Unit 2B: Russia 1905-41

Detailed cue cards to help memorise key events, their causes, & their consequences.

  • Created by: Lilly_B
  • Created on: 31-03-15 11:54

1. Russia (Late 1800s)

1. Russia (Late 1800s) –

  • Russia was an autocracy, which meant all power belonged to the Tsar.
  • Russia had many different nationalities, so a new Russian policy was issued called ‘Russification’ to force Russian customs.
  • The secret police called the ‘Okhrana’ was used to terrorise the public.
  • The Orthodox Church supported the Tsar, which meant they had a heavy influence on the general public.
  • Russia suffered from heavy censorship of the media;
  • 85% of Russians lived in the countryside & classed as peasants.
  • Farming methods were outdated & soil was in bad condition – food shortages were frequent.
  •  Industrialisation had arrived way too late for Russia (compared to places such as Britain) in the late 1800s.
  • The city life was hard & those who were able to obtain a factory job had considerably low pay & long working hours & lived in the slums. 
  • Tsar Nicholas II himself claimed that he was not ready to rule the country himself has he did not have the right leadership skills. 
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2. Bloody Sunday (1905)

2. Bloody Sunday (1905) –

  • ‘Bloody Sunday’ was cause by the poor living conditions all over Russia.
  • Many workers marched up to the Winter palace in St Petersburg with a petition signed by over 200,000 signatures from workers who demanded change.
  • Tsar had relocated when he hear that the masses had come.
  • The guards panicked & killed masses of the protestors (killing 130 & wounding many more).
  • This resulted in even more strikes from the workers.
  • The St Petersburg protestors formed their own soviet – a workers council to organise strikes. 
  • Work in the city stopped & the council even took over Tsars government in some areas. 
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3. The October Manifesto (1907)

3. The October Manifesto (1907) –

  • Tsar needed to act quickly after the negative reaction of ‘Bloody Sunday’, so he decided to form a Duma which was a parliament.
  • The duma allowed other political parties to be legal as well as Union trade posts.
  • Many secret political groups help public meetings, including the soviets who gained a lot of support from the towns & cities.
  • Tsar makes promises with the October Manifesto but ended up breaking them – especially on the duma with fundamental laws.
  • Tsar didn’t want to share his power as he felt that God had given him the right to rule alone.
  • Tsar had the ability to dissolve the Duma whenever he wanted, therefore he held the real power.
  • He changed the voting system of the Duma, so only those who aggressed with him could be elected. Over time, he stopped calling the Duma altogether.
  • By 1907, the Okhrana was openly breaking trade unions & political parties up.

(Fundamental laws = takes power away from the Duma as ministers weren’t appointed). 

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4. World War Involvement (1914-1917)

4. World War Involvement (1914-1917) -

  • At first, people supported the war. Most of the Duma voted for more taxes to pay for it.
  • The Russian army invaded East Prussia in August. Due to the huge size of the Russian army it had some initial succes, such as at Gumninnen where it drove Germans back. 
  • Early successes were followed by a stunning defeat by the Germans in Tannenburg in late August. Of the 150,000 soldiers that began battle, over 30,000 were killed & 92,000 were captured. All the weapons were also captured & taken back by the Germans.
  • Two defeats at the Masurian Lakes (September 1914 & Feburary 1915) also resulted in huge losses of over 100,000 being killed or wounded. 
  • Russia's size, poor transport systems & inefficient industry all put Russia at a disadvantage, as did the boor quality of trainng & shortages of equipment. 
  • Some Russian soldiers went into war without a weapon - they were told to pick up dropped weapons from shot comrades. 
  • By August 1915 over 2 million men were dead, wounded, or captured.
  • September 5 1915 – Tsar took personal control of the army.
  • Tsar left his German wife, Tsarina, in charge, who refused to listen to the Duma.
  • Instead, she only listened to the advice issued from Rasputin who was rumoured to be having an affair with her; only antagonising her even more.
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5. Effects of the War (1914-17)

5. Effects of the War (1914-17) -

  • 1916 - There were so many different changes of ministers that nobody was organising food, fuel & other supplies for the towns & cities properly.
  • By 1916, over 15 million men had been conscripted & millions of horses had been taken from farms for transport. 
  • Fertilizer factories switched to war work, so there was less fertilizer &, therefore less food production. 
  • Millions of trained factory workers were conscriped, & their replacements were untrained & lacked skill, therefore the quality of production was poor.
  • The number of people living in towns rose by 6 million from 1914 - 1917 to find more access to food, fuel & other resources. Due to lack of housing, slums developed.
  • In 1916/17 winter was very bad. Many strikes took place due to the increasing inflation of prices & constant food shortages.
  • Crime rates in towns & cities in 1917 was three times what it had been in 1914.
  • Whilst the world war continued, Russia was slowly defeated due to the poor leadership of Tsar, & the lack of training & equipment supplied to the army.
  • Morale was very low in Russia, as people knew that they were losing the war.
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6. February Revolution (1917)

6. February Revolution (1917) -

  • The leaders of the Mensheviks & Bolsheviks (leaders of the Soviets in towns & cities), were quick to respond to the growing lack of government control. They held public meetings about shortages, deaths at the front, & government incompetence. 
  • The people of Russia blamed Tsar & his wife. The first few months of 1917 were colder then usual. People often queued all night just to get a loaf of bread, just to find that the baker had no bread due to the lack of fuel & flour. 
  • On February 19, government officals in Petrograd announced that rationing would start on March 1.
  • On February 22, Some workers were locked out of their own factory in which they worked. This set of a strike that spread to other factories in the area.
  • On February 23, women protested for international women's day by striking alongside factory workers for equal rights & better living conditions.The next day, there was over 150,000 strikers. Skilled workers, office workers, & shop-keepers soon joined.
  • On February 25, 200,000 strikers were on the street with babbers saying 'down with tsar'. He ordered for the police to open fire the next day. Soldiers in Petrograd (St Petersburg renamed as it sounded too German) took sides with the demonstrators by the 27th. Tsar abdicated on the 15th of March.
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7. The Provisional Government (1917)

