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11-08-2015, 16:17

The Bolsheviks Come to Power in Russia

As the first assaults took place in Flanders, the Russian army launched its last offensive. The driving force behind the operation was Alexander Kerensky, the war minister of the Provisional Government that had taken power after the fall of the monarchy. In later years, Kerensky remembered the combination of motives that impelled the government to take the offensive. "If Russia's present inactivity at the front and the collapse of the army's strength continued," he told one group of military planners, "the Germans as well as the Allies would lose all respect for us and would completely disregard our legitimate interests in the future."22 But the internal needs of Russia also dictated the summer attack. An offensive would restore the army and thus "preserve the interior of the country from the grave wave of anarchy threatening from the front."23 In short order, the "Kerensky offensive" failed. With it went the last fighting spirit of the Russian army. In early November, while the army stood aside, V. I. Lenin's Bolsheviks seized power from Kerensky. They had promised the Russian people they would end the conflict. Thus, one of the Great Power belligerents was now committed to deserting its former allies. Before the year was out Lenin's government signed an armistice with the Central Powers and began the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Brest- Litovsk in March 1918.