Why Did The Bolsheviks Win The Civil War?

 

Summary

There were SIX reasons why the Bolsheviks won the Civil War.

Firstly, the Whites were disunited.   They were a coalition of different enemies of the Bolsheviks who hated each other!   Their armies were thousands of miles apart, so Trotsky could defeat them one at a time.

The second reason was Trotsky, who was a brilliant war leader and strategist.

Thirdly, the Bolshevik soldiers were enthusiastic.   Many were keen Communists, fighting for a better world.   Others hated foreigners invading Russia.

War Communism helped the Bolsheviks.   They nationalised the factories and made strikes illegal.   They rationed food and forced peasants to give food to the government.   This gave the Bolshevik armies the supplies they needed.

Fifthly, the Cheka murdered more than 7000 Whites.   Terror united all the Bolsheviks and made them keen to win the war.

Finally, the Bolsheviks had what they needed to win the war control of Moscow and Petrograd (with their factories), control of the railways, and an army of 300,000 men.  

  

There were six reasons why the Bolsheviks won the Civil War.

The first reason was that the Whites were disunited.   They were a coalition of different enemies of the Bolsheviks (Social Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Tsarists, army officers angry at Brest Litovsk, and nobles whose land had been given to the peasants).   In fact, all these different groups hated each other!   They were disunited and their armies were thousands of miles apart Generals Yudenich and Deniken attacked Russia from the west, Admiral Kolchak from the east.   This meant that Trotsky could co-ordinate his forces much better, and fight his enemies one at a time.

The second reason was Trotsky, who was a brilliant war leader and strategist, so the Red Army had good tactics.

A third reason was belief.   Many Russians were Communists, who believed they were fighting for a better world.   Others fought for them because they hated foreign (British, American and French) armies invading Russia.   This motivated the Bolshevik soldiers they were fervent and enthusiastic.   Most of their enemies were fighting only because they were paid to.

Lenin helped the Bolsheviks by introducing War Communism.   The Bolsheviks nationalised the factories, and introduced military discipline.   Strikes were made illegal.   They introduced rationing and forced the peasants to give food to the government.   This put the whole nation on a war footing, and gave the Bolshevik armies the supplies they needed.

Whereas the whites were disunited, the Bolsheviks maintained absolute unity through Terror.   The Tsar and his family were put to death, which removed a focal point for the whites.   The Cheka murdered any Whites they found more than 7000 people were executed, and Red Army generals were kept loyal by taking their families hostage so the Bolsheviks were united and disciplined towards a single end winning the war.

Finally, the Bolsheviks had what they needed to win the war.   The British, French and American armies were fighting thousands of miles from home, at the end of a long supply line.   The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, had control of the main cities of Moscow and Petrograd (with their factories), control of the railways (vital), an army of 300,000 men, very strict army discipline, and internal lines of communication giving them the advantage in the war.   When Kolchak was defeated in 1919, the foreign armies went home.   The last white army was defeated in the Crimea in 1920.