Russia 1917-1939

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  • Russia 1917-1939
    • Tsar Nicolas II
      • Ruler of Russia from 1 November 1984 - 15 March 1917. Secret Police were the Okhrana. The church supported him. He had an un-democratic government.
      • 1905 - lost war with japan. This caused bad harvests and strikes. His soldiers fired on peaceful protestors on Bloody Sunday. In Oct 1905, Duma set up. If they criticised the Tsar, they would be shut down.
      • After his abdication in March 1917 (Feb Rev) his family were sent to Siberia were thy were shot the following year in July.
    • Discontent
      • workers - by 1900 20% were living in cities. working conditions and pay was low Peasants - 80%of Russia. peasants freed from masters in 1861 and were in poverty.
    • WW1
      • 1915- Tsar took control over the army. he was a poor commander, the army lost confidence and suffered from low morale after defeats due to poor weapons and training. Thousands deserted.
        • Rasputin was influencing the control 0f Alexandria and was therefore murdered in 1916
          • Rasputin was a holy man wo curd te Tsa's son of haemophilia. He was trustedand usedhis power to win control over the Russian government
    • Communism
      • Middle-class liberals/ social revolutionaries/ social democrats/ communists opposed the rule of the Tsar as they supported the peasants. the C's were divided into Bolsheviks (lenin) and mensheviks (Trotsky).
        • Many were in exile, plotting revolution.
    • Feb-April 1917
      • Feb - uprising against Tsar. fod riots, poor working conditions, failure to win war. Army joined the rioters. Lenin raced to Petrograd on a train provided by germans. tsar forced to abdicate and provisional government led by kerensky set up in march.
      • April - PG was weak. They brought in reforms which helped workers but didn't deal with land problems or WW1 which they were still fighting. April thesis promised by L+T: peace bread and land, all power to the soviets. this was popular with workers and peasants.
    • July-Sept 1917
      • July - PG order attack on Germany which ends in defeat. this led to riots in which the Bolsheviks joined. Kerensky ordered troops to fire on protestors. lenin fled from Russia,
      • September - Kornilov, loyal to the tsar, attempted to overthrow PG. Kerensky armed and released the Bolsheviks to help put down the uprising. it was a success and they kept the weapons. by sept, they had control of Petrograd nd Moscow soviets.
        • The PG looked weak and Bolsheviks looked like heroes.
    • Oct+ Nov/Dec 1917
      • Oct - MRC led by Trotsky. Captured all important buildings in Petrograd e.g. bridges. Took over by red guard and kronstadt sailors. Took over winter palace with no bloodshed as Kerensky had already fled - meaning the rest of the PG surrendered.
      • Decrees - government set up-Sovnarkom with Lenin as its chairman.  abolished all titles, made men equal to women, employment insurance, make peace, abolish all non-Bolshevik newspapers, land was redistributed. Elections for  constituent assembly held. Dec - divorce made easier + Cheka made.
    • 1918
      • The red terror - the cheka would eliminate any opponents by arresting, torturing or executing them. when people tried to assassinate lenin in 1918, he launched the red terror campaign. 50,000 people were arrested and executed in this period.
      • Treaty of brest litovsk - signed in march 1918 in order to escape the war. The lost 60 million people, 3/4 of its iron and coal and 1/4 of its farmland.
      • Civil war 1918-21 - reds = communists, whites = capitalist and allies. The whites wanted to stop the spread of communism. By 1920, the foreign nations had pulled out.
        • Reds able to win as whites were spread out + had bad connections.
    • 1921
      • war communism - reds were able to win the civil war as they took control of factoriesmand rationed food in villages. the cheka seized all surplus gain from peasants. drought famine hit Russia in 1921 -over 4 million died.
      • Krostadt revolt march, sailors at the kronstadt naval base (Petrograd) revolted. they accused lenin of breaking his promise to help the workers. He ordered the red army to put down the revolt. this caused 20,000 casualties and the leaders of the revolt were executed.
        • The mutiny was a warning to Lenin that he may have to relax war communism.
      • NEP - alternate to WC. smaller industries were returned to their owners and surplus could be sold on an open market in return for a profit. This was a return to capitalism an competition. Some became rich (kulas) and others gained profit from selling in own (nepmen). This gave Russia breathing space however some were against it as it went against communism.
    • Stalin vs. Trotsky
      • After Lenin's death in 1924, there was a battle for his position in government. Trotsky was  big from the civil war and position with Lenin however he wanted world communism. Stalin was general secretary which allowed him to access information and eliminate his opponents easily. wanted socialism in one country.
    • 5 Year Plans
      • GOSPLAN set 3 5YP between 1928-41. the 1st, 1928-32, concentrated on heavy industry such as coal, steel and iron. It did not meet its targets. 2nd, 1933-37, focussed on customer goods.. However, due to Nazism, this was scrapped and returned to heavy industry. 3rd, 1938-41, was abandoned as Nazis invaded the USSR
      • Propaganda was used to maximise production. e.g. alexi stakhanov who moved 102 tonnes of coal in one night set up). workers encouraged to follow and stakhanovites formed shock brigades to copy their hero. these were killed and the campaign stopped. USSR became second most industrial country in the world.
    • Purges 1928-38
      • Stalin used the NKV to undertake the great terror. the first to go were managers, workers, kulaks. he put old Bolsheviks on show trial which were ad then put into gulags. anyone who supported trotsky would have the same. the red army purged to remove info. 1 mil communist members and 2omil Russians purged.
    • Collectivisation
      • In late 1920, Russia suffered a food crisis. in1929, stalin ordered the collectivisation of farms. kolkhoz - former owners joining land. It attacked kulaks as they had to share. 10-15 mil died and food production decreased. there wasn't enough food to feed the increasing population. It was a failure.
    • Cult of Stalin
      • Cult of personality - propaganda was used in every aspect of life to promote Stalin. this created a totalitarian state. his name and pictures were every where, poems and songs were written about him. The league of the godless burnt churches and children learnt Stalin's version of history.
    • 1936 New Constitution
      • Made to convince the outside world that the USSR was a free society. It only confirmed that stalin was a dictator.
        • Stalin
          • millions suffered. there was brutality  an was a  dictatorship bloodier than hitler's.
            • however, schools were built and  insurance and industry were introduced.
    • Women
      • Under lenin, marriage and divorce were made easy. abortion was free and there was greater  equality in the workplace. the number of broken homes increased.
        • The state encouraged families by paying child allowances, making divorce and abortion harder. Women were expected to work full time.


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