7The Provisional Government (1917) –

  • The Provisional Government came in shortly after the abdication of Tsar, elected by the Duma.
  • The PG was only temporary but the people still had high expectations of it.
  • Soviets had more control over most of the workers & some of the army then the PG did.
  • The PG did give political freedom & did promise a constitutional assembly.
  • The PG was popular at first: the public had hoped to be pulled out of the war, to be given equal distribution of wealth, & had hoped for improved working conditions within the city.
  • Since the PG was only temporary, that meant that decisions were very delayed. 
  • The PG had no real power, as the decisions that were made had to be run over & approved by the Petrograd SovietsIt was also unable to stop the shortages in food & other supplies.
  • The PG could not let Russia pull out of the war as they were not ready for the backlash they’d have to face as the new government.
  • The PG did allow freedom of speech & abolished censorship – but that meant that people spoke against it.
  • Old revolutionists were allowed back into the country & It also brought in the ‘8 hours a day’ policy for city workers. 
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8. April Thesis (1917)

8. April Thesis (1917) –

  • April Thesis marked the return of Lenin, an old Bolshevik revolutionist, who was able to return after the PG’s new ruling.
  • Lenin came back to Russia with a plan – to start a revolution.
  • The Bolsheviks had their own army & red guards.
  • Lenin publishes the 'April Theses' offering peace, land, & bread & proclaiming 'All power to the Soviets!'.
  • Their own newspaper was popular & circulated around.
  • Lenin was especially known for his use of propaganda & motivational speeches.
  • They were undermined by the PG who were too busy being overwhelmed with other issues.
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9. July Days (1917)

9. July Days (1917) –

  • By July there were over 10,000 Red guards formed (workers).
  • The July days were the days in which workers rose before the Bolsheviks were ready to begin the revolution.
  • These were there days of chaos in the Petrograd.
  • Only some of the Bolsheviks tried to overthrow the PG.
  • Lenin & the head Bolsheviks did not encourage this.
  • The PG acted the same way as the Tsar did – Trotsky was arrested & Lenin cleared out of Russia & hid out in Finland.
  • The PG looked bad at first but were able to pass it off as making the Bolsheviks look like traitors through effective propaganda.
  • When Lenin relocated to Finland he targeted peasants as well as workers (‘land to the peasants’).
  • The PG did feebly try to make more reforms in the meanwhile. 
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10. Kornilov Revolt (1917)

10. Kornilov Revolt (1917) –

  • Following the July days, the PG was trying to regain control of the country.
  • The PG was blown out of the water in September when General Kornilov threatened to seize power.
  • This was, at first, encouraged by Prime Minister Kerensky.
  • Kerensky was for Kornilov’s opposition at first as he thought it was somehow saving the PG.
  • Kerensky could then see his wrongdoings & then claimed that Kornilov was attempting a coup.
  • Kerensky then armed the Bolsheviks’ red guards in order to stop them.
  • Kornilov & over 7000 of his followers were arrested.
  • Kerensky wanted to be seen as the saviour but the Bolsheviks were seen as the real heroes.
  • This helped the Bolsheviks to win the majority of the seats in the Soviet election at the end of September. 

(coup = taking over the army).

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11. The October Revolution -OverView- (1917)

11. The October Revolution -OverView- (1917) -

  • The Bolsheviks wanted the Provisional Government to hand over their power to the Congress of Soviets when they next met on the 25th of October.
  • 8th October - Trotsky became chairman of the Petrograd Soviet which now had a Bolshevik majority. He also ran its Military Revolutionary Committee.
  • The Provisional Government sent in the the troops that remainded in Petrograd against its own people in attempts to supress the violence in the cities. 
  • 22nd October - generals sent Kerensky a telegram stating 'there is nothing to do but give up'.
  • By October 10th Lenin had secretly returned to Petrograd.
  • Between the 24th - 26th of October the Plan by Trotsky took place to overtake Petrograd. 
  • Lenin announced the Constitutant Assembly Election would still be held in November. Until then, a new Council of People's Commissars would rule by decree. 
  • The Congress of Soviets elected a new group, the Centeral Executive Committee, to check the power of the CPC.
  • The majority of both these groups were Bolshevik. Those who objected the Bolshevik takeover walked out. The remaining members approved the changes so many people throughout Russia assumed that the whole Congress had approved them.
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12. The October Revolution (1917) - (21-26 October

12. The October Revolution (1917) - (21-26 October) -

  • October 21 - Most army units promise loyalty to Totsky & the Military Revolutionary Committee.
  • October 23 - Soldiers in Petrograd fort join MRC.
  • October 24 - Kerensky shuts Bolshevik news offices and orders the arrest of the MRC. The MRC take over the offices, the main river & canal bridges, the army headquaters & the telegraph station. 
  • October 25 - Congress of Soviets disagree. Those against a Bolshevik takeover walk out. MRC take over the railway system, post offices, the state bank & the last 2 bridges over the river. Its troops storm the winter palace (where the PG meet). 
  • October 26 - The winter palace is captured & the Provisional Government is arrested. A new Bolshevik government is announced. 
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13. The October Revolution -Reasons for Success-

13. The October Revolution -Reasons for Success- (1917) -

  • Lenin pressed the Bolsheviks to lead a revolution & insisted that the revolution could only consist of Bolsheviks; not a revolution where several revolutionary parties ended up sharing the power. 
  • The PG failed to disarm the Red Guard after arming them to deal wit Kornilov's Revolt. 
  • The PG did not act against the threat in time. It completely misjudged the danger of the Bolsheviks. Rumours had been around since the July Days, but the PG still chose to ignore it.
  • The takeover was well planned & organised by Trotsky. He organised the Red Guard & volunteers from the army, navy, & the factories to work together a careful plan. 
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14. The Early Decrees (1917)

14. The Early Decrees (1917) - 

On October 25, Lenin (as chairmain of the CPC) said that the elections for the Constituent Assembly were to go ahead on November 12. It also passed some important decrees: 

