WI: Lenin killed in July 1917

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Zulfurium, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

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    In July 1917 Lenin was being chased around St. Petersburg by the Kerensky government and the Bolsheviks were being attacked in the Duma.

    While in hiding the leading Bolsheviks debated whether Lenin and Zinoviev should surrender themselves, but Stalin was convinced that they would be killed if they surrendered to the police. He was eventually able to convince them and get Lenin out of St. Petersburg, but what if he hadn't been able to convince them?

    According to Montefiore's Young Stalin:
    An ex—Duma member, V. N. Polovtiev, encountered the officer assigned to arrest Lenin. “How should I deliver this gentleman, Lenin?” the officer asked. “Whole or in pieces?”

    Which strongly suggests that they were more than willing to kill him.

    This is at a time of general disarray and with the Bolsheviks being hunted following their abortive June Revolution, and the Bolsheviks generally at a low point.

    So my question is what happens if Lenin and Zinoviev surrender and are killed while in custody?

    Would this save the Kerensky government? Who would take up leadership of the Bolsheviks? What factions would emerge and would they be able to cooperate? What other effects would Lenin's death at this point in time have?
     
  2. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Donor Monthly Donor

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    Trotsky for the win
     
  3. Lalli Well-Known Member

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    I doubt that. Trotsky perhaps was good military personel but him hadn't such skill which would lead Bolcheviks together and cause new revolution. There is somoe more capable candidates.
     
  4. Derek Jackson Member Monthly Donor

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    No Bolshevik coup (aka great October revolution).

    Likely chaos.

    There may be a chance that a smart German administration could offer reasonable terms that an elected assembly would accept
     
  5. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Donor Monthly Donor

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    Before the rise of Stalin, the Bolsheviks were very much a committee organisation. The leader would be the one who could form the best group from the various cliques. OTL Trotsky was pretty good at that until Stalin outmanoeuvred him in '27. Also, Trotsky was the organiser of the Bolshevik uprising and chairman of the Petrograd Soviet.

    OTL he rose to prominence and a position second only to Lenin, ATL who is going to bypass him and replace Lenin if not Trotsky?
     
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  6. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

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    By this point in time the Kerensky Offensive has largely proven to be a failure and anti-war sentiment was on the upswing. Kornilov was being proposed as leader of the crack down against the Bolsheviks after Lenin fled, ITTL the dangers/fears of the Bolsheviks would be lesser.

    Kerensky was spending his time trying to run an increasingly anarchic russia while high on cocain and morphine, so it is really questionable how long he can keep ruling. He was also the only figure able to navigate the situation during and just after the Feburary Revolution, so after he falls Russia is set for a free-for-all.

    There are numerous options besides Trotsky. There are the conciliators Kamenev who during the October Revolution were suggesting cooperation with the Mensheviks, there is Stalin who while not as well known as many of the others had significant influence among the upper rungs of the party and with many of the Bolshevik Duma members, Sverdlov who was also quite prominent and numerous others. Then you have the younger Bolsheviks like Molotov and others who were all fighting for a position of power.

    Probably the most imporant part of Lenin being killed is that the October Revolution, as a violent uprising that overthrows the legal government, is unlikely to occur. He almost single-handedly pushed the Bolsheviks away from a popular front with the Mensheviks and S-Ds with Kamenev and Zinoviev leading the calls for cooperation and a change in government.
     
  7. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Donor Monthly Donor

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    But Trotsky organised and led that uprising, he's still in play. So if the Petrograd Soviet agrees to it going ahead, why doesn't it happen ITTL?
     
  8. Zulfurium Well-Known Member

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    Lenin literally spent the days leading up to, and during, the revolution trying to convince the others in the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks that they should take powers for themselves and exclude the Mensheviks from power. At this point the Bolsheviks can't take the Petrograd Soviet themselves and would need support from the other parties if they are to take power.

    Trotsky and Stalin were the only ones supportive of Lenin's obsession with violent revolution, and even then Stalin was closer to a neutral position at the start of the discussions. After this debate Lenin wanted to have Kamenev and Zinoviev shot as traitors to the party, but was calmed down. He never really forgave them for talking this conciliatory stance, and it was central to why they ended up losing the internal power struggles of the party.

    Without Lenin there to demand they overthrow the government it seems far more likely to me that they would end up working with the Menshviks, which changes the entire dynamic of the revolution. My difficulty lies in trying to figure out what would happen if the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks cooperate, or the Bolsheviks are successfully suppressed.