Segments descriptions
      Revolutions Series
      
Russian Revolution, Part 1 

              Description: Russian 4

Sampler
Russian Revolution, Part 1
:    
                 sampler  3’20”    (50’ lecture).

Why Lenin views Russia as the least likely country for a communist revolution.
                                             play sampler

 

 

Prelude to Revolution
 

1

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Marx as the father of Russian Revolution.  The backwardness of Russian political and economic life.  The split between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks.  Lenin leads Bolsheviks for a revolution as quickly as possible. He does not want to wait for the capitalist phase.  Bolsheviks become a vanguard party, leading the way.
 

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Democratic Centralism.  The Bolshevik decision making process.  Open debate, voting, majority rules, all in party must support the decision.  In practice, over time Lenin becomes the decision maker.
 

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The Winter Palace massacre.  Russia goes to war against Japan in 1904 and is easily defeated, causing much discontent at home.  Seizing this opportunity, the Bolsheviks mount a revolution at the Czar’s Winter Palace in 1905, but the army remains loyal and the rebels are massacred.  The Czar defends the massacre, turning sentiment sharply against him for the first time. 
 

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The disaster of WWI.  Russia is in alliance with England and France, joins war against Germany.  Unprepared and unequipped, Russia suffers an enormous military and human disaster, further diminishing the Czar’s public image at home.
 

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Rasputin.  The Czarina is in charge of the Russian government while the Czar is at the front.  She is of German descent, leading to questions of her loyalty in the war with Germany.  She falls under control of a mad Russian monk, Rasputin, who claims he can cure her son’s hemophilia.  The Czarina’s tie to Rasputin brings the Russian government into more dispute.
 

 

 

 

The Revolution
 

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The October 1917 Revolution.  Tsar's abdication.  The issue of a government’s willingness to accept reform to keep power as an alternative to sparking revolution.  Bourgeoisie take power.  The Karensky government’s fatal decision to continue the war under pressure from England and France to continue a two-front war against Germany.
 

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The return of Lenin who organizes the October revolution, calls for peace, seizes power.  The Bolshevik slogan, “Land, Peace, Bread,” attracts wide support.  Small in numbers but well organized, the Bolsheviks seize power.  Karensky flees.
 

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The Civil War of 1918-1921.  Attacked on all sides by 5 revolutionary armies.  Using trains, Trotsky, defeats attacking armies one at a time.  End of the Civil War leaves Russia a wasteland with the added toll of the flu pandemic, alone, surrounded by hostile countries.
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Post-Revolution.  Lenin expects spread of revolution to world.  Doesn't happen.  1921 New Economic Policy is part socialist, part capitalist, ends in 1928 with mixed results.  Bourgeoisie doesn’t trust the government, won’t return with its capital.
 

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Stalin.  Lenin’s health declines after an assassination attempt, and dies in January, 1924, at the age of 53.  Trotsky is his logical successor, but Trotsky is not charismatic, and lacks political skills.  Stalin, not worldly, is a brilliant politician.  He manages to win allegiance from many key party members, and eventually becomes Russia’s sole ruler.