In The Russian Revolution, historian Sean McMeekin traces the origins and events of the Russian Revolution, which ended Romanov rule, ushered the Bolsheviks into power, and changed the course of world history. Between 1900 and 1920, Russia underwent a complete and irreversible transformation: by the end of these two decades, a new regime was in place, the economy had collapsed, and over 20 million Russians had died during the revolution and what followed. Still, Bolshevik power remained intact due to a remarkable combination of military prowess, violent terror tactics, and the failures of their opposition. And as McMeekin shows, Russia's revolutionaries were aided at nearly every step by countries like Germany and Sweden who sought to benefit—politically and economically—from the chaotic changes overtaking the country.The first comprehensive history of these momentous events in a decade, The Russian Revolution combines cutting-edge scholarship and a fast-paced narrative to shed new light on a great turning point of the twentieth century.
The Russian Revolution Review
- June 15, 2017Liviushorter than I expected (there are 150 pages of notes, references etc) but captivating like a page turner novel; the main thrust (argued well) is how preparing for 1917, Russia was actually very well positioned to defeat the Central powers who were the ones on the verge of meltdown, but a weak Tsar with no inner circle worth mentioning and reeling from Rasputin's assassination in December 1916, talkative but ineffective politicians, able to stir trouble but ultimately not to control it, and gene shorter than I expected (there are 150 pages of notes, references etc) but captivating like a page turner novel; the main thrust (argued well) is how preparing for 1917, Russia was actually very well positioned to defeat the Central powers who were the ones on the verge of meltdown, but a weak Tsar with no inner circle worth mentioning and reeling from Rasputin's assassination in December 1916, talkative but ineffective politicians, able to stir trouble but ultimately not to control it, and generals who thought that staying out of "politics" is part of their job, led to the February Revolution and the provisional government and then the Germans made their move sending Lenin (and others) with a ton of money to disrupt it; with a clear eye on power at all costs and with a clear idea - transforming the "imperialist war" in civil war to destroy society and remake it in his vision, Lenin was unrelenting in the pursuit of power and despite missteps and internal opposition from most other Bolshevik leaders who actually living in Russia, thought Lenin's ideas crazy, the combination of self-destruction from various politicians that led the provisional government, Lenin's ability to pay agitators with German money to destabilize the front and the general war wariness of the peasant soldiers (obviously not knowing that Lenin would first send them back to fight an even more gruesome war against all opposition and then to destroy the villages and take the land and the food until he was forced to temporary retreat from maximalist socialism with the NEP) allowed him to eventually take power fairly easily in October 1917 and then by surrendering to the Germans at Brest Litovsk in early 1918 to insure the survival of his regimeLater in 1918, the Germans were getting fed up with the Bolsheviks - and preparing to march on Moscow and depose them but their defeat in the west and the British giving up on the blockade of the Soviet state allowed the regime to buy (with looted gold, precious stones and works of art) all the armament needed through Sweden and crush its opponents in late 1919, early 1920, only for that to be followed by the brutal war against the peasants, the workers who saw the realities of Bolshevism and rebelled (most notably at Kronstadt in 1921, the original bolshevik power center of 1917, turned into a mass grave by Trotsky) and basically anyone saying anything, so inaugurating a regime 100 times more oppressive and brutal than the tsarist one it replacedExcellent overview of the beginning of the destruction of Russia by the most brutal regime of the 20th century who inaugurated mass murder on industrial scale (though sadly it won't be the last one)more
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