The Russian Civil War and the birth of the USSR

The Russian Civil War and the birth of the USSR

The First World War was one of the causes of weakening of the Russian Empire and the triumph of the 1917 Revolutions. After the Red October, Lenin he was at the head of the new government. One of the first steps he had to take was to end Russian participation in the war. He signed the peace of Brest-Litovsk with the Germans in 1918, where the Baltic countries and Poland lost, in addition to the evacuation of Ukraine and Finland was authorized.

And this is where it started arise the Russian Civil War. A series of riots throughout the country they instigated the constitution of an alternative army, called “white army", To face the"Red Army" from Trotsky. The revolutionaries wanted to end the power of the Bolsheviks and were supported by the Allies of Russia during World War I, since they considered themselves harmed by the cessation of hostilities on the eastern front and, furthermore, they feared an expansion of the revolts to their countries.

Stalin drew up a manifesto which recognized the sovereignty of the different nationalities that made up Russia. The Constitution of July 1918 organized the First Soviet Socialist Republic, consecrating the system of the soviets and declaring the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Bolsheviks occupied the administration and the State Police was established.

These measures did not affect the internal war that raged in the country. The white army, led by the former tsarist generals, became a problem for Lenin, who sought help in Trotsky. The Trotsky's Red Army It had more than a million soldiers and was supported by millions of partisan farmers, in order to end the revolutions that threatened the dreamed of communist model.

Lenin declared the “communism of war ”to prevent the country from falling into total chaos. Nationalizations increased drastically, especially in industries and crops. The measures of the Bolshevik leader began to take effect quickly but the Civil War continued thanks to foreign support, devastating much of the Russian territory. After some conquests by the allies, the so-called “sanitary cordon”.

This system prevented the Allies from entering into direct confrontation with the Red Army. It was a success until 1920, when the Bolsheviks reconquered several areas that they had previously lost.

During these years, the Soviets were completely isolated from the rest of the world by foreign powers. They were mired in a very precarious economy and with no prospect of getting ahead. The Paris conference It was nothing positive for the Bolsheviks, since the Allies completely ignored their country, which was left at the mercy of the internal war that only escalated with the passage of time.

Taking advantage of this weakness, Poland attacked Russia in 1920 and the Red Army he was forced to intervene to calm the situation. But until the signing of the Riga Treaty in 1921, they were unable to take the reins and were under constant Polish attack.

Seeing that the economy was not improving, but was getting worse, Lenin approved between 1921 and 1922 the so-called N.E.P (New Economic Policy). This reform would be an adaptation of socialist principles to the circumstances in which the country was plunged. Many of the nationalizations that took place in 1919 had to be undone: the state monopoly on cereals was abolished, crops were not requisitioned, and freedom of internal trade was proclaimed.

At the same time, the internal reform of the state. The different nationalities were converted into republics and in 1922 the USSR was born, after the federation of the republics of Ukraine, White Russia and Transcaucasia with that of Russia. The creation of a new currency (the ruble-gold) and the barter economy was ended. But it was not until 1924 that the Constitution of the USSR, where the system that Russia applied in 1918 was extended to the rest of the republics: the soviets and the people's commissars held power.

The Civil War came to an end with the conquest by the Red Army of Vladivostok on October 25, 1922, which was the city from which the white army orchestrated its movements. It is true that since 1920 the resistance had been much less and that the great fighting seemed to have stopped. But, even with the fall of the great capital of the resistance, the white army put up resistance until June 17, 1923.

From now on, the consolidation of the USSR would begin and of the Soviet model. Little by little it would become a power capable of rivaling the United States and, after the WWII, would be considered as one of the poles of the bipolar system.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved History and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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