The OCTOBER REVOLUTION (Russian : Октя́брьская
револю́ция, tr. Oktyabr'skaya revolyutsiya; IPA: ),
officially known in Soviet literature as the GREAT OCTOBER SOCIALIST
REVOLUTION (Вели́кая Октя́брьская
социалисти́ческая револю́ция, Velikaya
Oktyabr'skaya sotsialističeskaya revolyutsiya), and commonly referred
to as RED OCTOBER, the OCTOBER UPRISING or the BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION,
was a revolution in
Russia led by the
Bolsheviks which was
instrumental in the larger
Russian Revolution of 1917 . It took place
with an armed insurrection in
Petrograd on the 25th of
New Style ) 1917.
It followed and capitalized on the
February Revolution of the same
year, which overthrew the
Tsarist autocracy and resulted in a
provisional government after a transfer of power proclaimed by Grand
Duke Michael , brother of
Tsar Nicolas II , who declined to take power
after the Tsar stepped down. During this time, urban workers began to
organize into councils (Russian: Soviet) wherein revolutionaries
criticized the provisional government and its actions. After the
Congress of Soviets , now the governing body, had its second session,
it elected members of the
Bolsheviks and other leftist groups such as
Left Socialist Revolutionaries to important positions within the
new state of affairs. This immediately initiated the establishment of
Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic
Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic , the world's first
self-proclaimed socialist state .
The revolution was led by the Bolsheviks, who used their influence in
Petrograd Soviet to organize the armed forces. Bolshevik Red
Guards forces under the
Military Revolutionary Committee began the
occupation of government buildings on 7 November 1917 (New Style). The
following day, the
Winter Palace (the seat of the Provisional
government located in Petrograd, then capital of Russia), was
The long-awaited Constituent Assembly elections were held on 12
November 1917. In contrast to their majority in the Soviets, the
Bolsheviks only won 175 seats in the 715-seat legislative body, coming
in second behind the
Socialist Revolutionary Party, which won 370
seats, although the SR Party no longer existed as a whole party by
that time, as the Left SRs had gone into coalition with the Bolsheviks
October 1917 to March 1918. The Constituent Assembly was to first
meet on 28 November 1917, but its convocation was delayed until 5
January 1918 by the Bolsheviks. On its first and only day in session,
the Constituent Assembly came into conflict with the Soviets, and it
rejected Soviet decrees on peace and land, resulting in the
Constituent Assembly being dissolved the next day by order of the
Congress of Soviets.
As the revolution was not universally recognized, there followed the
struggles of the
Russian Civil War (1917–22) and the creation of the
Soviet Union in 1922.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Background
* 2.2 Unrest by workers, peasants and soldiers
* 2.3 Antiwar demonstrations
* 2.4 July days
* 3.1 Planning
* 3.2 Onset
* 3.3 Assault on the
* 3.4 Soviet propaganda
* 3.5 Dybenko\'s memoirs
* 4 Outcome
* 5.1 Soviet historiography
* 5.2 Western historiography
* 5.3 Effect of the dissolution of the USSR on historical research
* 6 Legacy
* 7 See also
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 10 External links
At first, the event was referred to as the
(Октябрьский переворот) or the Uprising of 3rd, as
seen in contemporary documents (for example, in the first editions of
Lenin 's complete works). In Russian, however, "переворот"
has a similar meaning to "revolution" and also means "upheaval" or
"overturn", so "coup" is not necessarily the correct translation. With
time, the term
October Revolution (Октябрьская
революция) came into use. It is also known as the "November
Revolution" having occurred in November according to the Gregorian
October Socialist Revolution (Russian : Вели́кая
Революция, Velikaya Oktyabr'skaya sotsialisticheskaya
revolyutsiya) was the official name for the
October Revolution in the
Soviet Union after the 10th anniversary of the Revolution in 1927.
February Revolution had toppled
Tsar Nicolas II of Russia, and
replaced his government with the
Russian Provisional Government .
However, the provisional government was weak and riven by internal
dissension. It continued to wage
World War I
World War I , which became
increasingly unpopular. A nationwide crisis developed in Russia,
affecting social, economic, and political relations. Disorder in
industry and transport had intensified, and difficulties in obtaining
provisions had increased. Gross industrial production in 1917 had
decreased by over 36% from what it had been in 1914. In the autumn, as
much as 50% of all enterprises were closed down in the
Urals , the
Donbas , and other industrial centers, leading to mass unemployment.
