Kemnay Academy Advanced Higher History Soviet Russia 1917 – 1953 Revision Notes 1. The Downfall of the Tsarist Regime 2.The Collapse of the Provisional Government THEME 1: THE DOWNFALL OF THE TSARIST REGIME TSARIST RUSSIA PRE-1914: TIMELINE 1861: Emancipation of the Serfs 1881: Assassination of Alexander II 1894: Nicholas II becomes Tsar 1892 – 1902: Economic Reforms of Sergei Witte 1905: Russo-Japanese War 1905 Revolution / October Manifesto 1906: First Duma elected and dissolved 1906 – 1911: Stolypin Land Reforms / State Repression 1907: Second Duma elected and dissolved 1907 – 1912: Third Duma 1911: Assassination of Stolypin 1912 – 1914: Fourth Duma 1914: Outbreak of World War One 1915: Recall of the Duma / Progressive Bloc formed Key Figures Tsar Nicholas II: Tsar of Russia 1894 – 1917 Tsarina Alexandra: German wife of Nicholas II Sergei Witte: Minister of Finance 1892 – 1902 - Prime Minister of Russia 1905/6 Gregory Rasputin: Siberian Holy Man Peter Stolypin: Prime Minister of Russia 1906 - 1911 General Khabalov: Commander of the Petrograd Garrison Paul Milyukov: leader of the Kadets in the Duma Mikhail Rodzianko: President of the Fourth Duma Alexander Kerensky: SR leader and founding member of the Provisional Committee LONG TERM FACTORS The Tsar’s Autocratic Regime Nicholas II was an hereditary ruler ‘appointed by God’; his absolute rule was ratified by the ‘Fundamental Laws of the Empire’ (1832), Before the October Manifesto of 1905, there were no political parties. The Tsar’s Government consisted of: The Imperial Council: advisers directly responsible to the Tsar The Cabinet of Ministers: responsible for various government departments The Senate: responsible for administering the law The inefficiencies of the Civil Service was another problem; it was weighed down by bureaucracy and riddled with corruption, incapable of administering the vast Russian Empire The Tsar was also the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church was an extremely powerful institution and emphasised the Tsar’s divine right to rule The Repressive Nature of the Regime Nicholas II inherited a regime where civil liberties were repressed following the assassination of Alexander II: There was no freedom of speech Newspapers were censored Political activists could be imprisoned without trial Universities were under strict government control The power of Local Councils (Zemstvas) were reduced The power of the secret police, the Okhrana, was extended State repression increased under Prime Minister Peter Stolypin; between 1906-11 Russia was effectively under martial law, referred to as ‘Stolypin’s Necktie’ This was illustrated by the Lena Goldfields Massacre (1912) in which striking workers were killed by Tsarist troops Under Russification, the Empire’s national minorities such as Poles, Finns and Ukrainians had Russian culture, education and religion enforced upon them. Anti-Semitism was also rife in Tsarist Russia Opposition to the Tsar Revolutionaries Populists: were drawn from the middle classes. They aimed to educate the peasants in the countryside. The Populist group ‘People’s Will’ assassinated Alexander II Social Revolutionaries (SR’s): SR’s played an active role against the Tsarist regime, carrying out over 2,000 assassinations including the Tsar’s uncle, Grand Duke Sergei. They drew their support from the peasantry Social Democrats (SD’s): Followers of Marxist theory,SD’s believed the proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish a socialist state. At the Second Party Congress in 1903, they split into two factions: the Bolsheviks led by Lenin and the Mensheviks led by Martov Reformers Octobrists: named after the October Manifesto, Octobrists represented landowners, industrialists and big business. They were moderate in their demands, and believed the monarchy could co-exist alongside an elected parliament Kadets (Constitutional Democrats): the largest liberal party, the Kadets believed in a Constitutional Monarchy in which the powers of the Tsar would be curtailed. Led by Paul Milyukov, they were supported by small businessmen and professionals Economic Problems By comparison to other European powers, Russia’s economy was backward. She had some heavy industries, but a poor infrastructure and weak banking system Between 1892 – 1903, Minister of Finance Sergei Witte, modernised the economy. Foreign investment, particularly from France after the signing of the Franco-Russian Alliance, increased significantly Witte oversaw the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway: as a result of the growth in railways, industrial output in coal, iron and steel increased rapidly Russia’s development into a modern industrial state brought great social problems: migration to the cities led to overcrowding, bad housing, disease and squalor Workers faced harsh working conditions and unemployment in times of recession; this led to unofficial unions being formed and an increasing number of strikes from 1912 The Land Reform Issue The vast majority of people were peasants dependent on the land for their survival. Under the Emancipation Decree (1861), former serfs were entitled to buy land but few could afford to do so without incurring huge debt Between 1906 – 11, Stolypin introduced agrarian reforms to assist peasant farmers become more productive by giving them the rights of private ownership The pace of reform was slow, however, and by the time of Stolypin’s assassination in 1911, only 1 / 10 of peasants owned their own land. Land reform remained a contentious issue for most peasants The Suppression of the Dumas The four Dumas between 1906 and 1917 were the first elected Parliaments in Russia’s history. Many people, however, were dissatisfied with the Duma, believing that the Tsar had failed to meet the promises of the October Manifesto. In 1906, he passed the Fundamental Laws: this meant that The Tsar could dissolve the Duma The State Council of the Duma was elected by the Tsar and could veto legislation passed by the elected lower house No law could be passed without the consent of the Tsar The First Duma lasted only from April - June 1906 before being dissolved. Kadets and other deputies reassembled at Vyborg; they were arrested and debarred from reelection The Second Duma was also short-lived; it included a sizeable number of SR’s and SD’s whose outspoken criticism of the Tsar led to its dissolution after a few months After Stolypin withdrew the franchise from peasants and industrial workers, the Third and Fourth Dumas were filled with moderates and conservatives less inclined to criticise the Tsar; the State Council dominated political affairs The Fourth Duma was dissolved in 1914 following the outbreak of war and reinstated in 1915; within the Duma, a Progressive Bloc was formed between Kadets and leftOctobrists; the Bloc became increasingly critical of the Tsar’s handling of the war SHORT TERM FACTORS Russia and the First World War Russia’s entry into the First World War in support of her Serbian ally was disastrous for The Tsar’s regime. At first, the war stirred patriotism and united the nation behind The Tsar; the Duma offered its full support, with only the five Bolshevik deputies in opposition. By 1917, Russia was crippled by problems political, social and economic problems as a direct consequence of the war: Inflation: The stability of Russia’s economy was destroyed by increased government spending and heavy borrowing to sustain the war effort. The Gold Standard was abandoned, as severe inflation took hold the cost of food and fuel soared Food Shortages: By 1916, food supplies had fallen due to peasant conscription and the requisitioning of horses and fertilizers. Peasants began hoarding grain; food was prioritised for the front line, leading to bread rationing in the cities Transport: Railways were commandeered for exclusive use by the military; the network was unable to cope with the strain of the war effort and by 1916 had virtually ground to a halt. This meant that basic necessities of food, fuel and medicine failed to reach the cities. Petrograd and Moscow were receiving only a third of the provisions they required Popularity of the Tsar and Tsarina In 1915, Nicholas II had assumed personal command of the Russian armed forces. This was designed to rally popular support behind the war effort, however, military setbacks on the Eastern Front led to the Tsar being blamed personally The Tsarina, Alexandra, was branded a ‘German spy’: her relationship with Gregory Rasputin greatly