Authoritarian Regimes. Chapter 3. Essential Questions for Russia, Germany and Japan. What role does leadership play in shaping the face of a country? Is Public Opinion spontaneous?. Rise of Communism Failure of Monarchy + Provisional Government. How did Stalin come To power?
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Failure of Monarchy +
How did Stalin come
Stalin’s strength vs.
Weaknesses of rivals
How successful was
Does the end justify
What was life like
Under Stalin’s rule?
Political, economic, social
-Result: Image of monarchy took a beating.
-Result: Myth of regime’s invincibility smashed. Emergence of illegal political parties working to overthrow monarchy and establish another political system.
-Increasing power of Soviets. Soviet could provide food for the Russian people.
-Kornilov Affair: Controversy about this. General Kornilov said that Kerensky (leader of the provisional government) had asked for his help to re establish order in Petrograd. But Kerensky said that Kornilov was attempting a military coup. Kerensky turned to Bolsheviks for help.
-Bolsheviks formed Red Guards with weapons provided by the Provisional Government.
-Germans facilitated the movement of Lenin from Switzerland (was living in exile), hoping that his return to Russia would create political unrest back there.
-November 1917: Lenin led the Red Guards in taking over key buildings in Petrograd and arrested members of the Provisional Government.
-First Communist State established.
Reds (Bolsheviks) vs. Whites (Social revolutionaries, landowners, navy and army officers, monarchists and other conservatives + foreign aid)
Account for the Rise of Stalin
I.e. Which were the most important factors?
When in power, how did Stalin consolidate his hold on it?
-Outwitted his rivals
Weaknesses of his
To be manipulated
(Kamenev + Zinoviev)
Made alliances to
Get rid of
Used his position as
Appoint his supporters
Into important posts.
Loyal to Stalin.
I am not sure that Comrade Stalin will always use his power properly.
Comrade Trotsky, on the other hand, is distinguished by his outstanding ability.
Lenin’s Will (1923).
Trotsky was unpopular
Lenin died in January 1924.
He established an authoritarian regime and ruled as a dictator.
Without support from people
Or other members of
Other political parties
Banned. Establishment of
Opponents put on show
Trial and thrown into jail/killed
Used propaganda to
Persuade people to accept
+ obey him.
Centralized the Education system
Put under government control.
Indoctrination of pro-CCP/Stalin
Sentiments to instill loyalty to party/state
-Collectivisation of Agriculture
Why was it important for Russia to build itself up now?
Stalin modernized industry by means of the 5-Year Plans.
He achieved fantastic successes, but at the most appalling human cost, and while industrial output soared, the production of consumer goods remained static.
There were three Five Year Plans – 1928–33 and 1932–1937. 1938-1942 (Disrupted when Germany invaded Russia)
• enough to eat,
• adequate clothing,
• the latest consumer goods,
1. Many regions of the USSR were backward. Stalin said that to be backward was to be defeated and enslaved. ‘But if you are powerful, people must beware of you’
2. Stalin believed (with Lenin) that the USSR should ‘overtake and outstrip the capitalist countries’. He believed in ‘Socialism in one country’ – the USSR would become strong enough to survive, then would take over the rest of the world.
3. He believed Germany would invade. In 1931, he prophesied: ‘We make good the difference in 10 years or they crush us’.
4. The 5-year plans were very useful propaganda – for Communism and for Stalin.
1. Plans were drawn up by GOSPLAN (the state planning organization)
2. Targets were set for every industry, each region, each mine and factory, each foreman and even every worker.
3. Foreign experts & engineers were called in
4. Workers were bombarded with propaganda, posters, slogans and radio broadcasts.
5. Workers were fined if they did not meet their targets.
6. Alexei Stakhanov (who cut an amazing 102 tons of coal in one shift) was held up as an example. Good workers could become ‘Stakhanovites\' and win a medal.
7. (After the First 5-year plan revealed a shortage of workers) women were attracted by new crèches and day-care centres so that mothers could work.
8. For big engineering projects such as dams or canals, slave labour (such as political opponents, kulaks or Jews) was used.
1. The USSR was turned into a modern state (which was able to resist Hitler\'s invasion).
3. There were huge achievements in the following areas:
1927 1933 1937
Electricity (\'000 million kw) 5 13 36
Coal (million tons) 35 64 128
Oil (million tons) 12 21 47
Steel (million tons) 4 6 18
(from official government figures.Note that historians have found that Stalin\'s statisticians overstated the increases by about a third - they dared not do anything else!
It was the official line that Stalin had achieved a remarkable improvement, and a statistician who found otherwise would have been sent to Siberia.)
Note: Magnitogorsk was an industrial city that was built
Mainly from slave labour.
1. Poorly organised – inefficiency, duplication of effort and waste.
2. Appalling human cost:
3. Some historians claim the tsars had done the ‘spadework’, setting up the basis for industrialisation, and that Stalin’s effort had very little effect on a process that would have happened anyway.
Aim: To build up Russia
Economically + Militarily
Aim: Increase food supply and
Therefore make food prices more
affordable for the urban masses
Means: Collectivisation of Farm
Land. + Improving farming methods
“Free farmers from land so that they
Can work in factories”
Aim: To ensure support
For above policies
(To punish opponents,
To deter others from
Ultimate goal: For a modern + powerful Russia
State grain collections rose from 10.8 million tons in 1928-9 to 22.8 million tons in 1931-32.
However, this meant that in case of a harvest failure, it was the countryside rather than the towns which went hungry.
1. Secret Police
2. The First Purges, 1930–33
3. The Great Purges, 1934–39 “Witch-hunts”
One reviewer writes:
4. Cult of Stalin
1. \'The worst aspect of the Terror was not the deaths, but the stultifying effect it had on the everyday life of ordinary people\' Using Source A, discuss this claim with a friend.
At the end of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone leapt to his feet.
However, who would dare to be the first to stop – after all, NKVD men were in the hall waiting to see who quit first. And in that obscure hall, unknown to the Leader, the applause went on – 6, 7, 8 minutes! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed of heart attacks!
Aware of the falsity of the situation, after 11 minutes, the director of the paper factory sat down in his seat.
And, oh, a miracle took place! Everyone else stopped dead and sat down.
That, however, was how they found who the independent people were. And that was how they set about eliminating them. They easily pasted 10 years in a labour camp on him.
Solzhenitsyn, writing about a Communist Party meeting in 1938
2. An amazing aspect of the Show Trails was that the accused often pleaded guilty to crimes they could not possibly have done. Using Source B, discuss about why they might have done this.
I plead guilty to being one of the leaders of this \'Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites.\' I plead guilty to the sum total of crimes committed by this counter-revolutionary organization, whether or not I knew of, whether or not I took part in, any particular act...
For three months I refused to say anything. Then I began to testify. Why? Because while in prison I made a revaluation of my entire past. For you ask yourself: "If you must die, what are you dying for?"
Nikolai Bukharin\'s Last Plea to the court in 1938
State controlled economy (State-planned economy), social life, information (Media), even minds.