At the same time, the cost of living increased sharply. Real wages
fell about 50% from what they had been in 1913. Russia's national debt
October 1917 had risen to 50 billion rubles. Of this, debts to
foreign governments constituted more than 11 billion rubles. The
country faced the threat of financial bankruptcy .
UNREST BY WORKERS, PEASANTS AND SOLDIERS
In September and
October 1917, there were mass strike actions by the
Petrograd workers, miners in Donbas, metalworkers in the
Urals, oil workers in
Baku , textile workers in the Central Industrial
Region, and railroad workers on 44 railway lines. In these months
alone, more than a million workers took part in strikes. Workers
established control over production and distribution in many factories
and plants in a social revolution .
October 1917, there had been over 4,000 peasant uprisings against
landowners. When the Provisional Government sent punitive detachments,
it only enraged the peasants. The garrisons in Petrograd, Moscow, and
other cities, the Northern and Western fronts, and the sailors of the
Baltic Fleet in September declared through their elected
Tsentrobalt that they did not recognize the
authority of the Provisional Government and would not carry out any of
In a diplomatic note of 1 May, the minister of foreign affairs, Pavel
Milyukov , expressed the Provisional Government's desire to continue
the war against the
Central Powers "to a victorious conclusion",
arousing broad indignation. On 1–4 May, about 100,000 workers and
soldiers of Petrograd, and after them the workers and soldiers of
other cities, led by the Bolsheviks, demonstrated under banners
reading "Down with the war!" and "all power to the soviets!" The mass
demonstrations resulted in a crisis for the Provisional Government. 1
July saw more demonstrations, as about 500,000 workers and soldiers in
Petrograd demonstrated, again demanding "all power to the soviets",
"down with the war", and "down with the ten capitalist ministers". The
Provisional Government opened an offensive against the Central Powers
on 1 July which soon collapsed. The news of the offensive and its
collapse intensified the struggle of the workers and the soldiers. A
new crisis in the Provisional Government began on 15 July.
July Days A scene from the July Days. The army
has just opened fire on street protesters.
On 16 July, spontaneous demonstrations of workers and soldiers began
in Petrograd, demanding that power be turned over to the soviets. The
Central Committee of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
provided leadership to the spontaneous movements. On 17 July, over
500,000 people participated in what was intended to be a peaceful
demonstration in Petrograd, the so-called
July Days . The Provisional
Government, with the support of Socialist-Revolutionary Party
Menshevik leaders of the All-Russian Executive Committee of the
Soviets, ordered an armed attack against the demonstrators, killing
A period of repression followed. On 5–6 July, attacks were made on
the editorial offices and printing presses of
Pravda and on the Palace
of Kshesinskaya , where the Central Committee and the Petrograd
Committee of the
Bolsheviks were located. On 7 July, the government
ordered the arrest and trial of
Vladimir Lenin . He was forced to go
underground, as he had been under the
arrested, workers were disarmed, and revolutionary military units in
Petrograd were disbanded or sent to the war front. On 12 July, the
Provisional Government published a law introducing the death penalty
at the front. The second coalition government was formed on 24 July,
Alexander Kerensky .
Another problem for the government centered on General Lavr Kornilov
, who had been Commander-in-Chief since 18 July. In response to a
Bolshevik appeal, Moscow’s working class began a protest strike of
400,000 workers. They were supported by strikes and protest rallies by
Nizhny Novgorod ,
Ekaterinburg , and other
In what became known as the Kornilov affair, Kornilov directed an
Aleksandr Krymov to march toward
Petrograd to restore order
to Russia, with Kerensky's agreement. Although the details remain
sketchy, Kerensky appeared to become frightened by the possibility the
army would stage a coup, and reversed the order. By contrast,
Richard Pipes has argued that the episode was engineered by
Kerensky. On 27 August, feeling betrayed by the government, Kornilov
pushed on towards Petrograd. With few troops to spare on the front,
Kerensky turned to the
Petrograd Soviet for help. Bolsheviks,
Socialist Revolutionaries confronted the army and
convinced them to stand down. The Bolsheviks' influence over railroad
and telegraph workers also proved vital in stopping the movement of
troops. Right-wingers felt betrayed, and the left wing was resurgent.
With Kornilov defeated, the Bolsheviks' popularity in the soviets
grew significantly, both in the central and local areas. On 31 August,
Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, and on 5
September, the Moscow Soviet Workers Deputies adopted the Bolshevik
resolutions on the question of power. The
Bolsheviks won a majority in
the Soviets of
Briansk , Samara ,
Minsk , Kiev,
Tashkent , and other cities.
