1917: November 7
On November 7, the Bolshevik revolution officially overthrew the weak interim government established as a stop-gap measure to fill the power vacuum caused by Tsar Nicolas’ forced abdication eight months earlier. The coup d’état was bloodless, with the Bolsheviks occupying strategically important buildings in Petrograd and instating Lenin as the head of the new government within two days. Bolshevik Russia was the world’s first Marxist state.
Germany allowed Lenin and his lieutenants to re-enter Russia after the February Revolution, hoping to undermine the Russian war effort. They succeeded- Lenin and the Bolsheviks were ideologically opposed to the “imperialist” war, and the government’s priority of exiting the costly and deadly war meant that Lenin would sign a preliminary armistice with Germany on December 16. Trotsky, the second most powerful political actor in Russia, signed the full Brest-Litvosk peace treaty the following March.