While the July Days were meant to “end the revolution’s summer of discontent”, Kornilov had to deal with the ever increasing amounts of strikes and factory shutdowns from the working and lower classes. The amount of economic and social distress was starting to build more corruption within the government and was taking a toll on the food and fuel distribution systems that were essentially to fending off the encroaching German army.
Regarded as a hero because of his escape from a Hungarian POW (prisoner-of-war) camp in 1916, General Lavr Kornilov was appointed Supreme Commander of the Russian armed forces on July 18. He was immediately tasked with ending the revolutionary chaos. Kornilov believed that the Provisional Government led by Alexander Kerensky lacked the backbone and force needed to strike down the rebellions. His first means of business was to lead an attack on the Petrograd. With help from General Krymov who led the “Savage Division” and the Third Cavalry Corps, the plan was in action and supposed Kerensky’s approval, he proceeded to lead an army into Petrograd. Kerensky ended up seeing the coup d’etat happening and sacked Kornilov by calling in Soviet troops which happened to be primarily Bolshevik Red Guards. Kornilov ended up failing miserably and was arrested.
Picture of the Red Guards after the defense of Petrogard. Provided by alphahistory.com
However, with the Kornilov Affairs, Kerensky was now hated by both sides; the left-wings believed he had been in league with Kornilov, and the Kornilov supporters now saw him as a traitor. The Kornilov Affairs also demonstrated perfectly how Kerensky was nervous and how inefficient and useless the Provisional Government was. When Kerensky called for the help of the Soviets and Red Guards, he had given the literally tools and ammunition that they needed to show where the power really was especially with the release of Bolshevik leaders. The Kornilov Affairs pushed the revolution further down the track and made it that much easier for the Bolsheviks to rise into power.