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histroy alevel russia 1917-1953

im in year 12 and i do history a-level russia 1917-1953, I have my exams approaching for them and I really want to get an A star but I've been getting low grades (15-17/25). Is there any ways I can approve, I also have attached on of my russia essay

'The main reason why the Reds were able to overcome their opponents in the Civil War of 1918-20 was the military leadership of Trotsky.’ How valid is this view? (25)
For this essay my teacher told me to do two for and tow against (as approach for baby steps) but nromally i do counter arguement in my pargrahs. For this essay i got 17/25

The Bolshevik consolidation of Russia can easily be argued as difficult- two revolutions within a year and lastly a civil war which had determined the stability of their control of the country they wished to govern. The civil form 1918-1921 could be argued as a fundamental test as it exposed the weakness of the Whites and thus allowed the Red to win the civil war. Needless to say Trotsky's role as Commissioner for war was fulfilled with his discipline, organisation and tactical instalments of fear. However, it can be argued that Reds were able to overcome their opponents by the weak support of their opponents and disunity of Whites, therefore being a stronger factor for which the Red were able to win.

Trotsky's value to the Bolsheviks has already been exemplified in his contribution and organisation of the successful October revolution of 1917.His role in the Civil war was also important. Although he did not have military background he proved himself as a skillful organiser and motivator who undershaw the growth of the Red Army. Trotsky’s organisation skills is evident due to the growth of the Red Army,due to Trotsky’s tactics such as conscription this allowed the number of soldier in the Red Army to increase.In 1919 there was 1 million soldiers and then in 3 million in 1920 and at the end of the civil war there was 5 million.The growth of the Red Army under Trotsky is clear evidence of is organisation skills as he implement mass conscription in June 1918 towards factory workers which increase by 40,000 but as Soviet power increased in the countryside this helped strengthened the rate of conscription and increased further. As the army grew gradually the great size meant that it was possible for the army to strategically place squadrons in different areas and fight their opponents on more than one front.This is further an example of Trtokys tactician vital to the success of the Red Army. In addition to this, Trotsky's capabilities meant that the Red Army remained motivated and empowered to fight.One method to boost morale and motivate the soldier was through his special train which covered 65,000 miles during the war.He travelled by train (that was formerly used by one of the Tsar’s ministers which was later converted into an armoured train) to visit various fronts which helped inspire his troops and give them the determination as well as convincing Bolsheviks leaders that the Reds had a chance to win the war.His ideas to inforce motivation can be shown as taticall as no other leading White matched this idea.Overall,Trosky masterfull decisions to work on building a large army and keeping them motivated and determined to win the war allowed him to play a crucial role in the civil war.

Furthermore, Trotsky's use of discipline into the Red Army installed an element of fear attached to each soldier. Trotsky was prepared to use any methods necessary to keep the Red Army a strong and stable unit. Many methods were used to keep the soldiers in line such as recruiting 50,000 former tsarist army officers for their experience.This tactful manoeuvre can be seen as a masterful since Trosky was able to recruit ex tsarist army officers before they had the incentive to join the Whites which had consisted over many ex tsarist officers.Trotsky further also made sure they wouldn't try and betray the Reds as to each of them he attached a political commissioner to watch over them and make sure their loyalty was in the correct place.Furthermore, he took members of the families as hostage who pay with their lives for any acts of treachery.This therefore meant that the chances of betraying the Reds was very low but this also helped the Reds as it meant that they had experienced army officers rather than inexperienced leaders.The commissars had to install communist ideology principles into the troops.This would have helped spread the ideologies of communism especially to those who weren’t aware this existed due to the lack of teaching some peasants would have received as more than 60% of peasants were illiterate..The spread of the communist ideologies within the troops, in the long run meant more people accepting the theories and possibly joining the Bolshevik party ( the party grew 730,000 under the civil war) as well as uniting the troops as one force which would mean they could work towards one goal - which would be establishing a new poltergeist world. However, the additional 730,000 who joined could be argued to enhance the career rather than to show their support for communism but saying that 220,000 of those members were expelled. Thus meaning the rest were communist at heart who could have joined because of the spread of communism which was due to the political commissioners who were deployed under Trotsky.Thus it can be said the use of political commissioners to keep ex-tsarist officers in chek but also spreading ideologies to the troops mean in the short run the troops had one goal to work towards unlike the Whites (who had separate goals and couldn't agree on what they were fighting.)In the long run after the victories civil war more people were aware of communism and therefore wished to be members of the Bolshevik party.Another way, Trosky installed fear and small elements of fear into the troops was by the help of the Cheka (the secret police) who were used behind lines to shoot deserter.Overall it can be argued that Trosky role in installing discipline by recruiting tsarist officers for their experience meant that the soldiers were better trained. The use of the political commissioners helped the troops understand communism as well as keeping the ex -tsarist officers in control by keeping their families hostage, in the long run the political commissioners could be said to be one of the factors to increase the Bolshevik membership. These methods were deployed and overlooked by Trosky thus it can be said that one of the reasons the Reds were able to overcome their opponents was due to Trotsky’s discipline that he used in the Red Army.

