The October Revolution, 1917
Episode #2 of the course “Most Important Historical Events of the 20th Century”
The October Revolution occurred in Russia in 1917, but it actually happened in November. Russia used the Julian calendar until February 1918, so to them, it was October. It was the second of two revolutions that took place that year.
Most of the Russians had lost faith in their traditional rule based on a czar. In particular, they were not convinced that Czar Nicholas II has the ability to lead Russia, especially because corruption was commonplace and Nicholas II had repeatedly dissolved the Russian parliament (Duma) when it opposed him. The economy was also in shambles.
The February Revolution (which took place in March) began when a mob formed out of people who were trying to get bread. They took to the streets and were joined by industrial workers on a multi-day strike. They destroyed police stations and generally wreaked havoc in the Russian capital of Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). Troops were called on March 11, and some even opened fire into the crowds, but by then, most of the opposing forces had defected to the crowds. They then elected their own deputies to the Petrograd Soviet, forming a provisional government after Nicholas II was forced to resign.
After the February Revolution, the provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet shared governmental power. The Bolsheviks (also known as the Communist Party) achieved a majority power in the Petrograd Soviet in August 1917. Vladimir Lenin led the party and staged a coup d’etat against the provisional government in November. This nearly bloodless revolution is known as the October Revolution. The result was that the Bolsheviks formed a new government with Lenin as their leader—the leader of the first Marxist nation in the world. Civil war broke out in 1918, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was established in 1922.
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