damaged the credibility of the Monarchy at a time when Russia was embroiled in a desperate struggle for survival Rasputin’s apparent influence over the Tsar’s wartime government merely added fuel to the fire of those who criticised the corruption and incompetence of the regime The Collapse in Morale Dispiriting setbacks on the Eastern Front led to a collapse in army morale. This was compounded by the huge losses incurred by the Brusilov Offensive in 1916 A report conducted by the President of the Duma, Mikhail Rodzianko, in 1916 revealed widespread disorganisation and indiscipline within the army, as well as shortages of uniforms, boots, medicine and ammunition Desertion among the peasants who made up the bulk of the Russian Army increased alarmingly th On 28 February, Kronstadt sailors mutinied against their officers The ‘Progressive Bloc’ The Duma had dissolved itself at the outbreak of war but was recalled in July 1915. The Tsar declined, however, to replace his incompetent Cabinet of Ministers with a new body more representative of the people 236 of the 422 deputies formed a ‘Progressive Bloc’ comprising largely of Kadets, leftOctobrists and other progressive parties. The SR’s also supported the Bloc in Duma resolutions The Bloc was not hostile to the Tsar and supported the war effort but Nicholas’ refusal to acknowledge its authority lost much of the remaining goodwill towards him The February Revolution In February 1917, discontent against the Tsar’s regime rapidly turned into a revolution; the speed with which events unfolded and the lack of leadership suggests the revolution was spontaneous rather than planned Hostility towards the Tsar was reflected by peasant unrest and discontent among the mass of industrial workers, provoked by the prolonged miseries of the war years along with a government clampdown on trade union activity and suppression of civil liberties Striking workers from the huge Putilov Steel Works were joined on the streets by other workers, alarmed by rumours of further cuts in bread rations rd 23 February coincided with International Women’s Day; thousands of women had taken to the streets and along with the mass of workers brought Petrograd to a standstill Breakdown of Law and Order General Khabalov, Commander of the Petrograd Garrison, informed the Tsar (400 miles away at the Front) that he could not impose martial law as most of his troops refused to obey orders Troops sent from the Front to reinforce the Garrison also deserted; many of the police ordered to bring the protests under control joined the demonstrators instead The Dual Authority th On 27 February, the Tsar ordered the Duma to dissolve; deputies instead formed a ‘Provisional Committee’ (which evolved into the Provisional Government), One of its leaders, Alexander Kerensky, called for the Tsar’s abdication On the same day, the ‘Petrograd Soviet’ of Soldiers, Sailors and Workers’ deputies met for the first time at the Tauride Palace – the same building as the Provisional Committee The Soviet was set up largely at the instigation of the Mensheviks, and became the mouthpiece of the striking workers, soldiers and sailors. (The Bolsheviks were not involved as most of their leaders were in exile at this time) th On 28 February, the Soviet declared its determination to ‘wipe out the old regime’ and establish a Constituent Assembly Abdication th Rodzianko advised the Tsar that only his abdication could save the monarchy. On 28 February, Nicholas attempted to return to Petrograd but the royal train was intercepted by his generals 100 miles from the city nd Nicholas was persuaded to sign the decree of abdication on 2 March, nominating his brother Grand Duke Michael as Tsar, which he sensibly declined rd On 3 March, the Provisional Government announced itself as the official government of Russia and the Tsar’s abdication was made public the following day While mass protests played a part in the Tsar’s downfall, it was some of his most loyal supporters – army generals, police chiefs and aristocratic members of the Duma – who lost faith in Nicholas and persuaded him to abdicate THEME 2: THE COLLAPSE OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT TIMELINE (1917) th February 27 Provisional Committee is formed st March 1 Petrograd Soviet Issues Order No. 1 th April 4 Lenin delivers his April Theses th May 17 Kronstadt Soviet declares itself independent of Provisional Government st May 31 Kerensky becomes Minister for War th June 16 Kerensky Offensive begins rd th July 3 – 6 July Days Uprising th July 7 Kerensky becomes Prime Minister after Lvov’s Resignation st September 1 Kornilov abandons his march on Petrograd th October 8 Trotsky becomes Chairman of Petrograd Soviet Formation of the MRC rd October 23 Kerensky moves to crush the Bolsheviks th October 25 First Session of the Congress of Soviets Seizure of the Winter Palace Kerensky flees from Petrograd th October 26 Lenin claims power in the name of the Congress of Soviets Key Figures Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: Bolshevik leader th Leon Trotsky: Chairman of Petrograd Soviet (from 8 October) th General Lavr Kornilov: Commander in Chief of Russian Army (from 18 July) th Prince Georgy Lvov: Prime Minister of the Provisional Government (until 7 July) nd Paul Milyukov: Foreign Minister in the Provisional Government (until 2 May) th Alexander Kerensky: Minister for War / Prime Minister of Russia (from7 July) WEAKNESSES OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT Formation of the Provisional Government The Provisional Government evolved from the Provisional Committee which formed after the Tsar dissolved the Duma. th It assumed power after the Tsar’s abdication on 13 March 1917, and consisted of representatives from all political parties apart from the Bolsheviks. A ‘Temporary Committee’ included: Prince Georgy Lvov Prime Minister Paul Milyukov (Kadets) Foreign Minister Alexander Kerensky (SR’s) Minister for Justice Alexander Guchcov (Octobrists) Minister of War Peter Struve (Kadets) Minister of Trade The Provisional Government immediately announced a number of progressive liberal reforms: An amnesty for all political prisoners Freedom of speech, press, and assembly The abolition of all restrictions based on class, religion, and nationality Arrangements for the calling on a Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal suffrage Problems Facing the Provisional Government From the outset, the Provisional Government faced several key problems: It was not an elected body and lacked legitimate authority It had no constitutional rights to dictate laws to the Russian people It had no military backing to enforce its decrees The Provisional Government therefore relied on the goodwill of the people for its support. Initially, it enjoyed a certain amount of support from the people: this was, however, gradually eroded by three key issues: The failure to deal with the ongoing problems of land reform The continuation of the war against Germany on the Eastern Front The problem of ‘Dual Authority’ The Land Issue As far as Russia’s vast peasant population was concerned, land reform was the most important issue in the wake of the Tsar’s abdication. Land reforms had come to a halt following Stolypin’s assassination and the onset of war The Provisional Government, however, were reluctant to simply allow the peasants to take over private land without compensation for landowners: Many members of the government came from the landowning and propertied classes The government did not view land reform as a main priority given the ongoing war against Germany and Austria The Land Commission set up by the Provisional Government made little progress in solving the problem Lenin believed the peasantry had little revolutionary zeal: the Bolsheviks therefore had no real land policy, however, he saw an opportunity to undermine the government by stirring up discontent over the land issue Lenin effectively stole the SR slogan: ‘Land to the Peasants’, recognising the legitimacy of peasant land seizure. This led to an upsurge in Bolshevik support in the countryside and split the SR’s; ‘left’ SR’s now sided with the Bolsheviks The War Issue The continuation of the war against Germany on the Eastern Front was the biggest problem facing the Provisional Government. Without supplies and war credits from her Western Allies Russia faced economic collapse Foreign Minister Milyukov pledged to continue the war until Germany was defeated; this led to Bolshevik-orchestrated