Presentation on theme: "The Ten Days that Shook the World October 1917. The Russian Condition Growing Rich-Poor Gap80% of population illiterate90% of population agriculturalTrade."— Presentation transcript:
The Russian Condition Growing Rich-Poor Gap80% of population illiterate90% of population agriculturalTrade unionism repressed Workers radicalized
Poverty by the Numbers Population of St. Petersburg doubled between 1890 and 1910 1.5% of the Russian population controlled over 30% of the land Average of 16 people per apartment in St. Petersburg (six per room) Widespread food shortages …
Revolutionary Movements Evolve Intellectuals dominated dissident groups Populism (borrowed from England and America) found a following in Russia Anarchists existed …… But Socialists were dominant Thus …. No surprise ……..
Friedrich Nietzsche Son of German Lutheran minister, well-educated Theology-Philosophy Influenced by friendship with Richard Wagner (atheism and a ‘turbulent view of the world’) Series of physical aliments and a mental breakdown lead to early death Very little of his writing is published in his lifetime. 1844-1900
Nietzsche’s Arguments The highest value is to be true to yourself Knowledge and strength are greater virtues than humility and submission Anti-democracy, anti-religion, anti-socialist and expressed belief in a master race and the coming of a superman - "man is something which ought to be overcome"
Existentialism Nietzsche’s legacy Assumes we are at our best when we struggle against our nature Man must know that perfection is not possible, but must be attempted Rejects religion because it presents rules, but man cannot live by the rules because a ‘sin-free’ life is beyond human nature Core of Marxist philosophy
Georg Hegel German born theologist Argued for Teleological Ethics, a theory based on an assumption that what makes an action right or wrong is its outcome One ought to act in whatever way will maximize happiness. Drawn from historic perspective 1770-1831
Dialectic Reasoning Hegalian model Critical thinking about problems and evaluating conflicting viewpoints Theses-Antitheses-Synthesis Becomes most critical in determining the morality of an action Leads to Marx and Dialectic Materialism (defines historic development as a class struggle)
Conditions Ripe for Revolt Weak leadership – Nicolas II unqualified Suspicious of the Czarina Rumors of Rasputin’s influence An economy in decline AND ………………….. Losses and Failure of Russian Efforts in WWI
1.8 million killed, 2.8 million wounded 2.4 million taken prisoner
The Provisional Government Headed by Minister of Justice, Alexander Kerensky Established full civil liberties, but did not guarantee land reform Did not resolve economic crisis Did not remove Russia from the War Influence was undercut by the creation of socialist soviets (Petrograd).
July Crisis Led by Gen. Kornilov Appointed head of armed forces by Kerensky Conspired with aristocrats to establish a military dictatorship Kerensky called on the Soviets for help Coup was thwarted But – more revolutionary activity was coming General Kornilov
Red Terror September to October 1918 Response to White Terror Mass arrests and executions by the Bolshevik government Interrogations and torture by the Cheka Between 10,000-15,000 dead
Cheka ‘Temporary’ organization to control unrest Originally had no arrest powers, but quickly gained them (as well as the right to try and execute). Forerunner of Soviet KGB.