Cruiser Aurora Forward gun of Aurora that fired the
October 1917, the Bolsheviks' Central Committee voted 10–2
for a resolution saying that "an armed uprising is inevitable, and
that the time for it is fully ripe".
Bolsheviks created a revolutionary military committee within the
Petrograd soviet, led by the soviet's president, Trotsky. The
committee included armed workers, sailors and soldiers, and assured
the support or neutrality of the capital's garrison. The committee
methodically planned to occupy strategic locations through the city,
almost without concealing their preparations: the Provisional
Government's president Kerensky was himself aware of them, and some
details, leaked by Kamenev and Zinoviev, were published in newspapers.
Bolsheviks led their forces in the uprising in
Petrograd (modern day Saint Petersburg), then capital of Russia,
against the Kerensky Provisional Government . The event coincided with
the arrival of a flotilla of pro-Bolshevik marines, primarily five
destroyers and their crew, into the St. Petersburg harbor. At
Kronstadt, sailors also announced their allegiance to the Bolshevik
insurrection. In the early morning, the military-revolutionary
committee planned the last of the locations to be assaulted or seized
from its heavily guarded and picketed center in Smolny palace. The Red
Guards systematically captured major government facilities, key
communication, installations and vantage points with little
Petrograd Garrison and most of the city's military
units joined the insurrection against the Provisional Government.
Kerensky and the provisional government were virtually helpless to
offer significant resistance. Railways and rail stations had been
controlled by Soviet workers and soldiers for days, making rail travel
to and from Petrograd, for Provisional Government officials,
impossible. The Provisional Government was also unable to locate any
serviceable vehicles. On the morning of the insurrection, Kerensky
desperately searched for a means of reaching military forces he hoped
would be friendly to the Provisional government outside the city, and
ultimately borrowed a Renault car from the American Embassy, which he
drove from the
Winter Palace alongside a Pierce Arrow. Kerensky was
able to evade the pickets going up around the palace and drive to meet
As Kerensky left Petrograd, Lenin penned a proclamation "To the
Citizens of Russia" stating that the Provisional Government had been
overthrown by the Military Revolutionary Committee. The proclamation
was sent via telegram all throughout Russia, even as the pro-Soviet
soldiers were seizing important control centers throughout the city.
One of Lenin's intentions was to present members of the Soviet
congress, who would assemble that afternoon, with a fait accompli and
therefore forestall further debate on the wisdom or legitimacy of
ASSAULT ON THE WINTER PALACE
The insurrection was mostly bloodless, with a final assault being
launched against the
Winter Palace , poorly defended by 3,000 cadets,
officers, cossacks and female soldiers. The assault was delayed
throughout the day, both because functioning artillery could not be
found, and because the
Bolsheviks feared violence when the
insurrection had so far been peaceful. At 6:15 p.m., a large group of
artillery cadets abandoned the palace, taking their artillery with
them; at 8:00 p.m., 200 cossacks also left the palace and returned to
their barracks. While the cabinet of the provisional government
within the palace debated what action to take, the
an ultimatum to surrender. Workers and soldiers occupied the last of
the telegraph stations, cutting off the cabinet's communications with
loyal military forces outside the city. As the night progressed,
crowds of insurgents surrounded the palace, and many infiltrated it.
While soviet historians and officials tended to depict the event in
heroic terms, the insurrection and even the seizure of the Winter
Palace happened almost without resistance. At 9:45 p.m, the cruiser
Aurora fired a blank shot from the harbor. By 2:00 a.m on 26 October
Bolshevik forces entered the palace, and after sporadic gunfire
throughout the building, the cabinet of the provisional government
Later official accounts of the revolution from the
Soviet Union would
depict the events in
October as being far more dramatic than they
actually had been. (See firsthand account by British General Knox .)
This was helped by the historical reenactment , entitled The Storming
Winter Palace , which was staged in 1920. This reenactment,
watched by 100,000 spectators, provided the model for official films
made much later, which showed a huge storming of the
Winter Palace and
fierce fighting (See
Sergei Eisenstein 's October: Ten Days That Shook
the World ). In reality, the Bolshevik insurgents faced little
opposition. The insurrection was timed and organized to hand state
power to the Second
All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and
Soldiers' Deputies, which began on 25 October. After a single day of
revolution, 18 people had been arrested and two killed.