  • Capital punishment was abolished.
  • In towns & in the countryside power was given to the local soviets.
  • The Peace Decree called on all nations to negotiate. Lenin was determined to get Russia out of the war for two reasons. Firstly, Lenin feared a civil war might break out & wnted all Boshevik troops to primarily focus on that. Secondly, faliure to end the war had the Provisional Government to blame, which had also been what the Bolsheviks had promised. Trotsky had the job of negotiating peace with Germany. Germany, who knew the deperate situation Russia was in because of the civil war, set a high price. In the treaty of Brest-Litovsk, signed on March 3 1918, Russia lost: 80% coalmines, 50% industry, 26% railways, 26% people & 27% farmland. 
  • The Land Decree took all land owners by Tsar, other landowners & the Chursch, & gave it to the peasants to be run by land committees.This made the Bolsheviks more popular with the peasants who usually supported the Social Revolutionaries.  
  • The Workers' Decree gave workers control over factories & set an 8-hour working day.
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15. The Constituent Assembly & Red Terror (1918)

15. The Constituent Assembly & Red Terror (1918) - 

  • The constitutent Assembly met once on Janurary 5 1918.
  • The social Revolutionaries & other political parites argued against the new reforms issued through the decrees & refused to pass them as laws. 
  • Lenin brought in the Red Guard to shut down the meeting. The next day, those who'd arrived in hopes of meeting for the Assembly had been sent away by the Red Guard. Now Lenin & the CPC ran the country, but had also made many enemies.
  • As the year digressed, Lenins speeches referred for often to the need for 'terror' during the revolution.
  • In September 1918 the CPC issued the decree 'concerning the red terror', allowing the secret police (Cheka) to send 'enimies' to prison camps and to shoot those involved in 'counter-revolutionary activities'. 
  • The Cheka acted against their enemies in a very similar manner to how the Okhrana acted against enemies of the Tsar.
  • In November 1918 Trotsky said that critics had told him the terror was 'too harsh, to devoid of mercy', but concluded that Bolshevik survival depended on the Red Terror, for the moment.
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16. The Civil War -Causation- (1917) -

16. The Civil War -Causation- (1917) - 

  • The main opponents were the Bolskeviks (known as the 'reds') & the whites (an alliance of groups that wanted to get rid of the bolsheviks). The largest white groups were:
  • Kerensky & the troops he raised after fleeing Petrograd on October 25 to restore the Provisional Government.
  • Kornilov & his volunteer army (made up mostly of officers & badly-trained troops). 
  • Troops from the allies (France, Japan, US, & UK) who were angry at Russias withdrawal from the war & who were also against Communism.
  • Troops led by Kolchak, an ex-naval commander with a capital in Siberia.
  • The Czech Legion: Over 40,000 Czech soliders, once part of Tsars army, who refused to give the Bolsheviks their weapons. 

On 28 Janurary 1918, Trotsky, the Peoples Commissar for war, called to change the Red Guard into the army. He ran the war, whilst Lenin ran the political changes. At first, the Whites had more supplies, troops & money then the Red army. Foregin help meant that, from early 1919, they could attack the Bolsheviks from all sides.Trotsky began conscripting soldiers & used officers that had been under Tsar. He held families hostage to make sure soliders remained loyal to the Red Army. Each unit had a political commissar who educated & kept everything in order.

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17. The Civil War (1918)

17. The Civil War (1918) -

  • In early March 1918 the Bolsheviks moved to Moscow which was more central, safer from attack, & had better communications.
  • All through 1918 & through the majority of 1919, thw whites advanced on Moscow, & seemed certain to win. 
  • On Cctober 14 1919, Denikins army was at Orel, 300km from Moscow.
  • On October 22, White armies were on the outskirts of Moscow. This was the point of greatest danger.
  • Trotsky rushed to Petrograd & organised a counter attack, fighting with what Whites called 'heroic madness'. 
  • In early November 1919, the Allies gave up sending whites men & supplies as they thought that the Whites could not win. 
  • White troops began to desert their posts to join the Red Army. 
  • The Czech Legion went home, handing over Kolchak, whom they'd captured, to the Red Army on the way back. He was executed Feburary 7, 1920.
  • In April 1920, the Red Army drove a Polish attack back into Poland & tried to start a communist revolution there. It failed.
  • At this point, the Bolsheviks had won. White groups kept fighting into 1921, but it was futile.
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18. The Civil War -Bolshevik Response- (1918)

18. The Civil War -Bolshevik Response- (1918) -

The Bolsheviks responded to the problems created by the was by:

  • Enlarging the red army.
  • Continuing the Cheka's Red Terror against political opponents - 'official' figures at the end of 1918 said their had been 6,300 executions; historians estimate the real numbers hundreds of thousands for the Civil War years alone.
  • Introducing War Communism - taking control of all food & distributing it (with the Red Army at top priority) & taking over all the factories with more then 10 workers (to control war supplies). 

If it had not been for the Civil War, the Bolsheviks would have introduced communism at a far more steady pace & would have used the Cheka descreetly. 

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19. The Civil War -Reasons for Bolshevik Success-

19. The Civil War -Reasons for Bolshevik Success- (1920) -

  • War Communism supplied the Red Army as effciently as posibble under the circumstances, although they were still short of supplies. 
  • Unlike the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks clamped down on resistance to the state - the Cheka made open resistance difficult & dangerous. 
  • Trotsky was a good Red Army leader. He would give motivational speeches to troops in the most dangerous places. He would also give out tabacco & other luxuries & even put on entertainment. On the other hand he executed leaders of units, & even their men if he suspected disloyalty.
  • The political commisar in each unit made sure that troops believed in Bolshevik ideas thet they were fighting for. 
  • The Red army had a military advantage called 'interior lines' - they were located in the center (Petrograd), therefore Trotsky could move them quicker then the Whites could move troops.
  • The Whites' only shared aim was to get rid of the Bolsheviks. They did not work well together & argued over both plans & leadership. 
  • The whites had many officers but not enough soliders. They had to conscript peasants who did not really want to go back to the old Tsarist regime.
  • The whites did not treat their troops well, causing troops to desert posts & join the Red Army.
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20. The Civil War -Effects- (1920)

20. The Civil War -Effects- (1920) - 

At the end of the Civil war, Russia was devastated. The country had been at war since 1914. The Civil war had all the bad effects of the first world war - shortages of food & fuel, army casualties, loss of workers in town. But war also damaged land, property, road & rail links & telegraph lines; caused civilian casualties; & meant that skilled workers & professionals left the country to live somewhere safer. 

