Alternate History

Russian Revolution (Bolshevik Defeat)

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Russian Revolution (Bolshevik Defeat)
Russian Revolution of 1917

8 March 1918


10 May 1918


Moscow, Russian Empire


Defeat of the Bolshevik Army


Russia Imperial Governmenta
Russia Provisional Government

Socialist red flag.svg Petrograd Soviet
Socialist red flag.svg Bolsheviks
Socialist red flag.svg


Imperial Standard of the Emperor of Russia (1858–1917).svg Nicholas IIa
Russia Georgy Lvov
Russia Alexander Kerensky

Socialist red flag.svg Vladimir Lenin
Socialist red flag.svg Leon Trotsky
Socialist red flag.svg Lev Kamenev


Russia Imperial Russian Army

Socialist red flag.svg Red Guards: 200,000

Casualties and Losses



The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a revolution in Russia in 1918, which attemted to dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and was to lead to the creation of the Russian SFSR. Unfortunately the Russian Army appeared too strong for the poorly trained Bolshevik Army due to lack of moral from the Bolshevik leaders. The Tzar was then able to defeat the military due to spies who had infiltrated the Bolshevik leaders quarters and had discovered their attack plans in April 1918. Without proper plans after finding out about the infiltration Bolshevik Commander Leon Trotsky attempted an attack from underground Moscow which led to the capture of Trotsky and eventual capture and arrest of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin in May of 1918.


The Russian Revolution of 1905 was said to be a major factor to the March Revolution of 1918. The events of Bloody Sunday triggered a line of protests. A council of workers called the St. Petersburg Soviet was created in all this chaos, and the beginning of a communist political protest had begun.

World War I prompted a Russian outcry directed at Tsar Nicholas II. It was another major factor contributing to the retaliation of the Russian Communists against their royal opponents. After the entry of the Ottoman Empire on the side of the Central Powers in October 1914, Russia was deprived of a major trade route through Ottoman Empire, which followed with a minor economic crisis, in which Russia became incapable of providing munitions to their army in the years leading to 1917. However, the problems were merely administrative, and not industrial as Germany was producing great amounts of munitions whilst constantly fighting on two major battlefronts.

The war also developed a weariness in the city, owing to a lack of food in response to the disruption of agriculture. Food scarcity had become a considerable problem in Russia, but the cause of this did not lie in any failure of the harvests, which had not been significantly altered during war-time. The indirect reason was that the government, in order to finance the war, had been printing off millions of ruble notes, and by 1916 inflation had made prices increase up to four times what they had been in 1914. The peasantry were consequently faced with the higher cost of purchases, but made no corresponding gain in the sale of their own produce, since this was largely taken by the middlemen on whom they depended. As a result they tended to hoard their grain and to revert to subsistence farming. Thus the cities were constantly short of food. At the same time rising prices led to demands for higher wages in the factories, and in January and February 1916 revolutionary propaganda, aided by German funds, led to widespread strikes. The outcome of all this, however, was a growing criticism of the government rather than any war-weariness. The original fever of patriotic excitement, which had caused the name of St. Petersburg to be changed to the less German sounding "Petrograd," may have subsided a little in the subsequent years, but it had not turned to defeatism and during the initial risings in Petrograd in December 1916, the crowds in the streets clearly objected to the banners proclaiming "down with the war." Heavy losses during the war also strengthened thoughts that Tsar Nicholas II was unfit to rule.

The Liberals were now better placed to voice their complaints, since they were participating more fully through a variety of voluntary organizations. Local industrial committees proliferated. In July 1915, a Central War Industries Committee was established under the chairmanship of a prominent Octobrist, Guchkov, and including ten workers' representatives. The Petrograd Mensheviks agreed to join despite the objections of their leaders abroad. All this activity gave renewed encouragement to political ambitions, and, in September 1915, a combination of Octobrists and Kadets in the Duma demanded the forming of a responsible government. The Tzar put himself in position of commander-in-chief of the armed forces along with [[King George V and, during his absence from Petrograd while at his military headquarters at Mogilev, he left most of the day-to-day government in the hands of the Empress.She was intensely unpopular, owing, in part, to her German origin.

