The significance of the February and October Revolutions, and the difference between them, can be considered on the basis of the first three documents (nos. 53, 54, 55). Allied intervention in the Civil War which followed the seizure of power by the Bolsheviks was prompted by Russia’s withdrawal from the war at Brest-Litovsk and by fear of communism. This phobia coloured many contemporary appraisals of the situation in Soviet Russia (no. 56), which was certainly in a parlous enough state during the early years of its existence to promote strong opposition at home, even from the ranks of its early supporters. The most notable outbreak of dissidence on the left was the Kronstadt Revolt, the aspirations of which (no. 57), along with those of other manifestations of opposition, were dismissed by Lenin (no. 58). Lenin and his adherents crushed Kronstadt, but were sufficiently impressed by it and other evidence of popular unrest to abandon the coercive policies of War Communism and introduce the more permissive New Economic Policy. Throughout the twenties, Lenin’s heirs debated the question of alternatives to N.E.P., with Stalin emerging as the leader during the implementation of the First Five-Year Plan. His defence of the plan was also a self-justification (no. 59).
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