The Bolsheviks and the Tragedy of the October Revolution

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The Bolsheviks and the Tragedy of the October Revolution The majority of the people are with us. The majority of the working and oppressed people all over the world are with us. Ours is the cause of justice. Our victory is assured."1 "October was a classic coup d'état, the capture of governmental power by a small minority, carried out-without mass engagement."2 The October Revolution was perhaps the most momentous event of the twentieth century. It led to the creation of the Soviet Union, the first avowedly Communist nation in history, which was to become a global superpower, an inspiration to many, an object of the hatred of many more. Possibly more important was the role the memory of the October Revolution played in the mythology of the Soviet Union throughout its entire existence. Along with the doctrine of Marxism-Leninism and the Communist Party edifice, the legacy of October was one of the pillars upon which the Soviet Union supported itself and justified its form and existence. " Whatever legitimacy the Soviet regime could once claim, in its own eyes and in that of the outside world," claims Martin Malia, "depended - on the socialist reality of October."3 In the Soviet Union, the October Revolution was officially viewed as the ultimate endorsement of the Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism by the people of Russia. The toiling masses, achieving class-consciousness in the turmoil of the revolutionary cauldron, placed their vanguard at their head and entrusted it with control of the new Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. They then defended it against the attacks of the counterrevolutionaries, and would continue to do so until the worldwide socialist revolution, the establishment of global communism, and th... ... middle of paper ... ...dy, 507. 25. Sukhanov, Russian Revolution, 550. 26. Daniels, Conscience of the Revolution, 64. 27. Ibid., 63. 28. Robert Daniels, ed. A Documentary History of Communism (New York: Random House, 1984), I, 102. 29. Lenin qtd. in Daniels, Conscience of the Revolution, 65. 30. Ibid., 63. 31. Figes, People's Tragedy, 506. 32. Daniels, Conscience of the Revolution, 147. 33. Figes, People's Tragedy, 464. 34. Richard Stites, Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 43. 35. Sukhanov, Russian Revolution, 553 - 555. 36. Figes, People's Tragedy, 519. 37. Daniels, Conscience of the Revolution, 110. 38. Ibid., 113. 39. See Figes, People's Tragedy, 590 - 594. 40. Daniels, Conscience of the Revolution, 119. 41. Ibid., 121. 42. Malia, Soviet Tragedy, 103 - 104.
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