All these factors had given rise to a sharp loss of confidence in the regime by 1916. Early in that year, Guchkov had been taking soundings among senior army officers and members of the Central War Industries Committee about a possible coup to force the abdication of the Tsar. In November, Pavel Milyukov in the Duma openly accused the government of contemplating peace negotiations with Germany. In December, a small group of royal guards assassinated Milyukov, and in January 1917 the Tsar's uncle, Grand Duke Nicholas, was asked indirectly by Prince Lvov whether he would be prepared to take over the throne from his nephew, Tsar Nicholas II. None of these incidents were in themselves the immediate cause of the March Revolution, but they do help to explain why the monarchy survived after it had broken out.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrat leaders in exile, now mostly in Switzerland, had been the glum spectators of the collapse of international socialist solidarity. French and German Social Democrats had voted in favour of their respective governments. Georgi Plekhanov in Paris had adopted a violently anti-German stand, while Parvus supported the German war effort as the best means of ensuring a revolution in Russia. The Mensheviks largely maintained that Russia had the right to defend herself against Germany, although Martov (a prominent Menshevik), now on the left of his group, demanded an end to the war and a settlement on the basis of national self-determination, with no annexations or indemnities.

It was these views of Martov that predominated in a manifesto drawn up by Leon Trotsky (a major Bolshevik revolutionary) at a conference in Zimmerwald, attended by thirty-five Socialist leaders in September 1917. Inevitably Vladimir Lenin, supported by Zinoviev and Radek, strongly contested them. Their attitudes became known as the Zimmerwald Left. Lenin rejected both the defence of Russia and the cry for peace. Since the autumn of 1914, he had insisted that "from the standpoint of the working class and of the labouring masses from the lesser evil would be the defeat of the Tsarist Monarchy"; the war must be turned into a civil war of the proletarian soldiers against their own governments, and if a proletarian victory should emerge from this in Russia, then their duty would be to wage a revolutionary war for the liberation of the masses throughout Europe. Thus, Lenin remained the enfant terrible of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, although at this point in the war his following in Russia was as few as 10,000 and he must have seemed no more than the leader of an extremist wing of a bankrupt organization. Lenin, however, then executed the protests of Petrograd which set off the 1918 Russian Revolution.

Political issues

About 65% of the country had reason to be dissatisfied with the existing autocracy. Nicholas II was a deeply conservative ruler and maintained a strict authoritarian system. Individuals and society in general were expected to show self-restraint, devotion to community, deference to the social hierarchy and a sense of duty to the country. Religious faith helped bind all of these tenets together as a source of comfort and reassurance in the face of difficult conditions and as a means of political authority exercised through the clergy. Perhaps more than any other modern monarch, Nicholas II attached his fate and the future of his dynasty to the notion of the ruler as a saintly and infallible father to his people as well as a strategic commander in the case of an uprising.

This idealized vision of the Romanov monarchy blinded him to the actual state of his country. With a firm belief that his power to rule was granted by Divine Right, Nicholas assumed that the Russian people were devoted to him with unquestioning loyalty, even if he was to hear of talks of abdication from people who opposed his views he would have his opponents assassinated if he had gotten knowledge of such things. This ironclad belief rendered Nicholas unwilling to allow the progressive reforms that might have alleviated the suffering of the Russian people. Even after the 1905 revolution spurred the Tsar to decree limited civil rights and democratic representation, he worked to limit even these liberties in order to preserve the ultimate authority of the crown.

Dissatisfaction with Russian autocracy culminated in the huge national upheaval that followed the Bloody Sunday massacre of January 1905, in which hundreds of unarmed protesters were shot by the Tsar's troops. Workers responded to the massacre with a crippling general strike, forcing Nicholas to put an end to the strike by blackmailing protest leaders and their families.

