1917 Bolshivik Revolution

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1917 Bolshivik Revolution – Lenin’s Leadership Essay, Research Paper How Important Was Lenin To The Successful Bolshevik Seizure Of Power In October 1917? 1 July 1998 Men make their own history they do not make it under circumstances chosen by them, but rather under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. In any account of history, it is difficult to determine weather the crucial roles were played by individuals or by historical forces beyond the control of any individual. There is on one hand the argument that it is the actions of great individuals that has created the turning points in world history. Aligned with this is the historical argument that it was the activities of Lenin in October 1917, which explains why Russia was a communist

nation for so many decades. One the other hand it can be argued that history is directed by natural forces beyond the control of any human; accidents, fate, economic developments, mass movements and so on. In this case it is difficult to see historical figures as anything more than insignificant actors in the play of destiny, mere labels giving names and faces to events. Marx is usually credited with views on essential impersonality of historical processes. I intend to argue this historical dilemma with a close examination of the events leading up to the October Revolution. This will be done in two parts, firstly, by showing how without Lenin s presence in Petrograd in 1917, the October Revolution would never have taken place and the Soviet Union would not have existed as it did

until its disintegration in 1989. Whilst on the other hand it was the political and social conditions in 1917 that explain why very little force was required to exert such an exceptional course of events to shape not only Russian history, but world history. In order to effectively convey this point I will use the tool of hypothetical analysis to establish the key role that Lenin did play in the October Revolution. While I agree that this is not a widely accepted form of historical analysis, it is however a plausible method of examining the importance of key individuals in a historic event by asking would the same outcome have occurred had they not been present. Firstly lets examine the extreme of Lenin s influence by viewing the circumstances of the revolution had Lenin not even

been born. Had Lenin indeed not been born or not been turned to revolution by his brother s death, the Bolshevik party would never have existed. Lenin himself founded the party in 1903; he wrote the major theoretical doctrine of Bolshevism; he led the party from its conception in 1903 through until his death in 1924. Above all, it was he alone who repeatedly fought to maintain the political independence of the party against moves to mend ties with the Mensheviks, which would have seen the surrender of their political existence, and without the Bolshevik party, the October Revolution is unthinkable. What is secondly, Lenin was unable to return to Russia in 1917? With this assumption the Bolshevik party would have existed, but it would have lacked his leadership at this crucial

point. This situation is reasonable plausible as the difficulties faced by Russian in neutral Switzerland trying to cross over enemy lines back to Russia are well documented. In this case, it is almost certain that the Bolsheviks would have supported the Provisional Government, as the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries did, rather than overthrowing them. This is not at all speculative, but supported by documented fact. The March 1917 revolution was described by socialists as a bourgeois revolution, and it would therefore be premature for the soviet to attempt an overthrow of the bourgeoisie. The Bolsheviks, who at the time were a tiny minority of the Soviet, hesitated for a short time, but on return of Starlin and Kamenev from Siberia in mid March, they too supported the