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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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Essential questions for russia germany and japan
Essential Questionsfor Russia, Germany and Japan

  • What role does leadership play in shaping the face of a country?

  • Is Public Opinion spontaneous?

Authoritarian regimes

Rise of Communism

Failure of Monarchy +

Provisional Government

How did Stalin come

To power?

Stalin’s strength vs.

Weaknesses of rivals

Communist Russia

How successful was

Stalin’s policies?

Does the end justify

the means?

What was life like

Under Stalin’s rule?

Political, economic, social


Background of russia
Background of Russia

  • Russia as a very divided society.

  • Capital (St. Petersburg) vs. Provinces (90% were from countryside)

  • Educated vs. Uneducated

  • Russian vs. Western ideas

  • Rich vs. Poor

History of revolution in russia
History of Revolution in Russia

  • 1905 Revolution “Bloody Sunday” : When a peaceful demonstration led by Father Gapon turned bloody and innocent civilians were killed. Protests spread across the country in reaction.

    -Result: Image of monarchy took a beating.

  • 1905 Russia lost to Japan in Manchuria.

    -Result: Myth of regime’s invincibility smashed. Emergence of illegal political parties working to overthrow monarchy and establish another political system.

History of revolution in russia1
History of Revolution in Russia

  • 1) Social-Democratic Labour Party: Marxist. Split into Bolsheviks (Majority) and Mensheviks (minority)

  • 2) Party of Socialist Revolutionaries: Agrarian Socialist

  • 3) Constitutional- Democratic Party: Liberals

  • Autocracy was under attack in Russia.

  • In 1905: the Marxists in St Petersburg founded a Soviet (Council of workers’ deputies

  • Tsar responded by proposing a Manifesto which promised civil liberties/rights and an elected Duma (parliament). Therefore managed to get moderate middle class to support him. And successfully suppressed rebellion

Impact of wwi on russia
Impact of WWI on Russia

  • Living conditions in Russia deteriorated as a result of WWI. Most Russians wanted the Tsar to end the war. PEACE

  • Insufficient food, due to diversion to army and inadequate transport system. Led to massive inflation. BREAD

  • Peasants wanted a fairer distribution of land. (even before WWI) LAND

Changes of government in russia
Changes of government in Russia

  • March/Feb 1917: Kaiser abdicates. (Did not have the support of army or people) Unpopular as the Russians were losing badly in WWI. Low morale amongst Army + people.

  • Provisional Government (Moderates) established to run the country in place of the Tsar.

Role of the provisional government
Role of the Provisional Government

  • To govern Russia until new elections can be held for a new Parliament.

  • To hold elections by end of 1917

  • To cooperate with committees of workers, peasants and soldiers (soviets) who had taken over the major Russian cities. E.g. St Petersburg/Petrograd (name changed after 1914).

Failure of the provisional government
Failure of the Provisional Government

  • 1) Chose to keep Russia in WWI

  • 2) Did not carry out land reform. (Vested interest of members) Peasants took matters into own hands.

  • 3) Power struggles:

    -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.

Failure of the provisional government1
Failure of the Provisional Government

-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.

Russian civil war

Russian Civil War

Reds (Bolsheviks) vs. Whites (Social revolutionaries, landowners, navy and army officers, monarchists and other conservatives + foreign aid)

Bolsheviks were victorious
Bolsheviks were victorious.

  • Russian Civil War 1918-1921.

  • Red Army led by Leon Trotsky was a disciplined and united force.

  • 1924: Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR) New capital in Moscow.

Rise of stalin

Rise of Stalin

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?

Authoritarian regimes

Rise of Stalin

Stalin’s strengths

-Outwitted his rivals

Weaknesses of his


-Personal weaknesses

(Trotsky’s arrogance)

-Allowed themselves

To be manipulated

(Kamenev + Zinoviev)

Made alliances to

Get rid of


(Nobody is


Used his position as

Secretary-General to

Appoint his supporters

Into important posts.

Loyal to Stalin.

Stalin takes power 1924 1929
Stalin Takes Power 1924–1929

  • Lenin died in 1924.

