Back in Petrograd, it was if the February revolution had never happened.
The Czar's regime had been replaced with a temporary provisional government. It's ministers were democrats, but many were land owners too and they were committed to continuing the war with Germany.
Exiled Revolutionary leaders had different ideas and they were on their way home. In a train from Switzerland, came one of the most important of the Revolutionaries, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. His party name was "Lenin". This was the man who would take over the Russian Revolution. The people of Russia are looking forward to becoming one of the freest nations in the world, but Lenin is on his way and determined to seize the revolution, and make it his own.
Lenin was well known within Russia, seen as a very dangerous revolutionary, but at the time the new authorities felt that the spirit of new Russian democracy required that they allow Lenin back into Russia.
Lenin brought back to Russia his Marxist ideals and on the long train journey through war-torn Europe he wrote down his template for Russia's socialist future.
He pronounced his ten principles, like Moses with the tablets with the Ten Commandments. The 10 April thesis essentially boiled down to two things; All power to the Soviets, which means no confidence in the provisional government and secondly 'Down with the Imperialist War'. But he would have to convince his party, the Bolsheviks.
Lenin's slogan was "Peace, Bread and Land" and it was much more appealing than the provisional government's continuing commitment to the war with Germany.
Soldiers had lost the desire to fight a war which seemed increasingly pointless.
Russians wanted peace, but they didn't want to surrender their country to Germany. Soldiers had a complex attitude toward the war because it was their lives on the line and they said "We're going to be defensive, we're not going to go over the top but if they attack us, we'll fight back." This government which had been there since the Czar was overthrown suddenly declares an offensive at the front, though the government hasn't changed and neither has its war ends.
In Petrograd, soldier's mutiny determined not to be sent to the front. It ignites the biggest threat yet, to the new government.
What sparked it off is the attempt of the government to move troops out of Petrograd as part of this offensive and the people said that was the line in the sand, we're not going to cross, we're going to stop you from doing that.
They take to the streets, demanding that power be transferred to the Soviets, they appeal for support to the sailors in Kronstadt. The sailors respond immediately. At first light on July 4th, 10,000 sailors meet in Anchor Square.
The sailors receive ammunition, board their ships and head down the gulf toward the Capitol. Their aim was simple, to overthrow the provisional government. The men of Kronstadt were fired up to protect the freedom they had gained, but had no real clue about how to do it. So they turned to the man who seemed destined to lead them.
Lenin devised as a program which almost exactly match what the Kronstadt sailors want. No support for the government, no support for the war, it's almost designed with the sailors in mind.
Thousands of sailors disembarked in Petrograd and headed through the city streets, gathering many others on their way. By the time they arrived to the Bolshevik headquarters, they were eager to hear Lenin, but Lenin had no idea what to say to them. Lenin gives a few phrases such as "It's great to see you... wonderful." His confusing speech from the balcony, lasted less than a minute.
The frustrated sailors moved on into the city to meet with soldiers and other demonstrators, many still ready for a fight. The problem is nobody else is ready to lead them or carry out that fight. It could easily have been a July revolution. Nobody could have saved the Provisional government from the Kronstadters and from the demonstrators. They could have just walked in and arrested the provisional government, but they had nothing to put in its place.
The demonstration was to end tragically. In the heart of the city, provisional government troops fired on the protestors from the rooftops. The demonstration turned into a riot. There was looting, violence and killing. The attempt by the sailors to bring down the government had backfired completely, and the Bolsheviks were now ruined.
The July days appears to be the radicals overstepping the mark. So the government cleverly begins to turn this to its own advantage, by saying we have papers to prove Lenin is being financed by the Germans. Lenin is branded a German spy and a traitor to his homeland. Orders are issued for his arrest. Lenin immediately goes into hiding, out of reach of the Provisional government and the Bolshevik movement simply carries on, semi-underground. Lenin believes at that point, they've lost the Revolution.
The Bolsheviks are ruined...
Russian Revolution in Color (DVD)
The Russian Revolution and Civil War, this bloodsoaked time from the battlefields, testimonies, and colorized archives help unfold the dramatic story of the Communist rise and seizure of power in 1917.