The History of the Russian Revolution Essay

1235 Words 5 Pages
The Russian Revolution is a widely studied and seemingly well understood time in modern, European history, boasting a vast wealth of texts and information from those of the likes of Robert Service, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Allan Bullock, Robert Conquest and Jonathan Reed, to name a few, but none is so widely sourced and so heavily relied upon than that of the account of Leon Trotsky, his book “History of the Russian Revolution” a somewhat firsthand account of the events leading up to the formation of the Soviet Union. There is no doubt that Trotsky’s book, among others, has played a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of the events of The Revolution; but have his personal predilections altered how he portrayed such paramount …show more content…
Figes stating that “The masses were...largely passive in their demands and actions; the Bolsheviks successfully manipulated and exploited this...” . These views could largely be due to the ‘History from Above’ standpoint of Liberal historians that did much of the post-Union analysis at the tail end of the Cold War. This forms many of our traditional views of the nature of The Revolution.
The view is also entangled with Soviet historical development; many of the preliminary analyses were conducted by the Bolshevik revolutionaries themselves and, as such, they are highly political and driven by the need to establish the legitimacy of the Bolshevik regime. While Trotsky is a standout of these historians for his political dissent and blatant disregard for Stalinist power, he is still one of many. This fact greatly mitigates his effect on the passage of history; his need to legitimise the revolution echoes the sentiments of the Politburo historians such as Mikhail Pokrovsky, one of the foremost Bolshevik Historians of the time and one of Trotsky’s ideological and Historical rivals.
While this may be the case for the more information-limited Soviet historians, the more modern, revisionist historians such as Edward Acton, Robert Service, Harold Shukman and Steven Smith have had great exposure to much of the confidential literature, kept secret by the many Soviet Purges and the prolific ‘Iron Curtain’. In the view of Acton “Russia’s workers were…