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Why Did the Bolsheviks Win

Why Did the Bolsheviks Win - fortunate accidents...

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Why Did the Bolsheviks Win? In the 1840s Marx had predicted that socialism would inevitably replace capitalism through a violent revolution, but initially in fully developed capitalist countries. Was Bolshevik victory the inevitable outcome of Russia’s historical and economic development, or an accidental by- product of Russia’s defeat and breakdown in 1917? The Soviet View: November Revolution was the inevitable outcome of Russian historical development, but also ascribed great importance to the decisive role of the Bolshevik party and Lenin’s individual quality of leadership. Western Views: In November 1917 the Bolsheviks possessed many strengths: a highly centralized, disciplined organization, leadership, and mass support. Lenin’s short-term program, outlined in his “April Theses,” of bread, land, peace, and all power to the soviets coincided largely with the workers’ aspirations at that moment. One can also view the reasons for Bolshevik success in more negative terms: the product of
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Unformatted text preview: fortunate accidents, circumstances, and divisions, weaknesses, and mistakes of their opponents (the SRs and the Mensheviks). The Provisional Government’s ineffectiveness provided the Bolsheviks with the opportunity to take power. That government failed to implement promptly its most important pledge: to hold elections for a Constituent Assembly. The “Kornilov Affair” had undermined the authority of Kerensky’s Provisional Government. In the USSR the concept of carefully conceived Marxist revolution with wide popular support was cultivated assiduously and on the whole successfully. This was accompanied by the rather incongruous assertion that the success of the revolution depended heavily on the individual leadership and driving energy of its guiding genius, Lenin. This evident contradiction reflects the persistent dichotomy in Marxism between determinism (inexorable laws) and voluntarism (dynamic leadership)....
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