3775 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
Regiment as prisoners, being badly treated
along the way and on their arrival at the
prison. Ultimately most of those who survived were saved through the personal intercession of a British officer, General Knox,
who went to the headquarters of the Bolsheviki and demanded their immediate release.
The Winter Palace with all its priceless
treasures of art was given over to plunder.
The mob removed all that they thought
worth taking and destroyed most of the
rest. Great pictures were slashed, and
portraits of the Czar were treated with especial fury. Curiously enough, one portrait was
spared, that of the German General von
Moltke. Priceless rugs, carpets, and tapestries were cut to pieces through mere wantonness. Chinaware, gold and silver plate,
much of it the work of great artists long dead
and gone, were carried away by the marauders.
From the Winter Palace the mob passed to
the ancient Hermitage but obtained little
there. In the words of an English correspondent, "It is not only the emperor of all the
Russias who has lost the family goods, nor
Russia alone that has lost no small part of
the treasure of the nation. The world itself
is the poorer for the senseless crime of sacking
the Winter Palace."
The victors proceeded to organize a new
government. It was headed by Nicolai Lenine and Leon Trotsky. The government
of Kerensky was declared deposed, and in a
speech before the Petrograd Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates Lenine declared
amid prolonged cheers: "Now we have a revolution. The peasants and workmen control the Government. This is only a preliminary step toward a similar revolution
everywhere. Three problems must be solved
by the Russian democracy. First, peace
must be made immediately; second, land
must be handed over to the peasants; third,
there must be a settlement of the economic
Leon Trotsky, Lenine's chief associate,.
had lived in many countries and had been
expelled from several. His real name is said
to be Leber Braunstein, and it is said that
he was born in the Russian province of Khersen near the Black Sea. At the time the
revolution broke out in Russia, he was living
in New York City, and his experiences in
the congested East Side of that city undoubtedly embittered him against America
and American institutions.
After his escape from the Winter Palace,
Kerensky succeeded in persuading some Cossacks and other forces to fight under his banner. He advanced toward Petrograd, but
his army was defeated near Tsarko Selo, a
few miles from the capital, and he was again
forced to flee. Moscow was captured by the
Bolsheviki, after desperate fighting in which
several thousand persons were killed. Nearly
everywhere the Kerensky government collapsed. In most places the Bolsheviki gained
control, at least temporarily. Kerensky went
into hiding and, months later, visited England and France, where he received little
Lenine, the Bolshevist dictator, had summarized the ideas of his party as follows:
"We represent the class-conscious proletarians, hired laborers, and the poorer portion
of the rural population. . . . We stand for
Socialism. The workmen's councils must at
once take the necessary practical steps for
the realization of the Socialistic program.
They must immediately takeover the control of the banks and capitalistic syndicates,
with a view to nationalizing them; that is,
making them the property of the whole people. . . . We advocate a republic of councils
of workmen, soldiers, peasants, etc. All the
power must belong to them. . . . Does the
State need a police force of the usual type
and a standing army? Not at all. The people must be made synonymous with the army
and militia. The capitalists must pay the
workmen for their service in the militia.
Should the army officers be elected by the
soldiers? Yes. Furthermore, every step of
the officers and generals must be verified by
special deputies from the soldiers. Should
the soldiers oust their superiors without authority? Yes. This is useful and necessary
in every respect. The soldiers only obey
and respect the authorities they elect. We
are emphatically against this imperialistic
war and the bourgeoise governments conducting it, our own Provisional Government
included.... We are against annexations.
All the promises of the capitalistic