1. What were Lenin’s political ideas? 2. What were the April Theses? 3. What impact did Lenin’s return have on the Russian Revolution? • When the Feb rev happened, Lenin was in exile in Switzerland. • He was determined to return to Russia by any means when he heard of the revolution. • In the end he accepted transportation from the German government to return to Russia, via Germany and Sweden • Lenin’s return April 1917 was to TRANSFORM the political situation in Russia. • Of all the politicians in Russian History from 1881-1924, Lenin had the clearest vision of what he wanted to achieve. • His ambition was nothing short of A COMPLETE POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA AS A PRELUDE TO WORLDWIDE REVOLUTION • Without Lenin, there would have been no Oct Rev and no communist Russia. • Committed follower of Marxism • Marxist ideas suggested that History would follow a pre-determined path through clearly defined stages. • By the 19C, most of Europe had entered into what Marx called the Bourgeois, capitalist stage of development, where society divided into the industrial workers (the proletariat) and the owners of production (bourgeoisie). • This stage would be replaced by the creation of a socialist society based on equality. • But Russia was far from this stage as it was 80% peasants… so how could Russia become a socialist society in Lenin’s lifetime? • Lenin found a solution – he said; Instead of the industrial class leading a socialist revolution, this role would be taken by a small disciplined party of professional revolutionaries, a ‘vanguard’ party at the head of the revolution. • (Remember his views had split the SDs into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) • Lenin faced many problems • Much of the Bolshevik leadership lived outside of Russia • Within Russia, the Bolsheviks were an illegal organisation • 1905 revolution had come as a surprise (bolsheviks only played a minor role) • In 1914, Lenin welcomed the outbreak of WW1, hoping social and economic demands of the war would cause socialist revolution across Europe. • What is to be done? 1902 -advocated the creation of a disciplined party of professional revolutionaries to lead the socialist revolution. • Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) -Lenin believed capitalism led to the creation of large monopolies which dominated industry. These groups in order to gain more economic power would force the government to resort to war. To Lenin, this marked the beginning of the end of Capitalism as socialist revolution would break out in the weakest, not the strongest of counties. • He returns on a train travelling across Germany (permission from German gov) • Placed on a ‘sealed train’ with other revolutionaries • His arrival back in Petrograd had been publicised in advance and a large crowd awaited with expectation of his return. • What he said came as a bombshell! • Lenin delivered a 90min speech where he condemned the PG and demanded an immediate Social Revolution (this shocked as just two months earlier the Bolsheviks had greeted the Feb Rev with enthusiasm) • His ideas were later published by the Bolshevik newspaper, PRAVDA (truth) as the APRIL THESES. • The war is a greedy war and should be ended immediately • The revolution is to move to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and poor peasants • No support for the Provisional government • The masses must be made to see that the Soviet is the only possible form of revolutionary government. • Abolition of the Police, Army, bureaucracy. The salaries of all officials should not exceed the average wage of a worker • Confiscation of all landed estates from landowners and aristocracy • Mass Propaganda to win over the poor peasants and workers • The immediate union of all banks into a single national bank • All production of goods to come under Soviet control • An international organisation to be set up to spread revolution worldwide • Lenin rewrote Marx’s ideas so they fit in with Russia. He believed a bourgeois revolution (like the feb rev) could be followed by a socialist revolution. • This ran counter to the views of current Bolshevik leaders so Lenin’s first task was to win over the Bolshevies to his view!! • Lenin exploited the fact the war was very unpopular to gain support. • He said there was no opportunity for the Bolsheviks to participate in the PG. • He felt political power should be handed over to the Soviets. = designed to gain support for the Bols and to undermine the PG! -Peace, Land and Bread – popular messages in a country exhausted by war, with food shortages =it highlighted the PG’s unpopular support for the war, and showed their inability to address the land and food problems • ‘All power to the Soviets’ – played on the feeling amongst workers and peasants that the PG was made entirely of landowners/middle class • Lenin suggested a new international organisation be formed… which would help lead to worldwide socialist revolution. • Lenin was the party’s CREATOR and main political thinker… Lenin had enormous influence • April – he made his first bid for power… only a small number of demonstrators turned up • June – Bolsheviks tried again. They tried to exploit unpopularity of the June Offensive… but failed to win enough support • Although his early attempts to seize power failed… Lenin continued to be a thorn in the side of the Provisional Government. • For the rest of 1917 – Lenin looked for opportunities to increase Bolshevik support and oust the PG TASK: (use p59-62) Answer these questions; 1. 2. 3. 4. What were Lenin’s political ideas? What were the April Theses? What were Lenin’s slogans and why? What impact did Lenin’s return have on the Russian revolution?