Soviet government archives show that parties of Bolshevik operatives
sent from the Smolny by Lenin took over all critical centers of power
Petrograd in the early hours of the first night without a shot
being fired. This was completed so efficiently that the takeover
resembled the changing of the guard. The capture of the Winter Palace
was more dramatic, with the Red Guards storming it at 2:10 a.m. on 26
October 1917. The Cossacks deserted when the Red Guard approached, and
the Cadets and the 140 volunteers of the Women\'s Battalion
surrendered rather than resist the 40,000 strong army. The Aurora was
commandeered to then fire blanks at the palace in a symbolic act of
rejection of the government. The effectively unoccupied Winter Palace
fell not because of acts of courage or a military barrage, but because
the back door was left open, allowing the Red Guard to enter. A Red
Guard named Adamovich remembered gasping as he burst into the palace,
as he had never before seen such luxury and splendour. A small group
broke in, got lost in the cavernous interior, and accidentally ran
into the remnants of Kerensky's provisional government in the imperial
family's breakfast room. The illiterate revolutionaries then compelled
those arrested to write up their own arrest papers. The Provisional
Government was arrested and imprisoned in Peter and Paul Fortress
after the ministers resigned to fate and surrendered without a fight,
and officially overthrown.
Later stories of the heroic "Storming of the Winter Palace" and
"defense of the Winter Palace" were later propaganda by Bolshevik
publicists. Grandiose paintings depicting the "Women's Battalion" and
photo stills taken from Sergei Eisenstein's staged film depicting the
"politically correct" version of the
October events in
to be taken as truth.
Petrograd Soviet now in control of government, garrison and
proletariat, the Second All Russian Congress of Soviets held its
opening session on the day, while Trotsky dismissed the opposing
Mensheviks and the
Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) from Congress.
Some sources contend that as the leader of
Tsentrobalt , Pavlo
Dybenko played an enormous role in the revolt. It is said that the ten
warships that entered the city with ten thousand Baltic fleet mariners
was the force that actually took the power in
Petrograd and put down
the Provisional Government . The same mariners then dispersed by force
the elected parliament of Russia, and used machine-gun fire against
protesting demonstrators in Petrograd. About 100 demonstrators were
killed, and several hundreds wounded. Dybenko in his memoirs mentioned
this event as "several shots in the air". Later, during the first
hours after the taking of the Winter Palace, Dybenko personally
entered the Ministry of Justice and destroyed there the documents
about the financing of the Bolshevik party by Germany. These are
disputed by various sources such as Louise Bryant, who claims that
news outlets in the West at the time reported that the unfortunate
loss of life occurred in Moscow, not Petrograd, and the number was
much less than suggested above. As for the "several shots in the air",
there is little evidence suggesting otherwise. The alleged action of
Dybenko entering the Ministry of Justice to destroy documents as
recalled by Savchenko can also be challenged. According to reports,
Pavel Dybenko was in
Helsingfors organizing the sailors' departures
for Petrograd. In the book Radio October...On the "Krechet" in
Helsingfors, radio operator Makarov hands a telegram to Pavel Dybenko
with the report of the "Samson" commissar, Grigoriy Borisov: "To
Tsentrobalt. Everything is calm in Petrograd. The power is in the
hands of the revolutionary committee. You have to immediately get in
touch with the front committee of the Northern Army in order to
preserve unity of forces and stability."
Russian Revolution and
Kiev Bolshevik Uprising
Milrevcom proclamation about the deposing of the Russian
The Second Congress of Soviets consisted of 670 elected delegates;
300 were Bolshevik and nearly a hundred were Left
Socialist-Revolutionaries , who also supported the overthrow of the
Alexander Kerensky Government. When the fall of the
Winter Palace was
announced, the Congress adopted a decree transferring power to the
Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, thus ratifying
The transfer of power was not without disagreement. The center and
Right wings of the
Socialist Revolutionaries as well as the Mensheviks
believed that Lenin and the
Bolsheviks had illegally seized power and
they walked out before the resolution was passed. As they exited, they
were taunted by
Leon Trotsky who told them "You are pitiful isolated
individuals; you are bankrupts; your role is played out. Go where you
belong from now on — into the dustbin of history!"
The following day, 26 October, the Congress elected a Council of
People's Commissars (
Sovnarkom ) with Lenin as leader as the basis of
a new Soviet Government, pending the convocation of a Constituent
Assembly , and passed the
Decree on Peace and the
Decree on Land .