War Communism 1917-1920 Largely determined by military events. Effort to sway the population to the Bolsheviks Capital was moved from Petrograd to Moscow Attempt to create a worldwide Communist Revolution
Russian Civil War Follows Red Terror and during period of War Communism Whites vs. Reds Foreign intervention – Japanese, French, U.S. Leads to death of Czar and family Red army led by Trotsky succeeds
Trotsky Marxist exiled to Siberia in 1900 and ended in London Returned to Russia in 1905, headed Petrograd Soviet Exiled again, escaped again, and returned to Russia in 5/17 Arrested by Kerensky, released, assisted in the October Revolution Negotiated Treaty of Brest- Litovsk 1879-1940
Kronstadt Revolt 1921 Period of economic crisis Worker unrest in Petrograd Kronstadt Naval Base led the revolt Crushed by Trotsky and the sailors were deemed traitors to Communism and executed or exiled The Party tightened ideological control, and the New Economic Policy was introduced
The New Economic Policy Announced by Lenin in 1921 Farmers were allowed to sell food on the open market - the kulaks Allowed some internal trade, state banks, and private commerce Improved food distribution – helped farmer. Resented by urban workers Abolished in 1929 by Stalin
Lenin Russian born lawyer Deported for revolutionary activity – settled in Switzerland Returned to Russia 10/17 Leads Bolsheviks to overthrow of Provisional Government Struggled with Stalin over power 1874-1924
Leadership Structure Soviets Congress of the Soviets Politburo Comintern
Stalin’s Character & Early Career He was born in 1879 into miserable poverty in Georgia (territory of Russian Empire). Ruthless - did whatever was necessary to further the cause of the Bolshevik Party, e.g. crime - rob banks & trains; endure repeated imprisonment & torture in Siberia. Devoted to Communism & Bolshevik Party, e.g. turned his back on early religious education; Steadily rose up through Bolshevik Party – eventually became part of its leadership: member of Central Executive Committee; editor of Pravda (party newspaper); after revolution - Commissar for National Minorities) and member of the Politburo (eventually Chairman); played minor role in the Bolshevik Revolution (unlike Trotsky)
How did Stalin become the leader of the USSR? Presented himself as a reasonable politician who wanted best for USSR & Communist Party. PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGNS AGAINST RIVALS - discredit rivals & present him as Lenin’s successor. Built Political Alliances to isolate rivals As General Secretary, controlled appointments, supporters in key posts - removing those loyal to rivals. UNDERESTIMATED BY HIS RIVALS Stalin not seen as credible successor to Lenin The Struggle for Power (1924 – 1929) Ruthless, determined, cunning, treacherous, manipulative.
Stalin’s Goals 1928 -1953: Modernise Soviet society & economy - creating a truly Communist and prosperous society Ensure the national security of the USSR (After the death of Lenin Stalin had called for ‘Socialism in One Country’ ) Maintain his position as leader
Stalin’s Key Policies Opposition to NEP Collectivization The Five Year Plans The Cultural Revolution (inc. the cult of personality & policies towards women, religion, education & young people) The Purges Leading USSR during ‘The Great Patriotic War’ (1941- 45)
The Five Year Plans “The history of the old Russia has consisted in being beaten again and again…because of her…backwardness, military backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. She was beaten because to beat her has paid off and because people have been able to get away with it. If you are backward and weak then you are in the wrong and may be beaten and enslaved. But if you are powerful…people must beware of you. We are fifty to a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make up this gap in ten years. Either we do this or they crush us.” From a speech by Stalin, 1931
The Five Year Plans (1928 – 1941) GOSPLAN, the State Planning Commission for economic development since 1921, acting under Stalin’s orders. Three ‘Five Year Plans’ between 1928 and 1942: 1928-32 - coal; iron & steel; oil; hydro-electricity; farming 1933-37 – above & manufacturing 1938-42 – above & consumer goods BUT shifted to rearmament early on & interrupted by Nazi invasion (1941)
Cultural Revolution Peasantry –peasants found themselves the victims of increasing state control & famine. Industrial Working Class – Grew as a class due to the success of the Five Year Plans – their achievements in the service of the USSR were celebrated over other groups. Living and working conditions eventually improved. Healthcare improved. Women (& Families) – Some ‘liberation’ in their lives after 1917 – more freedom of choice in marriage, divorce & childbirth (abortion) – represented in Communist Party Religion – Persecution by Lenin and Stalin seen as a rival for people’s loyalties & an obstacle to spreading Marx’s teachings
Cult of Personality – 1930s Media focused on Russian strength based on the programs and strength of Stalin Poems praised his deeds, speeches exalted his skills, modesty, wisdom, and brilliance. People were careful to applaud long and loudly, The person who stopped first would most likely be arrested as it showed great disrespect and disloyalty.
Purges From 1934 to 1938 Stalin conducted a series of purges of the Communist Party, Red Army and other sections of Soviet society – millions died in labour camps, executions or mass killings. A product of Stalin’s paranoia and the result of the tensions awakened by the drastic agricultural, industrial and cultural policies pursued by Stalin, which made Stalin vulnerable to criticism. A series of ‘show trials’ of prominent Communists and military leaders justified the purges –Trotsky (in exile since 1929) was finally assassinated on Stalin’s orders in 1940 in Mexico. Purges secured Stalin’s hold on power, generated more labour for the GULAG system and brought the Red Army to heal, but did immense damage to the operational capability of USSR’s armed forces
Foreign Policy 1918 - 1936 Pragmatic agreements with other states – Treaty of Rapallo with Germany (1922). Less emphasis on ‘World Revolution’ as Stalin had called for ‘Socialism in One Country’