheviks’ manifesto, one of their slogans concerned ‘ending the war’ and once they were in office, they had no choice but to end it. The war was deeply...
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