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The Revolutions of 1917 to World War II. Serenity Hughes . The Revolutions of 1917. The year 1917 is a political, economic, and social watershed. Russia experienced two revolutions

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The revolutions of 1917 to world war ii

The Revolutions of 1917 to World War II

Serenity Hughes

The revolutions of 1917

The Revolutions of 1917

  • The year 1917 is a political, economic, and social watershed.

  • Russia experienced two revolutions

    • The 1st revolution served to break sharply with an autocratic, monarchical, and feudal empire (brief periods of reform)

    • The 2nd revolution marked the beginnings of one of the largest socioeconomic and political experiments the world has ever witnessed.

Interpretation ohhhhhhhh

Interpretation ohhhhhhhh

  • Three basic approaches to interpreting the vents of 1917:

    • The Soviet Interpretation

    • The Liberal Interpretation

    • The Libertarian Interpretation

The soviet interpretation

The Soviet Interpretation

  • Largely propagandistic

    • Served to justify the existence and popularity of the regime

  • Relied heavily on Marxist concepts

  • Claimed that the Revolutions of 1917 were inevitable historical events

The liberal interpretation

The Liberal Interpretation

  • Discounts the historically determined argument in favor of one that highlights the seizure of an opportunity created by the decay of the monarchy and the weakening of the Russian State and society during WWI.

Impact of wwi

Impact of WWI


The libertarian interpretation

The Libertarian Interpretation

  • Deemphasizes both the Marxist and liberal views in favor of one that highlights the ability of Russian workers and peasants to self-manage and self-organize.

  • Populists, anarchists, and libertarians perceive the resulting Soviet two-class system of rulers and ruled as a result of the Bolsheviks.

The founding of the provisional government

The Founding of the Provisional Government

  • In March 1917, Russian women and men organized a series of demonstrations, protests, and riots in the streets of St. Petersburg

  • Russian troops were sent to “handle that” but due to them agreeing with the protesters, they did nothing to end the protests

  • Ministers and government officials then went into hiding, resulting in the overthrow of the Russian government.

The revolutions of 1917 to world war ii


  • On March 12, the PG was founded.

  • Was headed by Prince George Lvov

    • Surrounded himself with a cabinet of reformers

  • Attempted to institutionalize democratic reforms, provide for the equal protection of all Russians before the law, and promulgate a set of socio-political liberties that all could enjoy.

  • Provided a host of labor rights

    • Allowed the collective bargaining rights and limited workday lengths

The petrograd soviet

The Petrograd Soviet

-HATED the Provisional Government

-Had a radical and democratic approach to things

-Challenged the authority and actions of the Provisional Government, offering alternative or counter proposals to nearly every action taken.-Order Number 1 (A Proclamation to Russian troops that military units should by ran by elected committees with officers only serving to oversee tactical maneuvers).

-Populist appeal

-Proved more democratic, nimble, and radical than its provisional counterpart.

Struggles of the provisional government

Struggles of the Provisional Government

  • Became desperate as time went on…….

  • In 1917, a group of radical personnel, peasant and worker mobs, and Bolshevik activists led an uprising against the Provisional Government.

    • FAILED but…… Lvov resigned YAYYYYYYY (but wait…….)

Cont kerensky the provisional government

Cont…. (Kerensky, The Provisional Government)

  • A socialist named Kerensky acceded to power.

  • He organized the State Conference in August, and was committed to a more socialist approach to regime change (garnered broad appeal)

  • Soon after, the Provisional Government was undermined….. But WHY???? (hint: it’s on page 51)

The great october revolution

The Great October Revolution

  • Bolsheviks captured convincing majorities in the Petrograd and Moscow Soviets, reflecting the rising tide of grassroots Bolshevik organizing.

  • Vladimir Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders returned from self-imposed exile in Finland to convince the Petrograd Soviet that it was time for a socialist revolution!!!!!!!!

    • Began with the strategic occupation of various locations throughout the capital by Bolshevik troops in the evening of November 7th. On November 8th, they arrested the Provisional Government.

Marxism leninism



Lenin s modifications to marxism

Lenin’s Modifications to Marxism

  • Lenin advocated the creation of the Vanguard of the Proletariat, an elite intellectual group of professional revolutionaries, to organize, motivate, and lead the Russian population in a socialist revolution.

