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Russia Essay 6. Reasons for the Red Victory in the Civil War . Reason 1: Trotsky.  Trotsky had a completely free hand in military matters.  HQ was heavily armed train, which he used to travel around the country.

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russia essay 6

Russia Essay 6

Reasons for the Red Victory in the Civil War

reason 1 trotsky
Reason 1: Trotsky
  •  Trotsky had a completely free hand in military matters.
  •  HQ was heavily armed train, which he used to travel around the country.
  •  He supervised the formation of the Red Army, which became a formidable fighting force of three million men.
  •  He recruited ex-Tsarist army officers and used political commissars to watch over them, thus ensuring experienced officers but no political recalcitrance.
  •  He used conscription to gain troops and would shoot any deserters.
  •  Trotsky helped provide an army with great belief in what it was fighting for, which the whites did not have.
reason 2 organisation of red army
Reason 2: Organisation of Red Army
  • The Red Army was better organized than the White army and better equipped and therefore able to crush any opposition from the White forces.
  • Use of ex-officers from old Imperial Army
  • Reintroduction of rank and discipline
  • Role of Commissars
the aftermath of october
The aftermath of October…
  • Fresh from seizing control of Russia from the hands of the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks' next step was to safeguard their fragile grip on the reigns of power.
  • Lenin negotiated peace with Germany and therefore an end to Russia's role in World War I. He could not, however, avoid a civil war in Russia. The Bolsheviks were made to fight for control of the country.
  • The Russian Civil War raged from 1918 until the start of 1921. During this time, the Bolsheviks faced massive opposition to their rule in the form of the White Armies, led by former officers of the Tsarist state, and also from intervention by the forces of foreign countries. The Bolsheviks were surrounded, often outnumbered by their opponents, and had no experienced military commanders. At times, their situation seemed hopeless.
  • Yet, by the start of 1921, the Bolsheviks had defeated their enemies and gained a complete victory. The establishment of Communism in Russia went ahead unchallenged.
  • The Bolsheviks were extremely fortunate in the quality of their leadership, particularly in Lenin and Trotsky.
  • Lenin had led the Bolsheviks to victory in the October Revolution. Throughout the Civil War, Lenin provided the energy and drive needed to inspire success. At all times, he had very definite aims and objectives and a sense of purpose about what he believed was best for Russia. His leadership was never challenged.
red army
Red Army
  • Trotsky became Commissar for War in the Bolshevik government. A brilliant organiser and improviser, Trotsky created the Red Army from the Red Guards (the Bolshevik workers militias) and from the remnants of the old Tsarist army. Trotsky imposed a very tough system of discipline and control over the Red Army. Officers found guilty of cowardice or treachery were executed. However, men who showed initiative and courage were promoted rapidly.
  • At times of crisis, Trotsky readily assumed personal command of areas under threat, inspiring and encouraging the troops to greater efforts, and to eventual victory.
  • Under Lenin's leadership, the Bolsheviks displayed total ruthlessness in making sure that they did not face rebellion and revolt in the areas they controlled.
  • The Constituent Assembly. This had been organised by the Provisional Government, to draw up a constitution for Russia. In the election, the majority of delegates came from another revolutionary party, the Social Revolutionaries. Fearing opposition to their plans, when the Constituent Assembly attempted to meet, the Bolsheviks simply had it closed down.
  • Other Parties. Once the Civil War had started, the Bolsheviks banned the other political parties and arrested their leaders.
  • Newspapers. The Bolsheviks closed down newspapers which opposed them.
  • The CHEKA. Finally, the CHEKA was created - the Bolshevik Secret Police. The CHEKA hunted down and arrested anyone who was suspected of opposing the Bolsheviks.
  • n the case of the Bolsheviks in the Civil War, the quotation above is particularly applicable.
  • In 1918, at the start of the Civil War, the Bolsheviks controlled the key central area of Russia - between Petrograd and Moscow. This gave them a number of key advantages.
  • Most of Russia's railways were in this area. This made communication between the various battlefronts much easier. Trotsky was able to move troops and supplies rapidly to areas under attack. As Commissar for War, he was able to visit the battlefronts in an armoured train, and to take personal command.
  • The large population of the major cities in this central area was a key resource for the Bolsheviks. The cities provided fresh recruitment for the Red Army.
