By Richard B. Spence Ph.D., University of Idaho
The Russian Revolution is connected with many names and allegations, especially in terms of financial sources that backed the revolutionaries. The role of Germany in the Russian Revolution is not a secret. Germany wanted Russia out of the war scene, so they engaged in a set of conspiracies to bring about revolution in the czarist empire.
What Led to the Russian Revolution?
When the czar fell with the conspiracy of the Freemasons in the Russian Parliament, Lenin was in Switzerland. He did not know how to get out of Switzerland. With France and Italy refusing to help with the fear of losing their alliance with Russia, the Germans delightfully accepted to help him. They helped him go to Russia in a sealed train strictly guarded by German soldiers.
The German government also vowed to fund the Bolshevik propaganda campaign with the help of Parvus to set up front companies and banks.
When Lenin went back to Russia, with the help of the German money, he started a propaganda campaign. The Bolshevik party, which had decreased to 10,000 ranks at some point, increased to 200,000 by late summer. Although there was no clear sign that Lenin had directly received money from the Germans, the provisional government’s intelligence had found out about the schemes. Also, he engaged in an attempt to bring down the provisional government. Lenin had to escape to Finland because he was accused, and other Bolsheviks, including Trotsky, were jailed.
This is a transcript from the video series The Real History of Secret Societies. Watch it now, on Wondrium.
However, they were not prosecuted because there was no solid evidence that the transactions with Germans were more than simple business ones. But another speculation is that the Masonic Alexander Kerensky, the head of the provisional government, was behind dropping prosecutions against them. He hoped that in the future, he might be able to use the Bolsheviks’ help.
He was right after all. There was an attempted coup against Kerensky’s government by a general Lavr Kornilov. Kerensky sought help from Trotsky and Bolsheviks. He released them and they, together with workers, rallied against Kornilov. They succeeded in ousting his rebellion and the Bolsheviks were given all the credit for this victory.
The October Revolution
Finally, the Bolshevik Revolution, with the slogans of “All Power to the Soviets and Peace, Land, and Bread” succeeded in toppling the provisional government. Also known as the Bolshevik coup, the revolution did not take over the whole country. They controlled big cities including Moscow and Petrograd.
Lenin believed that the revolution in Russia had to be backed by a world revolution, especially in advanced countries. But he couldn’t be more wrong. Although some communist rebellions happened in some European countries, all of them failed.
Learn more about Red Octopus: The Communist International.
Bolshevik Allies in America
Bolsheviks made allies in different places, some very surprising. For example, they managed to find some allies in Wall Street.
One of them was William Boyce Thompson, the American mining tycoon and investor. In 1917, he went to Russia as the head of a Red Cross mission. They were apparently helping Russia with war but they were secretly looking for opportunities for future business. He gave one million dollars to Kerensky and then to Lenin when he took over after the Revolution.
Another Bolshevik ally from America was John Reed, a radical socialist who worked as a journalist. He went to Russia as a journalist to cover the news of war. He then met Thompson and became a big fan of the Bolsheviks. But his relationship with the Bolsheviks was complicated. He was even supposed to be appointed as the ambassador of the Bolshevik Revolution in the U.S.
Who was Grigori Rasputin?
One of the most famous personalities during the Russian Revolution is Grigori Rasputin. He was a mystic who had close ties with the family of the czar. He is often depicted as an evil man with no moral values who betrayed his country. But these are far from the truth and are generated by lies, resentment, and gossip. He was accused of being used by secret societies working with German conspirators.
These accusations were mainly made by Father Iliodor, who was once his friend. Now his bitter enemy, he was encouraged by Maxim Gorky to write a book about Rasputin’s role in the abdication of the czar’s government.
In 1914, Iliodor fled to Norway after he was accused of an attempted murder of Rasputin. While he was in Norway, he realized that Rasputin, along with the Empress Alexandra, was arranging a separate peace with Germany. He was allegedly connected with a secret cabal in Stockholm, called the Greens. The Greens were actually the secret society of Baltikum, formed by Pro-Berlin Russian Germans who were after disintegrating the Russian Empire.
Iliodor went to New York in 1916. The British intelligence agents told him that the plot for separate peace had to be stopped, otherwise it would have deadly consequences for Rasputin and the Romanovs. This is exactly what happened. Rasputin was killed by a British officer called Oswald Rayner. He simply put his revolver in Rasputin’s head and shot him.
Learn more about 1904-The Russo-Japanese War.
Common Questions about the Russian Revolution
Rasputin was a mystic who had close ties with last czar of Russia. He had a plot with the czar’s wife to make a separate peace with Germany. He was finally killed by a British officer called Oswald Rayner.
The German government helped Lenin get out of Switzerland and go back to Russia. They also helped him financially to spread propaganda and expand his Bolshevik party.
Before the Russian Revolution, the Duma abdicated the czar. The Russian provisional government took over and planned to hold elections. But they were defeated by the Bolsheviks.
Alexander Kerensky was the leader of the provisional government in Russia. He asked Lenin to help him suppress a coup. Finally, the Bolsheviks defeated him and took over the country.