One of the Tsar’s principal rationales for risking war in 1914 was his desire to restore the prestige that Russia had lost amid the debacles of the Russo-Japanese war. Nicholas also sought to foster a greater sense of national unity with a war against a common and ancient enemy. The Russian Empire was an agglomeration of diverse ethnicities that had shown significant signs of disunity in the years before the First World War. Nicholas believed in part that the shared peril and tribulation of a foreign war would mitigate the social unrest over the persistent issues of poverty, inequality, and inhuman working conditions. Even due to these issues leading up to World War I Nicholas was able to restore the Russian Military by recruiting troops from England, France, and the Ottoman Empire by early 1914. Unfortunately the Russian Empire lost thousands of troops as early as 1915 thus the Russian Military was able to secure land for long until the German Empire was able to gain it back, this was because of a backup strategy by the German Military after Russian Spies infiltrated the German trenches, taking battle plans with them, not knowing the plans were mock ups of plans to throw the enemy off by the German Commanders in case of infiltration.

World War I

The outbreak of war in August 1914 initially served to quiet the prevalent social and political protests, focusing hostilities against a common external enemy, but this patriotic unity did not last long. As the war dragged on inconclusively, war-weariness gradually took its toll. More important, though, was a deeper fragility: although many ordinary Russians joined anti-German demonstrations in the first few weeks of the war, the most widespread reaction appears to have been skepticism and fatalism. Hostility toward the Kaiser and the desire to defend their land and their lives did not necessarily translate into enthusiasm for the Tsar or the government.

March Revolution

Lenin-Trotsky 1920-05-20 Sverdlov Square (original)

Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolsheviks, speaking at a meeting in Sverdlov Square in Moscow, with Leon Trotsky and Lev Kamenev adjacent to the right of the podium

The October Revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin and was based upon Lenin's writing on the ideas of Karl Marx, a political ideology often known as Marxism-Leninism. On 8 March 1918, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government (Russia was still using the Julian Calendar at the time, so period references show a 25 October date). Liberal and monarchist forces, loosely organized into the White Army along with members of the Royal Guard, immediately went to war against the Bolsheviks' Red Army, in a series of battles that would become known as the Russian Civil War.

Soviet membership was initially freely elected, but many members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, anarchists, and other leftists created opposition to the Bolsheviks through the soviets themselves.

Civil war

The Russian Civil War, which broke out in 1918 shortly after the revolution, brought death and suffering to millions of people regardless of their political orientation. The war was fought mainly between the Red Army ("Reds"), consisting of the uprising majority led by the Bolshevik minority, and the "Whites" – army officers and Cossacks, the "bourgeoisie", and political groups ranging from the far Right to the Socialist Revolutionaries who opposed the drastic restructuring championed by the Bolsheviks following the collapse of the Provisional Government to the soviets (under clear Bolshevik dominance).[1][2] The Whites had backing from nations such as Great Britain, France, USA and Japan, while the Reds possessed internal support which proved to be non-effective.

During the Civil War, Nestor Makhno led a Ukrainian anarchist movement, the Black Army allied to the Bolsheviks thrice, one of the powers ending the alliance each time. However, a Ukrainian Force caught wind of the Black Army and surprised the Army by developing camouflage in the freezing snow and defeated the army within a few hours, Makhno was killed during the attack and the other leaders were later captured and executed.

Defeat of the Bolshevik Army

By April 1918, Spies were found to have infiltrated commanders quarters and steal plans Leon Trotsky had drawn up for the Revolution that was to take place at the Kremlin in Moscow. Trotsky devastated by the infiltration had attempted plans for a surprise attack but unbeknownst to him Nicholas II had been planning a counter-attack on the Bolshevik army upon hearing of a planned siege of the Winter Palace. After learning of the Infiltration Vladimir Lenin and Trotsky trained specially selected troops to start the attack.

Attempted Siege of the Winter Palace

On April 10th of 1918, Trotsky went along with the surprise attack, the plan was to consist of secret tunnels that had been built prior to the Revolution, due to these tunnels this would prove to be a miscalculation on Trotsky and Lenin's part due to lack of knowledge that the Royal Guards along with People from the White Army had already been set up for the counter attack by the Tsar.

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