How far was the Provisional Government responsible for Its own downfall? In the light of this question, it is somewhat plausible to put forward the thesis that the Provisional Government , quite extensively, was responsible for its own downfall due to its internal failings with the party and incompetence that hold it solely to blame.
However, one could counter argue this argument this by saying that it was the Bolsheviks strengths, strategies to manipulate events to their advantage and eighteen sense of popularity over the provisional Government that ultimately caused a decline in support for the Provisional Government and aided in their demise. The Provisional Government was largely responsible for its downfall in 1917 for a number of reasons. Firstly, it could be argued that the Provisional Government was doomed to fall due to the nature of its existence.
In the first Provisional Government led by Prince Love, it became apparent that It lacked legitimate authority because It was not an elected body. The Provisional Government was made up of former Dumas embers who had refused to disband at the Tsar’s demand. As such, they had no legitimate claim to the loyalty and obedience of the Russian people, which was a weakness that was contributory to its downfall in 1917. The Carillon Affair provides strong evidence for the Provisional Government being responsible for Its own downfall In 1917.
The Inhalant misunderstanding between General Gorilla and the Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, Alexander Serenely suggested that there were severe communication problems within the Russian government, and that Serenely exhibited paranoid behavior. These factors awakened the Provisional Government and increased the likelihood of a second insurrection after the failed July Days. However, the more significant aspect of the Carillon Affair Is that Serenely released the Bolsheviks from prison and armed them, alongside a number of Industrial workers.
The Bolsheviks were portrayed as the ‘defenders of Petrography’, which increased their popularity and made the Provisional Government appear reliant on them, which weakened their appearance. Releasing the imprisoned Bolsheviks undid the damage dealt to them in the July Days and boosted their numbers, enabling the subsequent revolution. Arming the Bolsheviks and the Industrial workers effectively created perfect conditions for a revolution, as they could take control of key buildings with force.
The Bolsheviks were at an all-time low following the July Days, and the Gorilla Affair which was instigated by the Provisional Government, rejuvenated their hopes of revolution and proved the decisive factor that enabled the Bolshevik seizure of power. This suggests that the Provisional Government was responsible for its downfall in 1917 held responsible for its own downfall is due to the their misjudged decision in intuiting on with World War 1 which brought with it detrimental effects on their power in office.
This is because; the war had a huge impact on living conditions for Russian civilians as food shortages and starvation were commonplace with food supplies going to the front line to feed the military. This consequently heightened discontent throughout Russia resulting in demonstrations and strikes in retaliation to the decision to continue on with the war and cause a wave of unrest. Their decision to continue on with the war was fuelled by their desire to gain territory at the expense of the Ottoman Empire despite earlier contests not to by the Soviet.
It was through the Provisional Governments lack of reasoning and stubbornness to listen to Soviet that gave rise to deep civilian resentment and highlighted a weakness in the Nay they governed Russia and gave people a reason to question their authority. This in turn places the Provisional Government as being quite responsible for the own downfall to a far extent. However, it could be argued that it was the Bolsheviks ability to manipulate the situation and great skill that caused a ruin the Provisional Governments reign.
This is because the unrest gave something for Lenin and the Bolsheviks to play on. Lenin took the discontent of the people and offered an alternative summarized through his simplistic quote “Peace, Land and Bread”. This helped him gain support. Had the Provisional Government stopped the war, there would not have been this unrest. The food shortages were the main cause of unrest and had it been eradicated, it is unlikely that there would have been a revolution. Lenin would have had little to play on if this issue had not been so large thus the main responsibility lies with the Provisional Government.
A further significant reason for the downfall of the Provisional Government is credited to the fact that they failed to act upon the social and economic problems in front of them. The Provisional Government failed to extend its authority beyond the cities and lacked the capacity to control the rural countryside areas. This is validated by the fact that in June 1917 alone, the Provisional Government received over 700 complaints about illegal attacks on property.
It was through this that groups of landowners as well as the middle and upper class began to question to ability of the Provisional Government and subsequently support decreased dramatically for them. Had the Provisional Government managed to gain control of that area, the Bolsheviks Mould have had little influence with their slogan of “Peace, Land & Bread” which they used to get people on side. The Provisional Government failed to even propose Changes for peasants, and inevitably the Bolsheviks took advantage of this and played to the peasants to gain their support.
Given that the peasants constituted 80% of the Russian population, their support was vital for any form of revolution. Provisional Government through his organization of the MR. and Red Guard. Trotsky Nas the chairman of the Petrography Soviet, which allowed him to set up the MR., Inch was the only formidable military force in Petrography; moreover, the MR. was legitimated by the authority of the Soviet, so opposition to its movements would be limited.
Additionally, Trotsky directed the Red Guard to key vantage points in Petrography, which assisted the seizure of power in the October revolution. This may suggest that Trotsky was responsible for the fall of the Provisional Government, since he was largely responsible for the success of the October revolution. As with Lenin, his role’s significance can be criticized. The NCR were only founded to protect Petrography from perceived threats, such as coups or Germans; it is likely that this was prompted by the July Days and the perceived threat of Gorilla.
This lessens the strength of the argument that Trotsky was responsible for the fall of the Provisional Government, because his success derived from the failures of the Provisional Government. Or conclude, the Provisional Government was largely responsible for its downfall in the October revolution in 1917. It was unelected and thus lacked authority since its conception; it made mistakes such as the summer offensive which reduced its popularity, and it created the circumstances for revolution in the Gorilla Affair, Inhere Sereneness paranoia proved to be the turning point for Bolshevik fortunes.
The Provisional Government allowed the Bolsheviks to be revived from near-death and seize power in initially unlikely circumstances. Lenin and Trotsky certainly contributed to the fall of the Provisional Government significantly, but their importance is overstated and dependent on the mistakes made by the Provisional Government. This is why the Provisional Government was responsible for its own downfall in 1917.