Victory in Defeat (November 1917–May 1918)

  • Robert Service


Power was wrenched from the helpless hands of the Provisional Government and presented to the Second Congress of Soviets on 25 October 1917. Kerenski’s faltering attempt to pre-empt the Bolshevik uprising by closing down their newpapers and harassing their open activities had come to naught. The victory achieved in the capital by the Petrograd Soviet’s Military-Revolutionary Committee was complete. Most Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary delegates to the Congress had no doubts about the response required of them: they walked out immediately in protest. Undaunted, the Bolshevik Central Committee undertook to form a new government which was to be called the Soviet of Peoples’ Commissars (or Sovnarkom). The desertion of the Congress by most other socialist groups was treated as reason for refusing to offer them the olive branch of a coalition. Only the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, who had just now broken away to found their own separate party and who had remained in their seats at the Congress, were deemed worthy partners. But for the moment the Bolshevik Central Committee discovered them less than willing to align themselves quite so unconditionally with the October Revolution.


Central Committee Party Committee October Revolution Provincial Leader German Armed Force 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    I. Deutscher, Trotsky: The Prophet Armed, Chapter 12; J. Erickson, The Soviet High Command (London, 1962), Chapter 3.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. Footman, Civil War in Russia (London, 1961);Google Scholar
  3. S. F. Naida (editor), Istoriya grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR (Moscow, 1959);Google Scholar
  4. R. H. Ullman, Anglo-Soviet Relations, 1917–1921 (Princeton, 1968).Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    E. H. Carr, The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917–1923, Volume 1 (London, 1950), Chapters 7–9; K. G. Federov, VTsIK v pervye gody sovetskoi vlasti.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    L. B. Schapiro, The Origins of the Communist Autocracy (Massachussetts, 1955);Google Scholar
  7. A. J. Mayer, The Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking: Containment and Counter-revolution at Versailles, 1918–1919 (London, 1968), Chapters 10 and 13–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert Service 1979

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  • Robert Service

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