This new government was also officially called "provisional" until the
Assembly was dissolved. Posters were pinned on walls and fences by the
Right SRs, describing the takeover as a "crime against the motherland
October 1917, the
Mensheviks seized power in Georgia and
declared it an independent republic. The
Don Cossacks also claimed
control of their own government. The biggest Bolshevik strongholds
were in the cities, particularly Petrograd, with support much more
mixed in rural areas. The peasant dominated Left SR Party was in
coalition with the Bolsheviks. There are reports that the Provisional
Government has not conceded defeat and are meeting with the army at
October 1917, some posters and newspapers started criticizing
the actions of the
Bolsheviks and refuted their authority. The
Executive Committee of Peasants Soviets "refutes with indignation all
participation of the organised peasantry in this criminal violation of
the will of the working class".
October 1917, opposition to the
Bolsheviks develops into major
counter-revolutionary action. Cossacks enter
Tsarskoye Selo on
Petrograd with Kerensky riding on a white horse welcomed
by church bells. Kerensky gave an ultimatum to the rifle garrison to
lay down weapons, which was promptly refused. They were then fired
upon by Kerensky’s Cossacks, which resulted in 8 deaths. This turned
Petrograd against Kerensky because he was just like the
Tsarist regime. Kerensky’s failure to assume authority over troops
was described by John Reed as a ‘fatal blunder’ that signalled the
final death of the government.
October 1917, the battle against the anti-
The Red Guard fought against Cossacks at Tsarskoye Selo, with the
Cossacks breaking rank and fleeing, leaving their artillery behind.
October 1917, the
Bolsheviks gain control of Moscow after a
week of bitter street-fighting. Artillery had been freely used with an
estimated 700 casualties. However, there is still continued support
for Kerensky in some of the provinces.
On 1 November 1917, there is an appeal to anti-
Russia to join the new government of the people, with the Bolsheviks
winning even more support from the Russian people.
On 2 November 1917, there is only minor public anti-Bolshevik
sentiment; for example, the newspaper
Novaya Zhizn criticises the lack
of manpower and organisation of the
Bolsheviks to run a party, let
alone a government. Lenin confidently claims that there is "not a
shadow of hesitation in the masses of Petrograd, Moscow and the rest
of Russia" towards Bolshevik rule.
On 12 November, a Constitutent Assembly was elected, giving a
majority to the
Socialist Revolutionary Party, which no longer existed
as a full party by that time, with the Left SR Party in coalition with
the Bolsheviks. The
Bolsheviks dissolved the Constituent Assembly in
January 1918, when it came into conflict with the Soviets.
On 20 December 1917, the
Cheka was created by the decree of Vladimir
Lenin . These were the beginnings of the Bolsheviks' consolidation of
power over their political opponents. The
Red Terror was started in
September 1918, following a failed assassination attempt on Lenin's
life. The Jacobin Terror was an example for the Soviet Bolsheviks.
Leon Trotsky had compared Lenin to
Maximilien Robespierre as early as
Decree on Land ratified the actions of the peasants who
Russia gained private land and redistributed it among
Bolsheviks viewed themselves as representing an
alliance of workers and peasants and memorialized that understanding
Hammer and Sickle
Hammer and Sickle on the flag and coat of arms of the Soviet
Union. Other decrees:
* All private property was nationalized by the government.
* All Russian banks were nationalized .
* Private bank accounts were expropriated.
* The properties of the Church (including bank accounts) were
* All foreign debts were repudiated.
* Control of the factories was given to the soviets.
* Wages were fixed at higher rates than during the war, and a
shorter, eight-hour working day was introduced.
Bolshevik-led attempts to gain power in other parts of the Russian
Empire were largely successful in
Russia proper — although the
fighting in Moscow lasted for two weeks — but they were less
successful in ethnically non-Russian parts of the Empire, which had
been clamoring for independence since the February Revolution. For
example, the Ukrainian
Rada , which had declared autonomy on 23 June
1917, created the Ukrainian People\'s Republic on 20 November, which
was supported by the Ukrainian Congress of Soviets. This led to an
armed conflict with the Bolshevik government in
eventually, a Ukrainian declaration of independence from
Russia on 25
January 1918. In
Estonia , two rival governments emerged: the
Estonian Provincial Assembly proclaimed itself the supreme legal
Estonia on 28 November 1917 and issued the Declaration of
Independence on 24 February 1918, while an Estonian Bolshevik
Jaan Anvelt , was recognized by Lenin's government as
Estonia's leader on 8 December, although forces loyal to Anvelt
controlled only the capital and a few other towns.
