Is a Revolution in the Offing?
By Abraham H. Miller
May 29, 2013
I used to own a poster from the old USSR of the “famous charge” on the Winter Palace during the October Revolution. The focal point of the poster was an ordinary soldier, with a fixed bayonet on his rifle, waving others forward toward the well-defended palace walls.
I liked the poster for its art. As a piece of history, it was, however, like many things that came out of the old Soviet Union: a wonderful depiction of an event that did not quite happen.
As the military historian D. J. Goodspeed recounts, there was no charge against the Winter Palace. While the communists assembled outside the gates, the members of the provisional government sat down to a bountiful, late dinner, seemingly oblivious to the surrounding threat. Communist units entered the palace gates and were surrounded by overwhelming forces and surrendered. But as more and more communist units entered, more and more of the defenders, seeing a never-ending stream of revolutionaries, deserted their posts. Sometime early in the morning of the next day, the remaining defenders saw themselves terribly outnumbered by their captives and they too began to leave their posts.