The war was the most pressing problem for the Provisional Government, who took the unpopular decision to continue the campaign against Germany, in the hope that they could turn the tide against the Germans and gain land. They also felt that by honoring the alliance with France and Britain Russia would get important financial support. Serenely launched a major offensive against the Germans In June but the Russians made no headway and morale started to collapse. Desertions reached worrying levels with over two million soldiers returning home in 1917.
This decision o continue the war severely weakened the capacity of the Provisional Government to consolidate its position and deal with the other problems it faced. It also showed Just how out of touch the government was with the concerns of those suffering the hardships of war: rank and file soldiers, the Industrial workers and the peasantry. What also weakened the government from the start was its lack of credibility and authority. It had not been elected and had no programmer for government. The Petrography Soviet had a better claim to legitimacy having been formed from representatives of the workers.
It then expanded Its base to Include soldiers. The Soviet had considerable power, with its control over the postal service and railways In Petrography, to the extent that It was difficult for the Provisional Government to do anything without its support. This point was illustrated by the Petrography Soviet’s Order No. 1, which urged the soldiers to only obey the orders of the Government if they did not contradict its own decrees. Serenely failed to gain any real level of trust from the Soviet and had little choice but to tolerate Ft.
This system of ‘ ‘dual power’ between the Government and the Petrography Soviet added to the chaos of the taxation but neither side was In a position to deal effectively with the other. One area where the Provisional Government could have gained support was through the calling of a Constituent Assembly or parliament to legitimate its powers and to Introduce land reform, but Serenely delayed the summoning of a Constituent recognized in principle, the Government was in no position to implement this.
The grievances over land had long been a concern to peasants and many were unwilling to wait any longer. Many of those peasants who had deserted the army and returned mom had done so in order to seize some land for themselves. The Government’s failure to take a lead on reform lost it valuable support from the peasantry. Disorder spread to the countryside with many landowners finding themselves on the receiving end of the peasants’ anger. The Government was clearly unable to control what was happening.
Alexander Serenely reviewing the troops in 1917. For many industrial workers the months following the February Revolution were a time of great excitement and those based in Petrography and Moscow were quickly becoming not only more radical but also more organized. This development posed a danger for the Provisional Government. Sailors at the naval base of Croissant organized their own armed demonstration under Bolshevik slogans such as ‘All power to the Soviets’ and marched into Petrography in what became known as the July Days’.
This posed a dilemma for the Bolsheviks. Middle-ranking Bolsheviks were happy to encourage the rising but the Bolshevik leadership hesitated and refused to endorse this attempt to overthrow the government. Lenin preferred to ‘wait and see’. Ninth support from the Immensities and Social Revolutionaries, the Provisional Government was able to crush the rising. The importance of the ‘July Days’ was that t led, in the short term, to the discrediting of the Bolsheviks, who were blamed by many for the bloodshed.
Serenely also used this as an opportunity to attack Lenin personally by claiming he was a German spy working to undermine the Russian war effort. Bolshevik offices were closed, as was their newspaper Pravda. Leading skivvies were forced into hiding; Examine and Trotsky were arrested. The role of the Bolsheviks in the July Days’ has caused some debate amongst historians. The standard view of Soviet writers before the asses was that the Bolsheviks took little art in the events but some Western historians see Bolshevik reticence at being Involved as demonstrating a lack of nerve in seeing through a serious attempt to seize power.
For Lenin the time was not yet right for revolution. For the Provisional Government, the crushing of the rising gave them temporary relief from the threat of the Left though this was to be followed by a serious threat from the Right. Ere CORROSION ‘COUP’ ere position of the Provisional Government was severely undermined by what became known as the Corrosion coup. After the July Days’ Serenely made an attempt o assert control over events and appointed Corrosion as Commander in Chief to reassert discipline in the army.
