Was the October Revolution a coup d’etat or a popular uprising? – Timeline Role-play Exercise

Was the October Revolution a coup d’etat or a popular uprising?


The Provisional Government which took over from the Tsar in February 1917 remained committed to keeping Russia in the Great War. How significant this decision was in terms of contributing to the Provisional Government’s overthrow by the Bolsheviks in 1917 is another subject of debate.

Timeline Roleplay Exercise (interactive exercise using the Online ActiveHistory Presentation).
In this exercise, students are asked to start organising evidence under four headings: (a) Provisional Government mistakes/weaknesses; (b) Bolshevik mistakes/weaknesses; (c) Provisional Government strengths/successes; (d) Bolshevik strengths/successes.
The teacher will use this Online ActiveHistory Presentation to guide students through the key events between February and October. Each slide presents a fresh development, and students discuss and then vote on what they think the relevant party (Provisional Government or Bolsheviks) should do in order to increase their popularity. This is then compared to what really did happen so that students can then determine under which heading they should place their notes.
This is a highly effective and efficient way of getting students engaged with, and reflecting on, the key events in a step-by-step manner as a starting point.