Measures such as War Communism & the Red Terror lost the Bolsheviks support - they had not brought land, peace, nor bread. Peasants reacted to having their crops & animals taken by hiding them & planting less. By 1920, the loss of farmland from Brest-Litovsk, the effects of war, & the reduced planting, meant crop production was only 37% of production in 1913. Inflation was becoming an issue as prices had rose rapidly; money was almost worthless & most people were batering (swapping) goods. Then, in 1920, drought hit. Crops died up in the fields & people starved. The civil war pushed the Bolsheviks to try to turn Russia into a communist state. They changed the name of the party from the Bolsheviks to the Communist party in 1918. Russia became the Soviet Union in 1922. Communism is based on social equality & shared wealth, so this is what Lenin & the Bolsheviks strived for this.

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21. Creating a New Society (1918)

21. Creating a New Society (1918) -

  • The Constitution of July 10 1918 set out a new system of government.
  • All workers could vote, those who make a living by the work of others could not (e.g. landlords). 
  • In December 1920, the Constitution was changed to let the CPC pass urgent laws without approval of the CEC & Congress of Soviets.
  • The Constitution said all land, & all buinesses with over 10 workers, belonged to the state & must be run for the benefit of the people.
  • It gave people the right to free speech, & free press.It promised free education & medical attention & was very different compared to the inequalities under Tsar.
  • However, the Constitution was a theory of how things should ought to work.The Civil war pushed to take measures that did not fit its beliefs. It imposed high level of state control, it wanted workers to run factories but, instead, supressed workers. It used executions to control the country and/or army even though, in theory, it was against capital punshment in theory. It used the Cheka to control political opposition despite being in favour of free expression of political beliefs. 
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22. War Communism (1918)

22. War Communism (1918) - 

  • War communism began in May 1918.
  • It was a policy Lenin adopted to bring the economy completely under government control to help win the Civil war & to destroy all opposition to Communism.
  • War communism would end the market for food - peasants could not sell their crops, instead the state only left them a small amount for their own needs & took all the rest of their crops to distrbute elsewhere.
  • Another element of War Communism was assuming complete control of the industry, whichwas directed only to make things needed for war. Strikes were banned.
  • War Comunism ensured that the Bolsheviks had total control of the banks, money & prices.
  • War communism cut down on peoples rights - from banning strikes to using the Red Terror to destroy opposition. 
  • Above all War communism meant that the needs of the army always came first. It gave the army the resources it needed, but at the terrible cost of extreme hardship.
  • When the famine of winter 1920 camr round, people were dying of starvation (&, in some cases, cannibalism), due to both War communism & the weather conditions. Industries were so focused on the army that almost no consumer goods Their were riots in the countryside & strikes in the city, especially Petrograd.
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23. The Kronstadt Revolt (1921)

23. The Kronstadt Revolt (1921) -

  • Kronstadt was a navel base near Petrograd. The sailors there had sided with the revolutionaries of 1905 & 1917.
  • In March 1921, horrified by the situation, & pushed over the edge by the way the Red Army crushed a strike in Petrograd. 
  • They mutinied, calling for a 'third revolution'. 
  • Their demands were: Re-election of all soviets by secret ballot, freedom of speech for workers, peasants, & revolutionary political parties, freedom of all political prisoners, ending the Red Terror, free trade unions, & freedom for the peasants to farm as they wanted.
  • They saw themselves as being true to the revolutions of 1917.
  • Red Army troops crushed the mutiny.
  • The tenth Congress of Soviets was meeting at the time &, shaken, decided the policy of War Communism had to change.
  • Lenin's answer was to introduce the New Economic Policy (NEP).
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24. The NEP (1921)

24. The NEP (1921) -

  • The NEP was a reluctant step back from War Communism & a step towards Capitalism. 
  • Money was re-introduced with a new coinage. Workers were paid wages again. There was a new state bank.
  • The state stopped taking crops from the peasants. If they grew more crops then they needed for themselves, then they could sell it for a profit for themselves. But they had to pay the state 10% of that profit in tax, paid in crops. 
  • Whilst the state kept in control of the big industries, factories of under 20 workers could be privately owned & run to make a profit.
  • The state brought in 'experts' to run the factories. Many came from other countries (between 1920-1925, over 20,000 came over from the US & Canada). Experts were paid more then workers. This was against communist theory, but got the factories up & running again.
  • Anyone could open up a shop to sell or hire goods for a profit. These people became known as 'NEPmen'.
  • Agricultural Production went up. Statistics show that peasants began sowing more crops - there was 77.7 million hectares of growing in 1922 & 98.1 millions of hectares growing in 1924. 
  • Factory production also rose. In June 1921, about 99% of all cotton mills were not working. By 1926, 90% were working again. However, prices for goods were still high until 1924. 
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25. Lenin Dies (1924)

25. Lenin Dies (1924) -

  • Lenins health was poor for 1920 onwards.
  • In May 1922, he had a stroke that left him partially paralysed. 
  • He dictated several documents documents to his wife after this, includng his 'Testament' that expressed concern about divisions in the CPC.
  • He had a second stroke in December, after which he stopped taking much part in politics. 
  • A third stroke, in March 1923, left him almost completely paralysed & unable to speak. 
  • He died Janurary 21 1924.
  • Lenin was a hero to many Russians.His body laid in state in Moscow for the Public to see for four days & nights. Nearly a million did so. 
  • Four days after his death, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad in his honour.
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26. The Leadership Contest (1922-24)

26. The Leadership Contest (1922-24) - 

  • Lenin's testament made clear that he saw two main candidates for the leadership of the Communist party - Trotsky & Stalin.
  • He feared that their different political views & characteristics would split the party.

From the first part of Lenins Testament, dicatated to his wife after his first stroke in May 1922: Comrade Stalin, having become Secetary General, has gatered unlimited authority into his hands & I am not certain that he will always be able to use it with enough causion. Comrade Trotsky is probably rhe most capable man on the Centeral Committee as present, but he is too self-confident. Stalin is too rude & this defect becomes intolerable in this post of Secretary General. I suggest comrades think of a way of removing Stalin from this post & replacing him with a man who is tolerant, more loyal, more polite & considerate to his comrades. 

