AS History Edexcel: essay help? Russia Revolution October Revolution, role of TrotskyWatch
I have written an essay in prep for my AS History exam on Wednesday (!!!).
I am on the exam board Edexcel and I do the topic of Russia in Revolution
I was wondering if anyone would mark my essay, entitled:
How far do you agree that Trotsky was responsible for Bolshevik success in the October revolution?
Please, I need help x
Historically,Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik leader, has been seen as the face of the OctoberRevolution, which has arguably left the role of Trotsky in the execution of thecoup out of first consideration. Trotsky’s role within the Soviet played a keypart in Lenin’s revolution yet it is also important to regard the otherfactors, such as questioning the once-unchallenged input of Lenin himself aswell as the pre-laid weaknesses of the Provisional Government. LeonTrotsky undoubtedly was the crucial force in the actual working of the takeoverof the Winter Palace. This was essentially due to his role within the MRC, theMilitary Revolutionary Committee of the Soviet, and as Head of the Red Guard,meaning he had prestige within the Soviet as a disciplined leader. While thiscan be attributed to the ‘bloodlessness’ of the revolution and how smooth itran, this also played an instrumental role for the façade of Bolshevik takeover.By having such influence in the Soviet, Trotsky could utilise this and ran the revolutionas a representative of the MRC, when in reality he was directing a Bolsheviktakeover. The MRC announcement on the 25th October hat all powerwas, indeed to the Soviet, was possible mainly due to Trotsky’s clean executionand his high role in the Soviet. However,on further examination, perhaps Trotsky wasn’t such an essential figurehead ashe himself said if he hadn’t had been there, the revolution would’ve stilltaken place. For, while Trotsky was an unchallengeable force during the nightof 24th October takeover, the leading up to this could be consideredin combination with Lenin. Ultimately, it was Lenin’s vision of the vanguardparty acting for the workers with an earlier forced revolution that hadprovided the impetus or the revolution, and indeed, perhaps for Trotsky’s drivehimself. This could be argued due to the fact that Trotsky had been a Menshevikfollowing the SD split in 1903, proving his talents to have possibly neverhappened if it wasn’t for Lenin’s convincing plea for Bolsheviks to take over ‘now’rather than wait for natural revolution. Furthermore, it was Lenin’s choice oftiming before the November Constituent Assembly elections (where SRs werealmost guaranteed majority from their peasant threshold), so again, everyaspect of the planning of the Revolution cannot be credited to Trotsky. Itappears, then, that while an important figure, Trotsky’s value to the Bolshevikparty had been accentuated by Lenin himself, exposing a need for Lenin withinthe revolutionary activity to allow any credit to Trotsky. Lenin’svision and drive, thus, could be argued to be more important than Trotsky’srole, as his April Theses provided a propaganda advantage that capitalised onthe faults of the Provisional Government. The slogan ‘Peace, Bread, Land’embodies the appealing properties of Bolshevism as ‘Peace’ exposed thegovernment’s continuation of the imperialist war, that had led to economic crisisunder the Tsar, meaning that ‘Bread’ was still rationed. Together, Leninpromised the idealist society without war and food shortage, which to thehungry working classes seemed an ideal contrast to the current situation. ‘Land’also promised to solve the land question the Government had ignored, appealingto a wider population of peasantry too through the promise of landredistribution to end illegal uprisings, of which 236 occurred in July. Thiswas shown to be elemental as rise in support rose from 10,000 in February to250,000 in October, predominantly down to the popularity of Lenin’s propagandistvision. Trotsky, though, did play a key role with Lenin as Trotsky has beennoted to be the ‘orator of the revolution’, so even if he didn’t make up theclever propaganda, he still played a role in distributing it, proving an activerole and while not as crucial as Lenin’s ideology, still important. Furthermore,the statistics of Bolshevik support implies that the revolution was one of masssupport, however, when considering the facts of an elite political takeover, it’srealised that the action seems more of a classic coup d’état as opposed topopular uprising. This perhaps reinforces Trotsky’s necessity to therevolution, as arguably even with a smaller percentage of Bolshevik support,Trotsky’s well-executed revolution would’ve taken place, showing his actionsagain, to be more valid than the general consensus of ‘Lenin’s October’ offers. However,other opposition to Trotsky’s role still may be considered as the ProvisionalGovernment’s weaknesses were undoubtedly crucial to the success of the revolution.Lunch wrote that the body was merely of “bourgeois ministers and ex-Tsarists”,showing a complete contrast to the working people that created an alienationdetermined even if they hasn’t have made so many mistakes. These mistakes were manifestin the lack of decision making, such as remaining in the war to avoidhumiliation and maintaining the current countryside crisis by selfishlypreferring the land-owning class so being reluctant to hand over land. This playedright into Lenin’s propaganda message, offering a symbiotic relationship ofProvisional Government faults and Bolshevik strength that gave birth to thesocial milieu ripe for revolution – notably, a relationship that excludedTrotsky, focussing success on the capitalisation of pre-laid problems that arguablylet the Bolsheviks to be “pushing on an already open door”. WhileTrotsky, thus, cannot be considered the main reason for the success ofBolshevism in October, he still played an instrumental role through his ‘bloodless’revolution’ and support of Lenin’s ideas. The drive of Lenin, by influencingTrotsky himself and capitalising on the conditions of the poor government, thereforeconforms to him being the “engine driver” of the revolution – however, Trotsky’srole can now be considered in this as crucially catalysing the smoothness ofthe coup. %