July 26, 2014

How did Lenin’s leadership help the Bolsheviks to win the Civil War?

Question by dogmad: How was Lenin’s leadership an important reason in the Bolsheviks winning the Civil War?
I’m doing a History essay for school and the question is:
The following were equally important reasons why the Bolsheviks won the civil war…explain how far you agree with this statement. I’ve talked about failiure of th White armies, Trotsky and the Red army and propaganda so LENIN’S LEADERSHIP is the only one left.

Thank you so much.

Quick answer:

Answer by Spellbound
Lenin was the driving force of the Revolution. He led a small, disciplined and highly motivated party that was infiltrating the massive factories of Petrograd and the Army – and, importantly – the navy at it’s base in Krondstadt. His was a forceful personality, who disliked people who disagreed with him, but who had a magnetic quality which inspired loyalty.

The April Thesis were Lenin’s manifesto on returning from exile, the main points are:
He called for “All power to the soviets” – soviets were workers councils which had been springing up across the country.
He denounced the Provisional Government as having no democratic legitimacy.
He called for all banks to be nationalised.
And he called for all land to be given nationalised and farms run by Agricultural workers’ soviets.

The July days were a failed attempt at a Bolshevik coup – Lenin fled to Finland, and the party outlawed. This ban was reversed when General Kornilov marched on the capital – the new Prime Minister – Kerensky (Prince Lvov had stepped down in July – further eroding the Provisional Government’s legitimacy) – asked the Bolsheviks to help stop the general.

The October Revolution began be the Bolshevik Red Guard seizing key junctions, bridges and offices in Petrograd. A small detachment then swept into the Winter Palace – where the Government met – and took the building. The Revolution began when the battleship Aurora, across the river from the Winter Palace fired a single blank shell.

Lenin’s leadership was also pivotal in winning the Civil War. The Bolsheviks dominated (although they were not the majority party) in the cities. Lenin ensured that bolsheviks occupied key posts on important soviets, giving them a strategic advantage over their political rivals. He was ruthless, demanding tortures and executions of enemies; he was not alone in this, the white forces were equally as ruthless. He was able to adapt his ideology to fit the situation – War Communism, whilst appearing to be an orthodox Marxist – keeping the party on board. And, more importantly, he was a master at delegation – he put the right people into the right posts at the right time to ensure that the Civil War would be won by his forces.
See:

http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1917deurbanization&Year=1917&navi=byYear

http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1917soviets&Year=1917&navi=byYear

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/bio/index.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSlenin.htm

Lenin, A Concise Anthology – Robert Tucker
Lenin, A Biography – Robert Service
The October Revolution Roy Medvedev

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