  • Lenin did not think that one person should primarily dominate, & instead assumed that the whole Politburo, the committee that ran the party, would take over.
  • When Lenin died, there were 7 Politburo members: Trotsky, Stalin, Rykov, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, & Tomsky. Of these, Trotsky, Stalin, & Rykov were also members of the CPC. In theory, they worked together. In reality, they competed for power.
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27. Stalin -Profile Introduction-

27. Stalin -Profile Introduction- -

  • Stalin was one of the most ambitious members of the Politburo.
  • His main political disagreement with Trotsky was, like Lenin, Trotsky believed in world revolution.
  • Stalin felt that the Soviet Union was so backwards in argiculture & industry that it would be attacked & destroyed by Capitalism, therefore the revolution needed to start at home.
  • Stalin believed in 'Socialism in One Country' - that the Soviet Union must be modernised fast to make it strong enough to protect its ideaology from the Capitalist countries in located in the West.
  • Stalin was charming but also had a quick temper. He was suspicious & could change his mind without any good reason. Above all, he was clever & an excellent organiser & planner. 
  • He had been planning to take over from Lenin for some time & had become General Secretary of the Communist party & a memebr of Politburo.
  • He kept his work in Moscow, close to Lenin. He did all he could to come across as Lenin's favourite & his job as General Secretary meant that he could assign jobs, meaning that people wanted to please him in order to get the best jobs.
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28. Trotsky's Removal (1924 - 29)

28. Trotsky's Removal (1924 - 29) -

  • Stalin was aware that he was not yet popular enough to take over Lenin's leadership. He worked against his rivals gradually, building up his own power & support, & working to discredit them.
  • Stalin started on his biggest rival: Trotsky. Stalin worked in Moscow & knew all the other Politburo memebers rather well, so the majority of the other members trusted him. Unlike Stalin, Trotsky wasn't so well trusted as he wasn't so well aquainted & he seemed to be Lenin's favourite.
  • Stalin's first move was to ensure that Lenin's testament was not read to the Congress of Soviets. Kamenev & Zinoviev, supporters of Stalin, pursuaded the rest of the Politburo not to sack Stalin as General Secretary or to read the Testament to Congress.
  • Trotsky was not in Moscow when Lenin died. Stalin gave Trotsky false information for the funeral dates so that he could not attend. Instead, Stalin gave a speech at the funeral to make him seem like chief mourner. After Lenin's death, Trotsky was shut out of a lot of the decision-making in the Politburo for the Soviet Union. Stalin & his supporters spread an increasing amount of rumours that Trotsky never really had Lenin's approval. Trotsky did not help himself by criticising the NEP in a book in 1924. He lost power: 1926 - expelled from the Politburo, 1927 - expelled from Communist party, 1929 - exiled from Soviet Union.
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29. Removing Other Rivals (1925-26)

29. Removing Other Rivals (1925-26) - 

  • As Stalin lost Trotsky his support, he moved onto other members of the Politburo. He wanted to be the only leader, not one within a group.
  • Zinoviev & Kamenev were Stalin' next targets, despite helping him against Trotsky. During 1925 Stalin made an alliance with Bukharin (earlier supporter of Trotsky) & Rykov against them.
  • Again, Stalin used rumours & accusations of disloyalty to the Communist party.
  • By 1926, the rivalry was out in the open. Kamenev & Zinoviev were driven into an alliance with Trotsky. Zinoviev was expelled from the Communist Party at the same time as Trotsky. Kamenev followed at the end of the year. By 1928, it was clear that Stalin had taken over from Lenin to run the Communist Party.
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30. Terror Tactics Under Lenin (? - 1922)

30. Terror Tactics Under Lenin (? - 1922) -

  • In 1922, the Cheka was reformed as the GPU (State Political Administration), then the OGPU (United State Political Administaration). 
  • Well before Stalin took over, the key elements of control by terror were in place.
  • The OGPU dealt with political 'crimes' - opposition to the state. Local defense forces still handled ordinary crimes, although, over time, more & more crimes became 'political'. 
  • The OGPU could arrest people & get confessions through many methods, including torture. 
  • It could imprison people in camps without trial, or organise trials where the verdict of 'guilty' was decided before they began. The Cheka had had, & used, all these powers. 
  • In addition, the OGPU could send people into any organisation or charity to look for evidence of sabotage by 'anti-Communists'.
  • When the Cheka was set up, so were the camps for political prisoners.
  • Camps tended to be isolated in the countryside, often in the North of the country. By the end of 1920, the Cheka had sent roughly 250,000 prisoners to these camps to use as cheap labour.
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31. Terror Under Stalin -The Purges- (1930 - 1938)

31. Terror Under Stalin -The Purges- (1930 - 1938) -

  • Stalin expanded the powers of the OGPU. They all encouraged people to inform on neighbours, friends, & even family who spoke out against the state. 
  • By 1930, the system of labour camps had grown so much that the state needed a special department to run them all.
  • In 1928, there were around 30,000 people in camps. by 1938, there were 7 million.
  • The department running them was called the Gulag, & the name was soon applied to the camp themselves. 
  • By 1934, Stalin feared growing opposition to himself & the state. He began the 'Purges' to destroy his enemies. 
  • Those purged would either be executed, exiled to labour camps, or exiled abroad.
  • Stalin changed the way farming & industry were run in order to raise productivity.
  • When there were faliures, it was expected that the state was being sabotaged by political opponents (rather then incompetence by officials), & used the purges to set things right.
  • Purges between 1936-38 were so harsh that it was named the Great Terror.
  • The OGPU purged: the Politburo, the Communist party, teachers, engineers, scientists, & industrial workers, the armed forces, & even the secret police.
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32. Show Trials (1936)

32. Show Trials (1936) -

  • In 1934, Kirov, a Politburo member, was murdered. This was possibly on Stalin's orders, although Stalin claimed to be outraged.
  • In 1936, the show trials began.
  • 16 'old Bolsheviks' (who had previously been leaders from the 1917 revolution) were tried for assassination of Kirov. They confessed, even though they were not guilty. These people were all shot.
  • The OGPU arrested 40,000 suspects for 'trial'. Each trial only lasted a few minutes; all were 'guilty' & were either sentenced to be shot or sent to the Gulag. 
  • Trials were important as ordinary people did now know, at first, how unfair they were.
  • The accused usually confessed, & this was also reported. They usually had to confess as their families were held hostage.
  • The trials suggested to people that there was a danger to the revolution within the Soviet Union.It made them more likely to unite behind Stalin against it.
  • The trials scared people & made them less likely to be openly critical. 
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33. The Purges -The Effects-

