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Trotsky And The Bolshevik Revolution Essay

1791 words - 8 pages

A) Plan of the investigationThe scope of this investigation is to discover Trotsky's role as a Russian revolutionary up to the end of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, especially to ascertain why after being a Menshevik he became a Bolshevik, and how important his role was in securing success for the Bolsheviks.In order to carry out this investigation primary and secondary sources will be consulted, and a bibliography will be compiled, and attached. The plan is to include inthe summary of evidence, sections on:1. Trotsky's life and career before the first 1917 revolution2. Background to the first 1917 revolution3. Trotsky's activities. May 1917 to the outbreak of the second Bolshevik ...view middle of the document...

Still a Menshevik, he joined the Mezhraiontsy, a left wing faction of the Social Democrats, who favoured, as Trotsky did, the reunification of Mensheviks and Bolsheviks (Pipes 275). But Trotsky liked Lenin's emphasis on the power of the proletariat and probably believed that Lenin meant it.Events were partly responsible for Trotsky becoming a Bolshevik. The government accused the Bolsheviks of being German spies. Lenin, never physically brave, fled. Trotsky stood up for the Bolsheviks, and published his support of Lenin. This goaded the Provisional government into arresting Trotsky, and at the 6th Party Congress in August, Trotsky was elected honorary chairman in his absence (Volkogonov 73-74). He was also elected a member of the new party Central Committee. He was released from prison in September and elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. He used this to increase both the power of the Soviet and his own power. The Soviet was responsible for the defence of Petrograd, thought to be under threat from German forces. Trotsky was thus able to develop the Military Revolutionary Committee and the Red Guards and prepare for action. He supported Lenin's view that the time was ripe for a further revolution, although many Bolsheviks disagreed. Stalin, adopted a cautious stance which later proved embarrassing and had to be falsified (Deutscher 171-174).Trotsky was vital in making final plans for the new insurrection. Lenin left Finland on 10 October but remained in hiding in the Vyborg district, and communicated mostly by letter. He wanted an immediate insurrection because he feared that a right wing attempted coup would lead to the collapse of the Provisional government and its replacement by a broad socialist coalition (Service 59). Lenin did not want to share power. He did send plans; Trotsky thought that they were militarily unsound and had too narrow a base (the party not the Soviet), because he realized that the workers and peasants were more likely to respond to the Soviet. Trotsky gained his point and the rising was timed to coincide with the Second Congress of Soviets. Thus Trotsky prepared for action.4. Trotsky's role in the Bolshevik Revolution, 24-25 OctoberThe actual Bolshevik Revolution caused little bloodshed, and is often referred to as a coup. "The Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky was overthrown in Petrograd on 25 October 1917. The Bolsheviks, operating through th'e Military Revolutionary Committee of the City Soviet, seized power in a series of decisive actions. The post and telegraph offices and the railway stations were taken and the army garrisons put under rebel control. By the end of the day the Winter Palace had fallen to the insurgents" (Service 62). According to Pipes it was not quite so simple. Lenin sent anxious messages because he feared that the insurrection was not taking place, then he emerged from hiding and went to the Bolshevik headquarters during the night of the 24th. He prepared a statement to be read...

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