Alexander Kerensky was elected to the Duma in 1912 as the minister of Justice, he was loved by the public for his charismatic speeches.
He was in a very strong position after the Tsar’s abdication as Russia needed someone to bring them back up and when someone is in need they would go to the first person who said I can help you. However, Kerensky might have started in an excellent position being able to woo everyone with his speaking skills, he ended up losing all power he possessed to Lenin and the Bolsheviks and being forced to flee from Russia in disguise. This could have been caused by his silly mistakes and his enemies’ superiority.However, it can be said that his downfall and loss of power could have been his own fault. First of his handling of power was below par, he did not want to surrender to the Germans and on the other hand he did not want to negotiate peace, his only goal was to crush Germany.
He persuaded the populace that Russia was strong enough to beat Germany and win the Great War. However, when Kerensky initiated another offensive that went wrong it caused what was known as the “July Days”, which saw soldiers, sailors and workers protest against the provisional government.There main protest being that the government still carried on with the war and their attention turned to the Bolshevik party as they were the only group against the war. However, the Bolshevik party were not ready to come to power yet.
The demonstrations turned violent, therefore Kerensky sent in troops to break it up, this made him just like the Tsar as that is exactly what he used to do. Another aspect which could have been said was his fault was his failure to hand land over to the peasants. Kerensky refused to hand land over as he thought such a matter should be decided by the government.This made the peasants very angry as they thought they would own their own land after the era of the Tsar. They then turned to the Bolsheviks who were happy to give them their own acres as it was part of their slogan.
The July Days was the consequence as explained of a failure of a new offensive at Germany. The results of these July Days were that Kerensky produced letters stating Lenin who was the head of the Bolsheviks was a German spy, as a result Kerensky became more unpopular but with Lenin now fleeing to Finland their was no one to oppose him.Leading Bolshevik leaders were prosecuted and in July Kerensky became prime minister of the provisional government. Another way Kerensky was not able to hold onto power was by arming his enemies in the autumn of 1917.
Kerensky appointed General Kornilov to be the head of the army, however in his new found power, Kornilov thought his army should be in charge and decided to march onto Petrograd. Kerensky panicked and turned to the Bolshevik Red Guards who were the only strongest opposition that could control the Russian Army.Therefore, Kerensky armed his enemies in order to destroy his betrayers. This was seen as one of his fatal mistakes in him losing power as the Bolsheviks now saw he was very weak and had no one to back him up, however in the end Kornilov’s men never arrived. Later, when the Bolsheviks marched on Petrograd, Kerensky’s failure to stand up to them even though they were a small unit cost him Petrograd and his reputation. The Bolshevik Red Guards planned everything carefully and took over Petrograd with no obstacles to overcome.
On the other hand, it can be seen that it was unfair to blame Kerensky as he faced an impossible situation. First of all the terrible affects of the war such as food shortages and loss of his country’s reputation and resources had a massive effect on him and everyone’s morale. The Petrograd soviet also made it very hard for Kerensky to rule as all his orders had to be accepted by them and no order could be passed without their consent. Lenin only made it worse when he arrived in Petrograd as he told the soviet not to listen to Kerensky.Order N. O 1 also damaged Kerensky position as it gave the Petrograd Soviet full control of the armed forces.
Also, the Bolsheviks won an overall majority in the Petrograd Soviet, and when Trotsky joined them it was nearly all over for Kerensky as they had all the people and resources to defeat him. It could therefore be seen that Kerensky faced an impossible situation, as he could not have done anything else when Kornilov threatened to march with his army onto Petrograd as the only people who were strong enough to defeat them were his own enemy.Also the Petrograd soviet made life very hard for him as no order could be passed without their consent and the Bolsheviks winning a majority in the soviet did not help his cause at all.
Although Kerensky was in an impossible situation, the other parties were too divided to oppose him or cause any problems so it was only the coming of the Bolsheviks which caused his downfall. First of all the return of Lenin and the effective slogans he had “Bread, Peace, Land” only attracted lots of people to them and away from the provisional government.Also the Kornilov incident and his arming of the Red Guards, and finally Trotsky who was such a powerful political figure joining the Bolsheviks helped them formulate such a well calculated and executed plan to take over full control of Petrograd. In conclusion, it has to be said that the main reason Kerensky failed to keep power was a combination of factors including his own mistakes which were exploited by the Bolsheviks and him not having any major force to block the invasion of Petrograd.The Bolsheviks exploited a lot of Kerensky’s mistakes such as handing land over to the peasants and not making peace with Germany, therefore more people who had lost hope with the provisional government went to the Bolsheviks in seeking a better life as Kerensky never looked to the needs of the populace. The Bolsheviks’ slogan “Bread, Peace, Land” really showed the public that they could offer a lot more than the government could ever think of. Also, Trotsky was very important to their success as he became head of the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolsheviks, he was able to help Lenin in defeating Kerensky and taking power.
Even though the Bolsheviks had a small force, they were able to take control of Petrograd as no one stopped them or came in their way, this was a result of Kerensky being betrayed by his army and being stranded on his own. Meanwhile the Bolshevik’s were planning their execution on Petrograd and it was only a matter of time by which Kerensky would be forced to flee and would be known as the man who tried to make a difference but never took real responsibility of his power.