33. The Purges -The Effects-  -

  • Created an atmosphere of fear & suspicion: no one knew who to trust. This enforced obedience, but also gave rise to a lot of resentment. 
  • Took away people's trust in the justice system. 
  • Killed over roughly 1 million people.
  • Sent about 7 million people to prison.
  • It is impossible to give an accurate number of those purged, as the secret police held statistics from the public to avoid disruption.
  • Meant that the state lost useful people at all levels, including 1 million of the 3 million members of the party, 93 of the 139 Central Committee Members, & 13 of the 15 top generals in the Red Army,
  • Removed a lot of skilled workers from the industry, so factory porduction was reduced.
  • Produced a government & a party almost entirely created by Stalin, utterly loyal to him. Experienced people had been replaced by Stalins yes-men. The country, especially the army, was weaker as a result.
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34. Propaganda

34. Propaganda -

  • Stalin used propaganda, true or false was used to: turn people against his enemies, get people to accept his decisions (especially when they required change), to get people to put up with hardship, to get people to work harder, & to build up the 'cult of Stalin'. 
  • Stalinist propaganda was everywhere. The state controlled the radio & the newspaper, so that only pro-stalinist propaganda could be broadcasted.
  • People wrote propaganda books, poems & songs. The state used censorship so that nothing considered 'anti-soviet' could be published & influence the general public to rebel against Stalin's agenda.
  • The government sent officials all over the USSR, with propaganda films & other material, to give talks to towns and villages. 
  • Each new policy like Collectivisation & Five-Year Plans came with its own propaganda campaign.
  • Stalin was regularly photographed with smiling children & workers, especially workers from different regions of the USSR, to show how widely popular he was.
  • Foregin visitors to the Soviet Union had to travel under state supervision. Their state guides took them to factories, collective farms, & homes of 'ordinary' people. They were taken to 'show' places, made to give the impression that workers had a better life then reality.
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35. influence Through Education (1938)

35. influence Through Education (1938) - 

  • The Bolsheviks provided free education, intending to wipe out the high levels of illiteracy in the Soviet Union. While the quality of teaching varied, schools focued on basic literacy & numeracy.
  • Under Stalin, schools became a place to spread propaganda. 
  • Textbooks, which had been state approved, were full of propaganda. Teachers were purged if they did not teach the Stalinist views of the world. The Stalinist view, especially of history, often changed as people fell out of favour with Stalin. When this happened, teachers passed out pots of paste & peices of paper for the children to wipe out whoever Stalin did not favour. Children were also encouraged to 'denounce' family & friends who were 'anti-Stalinist', while the children who were part of familes suspected to be disloyal to the state were severely bullied.
  • A textbook from 1938 reguards Trotsky, Rykov, & Bukharin as 'muderers & spies'. 
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36. The Cult of Lenin & the Cult of Stalin

36. The Cult of Lenin & the Cult of Stalin -

  • Stalin did his best to remove political opposition & any early revolutionaries, with the exception of Lenin. 
  • Lenin was widely loved & respected before his death. After his death, Stalin did not try to discredit him. Instead, he built up the cult of Lenin, making him even more important.
  • This had the effect of making Stalin look like tge chosen successor more acceptable, even to those who knew Lenin was closer to Trotsky.
  • Stalin's supporters quickly began building a cult of Stalin.
  • Stalin always said publicly that Lenin & the Soviet Union & its people were more important than he was.
  • Stalin's face was everywhere around the Soviet Union; he looked down from people on banners & posters.
  • The newspapers carried photos of him daily & praised his reforms.
  • Ordinary people often wrote to Stalin asking for help, & sometimes he gave it. This made him even more popular.
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37. The Constitution (1936)

37. The Constitution (1936) -

  • In 1936 a new constitution, 'Stalin's Constitution', was introduced, praised as 'the most democratic system in the world'.
  • The democracy it se up was mostly an illusion - most likely used for propaganda.
  • The Supreme Soviet, madeup by the Soviet Union, now ran the country. 
  • Everyone had the right to vote. People were also guaranteed  rights, such as the right to work & the right to education & healthcare. 
  • In practice, the Supreme Soviet met for only a few days each year. 
  • The Politburo still had the real power. There was only one party; the Communist Party.
  • State-controlled officials chose all the candidates for elections - so people were bound to choose someone approved by the State.
  • Various guaranteed rights including freedom from arrest without a proper trial, could be, & were, ignored 'in the interest of national security'. 
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38. Censorship - 1920s

38. Censorship - 1920s -

  • Stalin controlled infomation was through the use of censorship. Stalinist censors controlled what went into radio programmes & newspapers. They had a far deeper effect, creating an official culture that was part of the propaganda system. 
  • Stalin wanted a culture of social realism - a culture avalable to everyone, that could be understood by everyone.
  • He thought that education was very important, but disapproved of 'high' (hard to understand) culture, as he thought it worked against equality.
  • Writers, poets, artists, & musicians had to produce 'low' work with simple, messages.
  • What censors were really doing was making culture part of the propaganda system.
  • If it was not to this standard, you were considered an 'enemy of the people', & were purged. 
  • Stalin's favourtie artists could fall into disfavour very easily. Sergei Eisenstein was a cartoonist for a Bolshevik newspaper. In 1925 he made 'The Battleship Potemkin', a film about the 1905 revolution. It was very popular & Stalin encouraged him to make more. Unfortunately, Esienstein's next film, about the October Revolution, was censored because it referred to Trotsky. Stalin's censors edited the past all the time. They destroyed books, documents & photos. Other photos were censored by removing people who had fallen from favour with Stalin.
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39. The Need for Change

39. The Need for Change -

  • Stalin wanted to make changes in agriculture & industry, & wanted to move the Soviet Union away from the NEP policies (that allowed Capitalism) & towards Communism the Bolsheviks had fought for.
  • He also wanted the Soviet Union to compete with Capitalist countries, especially in the west region.
  • He wanted the couuntry to become self-sufficient & able to defend itself against any attempt to wipe out Communism.
  • This thinking was behind the social and economical changes he had very quickly pushed through to modernise the Soviet Union.
  • It would have been esier for both the state & its people if the changes had of been introduced at a steadier pace.
  • It was hard to put huge changes into effect without training people for some years to use new systems & technology.
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40. Collectivisation & Industrialisation -OverView