anti-war demonstrations against the government in late April The demonstrations forced the resignation of Milyukov along with Guchkov, the Minister for War. These resignations weakened Prince Lvov’s administration With each military setback on the Eastern Front, support for the Provisional Government declined. Bolshevik agitators infiltrated army units, encouraging soldiers to disobey officers and desert en masse The Problem of ‘Dual Authority’ In the wake of the Tsar’s abdication, Soviets were set up in most of Russia’s major towns and cities; it was the Petrograd Soviet that was to play a key role in the downfall of the Provisional Government, however: The Petrograd Soviet was not initially hostile to the PG and agreed to co-operate on certain conditions Both the Soviet and PG met within the Tauride Palace; some representatives such as Kerensky were members of both bodies The Soviet was primarily concerned with the welfare of the soldiers and workers whom it represented; it did not present itself as an alternative government Initially, the Soviet was dominated by moderate socialists, Mensheviks and SR’s. A central committee – Ispolkom – was formed and took most of the key decisions Gradually, there was a swing to the ‘left’ as Bolsheviks began to exert increasing influence over the Soviet. Increasingly, there was less co-operation between the two bodies, particularly after the ‘July Days’. Increasingly, the Soviet moved to the ‘left’ while the Provisional Government moved to the ‘right’ Soviet Order No. 1 st On 1 March 1917, the Soviet issued Order No. 1 in response to a decree by the Provisional Government that soldiers of the Petrograd Garrison who had taken part in the February Revolution were to return to barracks. The importance of Soviet Order No. 1 was far-reaching: The Order stated that soldiers were only to obey the orders of their officers and the decrees of the Provisional Government if these did not contradict the orders of the Soviet It also stated that soldiers should elect representatives to the Soviet and should form committees to run their unit; the saluting of officers and standing to attention when off duty was to be abolished Soviet Order No 1 fatally undermined the authority of the Provisional Government, as it could not count on the support of soldiers to enforce its decrees unless the et was in agreement Sovi THE ROLE OF LENIN The April Thesis rd On 3 April, Lenin returned from exile to Petrograd, famously arriving at the Finland Station where he was greeted by enthusiastic Bolshevik supporters. The following day, he issued his famous ‘April Thesis’ There would be no co-operation with other parties The Provisional Government was to be overthrown in a workers’ revolution All authority was to be transferred to the Soviets Lenin’s ‘all power to the Soviets’ slogan was based on his belief that the Bolsheviks could use the Soviets as a power base to assume control, seemingly with the consent of the proletariat Lenin other slogan, ‘Peace, Bread and Land’ was designed to appeal to the workers and peasants whose three main concerns were: the continuation of the war; the shortages of food; the ongoing issue of land reform Lenin’s return to Petrograd in October th Following the July Days, Lenin fled into exile once more. He returned to Petrograd on 7 October, convinced that the time was right for Revolution; this was despite the concerns of other members of the Bolshevik party such as Kamenev and Zinoviev Lenin believed, however, that the Bolsheviks would have to seize power before two events took place: The meeting of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets Elections to the Constituent Assembly th Lenin argued his case to the Central Committee, who on 10 October finally agreed to an armed insurrection against the Provisional Government While others wavered, it was Lenin who provided not only the vision but the drive and determination (as well as the ruthlessness) to carry out a successful Bolshevik Coup in October 1917 using a small band of dedicated, professional revolutionaries THE ROLE OF ALEXANDER KERENSKY The ‘Kerensky Offensive’ Alexander Kerensky (SR’s) held positions both in the PG and the Soviet. He became Minister for War following Guchkov’s resignation in May 1917 Kerensky was a flamboyant and energetic figure; he made several visits to the front line and appealed to Russian patriotism in an effort to continue the war. He was, however, criticised for his liberal army reforms which included the abolition of the death penalty for desertion th On 16 June, Kerensky ordered a huge offensive against Austro-Hungarian forces in Galicia; the offensive was poorly timed as morale was extremely low among troops Despite initial successes, a strong counter-attack by Austrian and German forces forced a headlong retreat of some 150 miles. Russian casualties were estimated at around 400,000 killed and wounded The failure of the Kerensky Offensive had disastrous consequences for the Provisional Government. In Petrograd, news of the failure led to rioting among soldiers and workers which became known as the ‘July Days’ The ‘July Days’ rd th The events of 3 – 6 July were generally chaotic, set against the backdrop of widespread civil unrest: workers had taken control of many factories there was widespread seizure of land by the peasants a number of national minority governments had been formed The demonstrators – including a contingent of Kronstadt sailors – were scattered and order quickly restored. Though it is widely accepted that Bolshevik agitators were behind the uprising, Trotsky later claimed the violence was pre-empted by Mensheviks and SR’s. In a sense, the July Days played into Kerensky’s hands: At this stage, there were still sufficient troops loyal to the government to crush the uprising The Bolsheviks were greatly discredited; they were shown to be disorganised, poorly-led and branded as traitors Kerensky ordered the arrest of Bolshevik leaders including Trotsky & Kamenev; Lenin fled once more into exile. The Bolshevik newspaper ‘Pravda’ was closed down The Kornilov Affair The event that undermined Kerensky’s authority more than any other was the ‘Kornilov Affair’. General Lavr Kornilov had been appointed by Kerensky as Commander in Chief of the Army. He was a proud Cossack and Monarchist In September 1917, Kornilov, ordered a contingent of loyal troops to Petrograd, intending to crush the Soviet and restore order to the streets Whether Kerensky was complicit in Kornilov’s plan to overthrow the Soviet is debatable. On realising the threat posed by Kornilov to the Provisional Government, however, Kerensky ordered Kornilov to surrender his command He issued 40,000 firearms to workers (many of whom subsequently joined the Bolsheviks) and called on loyal citizens to defend the capital While Kornilov’s coup attempt failed, it was highly damaging to the Provisional Government and to Kerensky in particular who was seen to have made a huge tactical blunder in several respects: The Provisional Government was now seen as extremely vulnerable to armed insurrection Kerensky’s own credibility was damaged by first being seen to ‘conspire’ with Kornilov, then having him arrested Bolshevik prisoners were released from prison and issued with weapons which they would later use. The Bolsheviks were now seen as the ‘defenders of the capital’ and of the February Revolution – Kerensky underestimated the threat from the ‘left’ After Kornilov’s arrest, Kerensky assumed responsibility as Commander in Chief of the Russian Army and therefore took responsibility for its military failures Kerensky & the October Revolution Kerensky made another crucial mistake in ordering troops of the Petrograd Garrison to the front; the order was ignored and led to mass desertion of garrison troops Kerensky then pre-empted the timing of the Bolshevik coup: following the publication of an article by Kamanev and Zinoviev arguing against the overthrow of the PG, he became convinced that a coup was imminent Kerensky ordered the arrest of Bolshevik leaders; this was to prove impossible, given the lack of loyal troops; Kerensky’s tactical blunder was the signal for the Bolsheviks to act THE ROLE OF TROTSKY Control of the Soviet Arrested following the July Days, Trotsky had been released from prison along with th other Bolsheviks during the Kornilov Affair; on 8 October, he was elected Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet By this time, attendance at Soviet meetings had declined to just a few