The July Days, a string of insurrections in Petrograd, Russia during the first week of July in 1917, quickly became a flashpoint for the already coming tide of revolution. In the masses protesting the newly organized provisional government were soldiers and workers who were met with force by the provisional governments loyal troops. As seen in the image above, what appears to be hundreds of people running from rifle fire in the streets of Petrograd.
While the chaos of the July Days solidified the escalating violence seen along the road to full revolution, the impacts of the July Days goes much deeper. Following the July Days the provisional government accused the Bolsheviks of leading the insurrection and even made several arrests. The provisional government, on a downward spiral, attempted to maintain control via anti-bolshevik propaganda, continually releasing reminders in Petrograde for soldiers and workers to stay at their jobs. The All-Russian committee urged these workers to ignore the calls of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, however the seeds of discontent were deep and the July Days were the manifestation.
I believe the most powerful aspect of the July Days, actually did not occur during the first week of July in 1917, but rather the following response. The provisional government’s use of staunch military force to suppress protestors in a busy city street, displays that Russia was living, as Freeze states, “…in a cloud of military catastrophe.”(Freeze 286) the July Days became continual reminder to the Russian people that the provisional government was in disarray and seemed on the verge of toppling on itself. While the revolutionary citizens of Petrograde understood the road to revolution would be bloody and painful, they also saw the inevitable collapse of the provisional government.
Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: a history. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
“July Days Images.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. January 09, 2016. Accessed February 12, 2018. http://soviethistory.msu.edu/1917-2/july-days/july-days-images/#bwg6/206