40. Collectivisation & Industrialisation -OverView- (1928-39) -

  • The two major changes that Stalin wa relying on to modernise the Soviet Union quickly were collectivisation & industrialisation.
  • Collectivisation meant uniting all farms into a big Kolkhozy (collective farms).
  • The state had encouraged peasants to collectivise since 1917, setting up Sovkozy (large state farms) to show how collectivisation worked: making the fields bigger & using machinery such as tractors. 
  • The revolution had given peasants their own land - therefore they did not want to collectivise.
  • Food shortages meant that Stalin needed to have a tighter grip on the food suppy & to increase production.
  • In 1928 he enforced industrialisation.
  • Industrialisation was necessary because industry in the Soviet Union, which wasn't very advanced anyway, had collapsed during the Civil War. 
  • It soon became clear that Stalin needed foregin 'specialists' to help rebuild industry.
  • Even iwth their help it was a struggle. They had to start from scratch in training workers & either had to build new factories or work in old ones which were outdated & dangerous. 
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41. Collectivisation & Farming (1928)

41. Collectivisation & Farming (1928) -

  • Stalin needed the peasants to produce more food, not only for their own health, but so that it could be exported & they could gain money for more machines & materials for industry.
  • He distrusted Kulaks (rich peasants), who he thought were enemies of Communism. 
  • He thought that changing farming & village life from small peasant-owned farms using modern technology like tractors combine harvesters would solve his problems by destroying Kulaks & increasing food production.
  • There were two types of collective farms: Sovkozy - large, state farms run by a manager, & Kolkhozy - run by committees of peasants. Both had to farm the way the Commissarat of Agriculture told them.
  • Sovkozy often had more facillities, such as nurseries & schools, & were better organised. 
  • All farms worked the same way - the land now belonged to the state, & peasants had to meet production targets their crops. Visitors from abroad were always shown the best sovkoz
  • Peasants could not leave to work in towns. They were organised into 'brigades' of famalies. Each person worked a set number of days. The jobs & hours were set by the state. 
  • Tractors & combine harvesters were borrowed from Machine & Tractor Stations (MTS).
  • The state was to provide homes, food, & other basic needs - but this, in reality, varied. 
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42. Peasant Objection to Collectivisation (1928)

42. Peasant Objection to Collectivisation (1928) - 

  • Most peasants objected to collectivsation. They disliked being told what they could & could not grow & breed. They did not want to work set hours on set jobs - or to be fined or even sent to the gulag if they did not obey the rules.
  • They had worked under the NEP & made enough profit to take on more land to farm & even hire workers.
  • Kulaks were not only for opponents of collectivisation, but the officials of the state did not want to admit that. 
  • They blamed the kulaks for opposition - as they were acting very un-communist by making profits & hiring workers. 
  • Village life, in reality, was a lot more complicated then that. In some places, kulak families were a lot betteroff then some, but in many places it was hard to tell the difference.
  • Some kulaks behaved like pre-revolution landlords. They treated labourers badley & were both hated & feared. 
  • Kulaks were often the most organised or educated & were respected village leaders. 
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43. Collectivisation Resistance & Stalins reaction

43. Collectivisation Resistance & Stalins reaction (1929 - 33) -

  • When given the choice, many villages did not join a kolkhoz. They carried on as before, producing enough to feed themselves. They didn't feel responsible for feeding industrial workers.
  • The state needed to feed everyone, so, in 1928, it began to enforce collectivisation. 
  • The peasants reacted badly. Many of them killed their animals & hid their seed, crops, & tools. Some burned their homes, rather then let them be taken to collectivisation. 
  • Between 1928 - 1933,half the pigs & over a quater of cows in the country were slaughtered.
  • Stalins reactions were severe:
  • He sent out officials to search for hidden crops, salted-down meat & tools. If they failed, he sent in the army.
  • He purged the gulaks by 'dekulakisation' The army went into villages, arrested the kulaks & sent them to the labour camps. In the years 1930-31, about 600,000 farms were dekulakised.
  • Those who objected dekulakisation automatically counted as a kulak, even if they were poor.
  • From 1932 onwards, any peasants who would not join a collective was treated as a kulak. People were shot if they resisted arrest. Most didn't survive the journey to the camps & others died in the first year in the camp. 
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44. Failures & Successes of Collectivisation (1929

44. Failures & Successes of Collectivisation (1929 - 33) - 

  • The most obvious faliure of collectivisation was the famine of 1932-33. Because all the peasants had destroyed all their crops & animals, & did not plant enough crops the pervious season, they were all hit hard. About 3 million people starved during the famine. Many people thought that Stalin did not help the peasants as much as he could have, to punish them for their resistance to collectivsation.
  • Some peasants remained resentful towards collectivisation & did not try to learn how to use the new machinery, such as tractors, or after 1931, combine harvestors. They would purpously damage machinery. Peasant resentment became so widespread that the state had no other choice but to introduce a kolkhoz Charter that allowed peasants an acre of land to grow their own crops & keep animals.
  • New machines were often made too quickly by unskilled workers working to-high production targets. Machinery often had faults & did not work properly from the start. 
  • But as a success, by 1935, 90% of farmland was collectivised, so it was not a complete faliure. On state farms, production improved, & people adapted to using machinery. 
  • More & more young people went to agricultural school & learned how to fertilise, grow crops & work machinery. By 1935, the steep fall from lack of grain & animals began to recover. 
  • By 1934, rationing of bread & many other foods ended, making state control of food easier.
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45. Industrialisation & the Five-Year Plans (1928)

