Russia in the 20th Century
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In the early 1900s, Russia was characterized by a starving population under the rule of Czar Nicholas II. Millions of Russians were dying in World War I, a war that was unpopular with the general populace. Poor living conditions led to massive unrest. In 1917 Lenin was able to overthrow Nicholas II and take control of Russia because he promised to end the pain and suffering of the Russian people.
Before Lenin came to power, the benefits brought about by the industrial revolution in other European nations were not present in Russia. A majority of Russia’s population lived in extreme poverty under the absolute rule of the Czar. Most peasants, or serfs, worked on the land of the nobles. The serfs suffered from a lack of food, a lack of freedom and no hope for improvement. Millions of Russians were dying in World War I leaving families in worse shape due to the loss of male providers. In response to the massive unrest, Vladimir Lenin led the Bolsheviks in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Lenin was able to defeat the opposing government and gain control of Russia because he promised the people the three things they wanted most: peace, land and bread.
Lenin’s rise to power was inevitable because he used the needs of the people to gain power. He promised an end to the misery that characterized Russian society and possessed the ability to convince followers of his good intent
In 1918, a civil war broke out in Russia. Under Lenin’s rule, the new government seized control of a majority of the farms and factories. The promises Lenin made to gain control failed to become reality. As the misery of Russians grew, so too, did opposition to the Lenin government. As a result the “White Russians” led a revolt against the Lenin government. The Lenin government won this civil war and changed the political environment in Russia.
The Bolsheviks were able to win the civil war because the opposition failed in their attempts to launch effective counter attacks. The only two serious threats occurred in August of 1918 and in the autumn of 1919. Despite outside help from the allies, the White Russians were plagued by political disagreements within their ranks and a lack of clear goals. The Bolsheviks were extremely unified and well versed in the use of propaganda to gain public support. After the civil war was complete, there was a rift in ally/Russian relations due to the aid provided to the White Russians by the allies. After the civil war was complete, the Communist party assumed full control.
Lenin won two major battles as a result of false promises. The Russian people did not gain the benefits promised by Lenin and Russia’s relations with other nations were damaged. As a result the Communist Party was able to assume full control of Russia.