Was the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War largely due to the failure of their opponents rather than their own successes? There is some truth in the statement, but it is important to recognize the strengths of the Red Army and the Communists. Although the Whites had certain weaknesses, the Communists still won the Civil War. The way in which the Communists won the Civil War reflected many of their strengths, which I will discuss.
But the Whites failed to gain power due to a number of core reasons, including the composition of the white forces, various ideologies, and insufficient commitment to the cause. The whites were never more than an uncoordinated group of forces whose morale was seldom high. They were a collection of dispossessed socialists, liberals, and moderates, whose political differences often led them into bitter disputes among themselves.” From this quote, we can see the numerous weaknesses within the Whites which helped the Bolsheviks win the civil war. However, on the whole, it must be said that although the Whites had their problems, the Communists and the Red Army fought a successful war and won it. Thus, although the Whites were a reason for the communist success, the role that the Red Army played must not be underestimated.
Some historians argue that there was a lack of commitment on the part of the whites during the Civil War. To discuss the commitment of the whites, we must examine the cause of the Civil War. The war was caused by the October Revolution of 1917 and the seizure of power by the Communists, who were committed to remaining in power and not allowing anyone else to take control. This is evident in a comment made by Trotsky in response to Martov, who urged the revolutionary party to form a coalition with the Mensheviks and the SRs. Trotsky said, Your part is over. Go to the place where you now belong, from now on the trash bin of history.” Although Trotsky’s quote highlights one reason for the Civil War, another cause was the famine, mainly due to the First World War and the problems it caused. The war highlighted a number of issues that caused tension, problems that would take time to resolve, yet there was impatience.
The problems ongoing in Russia meant that there should have been commitment to the cause. However, the White Army had many desertions, and the White armies found it more difficult to recruit and keep their ordinary soldiers than the Reds. A lack of commitment to fight for the Whites was also caused by doubts on the land issue. Many of the White generals were from the ruling class, and for them, it was a question of returning to the past, and they tried to restore it in form and spirit.” The fact that certain White generals wanted to return to the past meant that many peasants would not support them, and their allegiance was with the Bolsheviks and the Red Army. This shows that the Whites had a lack of commitment and a central ideology. Thus, this may tell us why the communist victory in the Russian Civil War was largely due to the failure of their opponents. Although a lack of commitment was a reason for the White failure, another important factor in the Whites’ defeat was a lack of cooperation. Although Pipes says, “The ability of the Whites to carry on against such overwhelming odds and at one point even to seem near victory suggests that, contrary to conventional wisdom, it is they who had superior generalship and morale,” it is true of Pipes to say that they may have had more generals. This is mainly because generals were mainly from aristocratic backgrounds and thus were in opposition to the Bolshevik party. However, it must not be mistaken that the Whites did lack cooperation and commitment.
Their mutual suspicions and differing goals caused this. The White forces did not cooperate in their military planning. One reason for the lack of cooperation was the geographical factor. With Russia being a huge country, it was difficult to communicate. However, as I will explain, the Red Army was effective in communication across Russia, which helped them win the civil war.