  • Lenin advanced the concept of democratic centralism as the guiding principle by which to organize the party and state

    • i.e. the organization of the Soviet Union’s state institutions

  • He focused on promoting a global socialist revolution.

Early communist russia war communism and the russian civil war international involvement

Early Communist Russia, War Communism, and The Russian Civil War, International Involvement


War with poland

War with Poland

  • Sought to capitalize on an obviously weakened and transitional Russia

  • In April 1920, Poland invaded Russia with the intent to recapture portions of the Ukraine and what would become Belorussia

  • Initially, the Poles were SUCCESSFUL

  • Then……the Red Army counter-offense pushed the Poles back into their territory and nearly resulted in the capture of Warsaw (OH NOOOO)

  • BUT, Poland emerged victorious, acquiring nearly everything it wanted in the Treaty of Riga in 1921 (yayyyy)

National independence movements

National Independence Movements

  • The Bolsheviks found themselves struggling with Russia’s imperial legacy of being a multiethnic empire.

  • Several of Russia’s national territories sought to achieve independence from Russian rule

  • Most of these attempts at independence failed ( AWW MAN) BUT Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania all achieved independence.

Bolshevik victory and the founding of the u s s r

Bolshevik Victory and the Founding of the U.S.S.R

  • Lenin and the Bolsheviks emerged from the Russian Civil War victorious despite essentially fighting multiple wars against multiple enemies

  • On December 30, 1922, the Bolsheviks moved ahead with the tasks of creating a socialist regime by formally constituting the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the U.S.S.R, compromised of the federation of the Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Transcaucasian Soviets.

The new economic policy nep you should read this on your own but i ll discuss the main points

The New Economic Policy (NEP)You should read this on your own, but I’ll discuss the main points

  • Created by Lenin

  • Was a strategic and temporary retreat from institutionalizing real socialism.

  • The NEP represented a significant rollback of the economic programs of War Communism, but allowed the Communists to retain absolute control of the reins of the political institutions.

  • The NEP proved to be successful in accomplishing its goals.

    • LOTS OF KULAKS- small business owners

The stalin era

The Stalin Era

  • Emerged as the leader of the U.S.S.R in 1927 following a bitter struggle for succession among the Communist Party leaders.

  • He preferred the theory of Socialism in One Country, a realistic approach that avoided concerns for the development of communism beyond the borders of the Soviet Union and focused on promoting policies to secure the domestic welfare of the state.

  • Stalin foreshadowed events to come by forcing everyone who opposed his rise to power either to recant or leave the country.

Cont five year plans

Cont….Five year Plans

  • Designed to replace and destroy the remnants of the NEP, the 5 Year Plans were a series of centralized planning programs, frequently dictated by administrative fiat, which detailed goals for economic production and the development of the Soviet economy.

    • 1st-

      • Stalin thought it was important for the Soviet Union to rapidly industrialize its economy

    • 2nd

      • Stalin introduced the policy of agricultural collectivization by which all individually held land was consolidated into larger factory farms, essentially industrializing the agricultural process.

The revolutions of 1917 to world war ii


  • Second Five-Year Plan

    • Focused on heavy industry with an emphasis on steel production and military hardware, the development of the Soviet infrastructure, and the completion of the project of collectivization

    • The Third Five-Year Plan

      • Rapid industrial growth and output, but with an emphasis on considerably expanding the Soviet Union’s military capacity.



  • Shortages of quality consumer goods were commonplace, forcing many Soviet citizens to participate in the illegal black market in order to survive.

  • Workers were punished to their physical and mental limits to meet their respective quotas and to avoid punishment.

  • Five million members of the kulak class were eradicated from Soviet society

The great purge

The Great Purge

  • Stalin embarked on a campaign in the early 1930s to eliminate ALL opposition, or potential opposition.


The nkvd and the nkvd troika




  • 700,000 DEATHS

The 1936 constitution

The 1936 Constitution

  • In 1936, Stalin circulated a new Constitution designed to modernize the Soviet political institutions while solidifying his own political authority.

  • This new constitution strengthened the official role of its vanguard, the Communist Party, in general, and Stalin’s role as a leader, in particular.

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