Photographic book

october 1917


Kornilov
Kornilov

In elections held in September 1917, the Bolsheviks won majorities in the soviets in Petrograd, Moscow, and many smaller cities. For the first time, there was support in the soviets for replacing the Provisional Government with rule by the soviets. A second Congress of Soviets was due to convene in late October, and it was clear that the Bolsheviks would control it. In October the Bolsheviks gained an important ally when the majority of the SRs split off to form the Left SRs.

On October 10 the Central Committee, the main leadership body of the Bolshevik party, adopted an urgent proposal by Lenin that the party begin organizing for a seizure of power. The Petrograd soviet, now led by Trotsky, established a Military Revolutionary Committee. The official purpose of that committee was to defend the city from the threat of counterrevolution. In fact, its task was to plan an insurrection that would overthrow the Provisional Government.

On the night of October 24 and 25, 1917, a coordinated effort of workers’ Red Guard units, revolutionary soldiers and sailors, and other activists carried out an almost bloodless coup. This insurrection culminated in the storming of the Winter Palace—where the cabinet of the Provisional Government was meeting—and the arrest of the cabinet members. Only a small percentage of workers were involved in the overthrow of the Provisional Government. However, even opponents of the Bolsheviks at the time (as well as later historians) noted that the great majority of workers supported the seizure of power.On October 25, while the insurrection was in progress, the second Congress of Soviets met in Petrograd. Of the 850 delegates, the Bolsheviks had 390 and their Left SR allies had 100.

The 80 Menshevik delegates and 60 Right SR delegates walked out when the Congress accepted the mantle of power conferred on it by the Bolshevik-led insurrection. Lenin addressed the gathering with the statement, “We shall now proceed to the construction of the socialist order.” He concluded with the prediction that working-class revolutions would spread to other countries and with the cry, “Long live the world socialist revolution!”. "Russia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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