While the February Revolution ended the reign of the Tsar, the October Revolution solidified the hold and influence of the Bolsheviks. Lenin appealed to popular notions in order to garner support, though what followed the Bolshevik seizure of power was only more civil war between the Reds and the Whites. The October Revolution nonetheless ended Tsarist Russia, as it had been known, by setting the course definitively towards a socialist state, in which violence and totalitarianism were key dictates, and the old technique of divide and conquer was used to quell the opposition that was itself full of disunity. Autocratic Russia could not have continued in tsarist form as there were too many forces at work in Russia at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. The Bolsheviks were too well funded to fail and the will of the tsar was out of favor with the liberal ideology that had spread throughout Russia and convinced the people that a new form of government would lead to better times (Rabinowitch 81).
In 1917 Russia suffered two revolutions, which resulted in a drastic change of leadership. Tsarist Russia became Lenin’s Soviet Russia and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed shortly thereafter in March 1918, which was “overshadowed” by the front line units working out their own “negotiations” with the Germans (Wildman 78). Essentially, Russia was cutting ties with its past and the February Revolution had only done half the job. It still remained for Russia to organize. Lenin and the Bolsheviks wanted to strike while the iron was hot and this is what they did: while Lenin worried that the Soviets might lose steam by losing Petrograd “to the Germans,” the call to arms was given “an immediate armed uprising” was set in motion (Rabinowitch 85).
Meanwhile, the October Revolution paved the way for a political truce that would end the war — which is what everyone wanted. Russia had to relinquish some of its territory and a third of Russia’s population. Russia was already suffering from “fundamental political, economic and social” problems at this time — and the loss of land and people only helped to fuel the coming civil war (Rabinowtich 81). It lost railroads, factories, the majority of its coal and iron. Russia gained some peace from the treaty, and could now focus on its internal problems resulting from the recent overthrow and the war effort. Leading up to the Revolution, Imperial Russia had suffered devastating casualties and food shortages. The Bolsheviks called for an end to the war on the Eastern Front, and Germany supported this call, allowing Lenin to return to Russia from his exile in Switzerland. A Soviet force called the Red Guards — a paramilitary outfit opposed to Russia’s provisional government that had formed in the wake of the Tsar’s removal –…