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In February 1917, the centuries-old and immense empire of the Czars, ally of the United States and Britain during World War I, suddenly collapses. Eight months later, the revolutionaries, under Lenin's leadership, take power and sign an armistice with Germany.
Few would have bet on this government of inexperienced militants, against a force of armed counter-revolutionaries sustained by the West. But the mobilization of the population, the power of the Red Army and political police, the experience the communists gain during the war, and Lenin's skill in directing the new political economy, allow the Bolsheviks to strengthen their hold on the great empire.
By the time of Lenin's death, on January 21, 1924, the door has been opened to many decades of communist power, though as Stalin gains prominence, that power will become much different than that of the heroes of the October Revolution.
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