hundred; this enabled the Bolsheviks to form the majority in the Soviet and exert a disproportionate degree of influence The Soviet consequently moved increasingly to the ‘left’ while the Provisional Government moved to the ‘right’: Dual Authority was essentially at an end Trotsky sided with Lenin against Kamanev and Zinoviev on the need to take decisive action against the Provisional Government before the moment was lost and elections to the Constituent Assembly could be held Trotsky and the MRC While Lenin was undoubtedly the inspiration and instigator behind the October Revolution, Trotsky was the main organiser of events as they unfolded One of the main reasons for the success of the October Revolution was the formation of the Military Revolutionary Committee (MRC) Trotsky used his position as Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet to form the MRC on the pretence of defending Petrograd from German invasion or a military coup. This ‘legitamised’ the insurrection as the Red Guard were seen to be acting on the authority of the Soviet th On 24/25 October, Trotsky personally directed the seizure of key public buildings and the storming of the Winter Palace, defended only by a few military cadets, Cossacks and a Woman’s Battalion, the ‘Amazons’ Trotsky later stated that the two key factors in the success of the October Revolution were: The formation of the MRC The desertion of the Petrograd Soviet Cults Academy Advanced Higher History Soviet Russia 1917 – 1953 Revision Notes 3. The Bolshevik Consolidation of Power 4.The Russian Civil War THEMES 3 & 4: CONSOLIDATION OF POWER / RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR CONSOLIDATION OF POWER: TIMELINE 1917: Sovnarkom formed /State Capitalism introduced (dec) Cheka formed (dec) 1918: Red Army formed (Jan) Declaration of Rights (Jan) Constituent Assembly dissolved (Jan) Treaty of Brest Litovsk (Mar) Revolt of the Czech Legion (May) War Communism introduced (Jun) The Ice March / Death of General Kornilov (Apr) Yudenich’s failed attack on Petrograd (Oct/Nov) Defeat of Deniken’s Volunteer Army at Orel (Oct) 1919 Defeat of Kolchak’s White Army at Omsk (Oct) 1920 Withdrawl of most foreign troops from Russia 1921 Tambov Rising 1921 Kronstadt Rebellion (Mar) Tenth Party Congress / War Communism ended (Mar) Key Figures Lenin: Chairman of the Sovnarkom (Council of Ministers) Trotsky: People’s Commissar for War General Deniken: Commander of Volunteer White Army General Yudenich: Commander of Northwestern White Army General Kolchak: Commander of White Army of Siberia Alexander Shlyapnikov: leader of Workers’ Opposition Alexandra Kollontai: leader of Workers’ Opposition Stepan Petrechenko: Chairman of Kronstadt Sailors Committee AFTERMATH OF THE REVOLUTION Following the revolution, the Bolsheviks faced a desperate battle for survival. They were a minority party with a relatively small support base. According to Lenin, power had been seized with the backing of the Congress of Soviets. In reality, the coup had been instigated by the Bolsheviks alone and without the consent of other parties Key issues facing the Bolsheviks included: the threat of counter-revolutionary forces the problem of severe food shortages & inflation the negotiation of a peace settlement with Germany imminent elections to the Constituent Assembly Structure of the New Government Following the Revolution, Lenin formed a new legislative body, the Sovnarkom: (Council of the People’s Commissars). Essentially, this was the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in all but name and included: Chairman: Lenin Commissar for Foreign Affairs / War Trotsky Commissar for Internal Affairs: Rykov Commissar for Nationalities: Stalin In theory, the Sovnarkom was appointed by the Congress of Soviets, who in turn were elected by local Soviets. In reality, Lenin had no intention of following such democratic procedures State Capitalism Marxist theory envisaged the transformation from a capitalist to a socialist state representing the triumph of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. In practical terms, however, Russia faced severe shortages of raw materials, a fall in industrial production and soaring inflation Lenin foresaw a period of transition in which existing economic structures would act as a stepping stone to socialism Capitalist institutions such as banks, post offices and building societies were placed under state control; railways and other industries were nationalised All private trade and enterprise would be regulated by the Vesenkha, a sub-committee answerable to the Sovnarkom Lenin referred to this transitional phase as ‘State Capitalism’ and this became the cornerstone of Bolshevik economic policy in the year following the revolution The Declaration of Rights In the weeks following the revolution, the Sovnarkom ruled by decree without consulting the Soviet. This was what Marx had described as ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ – a necessary phase in the transition between a capitalist and a socialist state Aware that the Bolsheviks faced potential discontent among workers, peasants and national minorities, Lenin took steps to appease these groups by issuing a declaration of rights: The Decree on Land Private land ownership was abolished; the sale or lease of land was forbidden. In a sense, this was merely rubber-stamping the fact that peasants had already seized huge amounts of land from the landowners The Decree on Workers’ Control This allowed workers’ committees to take responsibility for factory management and production; in reality, the state still regulated factories by controlling the committees to ensure strict order and discipline was maintained The Decree on National Minorities Self-autonomy was to be granted to the ‘free nations’ of the federation of Soviet national republics. As the Bolsheviks had little authority outwith Petrograd and Moscow, this decree had little real impact The Use of Terror In addition to acceding to popular demands, another aspect of Bolshevik consolidation of power was the use of state terror to wipe out opposition This was achieved through the ‘Cheka’, the Bolshevik secret police formed by a decree on th 20 December 1917. The Cheka was commanded by Felix Dzerzhinsky; the Cheka soon gained a reputation for brutality surpassing that of the Tsar’s hated Okhrana A number of leading Kateds, SR’s and Mensheviks were arrested and some executed without trial; opposition newspapers were closed down There was a purge of the Civil Service who had resisted the Bolshevik coup by going on strike Members of the bourgeoisie were liable to arrest and stripped of their wealth and priviliges; this was the beginning of ‘class warfar The Constituent Assembly th Elections to the Constituent Assembly took place on 25 November 1917; the result – as Lenin feared – emphasised the Bolsheviks’ precarious hold on power: The Bolsheviks gained just 175 seats, a distant second to the SR’s who gained 370 seats They had polled just 24% of the popular vote, largely confined to the urban districts Even an alliance with the ‘left SR’s’ was insufficient for the Bolsheviks to wield authority within the Assembly Lenin’s refusal to co-operate with other parties was now put to the test; either the Bolsheviks could take their place as a minority party within the Assembly and hope to exert influence legitimately, or more drastic action could be taken The Dissolving of the Constituent Assembly th The Constituent Assembly met for the first and only time at 4pm on 5 January 1918, and was dissolved by Red Guard factions in the early hours of the following morning Lenin claimed that the Soviet government created in October was the legitimate government, elected by the will of the workers and soldiers. He also claimed the Constituent Assembly elections had been rigged by the SR’s and Kadets The dissolving of the Constituent Assembly was to have far-reaching consequences: A Constituent Assembly had been the dream of many ordinary Russians for generations; its dissolution was a bitter disappointment to those who believed the October Revolution was a force for democratic change Crowds of protestors who gathered in support of the Assembly were fired upon by the Red Guard; this had echoes of the old Tsarist regime Workers, soldiers and peasants had supported the revolution in the belief that a new government would consist of representatives from all parties The dissolving of the Constituent Assembly alienated many people against the Bolsheviks