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Week 3 Notes

by: Victoria Miller

Week 3 Notes HY 362

Victoria Miller

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About this Document

Includes War Communism and some of the Civil War, up to the deaths of the Romanovs
Russia-Soviet Union since 1894
Margaret Peacock
Class Notes
history, russian, Soviet Union, Russian Revolution, Western Civ
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Victoria Miller on Thursday March 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HY 362 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Margaret Peacock in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Russia-Soviet Union since 1894 in History at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 03/10/16
Week 3 Notes  Bolsheviks in Power o Few expected the Bolsheviks to remain in power long, considering the challenges they faced o On Oct. 26, having taken power in Petrograd by force, the Bolsheviks proposed the Council of People’s Commissars o Bound to fail  Predictions of failure were widespread o Bolsheviks respond  They had 2 somewhat contradictory answers to these doubts  They were heroes  The Bolsheviks really believe in democracy and liberalism, emancipation of all people  But need a vanguard that makes decisions on behalf of everybody else – contradictory o Importance of authoritarian control  They are ambivalent about power  Liberal ideals  Authoritarian traditions o The Libertarian Ideals of the “Commune State”  Lenin argues that the people are now capable of “miracles”  Decree of Peace (Oct. 26) o No need for diplomacy  Decree on Land (Oct. 26) o Abolished all land holding by gentry and transferred to peasants  The Workers’ Control Decree (Nov.) o Have right to supervise managers and determine their own wages  Self-determination for minorities o Poland and Finland break away  Elected judges o Makes them accountable to the people  Democratized administrative system  What does this all mean?  Some see this talk of democracy and these early efforts as insincere and even cynical o Lenin’s Idea  Even before coming to power, Lenin didn’t hesitate to argue for the necessities of coercion and discipline  After he came to power, the discourse grew increasingly common  Authoritarian Ideals  The early policies of the new government reflected authoritarian convictions  Creation of a one party state o The Press Law (Oct. 27)  Censorship was a good thing, there’s no such thing as a free press, in defense of the Revolution o The Cheka (Dec. 5)  Established to control order  Inside police force  To stop bribery, looting of factories, etc.  Really created to track down counter- revolutionaries o Imprisonment of opponents o Centralization control over economy and labor o Disbanding the Constituent Assembly (Jan. 5) o Tenuous Bolshevik Power  The economy in decline  Pervasive order  Criticisms of the Bolsheviks  Armies start to mobilize o Were the Bolsheviks “destroyers of freedom” or can one justify their efforts as necessary to create order in order to ensure that they meet the demands for land, bread, and peace? o How can one reconcile the evidence for emancipatory, democratic, and even libertarian ideals in Bolshevism alongside Bolshevik authoritarianism?  Getting out of WWI o Treaty of Brest-Litovsk  Trotsky thinks he has some cards to play  Americans had entered the war so Germany needs Russia out of the war to focus on the Western Front  There are lots of pissed off socialists in Germany that threaten an uprising  Trotsky refuses to sign and it’s a bad idea  Germans turn around and invade all of the Baltic states  March 3, 1918, Trotsky signs the treaty but now Russia has lost control of Eastern Europe o Creates a situation where all these states fuck things up for the Bolsheviks  Brest-Litovsk stands as a sign to the other Allies not to deal with the Germans and it leads them to screw the dirty Nazis over at Versailles later  Because this made Lenin so nervous, the capital was moved from St. Petersburg/Petrograd to Moscow  The General Populace War Communism o Those from wealthier families became refugees running from Bolshevik forces o The peasants and the workers suffer serious food shortages  1. Peasants raise the price of grain because of demands. 2. Inflation is out of control  The workers begin to flee the cities  everyone is running o The Bolsheviks introduce a new economic plan, called War Communism  state monopoly  State controls everything: factories  Imprison workers for minor infractions  Forced requisitioning of grain from the peasants  Ration food, commodities, and abolishment of private enterprise  Why?  Some argue that Bolsheviks never really wanted it but only did it because they had to o Bolsheviks were good people  Others say that’s exactly what the Bolsheviks wanted because when Stalin took over in 1928, he did exactly the same thing o This makes Lenin just as bad as Stalin o Bolsheviks were evil from the beginning  Peasant response  Not planting, hiding grain, outright protest and violence  Consequences of War Communism  The cities lose population, a black market emerges, inflation soars, production falls  Famine, unrest, disillusionment  And then there is the army… o New soldiers must be found to fight with all the problems that this implies  Peasants  Have to be fed, clothed, armed, and kept healthy  Nobody had shoes  Couldn’t get ammunition to the troops  Disease was rampant o Disease  15% on an average day men were too sick to fight o Rising opposition in the Red Army  Kronstadt Rebellion  Mutiny against the Bolsheviks  Same guys who handed the Revolution the Bolsheviks  The moment when the Revolution was betrayed  Yet the Bolsheviks won o How?  The opposition was politically divided  Moderate socialists to monarchists  Military divided  No central command and the Bolsheviks take advantage of it  Communists have real logistical advantages  Occupy industrial cites of Moscow and Petrograd  Can ship troop between fronts easier because of central command; all trains in and out of Moscow  Fighting a defensive war is easier than an offensive war  Labor discipline  Nationalize industry  Restored political order to places they took over  So brutal o Death of the Romanovs  Original plan was to put them on trial  Why not?  Military considerations o The Czech legion was getting close to their location and heading east  Bolshevik leader didn’t think a trial made sense because they didn’t what Nicholas II to be found innocent o The Revolution would be put on trial as well if it was legitimate o Knew court wouldn’t condemn the children and they could not leave any heirs  The Red Terror o Gulag comes into existence o Executions


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