Lenin’s Leadership and the Bolsheviks Seizing Power

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How far do you agree that Lenin’s leadership was the main reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in October 1917? Although the leadership of Lenin was the trigger for the Bolsheviks to start acting as revolutionaries, it was a number of long term factors which caused the discontent which led to revolution. The weaknesses of the provisional Government especially created the situation in which the Bolsheviks were the only party able to seize power in October 1917.

One reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in 1917 was the weaknesses of the Provisional Government. One weakness was that there was a lack of a governing body in Russia meaning that a party would eventually seize control of the country. Also another weakness was that the government was unwilling to make any decisions. This made them look weak and scared to make any decisions. Another weakness was that the Petrograd Soviet had the power, while the Prov Gov had the control and the support.

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Meaning that the Prov Gov could not have any power over the decisions as the Petrograd soviet was the decision makers. Linking back to the question, this shows that Lenin’s leadership was not the main reason for the Bolsheviks getting power as the Prov Gov was already weak and it wouldn’t take a big effort to take them over. Another reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in 1917 was the lack of opposition. The Bolsheviks lacked opposition due to two factors.

One factor was that the other parties were inactive and supported the government meaning that none of the parties were going to overthrow the current government as they liked them, also the main party leaders were in exile meaning that by Lenin returning to the Bolsheviks, none of the other party leaders did meaning that the Bolsheviks were the only party that were going to compete. Linking back to the question, by the other parties being inactive and the leaders not even in the country, Lenin’s job was made so much easier so his leadership could have been rubbish but he still could of got power.

Another reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power in 1917 was the impact of Lenin’s return and his April Thesis. This is due to after Lenin’s return the Bolsheviks were noticed as the only party to take action to make Russia Better. Also it was in the April Thesis that he decided to take an active approach and try and make Russia better. By Lenin doing this, it increased Bolsheviks popularity and decreased support for the government as he highlighted the flaws in the current government meaning hat people would realise that the current government can’t compare to the Bolsheviks. Linking back to the question, this shows that Lenin’s leadership did help as he showed people that the current government had flaws and that the Bolsheviks would make them flaws better. Another reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize was Lenin’s leadership qualities. Lenin had leadership skills which no other party had this, showing that Lenin was key in the seizure of power. Also Lenin had decisiveness which the gov did not have.

Lenin believed in Marxism which people liked and Lenin was very adaptable to any problems which occurred meaning he was a great leader. Linking back to the question, Lenin’s leadership was key to the Bolsheviks seizing power as if they didn’t have him as a leader, the whole campaign would be as effective. Another reason why the Bolsheviks were able to seize power was World War One. World war one highlighted the weaknesses of the Prov Gov as they were not able to win hardly any battles or conflicts and they made Russia look weak.

Also they wouldn’t pull out of the war as they wanted to try and make Russia look tougher but it just led to defeats. Also the soldiers were crowded together in discontent, which mean that revolutionary ideas were spread around. Also the ideas of the revolution only grew because of the failure at war. Linking back to the question, with the idea of a revolution spreading around the soldiers, it helped the Bolsheviks majorly as they didn’t have to heavily advertise their ideas and also Lenin didn’t have to say much to win them over.

Another point is July Days. July days led to the growth of revolutionary ideas, although it was not successful for the Bolsheviks themselves. It also showed that the Prov gov still had strength to put down armed forces and so they had a bit of power. It was a failed uprising, showed that the Bolsheviks were still far of being a dominant revolutionary party. This shows that Lenin may of been too eager and shows he could rush into things. Another factor that helped the Bolsheviks seize power in 1917 was the Kornilov affair.

The Kornilov affair showed that the Provisional Government were finally in a situation where they no longer had the power to remain control of the country. They relied on the Bolsheviks to help them even though they put the Bolsheviks in prison. This meant there was now a recovery of the Bolsheviks and they could go back to full power. It also showed the political weakness of the Prov Gov and this meant the people would favour the Bolsheviks as they ‘helped’ the provisional government.

Linking back to the question this showed that the provisional government was weak and that Lenin’s leadership wasn’t a key factor in the seize of power as he did not have to do much. In conclusion, it was the radicalisation of Russian politics that was due to the increasing weakness of the Provisional Government that was the overall cause of the October revolution. However it was Lenin’s ability to command that led the Bolsheviks to seize power in the conditions made. Meaning that if Lenin was not in control of the Bolshevik party, the whole revolution may still would of happened as the Provisional Government were so weak.

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Lenin’s Leadership and the Bolsheviks Seizing Power. (2016, Sep 27). Retrieved from


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