However, another reason that is more significant than Trosky military leadership in the Civil war was the communal dissatisfaction of the Whites by the peasants. Their dislike for their Whites meant the Reds were able to overcome and win the support of the peasants thus increasing popularity for them.The Whites were mostly dominated by senior officers in the Tsarist army but were divided, many Whites wished to see the Tsar family reinstalled. However, for the peasants they did not support the idea of reverting backwards to 1917 status quo,this meant the support for Reds grew as they supplied the main body of soldiers .Therefore the same hatred of reinstalling the Tsar family meant many peasants supported the Reds rather than the Whites but they did not complete like the Reds due some policies such as war communism. Saying this, it didn't stop deserters mainly during harvest season, policies such as deserters being shot by the Cheka reduced peasants leaving.The White’s mistake for not being able to gain the peasants support by making mistakes. Some being by burning peasants' towns, properties destroyed as well as crops and livestock taken by force. If peasants objected, they faced torture and execution.All of this made it easier for the peasants to align themselves with the Reds.In addition, leaders such as Denikin and Kolchak returned land to pre-revolutionary landlords and helped them recover their estates, alienating the peasants.Furhtermore, the Reds used the idea of foreign support for the White armies as propaganda.Foreign intervention by Great Britian, USA,Japan and France was frowned upon by the peasants as they inferred if the Whites came to power it would be western countires who would control Russia rather them being an independent nation. The Reds used this as propaganda presenting them as a patriotic party who would defend Russia from the imperialist White Army. The Whites' use of foreign intervention can also be inferred as a major downfall to their success in the civil war.When foreign aid was sent to them by Britain and France it was very often intercepted by the Red army before it could even reach its intended destination. This meant that the soldiers were not fed properly and had few resources with which to fight, leading to further demotivation and increased desertions. The White army began to deplete. The Reds used propaganda to highlight their opponent’s reliance on foreign aid as a negative. They claimed it showed the weakness of the Whites and their inability to provide food and weapons for their troops on their own. This helped the Reds win the civil war as it demotivated the white soldiers. They had little food, little determination, and poor leadership. Furthermore, when the Tsar royal family was murdered the Whites who wanted the Tsars reinstated had no aim or direction any longer.Therofre the lack of a strong base of support for the Whites was one of the main reasons for the Reds to defeat their opposition in the civil war. Since the peasants feared losing their indepence it convinced many peasants to support the Reds which therefore allowed the Reds to portray themselves as the saviours of Russia.

Furthermore,the disunity of the Whites led to Reds overcoming their opponents in the civil war - the White’s geographical immobility.The Whites had a weak army despite being quite large in size, the leaders were dotted around- Denkin and Wrangel in the south while Admiral Kolchak occupied the north-east and Yudenich in the west. The distance from each other was so far apart it meant that the forces were fighting independently which made it easier for the Reds to crush them.The opportunity to work together was made worse as the Whites had no telephone links so they had to spread their messages by horseback which delayed communication even further. However, if they all simultaneously worked together they could have weakened the Red Army and defeated them but due to the disunity between the army officers this hadn’t happened.Furthermore, another point that allowed the Reds to overcome their opposition was the factions within the army.The faction within the army meant they didn't want to fight as one from like the Red Army but as three individual ones.Morever, the three most significant leaders Kolchak,Yudneich and Denikin all had different agenda. One wanted the reinstatement of the Tsar as the Royal family but when the Tsar and his family was executed the soldiers fighting for that purpose no longer had a purpose th join and were disincentives to.Nonetheless, this variation in aims caused a lack of motivation within the white army- with no common cause, they were less like an army. Realistically the only thing that united the armies was the Bolsheviks as they all had a common enemy. Therefore it can be said due to factions within the White Army they provided a weak opponent to the Reds who in compassion were banned from having factions within the party.The Reds unity was in turn exemplified by the law enacted by Lenin that factions were not allowed within the party.Thus the Bolshviks had no internal competition and could focus purely on defeating their opponents.Therofre it can be argued due to the fact the Whites were divided and uncoordinated this did not help prevent clashes as white armies turned against each other rather than working as a strong front.Their army was large in size with 3.4 million soldiers and if they were able to work together and create a war strategy that they all agreed on they could have been able to beat the Reds in the civil war.

In conclusion, I believe that even though Trosrky played a key role for helping the Reds to overcome their opponents in the civil war, it was rather the weaknesses of the Whites that led to the Reds having an easy opponent to defeat against.The Whites disunity within their armies meant they were not a united front, the lack of organisation in comparison to Reds meant they found it hard to operate as well as to work together. Their motives that drive them can be questionable as by the eyes of the Russians civilians it can be seen as politically backwards whereas what the Reds had promised was more ideal and appealed to the majority of the people. Thus this allowed for the Reds to win more support than the White’s and ultimately being beaten by their Reds.

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