45. Industrialisation & the Five-Year Plans (1928) -

  • Gosplan, the State Planning Committee, set up in 1921, had the job of making industrialisation work. From 1928, it organised Five-Year Plans for industry. The state decided what was to be produced, where, & who was to produce it.
  • Five-Year Plans set targets for the Soviet Union, & was broken down for different industries.
  • However, targets were constantly reviewed, so that the people could feel encourged when they met them. This made real planning much more difficult.
  • To begin with, the Five-Year Plan focused on heavy industry, building factories & industrial towns. State propaganda posters were all over the workers' canteens & factory workshops, as well as the charts to show how well the workers were doing.
  • First Five-Year Plan 1928-32: Set targets for production of iron, steel, coal, oil, & electricity. By 1929, posters were urging workers to complete the first Five-Year Plan in 4 years.
  • Second Five-Year Plan 1933-37: It began early, because of the success of the first year plan. It targeted the same industries as the first plan, but also set high targets for farming machinery, as well as extending the railways. Targets were lower &, therefore, were met.
  • Third Five-Year Plan 1938-41: First to inculde luxury consumer itemed (bikes & radios). It was interrupted by the Second World War breaking out in 1939, & Nazi invasion in 1941.
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46. Stakhanov

46. Stakhanov - 

  • Alexei Stakanov became famous during the Second Five-Year Plan.
  • He was a coal miner whose target for a 6-hour shift was 7 tonnes of coal. In one shift he mined 102 tonnes.
  • Gosplan publicised his achievement. It encouraged other wrkers to copy him & not just to aim for their productin target, but to do even more.
  • Workers who did do more work then targeted got more rations, better housing, & other rewards.
  • Workers set up a Stakhanovite Movement, with groups all over the country that held regular competitions to see who could reach the highest production targets. 
  • Stakhanovite workers were sent to factories to encourage production & to explain new production techniques & ways of working, in a move to mass production & organising work more efficiently. 
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47.Achievements & Problems of Industrialisation

47. Achievements & Problems of Industrialisation (1928-41) -

  • Soviet state used propaganda to exaggerate the  industrialisation rate to encourage workers
  • The rate of industrialisation by 1939 was enough to repel the German invasion in 1941.
  • Unemployment dropped sharply & many people had a higher standard of living. For example, in 1929, there was 1,157 people living in temporary huts in a remote area beginning work on the town. They had no paved roads, no drains, & no electricity. By 1932, there were 100,000 people living there with brick houses, paved roads, drains, & electricity. There were also factories, shops, a school, & a hospital. 
  • In 1929, 26 million people were living in towns & cities. By 1939, it was 56 million, almost a third of the population. 
  • By 1940, Russia was the second largest industrial power behind the USA
  • Problems facing industrialisation: Workers were rewarded for high productivity, not quailty. 
  • The shortages of some of the materials & goods meant that people took bribes & a black maket sprang up, selling goods illegally.
  • Many workers were not propery trained, so factories themselves & things produced inside them were often poor quality. Factories had very few safety features & had high accident rates. Factory chimneys poured out fumes that often affected the health of people living near.
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48. Solving Problems in Industrialisation (1928-41

48. Solving Problems in Industrialisation (1928-41) -

  • Central control over such a huge country was a problem. Gosplan tried to solve this by setting up a huge bureaucracy, but this had its own problems: it was slow & often inefficient. A factory would often have to wait months for the right workers to arrive to ment a machine when the person who ran it could have also ment, but he wasn't allowed to do so.
  • Gosplan did solve some roblems. By 1934, Gosplan had seen that quality control was important & had begun to ease off the pressure for rapid production.
  • The Stalingrad tractor factory overcame its early problems. By 1939, it was producing half the tractors for the USSR. Tractor Productionwent from 1,30000 in 1928 to 50,00 in 1932 to 112,900 in 1936. These tractors also had long lifespans.
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49. Social Equality in the Soviet Union (1939)

49. Social Equality in the Soviet Union (1939) -

  • By 1939, the hardship of the first years of industrialisation & collectivisation were over. A new society was emerging.
  • The constitutions of 1918 & 1936 promised social equality, regional equality, freedom of speech & religion, work for all, & hospitals, schols & other facillities for workers.
  • In reality, the new society was not equal. There was a huge state bueaucracy of officials, all Communist party members.
  • While Stalin always dressed simply & spoke plainly, he did not live like the workers as he had a flat in Mocow & several homes in the countryside. He ate & drank well & - just as Tsar did - had a group of officals who were his favourites & were given special privilages. Most party workers had a better standard of living then other people.
  • All groups of workers included people who were both in favour & nor in favour of the state. Those in favour got rewards - concert tickets, days off, extra food, & better jobs. Those not in favour got worse housing & a much lower place on the waiting lists for operations or nusery places.
  • At worst, those who opposed Stalin were branded as 'enemies o the people' & were either exiled or sent to the gulags. 
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50. Ethnic & Religious Equality in Soviet Union

50. Ethnic & Religious Equality in the Soviet Union (1932) -

  • Stalin's propaganda stressed the equality of the republics of the Soviet Union. Posters & photos show him with people from these regions, often in national dress.
  • Until the early 1930s, the state encouraged local languages in its literacy drives
  • But after collectivisation, the state encouraged 'Russification' - creating a damonent Russian culture. In March 1938, Russian became a compulsory second language in all schools. 
  • In theory, people could follow any religion. In fact, atheism was encouraged; all religion was scorned.
  • People were deported simply for their beliefs, & there were several purges of preists. In 1915, Russia had 54,000 churches, but by 1940, there were only 500.
  • New towns may have been built quickly, but the housing, mostly in standard flats, was better then many workers had had before. Even so, most wrkers had just one room & shared a kitchen with people from other flats.
  • Workers usually usually worked 5 days, then had a day off. The avarage daily shift lasted from 6 - 7 hours.
  • In 1934, 'progressive piecework' was introduced. Workers no longer had a set wage, & were paid the amount they produced. With the rewrds system, this encouraged production. 
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51. The Role of Women

51. The Role of Women - 

  • After the revoution, the Bolshevik government introduced several reforms affecting women: non-church marriage was set up, divorce was made simple, women had equal voting rights to men, genders had equal pay for equal work, & they had equal educational oppotunities.
  • Although women became crucially important in the workforce, the reforms were not enforced.
  • In 1928, there was just under 3 million women working, mostly farming or as domestic servants. 
  • Alomst all women who worked in factories worked in the textiles department. 
  • By 1940, there was over 13 million women working in all different types of industry, including building industry. They mainly worked at lower levels though. Managers were always men.
  • The state needed women to work, especially in factories, because of the growth of factories built & the dire need for workers. Free childcare was provided until children were old enough to go to school. Free canteens fed parents at work & children at daycare/school. However, there were long waiting lists & childcare services were overcrowded.
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