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History

The civil war

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The Bolshevik [Bolshevik: A member of the Russian revolutionary group originally led by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Bolsheviks gained power in Russia in 1917 and became the dominant political party there. ] takeover was not welcomed by everyone. Those who had been loyal to the tsar and foreign powers were alarmed by the revolution so they joined together under the banner of the Whites to defeat the Bolsheviks.

Summary

The Bolshevik takeover angered many Russians who had been prepared to accept the Provisional Government. It alarmed the US, Britain and France because the Bolsheviks had declared that they wanted to cause revolutions all over the world. All these Whites now united to try to destroy the Bolsheviks.

The war lasted three years. Atrocities were committed on both sides and captured soldiers were usually executed.

At first, it looked as though the Bolsheviks would lose - but they survived.

  • Lenin dismissed the Constituent Assembly and ruled by decree.
  • Trotsky organised and inspired the Red Army.
  • The Bolsheviks brought in a very strict War Communism, which organised the whole population to provide supplies for the war effort.
  • The Bolsheviks instituted a Red Terror that killed anyone who opposed them - strikers were shot, and Trotsky even arrested the families of Red generals to keep them loyal.

Meanwhile, the Whites were disunited, and could not agree on their aims or co-ordinate their attacks.

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