The Bolsheviks ascending to power in November of 1917 following the October Revolution is a very significant occurrence that cannot be overlooked in Russian history. Lenin was a capable and determined leader that could easily gather support, especially because of the fact that the Bolsheviks were the one party that constantly supported ending the continuation of World War I.
As Gregory Freeze notes in chapter nine of his text Russia: A History “Bolshevik nationality policy also contributed to their success. Whereas most (especially patriotic whites) sought to reestablish the empire, the Bolsheviks recognized the volatility of the nationality question and promised national self determination…” (299). Because the Bolsheviks knew that gaining more support would mean ending Russia’s involvement in World War I, Lenin Called for a three month armistice with the central powers in December. As the talks commenced, the Bolsheviks stated that they wanted an end to war without any loss of land or reparations. Since that was a bold proposal, the talks stalled, and as Seventeen Moments in Soviet History noted, “Military action continued for several months, as the German army pushed further and further into territories nominally under Soviet control.” This military action occurred in February after the German military became frustrated with the delay.
Less than a month after the German military continued to advance and control more of Soviet territory the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed on March 3rd, 1918. This was a devastating blow to the Russian economy, losing about a quarter of its industry and 90% of its coal mines. What many might not realize however is how many men this conquest for Germany took to operate. I think it’s important to notice that soon after this happened the war ended.
I urge you to ask yourself why this might be. Was the amount of men that took to control this whole area too much, and did it take too many troops from the western side of the war? Lenin believed that getting out of the war could allow Russia to focus on itself, but did it really have an impact in the long run? Or hurt Russia in the end because of the massive amount of land and economic resources it lost?
Seventeen Moments in Soviet History: http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1917brest&Year=1917&navi=byYear
Treaty of Brest-Litosvk Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a7/Traktat_brzeski_1918.jpg