October Revolution

    On July 8th, 1917 Alexander Kerensky became the new leader of the Provisional Government. Kerensky was still the most popular man in the government because of his political past. In the Duma he was leader of te moderate socialists and had been seen as the champion of the working class. Kerensky was unwilling to end the war. After taking office, he announced a new summer offensive.
    Soldiers on the Eastern Front were upset at the news and regiments began to refuse to move to the front line. There was a rapid increase in the number of men deserting and by the autumn of 1917 an estimated 2 million men had unofficially left the army. Some of the soldiers returned home and used their weapons to seize land from nobility. Manor houses were burnt down and in some cases wealthy landowners were murdered. Kerensky and the Provisional Government issued warnings but were powerless to stop they redistribution of land in the countryside.
    After the failure on the July offensive on the Eastern Front, Kerensky replaced General Alexei Brusilov with General Lavr Kornilov, as Supreme Commander of the Russian Army. Soon, the two men clashed about military policy. Kornilov wanted Kerensky to restore the death- penalty for soldiers and to militarize the factories. Kerensky refused and sacked Kornilov.
     Kornilov responded be sending troops under the leadership of General Krymov to take control of Petrograd. Kerensky was now in danger and was forced to ask the Soviets and the Red Guards to protect the Petrograd. The Bolsheviks who controlled these organizations, agreed to this request, but in a speech made by their leader, Vladimir Lenin, he made clear they would be fighting against Kornilov rather than for Kerensky.
    Within a few days Bolsheviks had enlisted 25,000 armed recruits to defend petrograd. While they dug trenches and fortified the city, delegations of soldiers were sent out to talk to the advancing troops. Meetings were held and Kornilov's troops decided not to attack Petrograd. General Krymov committed suicide and Kornilov was arrested and taken into custody.
    Lenin returned to Petrograd but remained in hiding. On September 25th, Kerensky attempted to recover his left-wing support by forming a new coalition that included more Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. However, with the 25,000 armed militia, Kerensky's authority had been underminded.
    The Bolsheviks set up their headquarters in the Smolny Institute. The former girls' convent school also housed the Petrograd Soviet. Under pressure from the nobility and industrialists, Alexander Kerensky was persuaded to take decisive action. On October 22nd he ordered the arrest of the Military Revolutionary Committiee. The next day he closed down the Bolshevik newspapers and cut off the telephones to the Smolny Institute.
    Leon Trotsky new urged the overthrow of the Provisional Government. Lenin agreed and on the evening of October 24th, 1917 orders were given for the Bolsheviks began to occupy the railway stations, the telephone exchange and the State Bank. The following day the Red Guards surrounded the Winter Palace. Inside was most of the country's Cabinet, although Kerensky had managed to escape from the city.
    The Winter Palace was defended by Cossacks, some junior army officers and the Women's Battalion. At
9 p.m. the Aurora and the Peter and Paul Fortress began to open fire on teh palace. Little damage was done but the action persuaded most of those defending the building to surrender. The Red Guards, led by Vladimir Antonov- Ovseenko, now entered the Winter Palace and arrested the Cabinet ministers.
    On october 26th, 1917 the All- Russian Congress of Soviets met and handed over power to the Soviet council of People's Commissars. Vladimir Lenin was elected chairman and other appointments included Leon Trotsky(Foreign Affairs), Anatoli Lunacharsky(Education), Alexandra Kollontai(social welfare), Felix Dzerzhinsky(Internal Affairs), Joseph Stalin(Nationalities), Peter Stuchk(Justice), and Vladimir Antonov- Ovseenko(war). Red Guards surrounded the Winter Palace. Inside was most of the country's Cabinet, although Kerensky had managed to escape from the city.


Short movie clip about Vladmir Lenin and how he formed the Bolshevik revolution