The success of the
October Revolution transformed the Russian state
into a soviet republic. A coalition of anti-Bolshevik groups attempted
to unseat the new government in the
Russian Civil War from 1918 to
In an attempt to intervene in the civil war after the Bolsheviks'
separate peace with the Central Powers, the Allied powers (United
Kingdom, France, Italy, United States and Japan) occupied parts of the
Soviet Union for over two years before finally withdrawing. The United
States did not recognize the new Russian government until 1933. The
European powers recognized the
Soviet Union in the early 1920s and
began to engage in business with it after the New Economic Policy
(NEP) was implemented.
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Few events in historical research have been as conditioned by
political influences as the
October Revolution. The historiography of
the Revolution generally divides into three camps: the Soviet-Marxist
view, the Western-Totalitarian view, and the Revisionist view.
Soviet historiography of the
October Revolution is intertwined with
Soviet historical development. Many of the initial Soviet interpreters
of the Revolution were themselves Bolshevik revolutionaries. After
the initial wave of revolutionary narratives, Soviet historians worked
within "narrow guidelines" defined by the Soviet government. The
rigidity of interpretive possibilities reached its height under Joseph
Soviet historians of the
October Revolution interpreted the
Revolution with regard to establishing the legitimacy of Marxist
ideology, and also the Bolshevik government. To establish the accuracy
of Marxist ideology, Soviet historians generally described the
Revolution as the product of class struggle. They maintained that the
Revolution was the supreme event in a world history governed by
historical laws. The
Bolshevik Party is placed at the center of the
Revolution, exposing the errors of both the moderate Provisional
Government and the spurious "socialist"
Mensheviks in the Petrograd
Soviet. Guided by
Vladimir Lenin 's leadership and his firm grasp of
scientific Marxist theory, the Party led the "logically predetermined"
events of the
October Revolution from beginning to end. The events
were, according to these historians, logically predetermined because
of the socio-economic development of Russia, where the monopoly
industrial capitalism alienated the masses. In this view, the
Bolshevik party took the leading role in organizing these alienated
industrial workers, and thereby established the construction of the
first socialist state.
Although Soviet historiography of the
October Revolution stayed
relatively constant until 1991, it did undergo some changes. Following
Stalin’s death, historians such as E. N. Burdzhalov and P. V.
Volobuev published historical research that deviated significantly
from the party line in refining the doctrine that the Bolshevik
victory "was predetermined by the state of Russia’s socio-economic
development". These historians, who constituted the "New Directions
Group", posited that the complex nature of the
"could only be explained by a multi-causal analysis, not by recourse
to the mono-causality of monopoly capitalism". For them, the central
actor is still the Bolshevik party, but this party triumphed "because
it alone could solve the preponderance of ‘general democratic’
tasks the country faced" (such as the struggle for peace, the
exploitation of landlords, and so on.)
During the late Soviet period, the opening of select Soviet archives
during glasnost sparked innovative research that broke away from some
aspects of Marxism–Leninism, though the key features of the orthodox
Soviet view remained intact.
During the Cold War, Western historiography of the
developed in direct response to the assertions of the Soviet view. The
Soviet version of the
October Revolution conditioned historical
interpretations in the United States and the West. As a result, these
Western historians exposed what they believed to be flaws in the
Soviet view, thereby undermining the Bolsheviks' original legitimacy,
as well as the precepts of Marxism.
These Western historians described the revolution as the result of a
chain of contingent accidents. Examples of these accidental and
contingent factors they say precipitated the Revolution included World
War I 's timing, chance, and the poor leadership of Tsar Nicholas II
as well as liberal and moderate socialists. According to Western
historians, it was not popular support, but rather manipulation of the
masses, ruthlessness and the superior structure of the Bolsheviks
which enabled it to survive. For these historians, the Bolsheviks’
defeat in the Constituent Assembly elections of November–December
1917 demonstrated popular opposition to the Bolsheviks’ coup, as did
the scale and breadth of the Civil War.
Western historians saw the organization of the Bolshevik party as
proto-totalitarian. Their interpretation of the
October Revolution as
a violent coup organized by a proto-totalitarian party reinforced to
them the idea that totalitarianism was an inherent part of Soviet
history. For them, Stalinist totalitarianism developed as a natural
Leninism and the Bolshevik party’s tactics and
EFFECT OF THE DISSOLUTION OF THE USSR ON HISTORICAL RESEARCH
The dissolution of the USSR affected historical interpretations of
October Revolution. Since 1991, increasing access to large amounts
of Soviet archival materials made it possible to re‑examine the
October Revolution. Though both Western and Russian historians now
have access to many of these archives, the effect of the dissolution
of the USSR can be seen most clearly in the work of historians in the
former USSR. While the disintegration essentially helped solidify the
Western and Revisionist views, post-USSR Russian historians largely
repudiated the former Soviet historical interpretation of the
Revolution. As Stephen Kotkin argues, 1991 prompted "a return to
political history and the apparent resurrection of totalitarianism,
the interpretive view that, in different ways…revisionists sought to
bury". There has additionally been the revival among some historians
of the "continuity thesis", the idea that there was an uncomplicated,
natural evolution from the
October Revolution’s organizational
Gulag camps during Stalin's period.
