Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Home > History > Large-scale state: Russia > The causes of the October Revolution

History

The causes of the October Revolution

Bolshevik policies

As Bolshevik leader, Lenin had very clear objectives for what he wanted to achieve. First of all, the Bolsheviks had to gain control of the Petrograd Soviet. Then they would seize power in the name of the Soviet. This process would be repeated in other cities. It was due to Lenin's energy and drive that the Bolsheviks agreed on this course of action.

The first step was to increase Bolshevik support within the Soviets. Lenin developed Bolshevik policies in line with this aim in mind. The slogan "peace, bread and land" summarised Bolshevik policies at this time.

Peace

Lenin could see that the Russian people wanted an end to the war. The Bolsheviks were offering what they wanted.

Bread

Lenin claimed that the Bolsheviks could solve the food shortages - the Provisional Government had made them worse.

Land

This was a shrewd move by Lenin. The Bolsheviks were a party of the cities and the industrial areas and they had very little support among the peasants. However, with the peasants being the vast majority of the population, Lenin could not risk them turning against the Bolsheviks. By offering them land, Lenin ensured that the peasants stayed neutral when the Bolsheviks made their bid for power.

Lenin was actively supported by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky had superb skills of organisation and improvisation. He created the Red Guards, a Bolshevik militia formed from armed factory workers, soldiers and sailors. Trotsky took charge of the detailed planning of the actual Bolshevik takeover at the end of October, to make sure that all the vital areas of Petrograd were effectively in Bolshevik hands.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.