  • Furthermore, much of Russia's industry and raw materials was located in this area. This made it possible for the Bolsheviks to keep their troops supplied and equipped with weapons, ammunition and supplies.
  • The Bolsheviks organised a highly effective propaganda campaign in the areas they controlled. Through speeches, newspapers, and leaflets, the people were continually told that they were now in charge of Russia, through the Soviets - life would be better, the wealth would be distributed more fairly. In addition, they were told that the White Armies and their leaders would destroy all the achievements of the Revolution, break up the Soviets and bring back the old system. In this way, support for the Bolsheviks was organised and built up successfully.
reason 3 terror
Reason 3: Terror
  •  The Cheka was set up to eradicate any opposition to the Reds.
  •  There was no need for proof of guilt for punishment to be exacted.
  •  There was persecution of individual people who opposed the Reds as well as whole groups of people, which helped to reduce opposition due to fear, or simply eradicate opposition.
  •  The Cheka group carried out severe repression.
  •  Some of the first victims of the Cheka were leaders of other political parties.
  •  140 000 were executed by 1922 when Lenin was happy that all opposition had been suppressed.
reason 4 disunity among whites
Reason 4: Disunity among whites
  • The Whites were an uncoordinated series of groups whose morale was low.
  • The Whites were a collection of socialists, liberals, moderates etc who all wanted different things and often fought amongst themselves due to their political differences. All of the Whites shared a hatred of Communism but other than this they lacked a common purpose.
  • No White leader of any measure emerged to unite and lead the White forces whereas the Reds had Trotsky and Lenin.
reason 5 red unity
Reason 5: Red Unity
  • Unified political leadership
  • Unity of land controlled
  • Co-ordinated military action
reason 6 superior red resources
Reason 6: Superior Red Resources
  • Once the Reds had established defence of their lines they were able to repel and exhaust the attacks by the Whites until they scattered or surrendered.
  • By having all of their land together it was easier for the Reds to defend.
  • With the major industrial centres in their land (Moscow and Petrograd) the Reds had access to factories to supply weapons etc and swiftly due to their control of the railways.
  • Control of the Railways meant they could transport troops supplies quickly and efficiently and in large numbers to the critical areas of defence or attack.
  • The decisive battles between the Reds and Whites were near railheads.
  • The Reds were in control of a concentrated area of western Russia, which they could successfully defend due to the maintenance of their communication and supply lines.
  • Having the two major cities of Moscow and Petrograd in their possession meant that the Reds had the hold of the industrial centres of Russia as well as the administrative centres.
  • Having the two major cities gave the Reds munitions and supplies that the Whites were unable to therefore obtain.
reason 7 foreign intervention
Reason 7: Foreign Intervention
  • The Bolsheviks were able to claim that the foreign “invaders” were imperialists who were trying to overthrow the revolution and invade Russia.
  •  The Reds were able to stand as Champions of the Russian nation from foreign invasion.
  •  The help received by the Whites from foreign powers was not as great as was hoped for.
  •  The Foreign Powers did not provide many men due to the First World War just finishing and their help was restricted to money and arms.
reason 8 propaganda
Reason 8: Propaganda
  •  Whites were unable to take advantage of the brutality of the Reds to win support as they often carried out similar atrocities.
  •  The Whites were unable to present themselves as a better alternative to the Reds due to their brutality.
  •  The Reds kept pointing out that all of the land that the peasants had seized in the 1917 Revolution would be lost if the Whites won. This fear prevented the peasants from supporting the Whites.
reason 9 leadership of lenin
Reason 9: Leadership of Lenin
  •  Introduction of War Communism
  •  By forcing the peasants to sell their grain to the Reds for a fixed price the Reds were able to ensure that their troops were well supplied with and well fed.
  •  The Whites troops were not as well supplied and fed as the Reds troops.
  •  Skilled delegation and ruthlessness
russian civil war summary questions
Russian Civil War summary questions

1. What did the red army do to take control of their people?2. žWhat are the main factors that made the Bolsheviks win the war? ž3. How did this civil war prove that by having control of ‘the people’ helps win a war? ž4. What is the difference between the Red Army and the White Army? 5. žWhat do you think about the Red Terror? 6. What would have happened if the White Army had won?