This measure was too reactionary for the Immensities and Social Revolutionaries, who were now part of the Government, but Corrosion Even some of the Liberals now talked of the advantages of military rule. With continued strikes and unrest in Petrography the Government edged towards the imposition of martial law. Corrosion moved to suppress unrest in Petrography but at the last moment Serenely ordered his arrest and had to call on the Soviet to help defend the city against what seemed like an attempted coup by Corrosion. The Soviet came to Kerosene’s aid and Corrosion was arrested.
What were the motives of Corrosion? Was this really an attempted coup or, as Corrosion claimed, was he merely following Kerosene’s orders to bring troops to the capital to restore order? Kerosene’s ambiguous role in this affair was to seriously damage his standing with both the Right and the Left. The army was left demoralized and confused with little sense of direction. On the Left, the affair led to an upsurge in support for the Bolsheviks, who had taken a lead in organizing the workers against Corrosion, whilst support for the
Immensities and Social Revolutionaries, both associated with the Government, declined. Serenely and the Provisional Government were now dangerously isolated and drifting towards final collapse. Ere FAILURE OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT ay October 1917 the Bolsheviks were in a position to succeed in seizing power from the Provisional Government, although by this time the Provisional Government Melded little power of its own. It is difficult not to reach a verdict of failure on the Provisional Government; it had lasted little more than eight months.
Yet it should be remembered that the country had undergone enormous political change in a very worth time. From being a strict autocracy Russia had gained a liberal constitution Inch, in theory, many in the West admired due to its emphasis on complete political and religious freedom. It even banned capital punishment in the army. The policies of the Provisional Government had also included the release of all political prisoners.
These were positive aims but, as best demonstrated by the failure to call the Constituent Assembly and deal with land reform, their implementation was poorly handled and often ineffective. From the start, the Provisional Government had lacked both support and authority. Its attempts to pursue a moderate line were perhaps undermined by the lack of a substantial middle class in Russia, but it could have done more to gain support from the conservative elements or even from the moderate Left. Instead it tended to alienate both groups and as a result was left Isolated.
The decision to continue the war was perhaps a crucial factor, “sapping” the strength and diverting the energies of a government whose hold on power was tenuous in the first place. Constituent Assembly An assembly/parliament which was to be elected by the people. It would have led to he formation of a government which could claim it ruled with the wishes of the n order to guarantee their right to own land. Serenely delayed elections for the Assembly and the Bolsheviks used this action to criticism the Provisional Government. Urine George LOVE (1861-1925) ere first leader of the Provisional Government. He had little experience of government before becoming prime minister after the abdication of the Tsar in February 1917. He was also at a disadvantage because he had not been elected by the people; thus he failed to command much authority. Although he held liberal ‘sews, Love was not a member of any political party and lacked a power base. Alexander Serenely (1881-1970) A leading member of the Provisional Government.
He served as Minister of War under Prince Love before becoming leader of the Provisional Government in July 1917. Serenely, as a Messiness, was a moderate socialist who saw a need to work Ninth the Liberals in order to bring about change. He was a superb speaker but he struggled to remain in control of events during the summer of 1917. His attempt to revivalist the Russian army against Germany failed and the confusion caused by his ole in the Corrosion Affair greatly undermined his position. He was forced to flee Petrography when the Bolsheviks seized power in October.
After failing to raise resistance to the Bolshevik government, Serenely fled abroad and lived most of the rest of his life in the USA. General Lava Corrosion In the summer of 1917 Corrosion became a focus for right-wing forces opposed to the Provisional Government and its failure to deal effectively with social unrest. Serenely appointed Corrosion Commander in Chief of the Russian army to restore law and order in Petrography but when his troops marched into the city they were stopped and Corrosion was arrested. Corrosion motives are unclear.
Did he wish to overthrow the Provisional Government and establish military rule or was he merely obeying what he thought were Sereneness orders. Opposition to Corrosion was led by the Bolsheviks and affair greatly restored their fortunes after the ‘July Days’.