November 17, 2009
Communist Leaders of the 20th Century
Vladimir Lenin, Ho Chi Minh and Moa Zedong were all leaders who were visionaries and revolutionaries who changed the world. They used communist ideals and propaganda to engage peasants and the working class to fight for freedom and to preserve their cultural values. Each leader and his followers successfully changed the economic and political structure of their countries as well as influencing the rest of the world for decades to come.
Vladimir Lenin – Russian Revolutionary
Vladimir Lenin was a Bolshevik Leader for the 1917 October Revolution, and the first Head of State for the Soviet Union. His contribution to political science, Leninism, was developed from his interpretations on the Marxist theory. After the revolution, Lenin headed the new Soviet government that formed in Russia. He became the leader of the USSR upon its founding in 1922. Lenin held the highest post in the Soviet government until his death in 1924.
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, later known to the world as Lenin, is one of the best-known political figures of the 20th century. Lenin was born on April of 1870, in Simbirsk, Russia. Even though he was known for leading the revolution for peasants and the working class, his background was by no means lower class. Lenin had a wealthy middle class upbringing. His father attended Kazan University and became a schoolteacher and a pioneer of non-Euclidian geometry. Through diligent work and loyalty, his father advanced to “Actual Councilor of State” (an inspector of schools). His mother was the daughter of a doctor from a wealthy family in northern Germany. She was dedicated to the care and education of her children.
Education & Upbringing
Vladimir Lenin’s own thirst for knowledge was a catalyst towards him becoming a professional revolutionary. According to one investigator of his youth, he was “a walking encyclopedia, extremely useful to his comrades and the pride of his teachers.” As Lenin began to progress in school, he suffered two blows which undoubtedly set his path towards becoming a revolutionary leader. Lenin was only a teen when he lost his father to a brain hemorrhage. His father’s death led him to lose faith in religion and allowed him to easily embrace the revolutionary beliefs, which were struggling for the ascendancy in Russia in the 1880’s. A few years later, his brother was executed for participating in an assassination attempt against Emperor Alexander III. This also led Lenin to grow more rebellious and read more revolutionary literature while he was attending university. Lenin’s ability to lead was rooted in his strong political beliefs, developed at university and deepened by the execution of his brother, a member of the revolutionary group. Three months into his study of Law at Kazan University, he was expelled and exiled after an illegal protest at the school. Even after he was allowed to return to the town of Kazan, he still could not return back to the state University. During his idleness he would continue to educate himself by meeting with other exiled revolutionaries of the older generation and would passionately read political literature; particular those of Marxism. Lenin was committed to the tenets of Marxism; a harsh doctrine set forth by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, which called for a classless society where all means of production were commonly owned. The Party was everything and individuals and individuality mattered nothing.
After finally graduating from a University, he found work as a law assistant. This was short lived, when he started meeting with a group of Marxist revolutionaries. As time progressed he became influential among the group and participated in many of the labor strikes. In 1895 the government exiled Lenin to a village in Siberia. During his three years there, he increased...