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History

Lenin and the Bolshevik revolution

Source analysis

What was the nature of the Bolshevik takeover?

Communist writers - and Soviet film-makers such as Eisenstein - always tried to suggest that the Bolsheviks were swept to power in a huge wave of popular enthusiasm:

Source A

The revolution of 1917 was a proletarian revolution; it was the shining proof of the proletariat's political capacity to constitute itself as a ruling class and to move towards the organisation of a communist society... Workers of the world, unite!

Manifesto of the Communist Left to the workers of Europe, 1944

Historians nowadays, however, think that the Bolshevik revolution was the work of a small group of fanatical revolutionaries who succeeded mainly because the Provisional Government was so unpopular:

Source B

October was the result of one man, Lenin, who had to drag not merely the toilers but his own party into a battle that few had enthusiasm for. The masses did not take action for themselves The October revolution was a con.

David Barnsdale runs websites on History, the Green Party and spelling reform.

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