Victory for the Reds

By the end of the Civil War in 1921 the Bolsheviks had succeeded in securing their grip on power in Russia.

The White Armies and the foreign powers fighting on Russian soil had been defeated. Just as importantly, rival political parties had been outlawed. Thanks to the Cheka secret police, dissenting voices had been silenced.

Lenin had achieved his ultimate goal of steering his small Bolshevik party to total control of Russia.

The committment with which they pursued their plan meant that they maximised the tools at their disposal.

  • Ending Russian involvement in WW1 was a popular move that freed up resources
  • Organisation of Red Army who were loyal and well supplied in comparison to Whites, due to Trotsky's strong leadership.
  • Other political parties were silenced so that it was only the Bolsheviks that represented the revolution and people against a White Army confused to what it wanted.
  • War Communism- the economic measures imposed hardships upon many but was successful in its aim of supporting the Red Army.
  • The geographical advantage of the central area and cities Bolsheviks held enabled them to control production and access better railways and facilities, whereas the Whites were more dispersed in the rural expanses of Russia.

Conclusion

Why did the Red Army win the the Civil War?

Before the fighting began, the Whites had more advantages than the Reds:

  • more men and officers from the Tsarist army
  • controlled food-producing areas (except Ukraine)
  • much support from foreign powers

However, by 1922, the Red Army were the victors. This was for a variety of reasons:

Communications

The Reds controlled a central area which had good railway lines. They were able to move troops around the fronts much more easily than the Whites.

Leadership

Lenin and Trotsky controlled the Red Army. There was little co¬operation between the White Generals. This meant that they did not attack the Bolsheviks all at once.

Motivation

The Red Army was fighting for the Bolshevik party. Defeat meant death. The Whites were fighting for a variety of different reasons and often disagreed amongst themselves.

Foreign support

After 1919, the end of the Great War, the Allies began to pull out of Russia. Their role in the civil war was unpopular amongst their own people.

Foreign intervention was seen as an invasion of Russia by some of the Russian population. This led many of them to support the Bolsheviks, who were portrayed as the defenders of Russia.

Propaganda

Both sides made use of propaganda to win support.

The Bolsheviks told the peasants that if the Whites were victorious, then the land would be taken away from them. This convinced many to support the Bolsheviks.

In July 1918, the Royal Family were murdered in Ekaterinburg. This was because the Bolsheviks were afraid that the Tsar might be freed by the advancing Czech Legion. They did not want him to become a focus of discontent against the Bolsheviks. As a result, Nicholas and his family were shot and their bodies destroyed. This provided the White forces with propaganda. However, it was not very effective within Russia as the Tsar was unpopular.

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