The storming of the Winter Palace on October 25, 1917 marked, in some ways, the event of the Bolshevik Revolution. There's no doubt it was important. In this class, however, we encounter various interpretations of the Revolution that have something in common: they will challenge you to think of "the Revolution" as a process that began much earlier than 1917, and lasted long after. Many of our sources--both the ones produced by actors involved in the process, and the ones that have been produced by historians since--will challenge you to question why it is we often look to turning points, to big events, in order to explain historical change, rather than long-term processes of transformation. Is it because they are more significant? Or because they are more photogenic? And how, in retrospect, does one event come to be seen as more important than another?
The above photograph of the storming of the palace, which we discussed on the first day of class, holds some of the answers. Several of you said you had seen the photo before. Indeed, it's well known. It captures the founding event in October 1917 that gave birth to the Bolshevik state...or does it?
There's a bonus for anyone who can tell us, on Monday in class, the story of the photograph and why, in fact, it means a lot more than first meets the eye.