Why Were The Bolsheviks Able To Overcome Counter-Revolution In The Period 1918 To 1924?
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Why were the Bolsheviks able to overcome counter-revolution in the period 1918 to 1924?
The Russian Revolution started on 1917. It was caused by many factors such as the start of World War One that devastated the economy and lead to famine and inflation, the corruption of the government, the ignorance and inefficiency of the Tsar and the unfair distribution of wealth. These grievances caused the abdication of the Tsar and overthrew the government.
The first six months was crucial to the survival of the Bolshevik government. The government was in a period of instability where it depended mostly on popular support from townspeople and the Cheka. The Bolsheviks powers were further strengthened after their victory in the Civil War. The introduction of the New Economic Policy further stabilized the government, allowing it to overcome counter-revolution in the period of 1918 to 1924.
At the start of the establishment of the Bolshevik government, Lenin and Trotsky saw the creation of the Cheka (All-Russian Commission for Suppression of Counter Revolution, Sabotage and Speculation) as a necessary tool of government. An order to all soviets on 22 February 1918 announced, from the Cheka, that, “all membersÐconnected in one form or another with counter-revolutionary organizationsÐ…are to be shot on the spotÐ…when caught red-handed in the act.”1This created much terror among the Soviets as it gave the Cheka the power to kill and arrest any suspect of counter-revolution. 10 million people disappeared due to arrest, massacre and deportation.
Some of the Bolsheviks first actions were to create equality between the people. There were decrees signed to abolish all Classes, titles, national-religious privileges and disabilities, Ranks of all Military Men, and private property in productive resources.2 This abolishment allowed women more equality in the workforce, and more freedom in personal and sexual relations. Workers were given insurance and control of the industry. The government also placed tremendous effort into education, the building of schools and making sure that sufficient food were supplied to children. Propaganda and the Young Communist League were set up to encourage communist ideas. These actions taken by the government earned a large amount of sympathy from most peasants, soldiers, women and children.
During the period 1918 to 1924, the Bolsheviks encountered rising threat from the White army, this consisted of anti-communists, the tsarist government and various foreign powers. This was the start of Civil War, which began on 1918 and ended in 1921. Eventually, the Communists won the Civil War due to three crucial advantages. Firstly, the Communists had large support from the urban working classes and army, which were reflected in the high morale and discipline of the army. The Communists, however, did not have much support from the peasantry but the White Armies failed to exploit this weakness. Second, there was great unity within the Communists, through Trotskys leadership. The Whites never succeeded in creating a single government and possessed different political aims. The assassination of the tsar further deprived the Whites of a unifying source. Lastly, the Communists had geographic advantage over the Whites. The White armies were scattered which made communication hard, while the Red armies were all united in one area with control of Petrograd and Moscow (the main industry centres)3. This victory eliminated possibilities of a further counter-revolution.
Trotsky played a major part in the victory of the Civil War. He was a brilliant tactician, a motivating speaker and a ruthless leader. Under his leadership, “every scoundrel who incites anyone to retreat, to desert, or not to fulfill a military order, will be shot. Every soldier of the Red Army who