The term "Red October" (Красный Октябрь, Krasnyy
Oktyabr) has also been used to describe the events of the month. This
name has in turn been lent to a steel factory made notable by the
Battle of Stalingrad , a Moscow sweets factory that is well known in
Russia, and a fictional Soviet submarine .
Ten Days That Shook the World , a book written by American journalist
John Reed and first published in 1919, gives a firsthand exposition of
the events. Reed died in 1920, shortly after the book was finished.
Dmitri Shostakovich wrote his Symphony No. 2 in B major , Op. 14 and
subtitled To October, for the 10th anniversary of the October
Revolution. The choral finale of the work, "To October", is set to a
text by Alexander Bezymensky, which praises Lenin and the revolution.
The Symphony No. 2 was first performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic
Orchestra and the Academy Capella Choir under the direction of Nikolai
Malko , on 5 November 1927.
Sergei Eisenstein and
Grigori Aleksandrov 's film October: Ten Days
That Shook the World , first released on 20 January 1928 in the USSR
and on 2 November 1928 in New York City, describes and glorifies the
revolution and was commissioned to commemorate the event.
7 November, the anniversary of the
October Revolution, was the
official national day of the
Soviet Union from 1918 onward and still
is a public holiday in
Kyrgyzstan , and the breakaway
October revolution of 1917 also marks the inception of the first
communist government in Russia, and thus the first large-scale
socialist state in world history. After this
Russia became the Russian
SFSR and later part of the USSR, which dissolved in late 1991.
Ten Days That Shook the World
Revolutions of 1917–23
Russian Civil War
Russian Revolution (1917)
Kiev Bolshevik Uprising
* Dissolution of the
Soviet Union , 74 years later (1991)
* ^ Samaan, A.E. (2 February 2013). From a "Race of Masters" to a
"Master Race": 1948 to 1848. A.E. Samaan. p. 346. ISBN 0615747884 .
Retrieved 9 February 2017.
* ^ Jennifer Llewellyn, John Rae and Steve Thompson (2014). "The
Constituent Assembly". Alpha History.
* ^ Bunyan & Fisher 1934 , p. 385.
* ^ David Mandel, The
Petrograd workers and the seizure of soviet
power, London, 1984
Richard Pipes (1990). The Russian Revolution. Knopf Doubleday.
* ^ The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath. Michael Kort. p.
* ^ Michael C. Hickey (2010). Competing Voices from the Russian
Revolution: Fighting Words: Fighting Words. ABC-CLIO. p. 559.
* ^ Beckett 2007 , p. 526
* ^ Pipes, 1997. p. 51. "There is no evidence of a Kornilov plot,
but there is plenty of evidence of Kerensky's duplicity."
* ^ Service 2005 , p. 54
* ^ "Central Committee Meeting—10 Oct 1917".
* ^ "1917 – La Revolution Russe". Arte TV. 16 September 2007.
Retrieved 25 January 2016.
* ^ A B C Suny, Ronald (2011). The Soviet Experiment. Oxford
University Press. pp. 63–67. access-date= requires url= (help )
* ^ A B C D E F Rabinowitch, Alexander (2004). The
to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. Pluto Press. pp.
273–305. access-date= requires url= (help )
* ^ A B Beckett , p. 528
* ^ Jonathan Schell, 2003. \'The Mass Minority in Action: France
and Russia\'. In The Unconquerable World. London: Penguin, pp.
* ^ Argumenty i Fakty newspaper
* ^ "ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА ---- Дыбенко П.Е.
Из недр царского флота к Великому
* ^ "ВОЕННАЯ ЛИТЕРАТУРА ---- Савченко В.
А. Авантюристы гражданской войны".
* ^ Louise Bryant, Six Red Months in Russia, pg 60–61
* ^ Service, 1998.
* ^ A B C D John Reed, Ten Days that Shook the World
* ^ Figes, 1996.
