How successful was Lenin in creating a new society in Russia?

AQA Modern World History GCSE revision cards based on the syllabus.

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War Communism

  • War Communism was brought in to put Communist theories into practice by redistributing wealth among the Russian people and to help with the Civil War by keeping the towns and the Red Army supplied with food and weapons.
  • Farms and factories were put under state control - private trade was banned.
  • Food was taken for soldiers and industrial workers - peasants who refused to hand it over to the Red Army were shot or sent to labour camps.
  • The Secret Police (CHEKA) hunted and executed any enemies of the state.
  • Industrial workers were not allowed to strike or be absent from work. They could be sent to any region. Experts were brought in to improve efficiency.
  • Everyone between 16-60 had to work except for the sick and pregnant women.
  • War Communism resulted in famine and decline.
  • There were food shortages from 1920 - and famine from 1921 - over 7 million people died of hunger.
  • The worthless currency was abandoned and wages were paid in fuel and food.
  • The workers had to leave cities because there was little food in the towns.
  • The industry declined.
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The Kronstadt mutiny

  • In February 1921, Bolshevik policies sparked a mutiny at the Kronstadt naval base.
  • Trotsky's troops put down the uprising, but Lenin abandoned the emergency policies of War Communism.
  • The Kronstadt sailors had been among the strongest supporters of Lenin and Bolshevism, so the mutiny upset him greatly.
  • The consequence of this was that it led to the New Economic Policy (NEP).
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The New Economic Policy (NEP)

  • The NEP allowed peasants to sell their surplus grain for profit and they would pay tax on what they produced, therefore the government would take 50% of any yield and leave the rest of the grain for selling or self-use. This meant that the peasants were rewarded for their hard work as they would always keep 50% of the yield.
  • The NEP was very successful in the long run as production levels soared and the economic situation got better, and by 1925, production levels were at an all-time high.
  • It caused some opposition because some members of the Bolshevik party thought that the NEP used ideals from the Capitalist parties. For example, the NEP took money from peasants, whereas Communism would mean that everyone would be equal.
  • The USSR was created by Lenin in 1923. It stood for 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.'
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