Vladimir Lenin founded the Russian Communist Party, led the Bolshevik Revolution and was the mastermind of the Soviet state. He was the posthumous source of "Leninism," the doctrine that meshed the beliefs of Karl Marx and Lenin to form Marxism-Leninism, which became the Communist manifest. Lenin engineered the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917 and later took over as the first leader of the newly formed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In 1917, a downtrodden Russia deposed the tsars. Lenin quickly returned home and, perhaps sensing his own path to power, quickly denounced the country’s newly formed Provisional Government, which had been assembled by a group of leaders of the bourgeois liberal parties. Lenin instead called for a Soviet government, one that would be ruled directly by soldiers, peasants and workers. In late 1917 Lenin led what was soon to be known as the October Revolution, which led to three years of civil war. The Lenin-led Soviet government faced incredible odds. The anti-Soviet forces, or Whites, headed mainly by former tsarist generals and admirals, fought desperately to overthrow Lenin’s Red regime. They were aided by World War I Allies, who supplied the group with money and troops but it was to no avail.
In August 1918 Lenin escaped an assassination attempt, when he was severely wounded from an attack from a political opponent. He recovered, but his health was never the same again. Despite the opposition, Lenin came out victorious, however the kind of country he hoped to lead never came to fruition, the one that would be void of class conflict and the international wars it led to. But the Russia he presided over was still reeling from the bloody civil war he’d helped instigate. Famine and poverty cursed much of society. In 1921, Lenin now faced the same kind of peasant uprising he’d used to gain power.
Lenin suffered two strokes in 1922. With his health in obvious decline, others were none too shy in lining up to fill his shoes and easing him out of the picture. He was particularly disappointed with Joseph Stalin, who had begun to amass great power and influence. Lenin suffered yet another stroke in 1923 and died in 1924.