Lecture 11: Communism Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Lecture 11: Communism Deck (18):

3 fundamental reasons for revolutions

i. weakness of regime
ii. forces from below
iii. revolutionary elite


Weakness of old regime
- ancien regime
- regime breakdown
- Russia and WW 2

Ancien regime
- late industrializer
- autocratic, Russia was still largely peasant

Regime breakdown
- crushed in Russo-Japanese war of 1904
- fiscal crises, incompetency
- formation of Duma but still only controlled by emperor/autocracy

Russia in WW1
- 5 mill casualties, shortage of supplies for soldiers
- humiliated by Germans
- regime legitimacy questioned + gives no extra power to Duma


Forces from below
- working class
- peasants
- no middle class

Working class radicalizes because are excluded from decision making

No mediating middle class - mostly controlled by aristocratic elites

Militant peasantry; traditionally against authority & officials; anarchic & militant


Revolutionary elite
- bolshevik/menshivik dynamics
- who wins

Bolsheviks = radical, Leninists

Menshiviks = originally Trotsky supp, moderates, opposed to absolute revolution

- Bolsheviks had edge with workers though + based on Lenin's ideas, leadership
- Lenin's heroism
- his commitment to revolution

eventually Bolsheviks overtake Menshiviks camp; win peasant support too


February Revolution, 1917
- events leading up to...
- consolidation of power (1917-1924)

- random uprising vs Tsar 1917
- mutiny in Russian army
- Lenin returning from exile
- 1917, provisional government established; later, October 1917 Lenin throws coup d'etat

Consolidation of power follows


How did Lenin control communist Russia?

5 main points

- treaty of brest-litovsk 1918
- cheka
- civil war, 1918-1921
- war communism


I. treaty of brest-litovsk, 1918 details

as war goes on, Lenin wanted to find way to get Russia out no matter what; humiliating deal with Germany that ceded much of West Russia was signed.

- internal > external conflicts prioritized


2. the cheka

Dec 1917 --> Lenin sets up secret police force; secret spies spy in factories, villages, etc.

Red Terror campaign begins; 50,000 targeted


3. the civil war, 1918-1921

- broke in 1918, fighting against "white armies" supported by former Russian allies who were afraid of communism
- also some nations decl independence
-white armies = aristocrats; became class wa primarily
1920 --> Bolshevik, red army victory


4. war communism

war communism = establishing communism during war ear; ideology facing pragmatic issues of world

broken economy needed to be kept running

state nationalization of industry + goods; forced seizure, rationing

drought and famine in 1921; 4 mill. die


5. New Economic Policy (NEP)

- Russian Bolshevik victory of Civil War; admin chaos + econ. devastation
- Lenin must reconcile ideology with reality; relaxes economically
- some private ownership, industries, peasants sell
- problems; a) kulaks (rich peasants) b) nepmen (rise of bourgeoisie, businessmen in town)

- generally against strict Marxian principles


Post Lenin Russia; 5 main points.

- leadership struggles
- building socialism in one country
- stalin's dictatorship
- collectivization
- five year plans


I. Leadership Struggles

Trotsky and Stalin had rivalry; former wanted intl communism, latter wanted ntl communism.

1928 --> Stalin wins.


II. Building Socialism in one country

- Stalin's slogan
- needed to urbanize, need for tech, infrastructure, education, etc.
- national modernization of Russia


III. Stalin's dictatorship

- purge policies from 1934-1938
- period of great terror
- targeted army officers, admirals, members of Communist party


IV. Collectivization

- Stalin forcefully imposed it & eradicated Kulaks
- 5 million die
- manage to feed workers and survive WWII though


V. Five Year Plans

- Anatomy of Revolutions

- industrialization thru state control
- 3 "Five Year Plans" from 1928-1941 to increase production
- USSR industrializes with great human price
- Anatomy of Revolutions;
1. incubation
2. symptomatic
3. crisis
4. convalescence; can be split into smaller phases.


Extra slide on Soviet Union; extra things to note.

- empire; may nations within it but elites educated at the core
- developmental state; centralized power mandated development projects throughuout
- military regime using brute force, defending borders
4. heroic - moral backing to their existence