This Day in History: The Great October Revolution

This Day in History: The Great October Revolution
07 November 2014

October Revolution. On this day in history, in the late hours of the evening, Vladimir Lenin organized his allies in the Petrograd Soviet, and signaled by a blank shot fired by the battleship Aurora, began the revolt against the Provisional Government. Elements of the Red Guard seized the lightly guarded Winter Palace and by the early morning of the next day, Petrograd was firmly in Bolshevik control.

Why did people revolt?

The revolution took place for a number of reasons, primarily the lack of improvements to daily life since the toppling of the tsar, the fact that most members of the Provisional Government were former nobles themselves, and the continuation of Russia’s involvement in WWI. Despite slave like working conditions, and severe casualties on the front lines, the Provisional Government had been slow to offer any major reforms or policy reversals since seizing power from the Tsar.

Bolshevik’s promises

Lenin’s Bolshevik party promised sweeping land reforms, better labor conditions, and an immediate end to Russian involvement in WWI, as such, the Bolsheviks enjoyed broad popular support from the masses, and the spread of the revolution from Petrograd outwards was rapid. The disintegration of the Provisional Government, and the carving of the Russian populace into two distinct groups, those which supported the Bolsheviks, and those which supported the Provisional Government, gave rise to the greater Russian  Civil War. The Bolsheviks eventually won the war, at dire cost to both the land and the people, and established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

For the duration of the Soviet regime, and for many years after its collapse, the anniversary of the October Revolution as led by Lenin was celebrated every year. The day was eventually replaced by the Day of People’s Unity, though many members of the older generation continue to observe the old holiday.

For better or for worse, on this day in history, Vladimir Lenin and his comrades seized power and laid the foundations of the world’s first Communist state, forever changing the face of world politics and history.


This post was brought to you by Ryan, currently studying Russian at Liden and Denz

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