and was one of the main causes of the Civil War The Treaty of Brest Litovsk Lenin and Trotsky disagreed over the cessation of hostilities against Germany. Trotsky was of the belief that the war could be turned into a ‘class war’; he argued that a peace settlement should be delayed until Bolshevik agitators could instill revolutionary belief in Austrian and German troops. Lenin disagreed as: The German government had funded Lenin in his attempts to undermine the Russian war effort and continued to fund the Bolshevik Party after the revolution The Bolsheviks’ anti-war stance had stood them apart from other parties. Lenin believed that ‘peace at any price’ was vital for the survival of the revolution An Armistice was agreed at Brest-Litovsk on 22nd December 1917; it soon became clear that the German government intended to impose a harsh settlement Trotsky, who as Foreign Minister headed the Russian delegation, withdrew from the talks declaring ambiguously: ‘no peace – no war.” rd Talks were resumed and the peace settlement eventually signed on 3 March 1918; the terms of the treaty were extremely harsh: Huge parts of the Russian Empire from the Black Sea to the Baltic were ceded to German control, including Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Finland and the Baltic States Russia lost about one sixth of her population; 25% of her arable land; 75% of her iron ore and coal reserves Russia was to pay 3 billion roubles in war reparations Neither Lenin nor Trotsky were concerned with the huge loss of territory as they were convinced a workers’ revolution was inevitable, however, they faced a serious backlash from Russians horrified at the acceptance of such harsh terms: People from across the social classes, particularly those on the ‘right’ and ‘centre’ such as conservatives and Kadets, formed an opposition bloc against the Bolsheviks ‘Left’ Bolsheviks and ‘left’ SR’s on the other hand believed the peace settlement betrayed the idea of a worldwide workers’ revolution by enabling the triumph of Germany as an Imperialistic Power Along with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the signing of the Treaty of Brest Litovsk created such opposition to the Bolsheviks that Russia was dragged into a long and bloody civil war THE RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR The Russian Civil War was fought largely from 1918 – 1921, though sporadic fighting continued after this. It was a long, bloody and complex struggle. The main protagonists were: Reds: Bolsheviks and their supporters Whites: Counter-Revolutionaries including former army officers, Cossacks and supporters of the other political parties such as the SR’s and Kadets Greens: national minorities such as Ukrainians and Georgians who fought for independence The Czech Legion: a force of Czech volunteers trapped within Russia following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Foreign Interventionists: forces from outwith Russia including the United States, Britain and France as well as Japanese troops The Red Army The Red Army – officially the ‘Workers and Peasants Red Army’ – evolved from the Red Guard who had participated in the October Revolution. It comprised largely of Kronstadt sailors, former soldiers and workers who supported th the revolution. It was established by a decree of 28 January 1918 As People’s Commissar for War, Trotsky had the responsibility for forging an efficient fighting force. Within a few months, it was around 250,000 strong and later grew to several million in number The White Army There were several White Armies of which the most significant forces were: A 20,000 strong Northwestern Army commanded by General Yudenich; it operated in the Baltic and made a failed attack on Petrograd in October 1919 Admiral Kolchak’s 110,000 strong Siberian Army controlled much of Siberia, where the Mensheviks and SR’s had declared an independent Republic; Kolchak’s Army were allied with the Czech Legion The largest White force was General Denekin’s ‘Volunteer Army’ operated in the Caucasus Region of Southern Russia; at its peak, it was 250,000-strong and supported by Cossacks, Polish, French and British forces The Green Armies ‘Greens’ was a loose term to describe armed groups of peasants who fought independently of the Reds and the Whites. Greens were most active in Ukraine and Georgia and fought for national independence or local self-interest Perhaps the most famous ‘Green Army’ was that of the Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno, who waged a brutal campaign against both Red and White forces before being driven into exile in 1921 Other independent warlords such as Roman Ungern von Sternberg waged their own private wars in Mongolia and elsewhere across the Empire The Czech Legion The Czech Legion was one of several foreign forces trapped inside Russia following the th Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, another being the 5 Polish Rifle Division. Both fought alongside Admiral Kolchak against the Red Army in Siberia During World War 1, the 50,000 strong Czech Legion had volunteered to fight alongside the Russian Army in the hope of securing an independent Czech homeland; the Czech troops planned to reach Vladivostock via the Trans-Siberian railway, from where they would be evacuated to the Western Front to resume the fight against Germany Trotsky, who had previously granted safe passage to the Legion, was then compelled by the terms of Brest-Litovsk to disarm them. This led, in May 1918, to the ‘Revolt of the Legions’ and subsequent clashes with Bolshevik forces Foreign Interventionists Following the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, British, French and American forces were dispatched to safeguard stockpiles of supplies sent to aid the Russian war effort against Germany. British and French ships patrolled the Baltic and the Black Seas Politicians like Churchill called for the Bolsheviks to be overthrown to stop the spread of Communism; there were concerns that Russia’s war debts would not be honoured and the assets of foreign investors would be frozen Other foreign powers, notably Czechoslovakia, Finland, Lithaunia, Poland and Romania sent troops against the Bolsheviks; a large Japanese force occupied the vital pacific port of Vladivostock THE STRENGTHS OF THE BOLSHEVIKS The Role of Trotsky As Commissar for War, Trotsky was responsible for the creation of the Red Army and enjoyed a free hand in military matters He enlisted a large number of ex-Tsarist officers to train and instill discipline in the army; he imposed a harsh regime, including the return of the death penalty for desertion or disloyalty Conscription was enforced in areas controlled by the Bolsheviks; this swelled the ranks of the Red Army to around 3 million men Trotsky proved an inspired wartime leader; he kept a high profile, travelling to the front line in a ‘sealed train’ utilized as his command headquarters. Trotsky also devised Red Army planning and strategy Control of the Railways Trotsky realised that control of Russia’s rail network was vital to the Bolshevik war effort & made it a priority to protect vital rail links between Petrograd and Moscow the railways were the means to transport troops, ammunition and supplies to the front line as well as industrial resources to the cities Control of the Cities The Bolsheviks remained in control of a concentrated area of Western Russia around Petrograd and Moscow for the entire duration of the war control of the cities was vital to maintain supplies and good lines of communications; it also meant the Bolsheviks controlled the factories and were able to maintain a high level of industrial production Use of Propaganda The Bolsheviks used propaganda effectively to portray the White Army as being in league with the ‘foreign invaders’ of Britain, France and the United States. The Bolsheviks were seen as the ‘defenders of the Motherland’ Bolshevik propaganda warned of a return to the days of the hated Tsarist regime if the Whites were victorious They played on atrocities committed by the White Army to create hostility in Whitecontrolled areas THE WEAKNESSES OF THE WHITES Factionalism While the Reds were unified by a single cause the White war effort was greatly hampered by a lack of unity and co-ordination; the White Armies largely fought as separate entities with a lack of common cause There was lack of co-operation between the Whites, Foreign Interventionists, the Czech Legion and the Greens; each fought for their own self-interests