The Germans believed that Lenin and his Bolshevik supporters would stir unrest in Russia and hurt the Russian war effort against Germany. They arranged Lenin's return to Russia after many years of exile, traveling in a sealed boxcar.
Russian Civil War
Lenin and the Bolsheviks soon gain control of the Petrograd soviet. By the fall of 1917, people in the cities were rallying the call, "All power to the soviets." Lenin's slogan, "Peace, Land, and Bread," gained widespread appeal. Lenin decided to take action.
Lenin Restores Order
Within days after the Bolshevik takeover, Lenin ordered farm land be distributed among the peasants. They gave control of factories to the workers. They established a network of labor camps called the Gulag. Lenin and the Bolsheviks used terror as a means of control through the use of the secret police.
Stalin Becomes Dictator
The Bolsheviks now faced a new challenge stamping out their enemies at home. Their opponents formed the White Army. The revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky expertly commanded the Bolshevik Red Army, From 1918 to 1920. Around 14 million Russians died in the three-year struggle.
War and revolution destroyed the Russian economy. Trade was at a stand still. Industrial production dropped, and many skilled workers fled to other countries. Lenin turned to reviving the economy and restructuring the government.
Lenin suffered a stroke in 1922. He survived, but the incident set in motion competition for heading up the Communist Party. Two of the most notable men were Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. Stalin began his ruthless climb to the head of the government between 1922 and 1927.