The July days nearly saw the Bolsheviks in ruins.
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The July days nearly saw the Bolsheviks in ruins. By October they had launched a successful bid for power. How was this Possible?
The provincial Government was a permanent form of power in Russia after the tsar was removed from power and would dissipate after the elections in November of the Constituent Assembly. This fact plays an important role in the shaping of Russia’s history.
In March of 1917 the Petrograd soviets issue “Order Number 1” this is the first instance where we are able to see the Petrograd’s Soviets hold over the provincial government and the weakness of the government. This order in a nutshell meant that any military orders had to be approved by the Petrograd’s Soviet for them to be binding. In these early days of the government all seemed to be going well, there was a general acceptance that the new liberty not be allowed to slip into anarchy and so destroy the gains of the revolution.
In April Lenin returned with help from the Germans to Russia.
“No control or examination of passports or persons may be carried out wither on entering or leaving Germany” Lenin’s German pass.
This helps to show us that the Germans didn’t want the train to be intercepted or stopped but for Lenin to make a secret entry into the country. They may have believed Lenin was going to cause another revolution that could cause Russia to back out of the war, as he believed that a class revolution hadn’t yet happened.
When Lenin had entered the country he made his April theses, this caused a lot of problems as now the Bolsheviks were being told they could not work with the Provisional Government but should try and overthrow it. Lenin was able to see the soviets as a power base as they controlled the workers and the army, Lenin could use this and say he is the leader of the people.
“The Bolshevik takeover of the soviets would be the prelude to Bolshevik takeover of the state” Access to History, Michael Lynch
Lenin and the Bolshevik party were trying to spread the power out equally over all the workers peasants and the army. They used slogans such as “Peace Bread and Land” and “ all power to the soviets” This caused problems to the provisional government as these were the problems they had been unable to sort out and would have helped to gained more support for Lenin.
In the month before the July days we must look at what was going on with Russia. Kerensky had tried to make the war with Germany into a Revolutionary Crusade and launched a major offensive, this failed badly. Kornilov saw that the problem was the lack of a stable political situation within Russia. Kerensky becomes prime minister and Kornilov becomes commander-in-chief. This constant change of government and failure in the war may have been the reason for what happened in Kronstadt. The spark for the begging of the July days happened at Kronstadt, a naval base 15 miles from Petrograd. They Set up their own government, when word of this reached Petrograd other revolutionaries saw this as the time to do as Lenin wished.
The July days were not an organized rise for power but more of a combination of events that saw people to view it as one. The Provisional Government may of seen it as one, as a month before Lenin had declared that the Bolsheviks was ready to take power. As the Bolsheviks and Soviets were now closely joined this was to be seen as a Bolshevik uprising. One of the main points of the July Days is that it was a failure and each of the political groups was trying to place blame on to the other. This can be seen in the way the Bolsheviks claimed that they had nothing to do with it but had just come to the aid of their comrades in arms. The Mensheviks argued that the Bolsheviks had been behind it from the start and were trying to disclaim responsibility due to the failure of it.
Another can be seen that the Provisional Government still had some strength to quell an up-rising and that the forces opposing the Government were not united. Due to this action
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Russian Revolution, Russian Provisional Government, Kornilov affair, Alexander Kerensky, Petrograd Soviet, Vladimir Lenin, Russian Constituent Assembly, February Revolution, April Theses, July Days, Bolsheviks, Mensheviks
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