sometimes in conflict with each other Foreign Intervention was largely ineffective and half-hearted: co-ordination with White forces was often poor. By the end of 1919, the vast majority of French and American troops were withdrawn Geography and logistics The three main White Armies were spread out across vast areas: Yudenich in the northwest, Kolchak in the north-east and Deniken in the South Bolshevik control of the railways meant it was extremely difficult for the White forces to move men and supplies effectively and to co-ordinate offensives As the Bolsheviks controlled the industrial centres, the White Armies relied on supplies from abroad; these were often unreliable and in insufficient quantities to sustain the White war effort Leadership & Morale The Whites lacked inspirational leadership. The one man who could have united White forces, General Kornilov, was killed in April 1918 following his famous ‘Ice March’ His successor, Deniken, was defeated at Orel in October 1918 and forced to retreat thereafter. Yudenich’s poorly co-ordinated attacked on Petrograd ended in failure in October 1918; Kolchak’s tactical blunders led to his defeat at Omsk in October 1919 Morale among White forces was often extremely low; peasants were often conscripted into the army only to desert en masse. Foreign troops – after four years of war on the Western Front – had no real willpower to fight Forced conscription and atrocities committed by White forces often led to great resentment and resistance among the local population WAR COMMUNISM In June 1918, Lenin abandoned State Capitalism and introduced a series of economic, political and social measures known collectively as ‘War Communism’. This was necessitated by: rising inflation severe food shortages a shortage of labour due to conscription The main aim of War Communism was to concentrate economic and industrial resources into the war effort but this met with only limited success. War Communism was enforced by the Supreme Economic Council, ‘Vesenkha’ and centralised all areas of the economy under Bolshevik control. In June 1918, a ‘Decree on Nationalisation’ enabled the party to take direct control over factories and railways Main features of War Communism All industry was nationalised A state monopoly on foreign trade was introduced Strict discipline was imposed on workers Forced Labour was imposed on non-working classes Requisition of agricultural surpluses from peasants Food and most commodities were rationed in the cities Private enterprise became illegal Military-like control of railroads was introduced Effects of War Communism Industrial output declined due to a shortage of raw materials and manpower; by 1921, heavy industry had fallen to output levels of 20% of those in 1913. This was aggravated by a 50-75% drop in the population of Petrograd and Moscow as workers fled the cities in search of food A black market emerged in despite the ban on profiteering. The ruble collapsed and was replaced by a system of bartering; 90% of all wages were paid with goods. 70% of railway locomotives were in need of repair Requisitioning squads sent into the countryside to seize grain met strong opposition from peasants who refused to co-operate; food production fell as the peasants had no incentive to produce. Requisitioning led to severe famine in which millions died The Red Terror Another aspect of War Communism was the Red Terror that swept Russia at the height of the Civil War. Enforced by the Cheka, the Terror was designed to bring workers and peasants into line with the Bolshevik war effort In the cities, workers who took industrial action were executed, for example on 16 March 1919 200 striking workers at the Putilov Works in Petrograd were shot th In the countryside, Kulaks were particularly targeted, and thousands executed for hoarding grain The Bolsheviks also took the opportunity to settle old scores against their many enemies. Thousands of Tsarists, landowners and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church were brutally murdered Those who were not executed were often sent to Gulags, forced labour camps where prisoners would often be worked to death or die of extreme cold, disease and starvation THE END OF WAR COMMUNISM Lenin justified War Communism and the use of Terror as the only means by which the Bolsheviks could hold on to power during the Civil War. As the Terror escalated and famine spread, however, opposition to War Communism grew dramatically forcing Lenin to reconsider: The Tambov Rebellion Peasant revolts against grain requisitioning broke out across Russia. The largest and most significant of these was the Tambov Rebellion in 1920/21. A large force of peasant militia was formed to oppose the requisitioning squads. It took 30,000 Red Army troops along with squads of Cheka to crush the uprising. The ‘Workers Opposition’ In 1921, a ‘Workers’ Opposition’ was formed, accusing Bolshevik leaders of betraying the principles of the revolution Among its leaders were trade union leaders and two prominent Bolsheviks, Alexander Shlyapnikov and Alexandra Kollontai. They called for the restoration of civil liberties, better living and working conditions and an end to martial law The Kronstadt Rebellion As discontent over the oppressive nature of War Communism grew, leaders of the Workers’ Opposition joined with the Kronstadt Sailors in forming a united bloc against the Bolshevik regime Traditionally among the Bolsheviks’ staunchest supporters, the Kronstadt sailors had been at the forefront of the ‘July Days’ and October Revolution – this development was therefore extremely worrying for Lenin In March, 1921, the workers and sailors, led by a naval officer of the Baltic Fleet, Stepan Petrichenko, formed a Revolutionary Committee and issued a series of demands to the Bolshevik government Trotsky responded by ordering 60,000 Red Army troops across the ice to crush the rebellion; after heavy fighting, the ringleaders of the rebellion were rounded up and executed; some, including Petrichenko, escaped across the ice-bound Gulf of Finland to Finland Importance of the Kronstadt Rebellion In the aftermath of the Kronstadt Rising, Lenin claimed the sailors had been infiltrated by ‘White’ agents; in reality, he knew the rebellion was symbolic of the deeply unpopular Bolshevik regime and that changes were essential Consequently, at the Tenth Party Congress in March 1921, Lenin made a dramatic economic U-turn, announcing the end of War Communism and the introduction of a New Economic Policy (NEP). Cults Academy Advanced Higher History Soviet Russia 1917 – 1953 Revision Notes 5. Evolution of the Soviet State (1918-24) 6.Stalin’s Rise to Power THEME 5: EVOLUTION OF THE SOVIET STATE 1918-24 EVOLUTION OF THE SOVIET STATE: TIMELINE 1918: Decree on SDeparation of Church & State 1919: Comintern (Communist International) founded 1921: Tenth Party Congress (mar) / NEP introduced Decree against Factionalism Treaty of Riga ends Russo-Polish War (mar) 1922: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) Stalin becomes General Secretary of Communist Party Treaty of Rapallo Seizure of church wealth and properties Proletkult disbanded 1923: Eleventh Party Congress (mar) Declaration of the 46 (Oct) 1924: Death of Lenin (jan) Soviet Constitution ratified (jan) The Zinoviev Letter Key Figures Lenin: Chairman of Sovnarkom (Council of Ministers) and dominant figure in Politburo Leon Trotsky: Commissar for War and key member of the Politburo Felix Dzerzhinsky: Head of Cheka & Minister of the Interior Nicolai Bukharin: Editor of Pravda, member of the Politburo and a main influence behind the adoption of NEP Anatoli Lunarcharsky: Commissar of Enlightenment (Culture and Education) Alexandra Kollontai: feminist and leader of the ‘Workers’ Opposition’ THE ECONOMY The Introduction of NEP By March 1921, it was clear that War Communism had failed: Food shortages remained an acute problem Industrial output had continued to decline The Ruble had been devalued by soaring inflation Black-market profiteering had flourished There was widespread discontent, even among Bolshevik supporters At the Tenth Party Congress in March 1921, Lenin made a dramatic turn, announcing the end of War Communism and the introduction of a New Economic Policy (NEP) - an uneasy mixture of capitalism and socialism. Lenin was a realist and knew such a step was necessary to prevent full-scale rebellion Main Features of NEP Centralised control of the economy was relaxed Requisitioning was abandoned, replaced