October Revolution in Russia

The Great War

Europe 1917.1201

October Revolution in Russia

World War I in Europe and the Russian Revolution (1 December 1917)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

On November 7 (October 25 in the Russian calendar of the time), Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian government. The first item on Lenin's agenda was to end Russia's involvement in the War.

Main Events

Battle of Passchendaele

Fifty British and six French divisions launched an attack on the German-occupied ridges south and east of Ypres, Belgium. After a long and bloody campaign in which both sides lost several hundred thousand men, the Allies succeeded in taking Passchendaele - not even 10 km east of original front - in early November.

Battle of Caporetto

The Austro-Hungarians, supported for the first time by German troops, broke through Italian lines along the northern Isonzo near the town of Kobarid (then in Austria but now in Slovenia and called Caporetto in Italian). The attackers used a combination of new stormtrooper tactics and poison gas to rout the Italians, forcing them to retreat more than 100 km in the direction of Venice. In all, the Italians suffered about 300,000 casualties - of which 250,000 were as prisoners - and lost virtually all their artillery.

October Revolution

On October 25 (Old Style), Bolshevik Red Guards, led by Leon Trotsky, mount an armed insurrection in Petrograd, capital of the Russian Republic, capturing several government buildings. The following day, they seize the Winter Palace, the seat of Alexander Kerensky's Provisional Government. The Bolsheviks declare a new government, the Council of People's Commissars, with Vladimir Lenin as its head. Simultaneously and over the following days, other Bolshevik uprisings take place in towns and cities across Russia.

Battle of Cambrai

The Allies, led by the British, launched an offensive on German lines around Cambrai, France. The first day of the battle saw the first mass tank attack in history, with over 400 British tanks in use. However mechanical failure and German defenses limited the impact of the tanks, and the Allied attack ultimately failed to break through.

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