Why Did the Bolsheviks Win the Russian Civil War?

977 WordsDec 8, 20084 Pages
Why did the Bolsheviks win the Russian Civil War? The Russian Civil War raged from 1918 until the start of 1921. During this time the Bolsheviks faced massive opposition to their rule in the form of the White Armies, led by the former officers of the Tsarist state, and also from intervention by the forces of foreign countries. The Bolsheviks were surrounded, and often outnumbered by their opponents. At times, their situation seemed hopeless. Yet, by the start of 1921, the Bolsheviks had defeated their enemies and gained a complete victory. This victory can be attributed to the party’s aims, leadership, geography, and support. The Bolsheviks, commonly known as the Reds, had one aim: to take over the current government and create a…show more content…
Lastly, and perhaps the most important factor in the Bolshevik victory, was the support of each side. Most peasants preferred the Bolshevik program of peace, land reform and worker control. With these ideas in mind it is obvious why four out of five peasants deserted the Whites and supported the Reds. While the Red army lost four million men up to 1921 their support base allowed them to replace these losses more easily than the Whites could. Control of the heartland of Russia gave the Reds control of the largest chunk of the population and most of the war industry. The Red Army had almost ten times as many troops as the White Army. Also, the vast majority of Bolshevik support was of the same ethnic composition, containing mostly “Great Russians”. On the other hand, the White’s support came mostly from ethnic minorities. Support was often given in the hope of gaining some form of independence in the future. According to James Graham, White leaders believed in a "Russia, one and indivisible." This created much internal bickering in the White organization with ethnic groups like the Cossacks often refusing to fight. After examining the reasons for the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War, one can certainly say that it is due to the superior leadership, organization, and support that they achieved victory. Lenin and Trotsky provided the
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