History progresses in 4 stages: Stage 1: feudalism Stage 2: industrial capitalism– rise of bourgeoisie Stage 3: socialism– communal ownership of means of production Stage 4: communism– stateless, classless society "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.“ – Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto, 1848 Why was Russia an unlikely place for a communist revolution?
Russian Empire in the 1800s Demographics: –60 nationalities –100 different languages –Slavs, Europeans, Middle Easterners, & Asiatic peoples A feudal agricultural economy (serfdom until 1861) Autocracy –Government in which one person rules with unlimited authority
Russia in the Early 1900s Late 19 th century– state-sponsored industrialization Russo-Japanese War– national humiliation Revolution of 1905– lack of real reform Results: Alienation of the lower classes –Debts, taxes, & rent kept peasants & urban workers bound to poverty Opposition: -- Mensheviks When Russia has sizable working class = socialist revolution –Bolsheviks Revolutionary leaders could bring socialist revolution
Russia & World War I (1914-1917) Military was ill-equipped & inefficient Losses: –1.7 million soldiers dead –5 million soldiers wounded –2 million civilians dead Food supply within Russia scarce soldiers & civilians starving
Spring 1917 Strikes and food riots break out in St. Petersburg –Soldiers & peasants protest & revolt –Czar fails to put down revolts, St. Petersburg soviet (workers council) takes over city March 15, 1917 –Czar Nicholas II abdicated (step down from rule) –Romanov dynasty over
The Provisional Government Alexander Kerensky = prime minister Continued fighting in WWI = very unpopular with the masses! Failed to deal with social reform, land reform –Life in Russia did not improve!
Response to Provisional Government Rival Power: Monarchists = return to czarist rule Mensheviks = moderate Socialists Bolsheviks (later “Communists” = Radical Socialists Bolsheviks called for peace, land reforms, & better working conditions, but lacked organization…
Lenin Biography Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov = V.I. Lenin Intelligent, radical, & passionate Middle-class background (studied law) Brother executed by czar in 1885 dedicated his life to radical revolution (Bolshevik) Exiled for beliefs
Return of Lenin 1917 Lenin returns to Russia (escorted by the Germans) Goals: –Organize Bolsheviks –Seize power from provisional government “Peace, Land, and Bread”
Bolsheviks Seize Power Effects of World War I worsen November 6, 1917 –Bolsheviks overthrow provisional government –“Bloodless” coup d’etat in St. Petersburg Kerensky = resign; Lenin = assumes control Bolsheviks assume absolute power by forcefully disbanding rival parties (e.g. Social Revolutionary Party) Ruled country through local ‘soviets’
A Socialist State Bolsheviks become the Communists End private ownership of property Distribute land among the peasants Workers control factories & mines Officials: –Leon Trotsky = Foreign Affairs –Joseph Stalin = National Minorities
Russian Civil War (1918-1921) 1918 Political opponents contest Communists Taking Sides: –Reds = Communists –Whites = Moderates (assistance from U.S., France, Britain, Japan) Fighting destroys Russia for 3 years –Starvation & economic depression
Outcome of Civil War Lenin & Communists maintain power & defeat the Whites in 1921 1922 Communists rename Russia the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R. or Soviet Union) Long-lasting distrust of Western nations Communists remain in power until end of the Cold War (1989)