Lenin’s Revolution At the start of the 20th century, the ruling Tsar of Russia had absolute power and his Government was corrupt, hence, the majority of the people were against him. Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks Socialist Party wanted a revolution to overthrow the Government. Relative to these times, it was Lenin who directed the course of the oncoming Russian October Revolution. The outbreak of the unrest, in January 1905, found Lenin anxious to set down a novel strategy for revolution: the need for the proletariat (the working class) to win hegemony in the democratic revolution. He flatly declared to both major political parties of the time (the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) that the proletariat was the driving force of the revolution and that its only reliable ally was the peasantry.
He branded the bourgeoisie as hopelessly counterrevolutionary and too cowardly to make their own revolution. However, after the defeat of the Revolution of 1905, Lenin was forced into exile from 1907 to 1917. He found serious challenges to his policies not only from the Menshevik party (formed by the dissatisfied minority of the intelligentsia) but within his own faction as well. The combination of repression and modest reform effected by the tsarist regime led to a decline of party membership (Merringer 79). Disillusionment and despair in the chances of successful revolution swept the dwindled party ranks, rent by controversies over tactics and philosophy. Attempts to unite the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions came to naught, all breaking on Lenin’s intransigent insistence that his conditions for reunification be adopted.
Yet, throughout the struggle, Lenin?s directing force was still felt by both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. As one Menshevik opponent described Lenin, There is no other man who is absorbed by the revolution twenty-four hours a day, who has no other thoughts but the thought of revolution, and who even when he sleeps, dreams of nothing but revolution. (Tybursky 182) Placing revolution above party unity, Lenin would accept no unity compromise if he thought it might delay, not accelerate the revolution. This makes it quite apparent that without Lenin; there may have not been a revolution. He clearly pushed its commencement.
Ten years in exile had not swayed Lenin?s determination to create and direct a powerful revolution. Lenin returned to Russia from exclusion in February 1917, believing that the time was ripe to seize power. The Russian economy was in ruin after the army was nearly defeated and the people exhausted as a result of the First World War. The country was in an unstable state, suitable for a revolution (Levinthal 119). Around October 20, Lenin, in disguise and at considerable personal risk, slipped into Petrograd and attended a secret meeting of the Bolshevik Central Committee held on the evening of October 23.
Not until after a heated 10-hour debate did he finally win a majority in favour of preparing an armed takeover. Now steps to enlist the support of soldiers and sailors and to train the Red Guards, the Bolshevik-led workers’ militia, for an armed takeover proceeded openly under the guise of self-defense of the Petrograd Soviet. Even at great personal risk, Lenin was adamant in spurring a successful revolution. November 7 and 8, the Bolshevik-led Red Guards and revolutionary soldiers and sailors, under the authoritative direction of Lenin, deposed the Provisional Government meeting only slight resistance. They then proclaimed that state power had passed into the hands of the Soviets.
The Bolsheviks with their allies constituted an absolute majority of the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets. The delegates voted overwhelmingly to and elect Lenin as chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, the new Soviet Government. Overnight, Lenin had vaulted from his hideout as a fugitive to head the Revolutionary government of the largest country in the world. Since his youth, he had spent his life building a party that would win such a victory, and now at the age of 47, he and his party had triumphed. Yet, power neither intoxicated nor frightened Lenin.
He was born to lead and lead he did, winning the revolution. Even long after the revolution, Lenin?s gift for directive leadership was evident in his admirable leadership of a Russia torn by unrest. It was largely because of Lenin’s inspired leadership that the Soviet government managed to survive against overpowering military odds. He caused the formation and guided the strategy of the Workers and Peasants’ Red Army. Although the economy had collapsed, he managed to mobilize sufficient resources to sustain the Red Army and the industrial workers. The era and circumstances that surrounded the Russian revolution clearly happened as they did because of Lenin?s adamant revolutionary leadership.
Had Lenin not lived during that time, a revolution would probably not have taken place. Russian history continues to fascinate scholars because of its rich cultural history, a history that Lenin generously contributed to. History Essays.