  • Everyone thought Trotsky, the brilliant leader of the Red Army would become leader – especially as Lenin left a Testament (will) saying that Stalin was dangerous and should be dismissed.

  • But it was Stalin who took power.

    Source A

    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).


  • Stalin was made General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922.

  • Everybody thought it was a dull, unimportant job.

  • Stalin used it to get his supporters into important positions.

    Trotsky was unpopular

  • Trotsky was brilliant, but nobody liked him: they thought he was too big-headed.

  • Secretary Stalin told him the wrong date for Lenin’s funeral, so he missed it – this made him more unpopular.

  • Trotsky also wanted to try to cause a world revolution; many Russians feared that this would ruin Russia.

Politically ruthless
Politically ruthless

  • The Politburo was divided into two halves. .

  • The Leftists (Zinoviev and Kamenev) wanted world revolution, and to abolish the NEP, but they hated Trotsky because they thought he was too ambitious.

  • The Rightists (Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky) wanted to continue the NEP until the USSR was stronger.

  • Stalin played one side against the other to take power:

  • First, he allied with Zinoviev and Kamenev to cover up Lenin’s Will and to get Trotsky dismissed (1925). Trotsky went into exile (1928).

  • Then, he advocated ‘Socialism in one country’ (he said that the USSR should first become strong, then try to bring world revolution) and allied with the Rightists to get Zinoviev and Kamenev dismissed (1927). Stalin put his supporters into the Politburo.

  • Finally, he argued that the NEP was uncommunist, and got Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky dismissed (1929).

Campaigning for lenin s position

Campaigning for Lenin’s position

Lenin died in January 1924.


  • Stalin + 3 publicity managers = 4

  • Trotsky + 2 publicity managers = 3

  • Kamenev + 1 publicity manager = 2

  • Zinoviev + 1 publicity manager = 2

  • 1 Private Investigator hired by Trotsky to keep an eye on Stalin: Need to reveal Stalin’s underhand tactics.

  • Possible successors: You need to appeal to the Committee members to vote for you as the new leader

  • Publicity managers: Help to do research on the character, and to dig up factual information that will discredit the other person.


  • Spend 10 minutes reading the notes + textbook.

  • Next 10 min: Formulate argument

  • Each potential successor will have 3 (max) minutes to make your appeal about why you should be the new leader, and not anybody else. (Total 15 mins)

Stalin outwitted his rivals and established himself as the leader of the communist party

Stalin outwitted his rivals and established himself as the leader of the Communist Party.

He established an authoritarian regime and ruled as a dictator.

Authoritarian regimes

Can make and pass laws leader of the Communist Party.

Without support from people

Or other members of


Other political parties

Banned. Establishment of

The Party-State.

Opponents put on show

Trial and thrown into jail/killed

Establishment of


Used propaganda to

Persuade people to accept

+ obey him.

Exaggerated achievements

Centralized the Education system

Put under government control.

Indoctrination of pro-CCP/Stalin

Sentiments to instill loyalty to party/state

In students

Authoritarian regimes1
Authoritarian Regimes leader of the Communist Party.

  • No separation of powers between Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. All under Stalin’s control

  • No accountability to the people. People not consulted. Alternative voices not allowed. Only voice = Voice of the Party-State.

  • Untruthful: used propaganda to transmit false information that served the purposes of the Party-State

  • Party-State: The Party and the State are synonymous. The Party is the governing Body, rather than an elected Parliament which has members from different political parties.

Authoritarian regimes

Stalin’s aim was for Soviet Union to be a modern industrial state that will be more powerful than USA and Britain.

2 Policies:

-Rapid Industrialisation

-Collectivisation of Agriculture

Why was russia so easily defeated by germany previously in wwi

Why was Russia so easily defeated by Germany previously (in WWI)?

Why was it important for Russia to build itself up now?

Industry and the 5 year plans

Industry and the 5-Year Plans   WWI)?


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)

What does this poster suggest about the 5 yr plan
What does this poster suggest about the 5 yr plan? WWI)?

  • A propaganda poster of 1934.It is titled: 'Peasants can live like a Human Being'.  

  • Study the poster - can you see how it is promising people the following:

    •   enough to eat,

    •   adequate clothing,

    •   the latest consumer goods,

    •   electricity,

    •   education,

    •   happiness.

