The causes of the October Revolution
Lenin was now convinced that the time was ripe for the Bolsheviks to seize power in the name of the Soviets:
The Provisional Government had been seriously weakened by its inaction during the Kornilov Revolt and it had little control over the army.
The Bolsheviks were now in control of the Petrograd Soviet and in a much stronger position to realise their goal of bringing about the revolution they desired.
In November 1917, a Russian Congress of Soviets was due to meet in Petrograd. By seizing power before then, the Bolsheviks could claim to be acting in the name of the Soviets. Delay would be dangerous.
In December, the Constituent Assembly would be elected - the first real and official Russian Parliament. Once it met, it could challenge the authority of the Soviets - and the power of the Bolsheviks. Also, Lenin was genuinely worried about another attempt at a military takeover, this time by a general who was more intelligent and better organised than Kornilov had been.
The actual takeover of Petrograd was organised by Trotsky. On 24 October, units of the Red Guards took control of the city. Key buildings, power stations, railway and tram stations, important bridges were in Bolshevik hands. A large warship that was sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, the "Aurora", steamed up the river Neva and trained its guns on the Winter Palace, where the Provisional Government was located.
On the night of the 25th/26th October, the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace and arrested the Provisional Government.
Lenin now proclaimed a new government of Russia, by the Soviets. The Congress of Soviets met and endorsed the action of the Bolsheviks. The Bolshevik Revolution was now a fact.
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.