Reasons Behind the Failure of the Provisional Government

Reasons Behind the Failure of the Provisional Government
The provisional government was brought about after the fall of the Tsarist government collapsed. This was done purely because of lack of support for the Tsar and being the only major party. They were in power for 8months and after making five serious errors; they were removed from power by force. Kerensky ran the provisional government and it was his lack of judgement, just like the Tsars stupidity and gullibility that let him down. The first error he made was that he made no attempt to make the provisional government legitimate. It never held a democratic election for fear of losing status. Even though at the start of their reign they could have won the election and become legitimate, Kerensky?s lack of judgement made him decide against it. When the soviets issued ?Order No1? he should have taken the chance he got to remove it as it caused him to partially lose control of the army ? one of his methods of control of the country. The officers were rendered powerless and the balance of power was clearly seen to shift away from Kerensky.Finally, the Duma (The Provisional Government) represented the upper class of society and seeing as 90% of the population of Russia were peasants this left him in no position to call an election as even if all the people he appealed to voted for him, he still would not win it. Kerensky thought he was going to win the war even though the chances were that he wouldn?t as his army was under funded with minimal resources, awful conditions and weather and very few tactics. It caused a huge amount of damage to the economy and the soldiers involved were obviously going to be against what was clearly committing suicide. This caused many of them to leave the army and others to not fight and join. This left an army that was majorly weakened and people thought that, like the Tsar he was a loser of wars. The populations now have an even worse opinion of him and it was not good for his popularity. Kerensky underestimated the Bolshevik?s and Lenin. Once he had fought off their uprising with Lenin?s plan of ?Peace for the Army, Bread for the Workers and Land for the Peasants?, he thought sending Lenin to exile was sufficient. After Lenin accepted that he had lost his chance to become President, an uprising in Petrograd (Kornilov Affair ? a point I will go onto in my next paragraph) means Kerensky has to rearm the Bolsheviks in order to retain order. This leaves other countries and supporters of Lenin with a chance to send him back into the country and to try and push the country into another revolution (bringing about communism ideally). Lenin?s plan to try to please as many people as possible could come back into effect and this time it had a substantially negative effect on Kerensky?s position in Russian parliament. Continuing from my last point, Kerensky?s lack of judgement about the Kornilov affair was a definitive error of his. He thought that the Bolshevik?s were attempting to take over Russia by means of a coup, thus he asked Kornilov to send part of his army to protect him. When they got there, Kerensky accused Kornilov of attempting to take over Russia to try and cause Kornilov to lose his status in the army. This backfired and left the army with a sense of mistrust to Kerensky that meant they would not trust him or do anything he asked. As the military was the main method of backing up his order in Russia, Kerensky now had very little support and little or no enforcing of his orders. This also meant that when the Bolshevik?s really did try a coup he could not do anything to stop them. The Peasantry, as I have already mentioned, make up 90% of the population in Russia. This meant that if he does not have support of the peasant he is never going to be able to get enough people on his side to maintain control of Russia. The peasants wanted a fair share of the land in the country; they hardly had enough on which to make their own living let alone their families. Kerensky could not give them the land because if he did he might start a revolution and cause him to lose power; on the other hand if he didn?t give them the land then he would lose even more support and end up with nobody to help him when he is overthrown. This was a lose-lose situation for Kerensky, however instead of trying one of the options and hoping for the best he tried to both. His army was no longer on his side after the war and the Kornilov affair so it would be virtually impossible for him to stop the peasants if they tried to take the land anyway. He said we will give you the land but not now; this caused him to lose control of all of the countryside and his support aswell. All of these problems are hard issues to deal with and he could have managed to deal with two or perhaps even three of them. When he was faced with the task of overcoming all five of these troubles, it would be hard for any man to do it especially Kerensky who started in a bad position anyway. These problems stem from Kerensky?s lack of judgement, he lost supporters one by one until eventually he had none. Most of the reasons show him as being the reason the Duma fell and that the failure of the provisional government was due to him. By not taking out his enemies (the Bolshevik?s and Lenin) when he had the chance he made a clear and obvious mistake as was shown when Lenin came back after the Kornilov affair. However hot being able to decide on any one course of action also left him in a bad situation, trying to go 50-50 with the peasants would not work as was shown when he ended up with both of the bad parts (losing the land and not gaining popularity). His lack of judgement was the stem of all his problems, continuation of war was his choice, the Kornilov plot was his idea, the indecision to give land to the peasantry was his plan and underestimating the Bolshevik?s and Lenin was his judgement. I think the point at which everything started collapsing around him was after the Kornilov affair purely because it lost him so much support from his army (the basis of control in Russia) and the people.

Reasons Behind the Failure of the Provisional Government 7.8 of 10 on the basis of 1836 Review.