Richard Pipes : The Russian Revolution
* ^ See Encyclopedia of Ukraine online
* ^ See the article on Estonian independence in the Britannica
Concise Encyclopedia online
* ^ Edward Acton, Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution,
1914–1921 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 5.
* ^ Acton, Critical Companion, 5–7.
* ^ Stephen Kotkin, "1991 and the Russian Revolution: Sources,
Conceptual Categories, Analytical Frameworks," The Journal of Modern
History 70 (
October 1998): 392.
* ^ A B C Acton, Critical Companion, 7.
* ^ Acton, Critical Companion, 8.
* ^ Alter Litvin, Writing History in Twentieth-Century Russia, (New
York: Palgrave, 2001), 49–50.
* ^ Roger Markwick, Rewriting History in Soviet Russia: The
Politics of Revisionist Historiography, (New York: Palgrave, 2001),
* ^ Markwick, Rewriting History, 102.
* ^ Acton, Critical Companion, 6–7.
* ^ Acton, Critical Companion, 7–9.
* ^ Stephen E. Hanson (1997). Time and Revolution:
Marxism and the
Design of Soviet Institutions. U of North Carolina Press. p. 130.
* ^ Kotkin, "1991 and the Russian Revolution," 385-86.
* ^ Litvin, Writing History, 47.
* ^ Kotkin, "1991 and the Russian Revolution," 385.
* ^ Kevin Murphy, "Can we write the history of the Russian
* Acton, Edward (1997). Critical Companion to the Russian
* Ascher, Abraham (2014). The Russian Revolution: A Beginner's
Guide. Oneworld Publications.
* Beckett, Ian F. W. (2007). The Great war (2 ed.). Longman. ISBN
* Bone, Ann (trans.) (1974). The
Bolsheviks and the October
Revolution: Central Committee Minutes of the Russian Social-Democratic
Labour Party (Bolsheviks) August 1917-February 1918. Pluto Press. ISBN
* Bunyan, James; Fisher, Harold Henry (1934). The Bolshevik
Revolution, 1917–1918: Documents and Materials. Palo Alto: Stanford
University Press .
OCLC 253483096 .
* Chamberlin, William Henry (1935). The Russian Revolution. I:
1917–1918: From the Overthrow of the Tsar to the Assumption of Power
by the Bolsheviks. Old Classic.
* Figes, Orlando (1996). A People\'s Tragedy: The Russian
Revolution: 1891–1924. Pimlico.
* Guerman, Mikhail (1979). Art of the
* Kollontai, Alexandra (1971). "The Years of Revolution". The
Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman. New York:
Herder and Herder .
OCLC 577690073 .
* Krupskaya, Nadezhda (1930). "The
October Days". Reminiscences of
Lenin. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House .
OCLC 847091253 .
* Luxemburg, Rosa (1940) . The Russian Revolution. Translated by
Bertram Wolfe . New York City: Workers Age.
OCLC 579589928 .
* Mandel, David (1984). The
Petrograd Workers and the Soviet seizure
of power. London: MacMillan.
* Pipes, Richard (1997). Three "whys" of the Russian Revolution.
Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0-679-77646-8 .
* Radek, Karl (1995) . "The Paths of the Russian Revolution". In
Bukharin, Nikolai ; Richardson, Al . In Defence of the Russian
Revolution: A Selection of Bolshevik Writings, 1917–1923. London:
Porcupine Press. pp. 35–75. ISBN 1899438017 .
OCLC 33294798 .
* Read, Christopher (1996). From Tsars to Soviets.
* Serge, Victor (1972) . Year One of the Russian Revolution. London:
Penguin Press .
OCLC 15612072 .
* Service, Robert (1998). A history of twentieth-century Russia.
Harvard University Press . ISBN
* Shukman, Harold, ed. (1998). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the
Russian Revolution. articles by over 40 specialists CS1 maint: Extra
text: authors list (link )
* Swain, Geoffrey (2014). Trotsky and the Russian Revolution.
* Trotsky, Leon (1930). "XXVI: FROM JULY TO OCTOBER". My Life .
London: Thornton Butterworth.
OCLC 181719733 .
* Trotsky, Leon (1932). The History of the
Russian Revolution . III.
Max Eastman . London: Gollancz .
OCLC 605191028 .
Wikimedia Commons has media related to RUSSIAN REVOLUTION OF 1917 .
October Revolution Archive
* Let History Judge Russia’s Revolutions, commentary by Roy
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October Revolution and Logic of History
* Maps of Europe and
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