Reasons WWI)?

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.  

How was it achieved
How was it achieved? WWI)?

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.

  • There was a concentration on heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods or good housing.

  • Stalin attacked the Muslim faith because he thought it was holding back industrialisation

How successful
How successful? WWI)?


  • Production levels rose dramatically (see Successes)

    Successes ...

    1. The USSR was turned into a modern state (which was able to resist Hitler's invasion).

  • There was genuine Communist enthusiasm among the young ‘Pioneers’.  

    3. There were huge achievements in the following areas:

  • new cities, dams/ hydroelectric power, transport & communications

  • the Moscow Underground

  • farm machinery

  • electricity

  • coal

  • steel

  • fertilizers

  • plastic

  • no unemployment

  • doctors & medicine

  • education.  

Source b results
Source B (Results) WWI)?

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.

Failures criticisms
Failures/ Criticisms WWI)?

1. Poorly organised – inefficiency, duplication of effort and waste.  

2. Appalling human cost:

  • discipline (sacked if late)

  • secret police

  • slave labour

  • labour camps (for those who made mistakes)

  • accidents & deaths (100,000 workers died building the Belomor Canal)

  • few consumer goods

  • poor housing

  • wages FELL

  • no human rights

    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.  

Source c
Source C: WWI)?

  • “Mines and factories were claimed to have doubled their production since 1928. This was an exaggeration. Yet even sceptical estimates put the annual expansion in industrial output at 10% between 1928 and 1941; and the production of capital goods probably grew at twice the rate of consumer goods during the Five-Year Plan. The USSR had at last been pointed decisively towards the goal of a fully industrialised society.”

  • British Historian on the gains of Industrialisation

Authoritarian regimes

Stalin’s policies WWI)?

(Central Planning)

Aim: To build up Russia

Economically + Militarily

Means: Industrialisation

Five-year Plans



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

opposing Party-State)

Ultimate goal: For a modern + powerful Russia

Collectivisation WWI)?

  • Small private farms amalgamated into large pieces of collective land, with modern equipment like tractors.

  • Aim: To make farming more efficient.

  • (i) By increasing crop yield through use of technology, which in turn requires fewer farmers to work the land.

  • (ii) Surplus farmers can be re-located to factories to work, thereby contributing towards the Industrialisation of Russia.

  • However, there were opponents to this scheme.

  • The so-called ‘Kulaks’ or ‘rich peasants’ who did not want to relinquish the system of private ownership of land under the previous New Economic Policy advocated by Lenin.

  • The Kulaks were ruthlessly purged. 4-5 million died from this collectivisation and grain seizures.

What form did collectivisation take
What form did Collectivisation take? WWI)?

  • Sovkhoz (Ideal) : Collective farm where the peasants members are paid fixed wages, regardless of output.

  • Kolkhoz (Reality): Collective farm where peasant members are rewarded by results.

  • I.e. They were paid out of the farm revenue, according to their number of ‘labour days’ (contribution). If the quota was not met, the farm was not paid.

Consequences of collectivisation
Consequences of Collectivisation WWI)?

  • USSR able to:

  • Export grain to other countries. This revenue from exports enabled the USSR to pay for its import of industrial machinery

  • Provide the cities with adequate food.

    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.

Some questions
Some questions WWI)?

  • How successful were Stalin’s policies of Industrialisation and Collectivisation?

  • “Stalin’s use of terror tactics was justified.” Discuss.

  • Points to consider:

  • Does the end justify the means of achieving them?

  • Is the price for the creation of an industrialised and modern Russia worth paying?

S talin s terror
S WWI)?talin’s Terror  


  • The most famous aspect of Stalin's Russia was the Terror. This grew from his paranoia and his desire to be absolute autocrat, and was enforced via the NKVD and public 'show trials'.   It developed into a centrally-enforced 'cult of Stalin-worship', and a terrifying system of labour camps - 'the gulag'.

  • “A witch-hunt atmosphere was concocted. For Stalin used the party as a weapon to terrify all opposition to his economic policies.” British Historian Robert Service. (Service, 2003: 185)

Reasons for the terror why did stalin use terror
Reasons WWI)?for the TerrorWhy did Stalin use Terror?

