Russian Revolution and World War Two Very Brief Notes

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Russian Revolution

Czar Nicholas and wife Alexandra
Unprepared for Czar-hood
Peasant Life in Russia
Apartments were about 12 sq. ft.
Basically living in 1700’s conditions
Bloody Sunday: January 22, 1905
Protest from the people
Czar’s men killed 300 men
Forces Czar to make changes
Rasputin
“Mad Monk”
Thought he was sleeping with the Czarina and so people disliked him
Helped Czarevich who was a Hemophiliac
Blood doesn’t easily clot
Trusted by Nicholas and Alexandra implicitly
Shot six times and poisoned with cyanide but survived so was tied up and dumped in a
lake
Revolution and Lenin
Czar abdicated his throne in hopes of his brother Michael stepping up to become Czar but he doesn’t.
Provisional govt. is formed but communists want to take over
Communists march and in 1917 there is a fight and communists take over
Lenin famous for “Peace! Land! Bread!”
Said everyone deserved something.
Lenin became leader of Russia and forced change upon Whites (non-communists)
Classless society was the goal of Lenin

Stalin
Lenin dies and Joseph Stalin becomes leader.
Goal: To make USSR into a modern industrial power with all production under govt. power.

When Joseph Stalin came into power in 1924, the communists controlled much of the old Russian Empire. They called it the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. The USSR, or Russia, was made up of many republics, or states. Russia was the largest republic and it controlled the others. In 1928 Stalin proposed the first of several “five year plans” that were supposed to help build-up the industry, improve transportation, and increase farm output. In order to achieve so much growth, the Soviet Union developed a command economy, in which government officials made all the basic economic decisions.

Five Year Plan:
High Production Goals (QUOTAS)
Success=bonus, failure=punishment
Some lives improve, most get worse
Can’t produce as much as capitalism (poor products)

Agriculture: Farmers were forced to give up small farms and move to collectives. The collectives were large farms owned and operated by the peasants as an individual/a group. Many peasants resisted collectivization by killing their animals, destroying tools, and burning crops. In order to defeat them the government took all of their grain and let millions of people starve.

1934: The Great Purge
Stalin begins to fear that rivals are plotting against him and kills off all enemies. Those who died included soldiers, military members and writers. After staging fake trials, many purged party members were either killed or sent to Siberia. It is estimated that at least 4 million people were purged under Stalin’s orders. Stalin not only gained power, but replaced the old military officers with new ones...this will hurt the USSR during the war with Germany 1941.

Russia became one-party dictatorship.

World War Two

After WWI, diplomats worked hard to ensure peace through international cooperation. In the 1920s-30s, Britain, France, and the USA (democratic powers) faced difficult challenges at home and abroad.

Nationalism sparked independence movements
Great Depression ruined economies; widespread suffering. Unemployment skyrocketed
Instability led to rise of dictators
October 1929 Stock market crashed
By 1932 worldwide depression
Rise of Fascism:
a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power,forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Italy:
Italians frustrated with treatment in 1919 (Post WWI)
Benito Mussolini takes advantage of unrest; seizes power in 1922
By 1925, assumes more power as “il Duce” or “The Leader”
Italy becomes first totalitarian state in Europe
Mussolini used the secret police and propaganda, controlled the press, rigged
elections, and...
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