Revolutionary Power Couple


After seizing control of the Russian government, the Bolsheviks were tasked with maintaining control over the country. Although they were outnumbered at times and lacked veteran military leadership, by 1921 the Bolsheviks had gained complete control. Fortunately for the Bolsheviks, throughout the civil war they were led by Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

In his leadership role, Lenin proved to be ruthless in his attempt to gain control. In 1918, he launched what would become known as the Red Terror. The Red Terror was a campaign of mass killings,torture, and mass oppression meant to eliminate the opposition in the civilian population. Lenin was always focused on what he thought was for the betterment of Russia. He provided the drive and energy needed for the Bolsheviks to have success.  His leadership was crucial in the success of his party.

Trotsky was a Commissar  for War in the Bolshevik government. He was a brilliant organizer and improvisor and created the Red Army from the Red Guards. Trotsky imposed a very strict command on the Red Army. Officers found guilty of forms of treachery were often executed. However, men who showed exceptional bravery and initiative were quickly promoted. At times of crisis, Trotsky would assume command of areas under direct threat. This inspired and encouraged his troops to victory.





8 thoughts on “Revolutionary Power Couple

  1. The two of them are really fascinating to me and how they willed and led the Bolsheviks to victory and created a decades long “empire” in the process. Great job at examining the Red Terror and also Trotsky’s military leadership. Did you read anything about the relationship between the two men?


  2. Very interesting to read about these two leaders of Russia. They had such a large and influential impact in leading the Bolsheviks and throughout all of Russia. As parker questioned, I would be interested to learn about what their relationship was like, if there was ever any power struggle or strife between the two?


  3. These two are certainly very interesting figures. I think Lenn tends to get reduced to a symbol of communism, when in reality he was a pragmatic and very savvy politician. Trotsky tends to get overshadowed by Stalin, but the Red Army would not have been nearly as successful without his expertise. Together, they gave the Bolsheviks a major advantage. Good job!


  4. I think you picked to very interesting people to discuss and did an excellent job of showing how they were detrimental to the success of their respective groups! What I find most disturbing about these two, Lenin in particular, is that the number of people believed to have been executed during the Red Terror was around 100,000. With this large of a number, it’s clear that, as you state, Lenin would do whatever he believed would best benefit Russia.


  5. I really liked reading your post. Their dynamic is very interesting to me. It seems that Lenin was more the brains of the operations and Trotsky was the brawn. When Lenin came up with plans, he was a man in a high castle, far away from the people he was ‘leading’. Trotsky, however was on the ground with the men and women fighting and working for the revolution. In my opinion, it’s easy to see why people liked Trotsky better than Lenin (and later Stalin) and why they saw him as a threat to their power leading to his exile.


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