It took almost five years (October 1917-October 1922) for the Bolshevik Red Army to finally defeat and trump their rivals, the former officers of the Tsarist state, the White Army and interested foreign countries. However, the Bolsheviks prevailed in a civil war that in hindsight was inevitable that they would win. The first advantage of the Red Army was their strong organization structure and overall nearness of supplies and necessary provisions including, access to communication lines, control cities and capitals, and railways. The White Army contained a weak organizational structure and in respect to invading foreign countries, they were often far from home and were put at a disadvantage. The Red Army other advantage included a strong feeling of nationality and national preservation. Many fighters were communists and believed that what they were fighting for was worth it which gave them strength and enthusiasm to fight, while the participants of the White Army were often being ordered/forced to fight.
The Soviet Union strived to educate and persuade its people, the Russian population to fully support and care for the wellbeing of their state. Propaganda, new revolutionary laws and the increasing strength of the Red Army made it easy for citizens to follow the Soviets blindly. Bolsheviks and the church were always on edge with each other. Bolsheviks who would later form the Soviet Union believed that the church was in fact working against them. Lenin’s newly enforced NEP’s (New Economic Policy) soon gave way to the quick dissolution of relations between church and state. In order to strengthen the state and weaken the church, Lenin and his adamant followers set out to divide the church from within while also draining the Orthodox Church of their wealth. The 1921-22 famine was the perfect opportunity for their plans to unfold. With a starving population, the Lenin decided to place blame on the church: “demanding that the church surrender the rich collection of gems and precious metals represented by its ceremonial implements, and blaming the church for the starvation” (Geldern). This accusation was the last push that the Bolsheviks needed in order to separate them from the church, while also causing the population of Russia to take sides as well.
With the rise and assumed power of the Bolsheviks, Russia soon became the most progressive nation in the world in relation to genders, women and men. In the realm of women, they achieved many victories in the beginnings years of Bolshevik rule. One victory was that of divorce, as discussed on class on Thursday during our movie of Bed and Sofa, we recognized that at this time in Russia women could file for a divorce without negative backfire. The recognized importance of women gave way to a new holiday in Russia: International Women’s Day, which would ultimately lead to the February Revolution.
Towards the end of Lenin’s rule came the term Komsomol club for young girls and boys. However, this organization brought to light “Revolutionary Manliness”. This is a concept that described the transformation of young girls to better fit into these often anti-female clubs. Male members of the Komsomol often took up a more mature/adult behavior: drinking, fighting, smoking, gambling. Though this was organization open to girls as well they struggled to fit in. Because of this, many young girls shed their femininity in order to fit in properly and to be treated with respect.
The New Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced by Lenin in 1921. These new policies introduced new approaches to running the country such as the tax-in-kind policy. This tax, rather than paying taxes with money, it was to be paid with services or goods. Lenin’s choice of Russian “kindness” was in the form of food and provisions. Under, the new policies, Russia did experience a comeback in relation to economic difficulties but with a price: the loss of individual and small-scale industry.
“Card Soldiers.” Disney Wiki. Accessed February 23, 2018. http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Card_Soldiers.
Clare, John D. “Why Did the Bolsheviks Win the Civil War?” Bolshevik Civil War. Accessed February 23, 2018. http://www.johndclare.net/ER3.htm.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia A History. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2009), 309-312.
Geldern, James Von. “Confiscating Church Gold.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. WordPress. January 4, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2018. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1921-2/confiscating-church-gold/.
Geldern, James Von. “The New Woman.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. WordPress. December 29, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2018. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1917-2/the-new-woman/.
Guillory, Sean. “Revolutionary Maniless.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. January 4, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2018. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1924-2/revolutionary-manliness/.
Siegelbaum, Lewis. “The New Economic Policy.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. January 4, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2018. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1921-2/the-new-economic-policy/.