Left-wing leaders were worried that civil war would result in the victory of reactionary forces.
The other socialist parties were bitterly divided about appropriate action.
Most believed that the strong working-class support for Bolshevik rule made it a fundamental step forward to be defended as "progressive" if also criticized as illegitimate.
The divisions and the willingness to resort to violent resistance to what was viewed as a new workers' state may finally be considered more significant to the initial Bolshevik success than its discipline and ruthlessness.
The formal victory of the Bolsheviks in the autumn and early winter of 1917-18 did not mean that they had established effective rule over the former tsarist empire.
They didn't control the soviets in many parts of the country.
The leaders of the political right and center in Russia thought that the chaos of 1917 had caused criminal elements to take up the reins of state power.
The leaders of France, Britain, and the United States thought that the Bolsheviks were incapable of ruling Russia for very long.
Most of Europe's leaders were alarmed and embarrassed when the tsarist government published the secret treaties it had made with Europe's warring governments.
Military leaders in Germany were not interested in peace without annexations because they held so much territory.
The collapse of Russia's military forces made the Bolsheviks powerless to negotiate peace terms with the Germans.
The peace agreement signed by the Bolsheviks in March of 1918 resulted in huge losses in Poland, the Ukraine, and the territories of the Baltic region.
The United States, Britain, and France began giving support to the anti-Bolshe vik armies that were forming on the fringes of the areas under Bolshevik control.
There were assassination attempts on the Bolsheviks before the armies began to march.
On January 1, 1918, an assassin's bullet narrowly missed Lenin, wounding a companion near him.
Nine months later, after delivering a speech that ended with the words "with us there is only one way, victory or death," Lenin was gravely wounded by a young woman, Fania Kaplan, who had previously been associated with the Socialist Revolutionary Party.
On the same day, another prominent Bolshevik, Moisei Solomonovich Uritsky, was assassinated by a young revolutionary who was previously associated with the Socialist-Revolutionary Party.
The Cheka was the secret police in Petrograd.
Kannegiesser and Kaplan were both Jewish.
The establishment of the Cheka was a major step by the Bolsheviks in the direction of exercising power with force, as they were concerned about the breakdown of central rule throughout the country.
In the month of January 1918, the Red Army was established with the aim of being able to exercise power.
The term "terrorist" was associated with European revolu tionary traditions dating back to Robespierre's terror of 1793-4.
The association with "Red Terror" was accepted by the Bolsheviks as necessary to defend the workers' state against the counterrevolutionaries.
Robespierre's terror lasted about a year and killed a few thousand, but the Red Terror developed into something far more ruthless, pervasive, and long- lasting, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands and the torture and imprisonment of many more.
The "land" and "peace" elements of the 1917 slogan were dealt with by the Bolsheviks as they began to impose their will with ruthless violence.
The new rulers of Russia wanted to equalize the allocation of goods and regulate the distribution of food.
Under War Communism, getting food for the cities involved sending out armed units of workers to force peasants to give up what they had stored.
War between the city and country was the result of brutal class conflict.
Some peasants were willing to cooperate with War Communism because they were afraid that the enemies of the Bolsheviks would reverse the land seizures that the new regime had recognized.
There was a lot of uncertainty and confusion, as the civil war drew in an array of mutually hostile groups, often mixing in the hopes of non-Russian nationalities to become independent of the new Soviet regime.
There was stomach-turning cruelty on all sides.
Many foreign observers doubted that the Red Army could survive a civil war in which the White armies were attacking from all directions with support from the western powers.
The Red Army survived and prevailed.
It is more impressive and decisive than the assumption of formal state power in November 1917.
There were many reasons for this turn of events.
The lack of coordination and mutual hostilities of the anti-Bolshevik armies was the most important.
With no military background, Trotsky gave inspiration to the Red Army, while its soldiers fought with determination.
The Red Army was weak and relatively strong.
Even if deceptive promises and the ruthless application of terror were essential to the takeover and continued rule of the Bolsheviks, their ultimate success in retaining power is difficult to explain without recognizing the support they enjoyed from significant parts of the population.
By late 1920 and early 1921, the Bolsheviks realized that their working-class support was faltering and that peasant acquiescence was turning into active opposition.
Following strikes in Petrograd, the Kronstadt naval garrison rose in revolt, accusing the Bolsheviks of betraying the promises of the November Revolution.
The rebels called for soviet rule.
The Red Army was dispatched to crush the rebellion by the sailors at Kronstadt.
There was a bloodbath.
The crisis was over, but the days of Bolshevik rule were numbered unless concessions were made.
The New Economic Policy, or NEP, replaced War Communism in 1921 and involved a partial return to market principles.
Peasants were allowed to sell some of their produce on the open market after they were forced to turn over their crops.
Although the state retained the "commanding heights" of the economy, small-scale urban businessmen were allowed to sell for profit.