Why the Bolsheviks Won the Civil War

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Why the Bolsheviks Won the Civil War

The Russian Civil War raged from 1918 until the start of 1921. During

this time the Bolsheviks faced massive opposition to their rule in the

form of the White Armies, led by the former officers of the Tsarist

state, and also from intervention by the forces of foreign countries.

The Bolsheviks were surrounded, and often outnumbered by their

opponents, and had no experienced military commanders. At times,

their situation seemed hopeless. Yet, by the start of 1921, the

Bolsheviks had defeated their enemies and gained a complete victory.

The establishment of Communism in Russia went ahead unchallenged.

During the Civil War the Bolsheviks had a number of key advantages

over their opponents. The leaders of the Red Army were a very

important factor to the Reds victory, the Bolsheviks were extremely

fortunate in the quality of their leadership, particularly in Lenin

and Trotsky. Lenin had led the Bolsheviks to victory in the October

Revolution and throughout the Civil War, he provided the energy and

drive needed to inspire success. At all times he had very definite

aims and objectives and a sense of purpose about what he believed was

best for Russia, his leadership was never challenged. Trotsky became

Commissar for War in the Bolshevik Government. A brilliant organiser

and improviser, Trotsky created the Red Army from the Red Guards (the

Bolshevik workers militias) and from the remnants of the old Tsarist

army. Trotsky imposed a very tough system of discipline and control

over the Red Army. Officers found guilty of cowardice or treachery

were executed. However, men who showed initiative and c...

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...d torture and execution. Inevitably, the Whites became hated and

feared because of this. Inevitably, Bolshevik propaganda homed in on

this. Given the choice between the Bolsheviks or the Whites, it was

hardly surprising that Bolshevik support increased dramatically.

These factors became major reasons which coagulated to become a cause

of the Bolsheviks winning the Russian Civil War.

By The end of the civil war in 1921, the Bolsheviks had succeeded in

securing their grip on power in Russia. The White Armies and the

foreign powers fighting on Russian soil had been defeated. Just as

importantly, rival political parties had been outlawed and, thanks to

the CHEKA secret police, dissenting voices permanently silenced.

Lenin had achieved his ultimate goal of steering his small Bolshevik

party to total control of Russia.

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