  • (Why Unnecessary Purges?)

  • 1.   Whole Country

  • Stalin believed that Russia had to be united – with him as leader – if it was to be strong.

  • 2.   Urgency

  • Stalin believed Russia had 10 years to catch up with the western world before Germany invaded.

  • 3.   Paranoia

  • Stalin became increasingly paranoid (seeing plots everywhere) and power-mad (he demanded continuous praise and applause).   In 1935, his wife killed herself.

  • ** Ultimately terror was needed to scare people into supporting Stalin/Stalin’s policies.  

The apparatus tools of terror how did he terrorize ussr stalin takes total control
The WWI)?Apparatus/tools of Terror: How did he terrorize USSR? (Stalin Takes Total Control)

1.   Secret Police

  • The CHEKA became the OGPU (1922), then the NKVD (1934).

    2.   The First Purges, 1930–33

  • Including anybody who opposed industrialisation, and the kulaks who opposed collectivisation.

    3.   The Great Purges, 1934–39 “Witch-hunts”

    Political Opponents

  • 1934: Kirov, a rival to Stalin, was murdered. Although he probably ordered the assassination, Stalin used it as a chance to arrest thousands of his opponents.

  • 1934–1939, Stalin’s political opponents were put on ‘Show trials’, where they pleaded guilty to impossible charges of treason (e.g. Zinoviev and Kamenev 1936/ Bukharin, Tomsky & Rykov 1938).  

The apparatus of terror stalin takes total control
The Apparatus of Terror WWI)?(Stalin Takes Total Control)

  • The Army

  • In 1937, the Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army and 7 leading generals were shot. In 1938–39, all the admirals and half the Army’s officers were executed or imprisoned.  

  • The Church

  • Religious leaders imprisoned; churches closed down.  

  • Ethnic groups

  • Stalin enforced ‘Russification’ of all the Soviet Union.  

  • Ordinary people

  • Were denounced/ arrested/ sent to the Gulag (the system of labour camps). 20 million Russians were sent to the camps, where perhaps half of them died. People lived in fear. ‘Apparatchiks’ (party members loyal to Stalin) got all the new flats, jobs, holidays etc.

Authoritarian regimes

  • The most famous description of Stalin's Terror is WWI)?The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.   

    One reviewer writes:   

  • 'Drawing on his own experience before, during and after his eleven years of imprisonment and exile, on evidence provided by more than 200 fellow prisoners, and on Soviet archives, Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression - the secret police operations, the labor camps and prisons, the uprooting or extermination of whole populations.

The apparatus of terror stalin takes total control1
The Apparatus of Terror WWI)?(Stalin Takes Total Control)

4.   Cult of Stalin

  • Censorship of anything that might reflect badly on Stalin

  • Propaganda everywhere - pictures, statues, continuous praise and applause

  • Places named after him

  • Mothers taught their children that Stalin was ‘the wisest man of the age’

  • History books and photographs were changed to make him the hero of the Revolution, and obliterate the names of purged people (e.g. Trotsky).

Authoritarian regimes

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.

Source A

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

Authoritarian regimes

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.

Source B

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

Results of the terror
Results accused often pleaded guilty to crimes they could not possibly have done. Using Source B, discuss about why they might have done this. of the Terror

  • (Results Of The Terror – Insane Stalin Grabs All Power)

  • 1.   Russification – Russia came to dominate the whole USSR.

  • 2.   Orthodox Church attacked

  • 3.   Twenty million arrested – perhaps half died.

  • 4.   Terror – People lived in fear of the Secret Police.

  • 5.   Industry – grew (the Terror provided free slave labour), but technology and science were held back by loss of top engineers and scientists.

  • 6.   Stalin Cult

  • 7.   Gulag

  • 8.   Army and navy weakened by purges of leading officers

  • 9.   Purges – political opponents eliminated

Authoritarian regimes

Instead of the State fading away, in the final stage of Communism, it actually grew stronger in ‘Communist’ Russia.

State controlled economy (State-planned economy), social life, information (Media), even minds.