October RevolutionSt Petersburg, Russia
On 23 October 1917, the Petrograd Soviet, led by Trotsky, voted to back a military uprising. On 6 November, the government shut down numerous newspapers and closed the city of Petrograd in an attempt to forestall the revolution; minor armed skirmishes broke out. The next day a full scale uprising erupted as a fleet of Bolshevik sailors entered the harbor and tens of thousands of soldiers rose up in support of the Bolsheviks. Bolshevik Red Guards forces under the Military-Revolutionary Committee began the occupation of government buildings on 7 November, 1917. A final assault against the Winter Palace—against 3,000 cadets, officers, cossacks, and female soldiers—was not vigorously resisted. The Bolsheviks delayed the assault because they could not find functioning artillery At 6:15 p.m., a large group of artillery cadets abandoned the palace, taking their artillery with them. At 8:00 p.m., 200 cossacks left the palace and returned to their barracks.
While the cabinet of the provisional government within the palace debated what action to take, the Bolsheviks issued an ultimatum to surrender. Workers and soldiers occupied the last of the telegraph stations, cutting off the cabinet's communications with loyal military forces outside the city. As the night progressed, crowds of insurgents surrounded the palace, and many infiltrated it. At 9:45 p.m, the cruiser Aurora fired a blank shot from the harbor. Some of the revolutionaries entered the palace at 10:25 p.m. and there was a mass entry 3 hours later. By 2:10 a.m. on 26 October, Bolshevik forces had gained control. The Cadets and the 140 volunteers of the Women's Battalion surrendered rather than resist the 40,000 strong attacking force. After sporadic gunfire throughout the building, the cabinet of the Provisional Government surrendered, and were imprisoned in Peter and Paul Fortress. The only member who was not arrested was Kerensky himself, who had already left the palace. With the Petrograd Soviet now in control of government, garrison, and proletariat, the Second All Russian Congress of Soviets held its opening session on the day, while Trotsky dismissed the opposing Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) from Congress.