by a ‘tax in kind’ Food surplus could be sold for profit Currency and private trade was restored The state maintained control of heavy industry, banking and foreign trade Factionalism NEP was extremely controversial within the party; many Bolsheviks including Trotsky believed it to be a betrayal of the Revolution There was great resentment over the emergence of ‘Nepmen’, private traders who prospered under NEP. Nepmen were regarded as the new bourgeoisie To appease hard-liners on the ‘left’, Lenin was forced to state that NEP was only a temporary measure to get the economy back on track At the Tenth Party Congress, Lenin introduced a ‘Resolution on Party Unity’ calling for a ban on ‘factionalism’ and a ban on all other political parties. This helped to reduce criticism as to attack NEP was now seen to be an attack on the party itself The endorsement of NEP by Nicolai Bukharin, widely regarded as the party’s foremost economists, also went a long way to convincing others of its merits Impact of NEP Under NEP, requisitioning was abolished. Private ownership was restored to some areas of the economy, especially farming (but not to the land itself). Peasants were allowed to lease land, hire labour and sell surplus yield for profit Agricultural production increased: the grain harvest rose from 37.6 million tons (1921) to 51.4 million tons (1924) The efficiency of food distribution benefited the peasants who had suffered greatly under War Communism – a new generation of Kulak farmers emerged Restrictions on trade and commerce were lifted; private enterprise was encouraged. This led to the emergence of a new class of ‘NEPmen’; by 1924, NEPmen accounted for 75% of trade within Soviet Russia. Many urban workers resented the profits made by private traders What Lenin described as the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy - the heavy industries, transport, banks and financial institutions were still state-run. Industrial production was restored to pre-WW1 levels Problems with NEP Since the agricultural sector was growing faster than heavy industry, there was an imbalance in the economy. A surplus of food meant a fall in agricultural prices Meanwhile, the cost of manufactured goods rose; this made it more difficult for the peasants to buy goods without producing even more grain peasants had to produce more wheat to purchase these goods. This was known as the ‘Scissor Crisis’ which reached its peak by the end of 1923 Peasants began to withhold grain surplus to wait for higher prices. The government took measures to decrease inflation and enact reforms on the internal practices of the factories. Prices were fixed to halt the scissor effect Despite an upturn in production, agricultural methods were still ouitdated and inefficient. In 1928, a poor harvest led to a Grain Crisis: requisitioning was re-introduced The Soviet economy was still stagnant and inefficient compared to the West; unemployment remained high; real wages were little better than before the revolution; living conditions in the cities remained poor, with bad housing and rising crime rates NEP was finally ended in 1928, when Stalin instigated his programme of Collectivisation and Rapid Industrialisation AUTHORITARIANISM The ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ As demonstrated by the dissolving of the Constituent Assembly in 1918, Lenin had no time for democracy. Between 1921 – 24, Soviet society developed along authoritarian lines just as oppressive as the old Tsarist regime. This is referred to as the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ This was in stark contrast to Trotsky’s belief that centralised government would soon wither away following the Revolution and that the Bolsheviks would merely ‘issue a few decrees’ before shutting up shop and going home: At the Tenth Party Congress in 1921, a ban on all political parties other than the Bolsheviks had been decreed; factionalism within the party was also banned Soviets were no longer democratic institutions but instruments through which the Bolsheviks imposed their authority Government became increasingly bureaucratic; the number of government departments and officials greatly increased Freedom of speech was eroded; censorship was imposed on the press, religious and academic writings Courts became an instrument of the state, used to administer ‘revolutionary justice’ against Bolshevik opponents Following the decree against the Worker’s Opposition in 1921, Trade Unionism had been destroyed; workers followed strict labour laws and were severely punished for taking industrial action The Red Terror The Cheka, led by Felix Dzerzhinsky, imposed a regime of fear over anyone who dared oppose or criticise the Bolsheviks. A purge on political opponents led to thousands of SR’s and Mensheviks being murdered or sent to gulags; trade unionists, religious leaders and academics were among those who fell victim to the Terror The Declaration of the ‘46’ In October 1923, 46 leading Communists sent a letter to the Politburo of the Central Committee expressing concern that the party was insufficiently democratic. This became known as the ‘Declaration of the 46’ who, along with Trotsky, formed the ‘left opposition’ within the party SOVIET SOCIETY Religion The Russian Orthodox Church was a symbol of the old Tsarist regime and viewed as a potential source of opposition to the Bolshevik government In January 1918, the Decree on Separation of Church and State was passed; church ownership of land and property was removed; priests were no longer entitled to a state salary or pension; religious teaching was banned in schools By 1924, public worship was banned; the Orthodox Church was closed down; 300 bishops had been executed and some 10,000 priests arrested; atheism was adopted instead Culture Culture and the arts came under State control. Anatoli Lunarcharsky was appointed Commissar of Enlightenment, responsible for promoting a proletarian culture through the ‘Proletkult’ movement Writers, artists and musicians were expected to reflect the triumph of the proletariat. Remnants of the old bourgeoisie culture were eradicated The form of artistic expression that emerged under Proletkult, however, tended to be surrealist or avant-guard; this found little favour with many Bolsheviks who preferred their art to reflect ‘socialist realism’. In 1922, Lenin disbanded the Proletkult movement Thereafter, Lenin waged war on the Intelligentsia; hundreds of writers and academics accused of being counter-revolutionaries were imprisoned or exiled The Role of Women & Family The Bolsheviks believed that capitalist society led to the subjugation of women; decrees were passed to give women equal status in society One of the Bolshviks’ leading females, Alexandra Kollontai was a feminist who advocated the liberation of women from traditional family restrictions; while such views found favour among some Bolsheviks, attempts to remove the family unit as the cornerstone of society proved unsuccessful LENIN’S FOREIGN POLICY (1921-24) Lenin was an ‘international revolutionary’: his foreign policy was driven by the belief that the Revolution was merely the first step in a worldwide proletarian revolution Lenin had therefore been prepared to concede territory at Brest-Litovsk in the firm belief that national boundaries meant little in the greater scheme of events The Comintern In March 1919, the COMINTERN (Communist International) was founded under the chairmanship of Grigory Zinoviev with the aim of influencing workers’ revolution worldwide Communist parties were established in many countries across Europe and beyond; between 1921-24, the Comintern attempted unsuccessfully to support uprisings in Germany, Hungary and Estonia The Russo-Polish War (1920-1) was a serious setback for Lenin’s aim to spread Bolshevism beyond Russian frontiers; the decisive defeat of the Red Army in the Battle of Warsaw (August 1920) led to Soviet capitulation at the Treaty of Riga in March 1921 Thereafter, Lenin decided to consolidate and adopted a ‘realistic’ approach; he remained convinced there would be a worldwide revolution at some point in the future but failed to determine when this would happen. He believed the Soviet state was ‘surrounded by enemies’ Improved relations with Germany resulted in the Treaty of Rapallo in 1922; Germany and Russia agreed on mutual recognition, cancellation of debts, restoration of trade links and secret military cooperation – the treaty was also an attempt to divide the west and prevent a ‘capitalist bloc’ against Russia In 1922, the USSR (Soviet Union) was created, consisting of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasian Republics (Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) By 1924, the Soviet Union had gained formal diplomatic recognition from major powers including Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government in Britain. An Anglo-Soviet Trade Agreement was signed in August th The Daily Mail’s publication of the Zinoviev Letter, however, on 15 December - four days before the General Election – destroyed Anglo-Soviet relations. In the letter, Zinoviev appeared to encourage British workers to revolution. (The letter is now accepted to be a hoax) THEME 6: STALIN’S RISE TO POWER 1924-29 STALIN’S RISE TO POWER: TIMELINE 1922: Stalin elected General Secretary of Communist Party 1924: Death of Lenin / Trotsky publishes ‘Lessons of October’ 1925: Trotsky loses position as Commissar for War 1926: Trotsky joins Kamenev and Zinoviev in the ‘United Opposition’ 1927: Trotsky, Kamanev and Zinoviev expelled from the Party 1928: Stalin denounces NEP and turns on the right 1929: Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky removed from the Politburo; Trotsky exiled Key Figures Josef Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party Leon Trotsky: Commissar for War (until 1925) Lev Kamanev: Chairman of the Sovnarkom (1923-4) Grigory Zinoviev: Chairman of the Comintern (until 1926) Nikolai Bukharin: Leader of the party ‘right wing’ Alexei Rykov: Chairman of the Sovnarkom (from 1924) Mikhail Tomsky: Chairman of the Council of Trade Unions Vyacheslav Molotov: Close ally of Stalin, member of Politburo from 1926 STALIN’S ROLE WITHIN THE PARTY Pre-1922 The notion that Stalin played a minimal role in the Bolshevik Party prior to the death of Lenin in 1924 has recently been dismissed. Robert Service has shown that in fact by 1912, Stalin had become one of 6 original members of the Bolshevik Central Committee. Lenin admired Stalin’s loyalty and organizational abilities, describing him as ‘that wonderful Georgian’. While many Bolsheviks remained in exile following the February Revolution, Stalin returned to St Petersburg and, along with Kamenev, assumed control of the Bolshevik newspaper, Pravda. In May 1917, Stalin was elected to the Politburo of the Central Committee as Commissar for Nationalities – a nod to his Georgian background. Stalin’s precise role in the October Revolution is ambiguous; it is likely he took a back seat as Lenin and particularly Trotsky (as head of the MRC) instigated events; later, however, Stalin was keen to promote the ‘leading role’ he played in helping co-ordinate the revolution In addition to his role as Commissar for Nationalities (1917 – 1923) Stalin assumed several roles within the party favourable to his political progress. Liaison Officer between the Politburo and Orgburo – this position enabled Stalin to closely monitor the work of both the Politburo (political bureau) and the Orgburo (organizational bureau) People's Commissar of the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate (1919-1922) – this allowed Stalin to oversee the work of all government departments Member of the Revolutionary Military Council (1920–1923) – this gave Stalin an influential position over military planning and strategy; for example, he co-ordinated the Red Army invasion of Georgia in 1921 Member of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets – gave Stalin influence over the role of the Soviets at national and local level General Secretary of the Communist Party – in 1922, Stalin assumed the highly influential role of General Secretary of the Communist Party – a position he maintained until his death in 1953 Stalin as General Secretary The role of General Secretary of the Communist Party was created in 1922 to oversee the administration of the party. It was thought to be a relatively insignificant role, one ideally suited to Stalin’s well-known aptitude for organizational and administrative matters. Colleagues sometimes referred to him – rather disparagingly - as ‘a grey blur’ or ‘Comrade Card-Index’. This was to underestimate Stalin’s abilities. He was now in a unique position to influence, shape and control policy matters. Combined with his leadership over the Orgburo (Secretariat) and with a close ally, Lazar Kaganovich, as head of the Registration and Distribution Department of the Central Committee, the position allowed Stalin to fill the party with his own political allies. Stalin had four key advantages as Party Secretary: Influence over Politburo business: Stalin was responsible for drawing up agendas and recording minutes; he could also selectively control the flow of information emenating from Politburo meetings Control of appointments: Stalin was able to appoint his own supporters to positions of authority within the party, particularly at local party level – this helped to secure the votes of party members when required Control of Party Organisation: Stalin could influence the selection of delegates to attend the annual party congress where major policy issues were decided and representatives of the Central Committee were elected Control of Party Membership: Using the ‘ban on factionalism’, Stalin was able to dismiss from the party radical elements who were likely to favour his political rivals such as Trotsky The ‘Lenin Enrolment’ From 1923, a programme to increase party membership among the proletariat was encouraged, known as the ‘Lenin Enrolment’. Admission to the party was controlled by the Orgburo with Stalin at its head. By 1925, membership had increased to 600,000, many of whom were illiterate workers less likely to question party policy. Naturally, Stalin could expect the loyalty of those he had admitted to the party when it came to voting matters LENIN’S LEGACY Before his death, Lenin began to have doubts over Stalin, whom he had previously admired for his loyalty and revolutionary zeal. Concerns had been raised after Lenin witnessed Stalin’s abrasive dealings with the Georgian delegation following the Civil War, and following a telephone conversation in which Stalin was extremely rude to Lenin’s wife. Lenin’s Funeral st Following Lenin’s death on 21 January 1924, Stalin seized the initiative. He took on the mantle of natural successor, displaying the authority and leadership characteristics typical of Lenin. Stalin not only organised Lenin’s funeral, but assumed the role of chief mourner delivering the oration in eloquent terms that suggested he, Stalin, would take it upon himself to carry on Lenin’s work. By contrast, the absence of Trotsky at the funeral was seen as a slight to Lenin and went a long way to putting Trotsky at a disadvantage in the leadership struggle Lenin’s Testament nd On 22 December 1922, Lenin began to write his Testament in which he expressed concern regarding Stalin’s suitability as Party Secretary This followed in the wake of the ‘Georgian Affair’ when Stalin as Commissar for Nationalities, disagreed with Lenin that some autonomy for Georgia be maintained Stalin’s dealings with the Georgian delegation – and a related telephone call in which he spoke extremely rudely to Lenin’s wife – caused Lenin to turn against Stalin Lenin believed Stalin was driven by power and displayed a rudeness likely to cause divisions within the party. He urged Bolshevik leaders to think about how Stalin might be removed from authority th Lenin had intended the document to be read out at the 12 Party Congress in April 1923, however, a stroke in March left Lenin unable to speak and the document was kept secret by his wife until after Lenin’s death th It was made available to delegates prior to the 13 Party Congress in May 1924. However, the testament was also critical of Trotsky, Kamanev and Zinoviev. Its contents were therefore suppressed - much to Stalin’s good fortune THE WEAKNESSES OF STALIN’S POLITICAL RIVALS Trotsky Trotsky was widely regarded as Lenis’s natural successor but had a number of weaknesses: his Jewish background; his role as a former Menshevik; due to his intellectual genuis, he came across as aloof and arrogant Crucially, he failed to build up a loyal following within the party and had few close allies. It was feared that he might assert a dictatorship if he assumed power During the Civil War, he was an inspirational leader but he could also be indecisive and hesitant: lack of judgement at crucial moments such as the decision to suppress Lenin’s Testament and his failure to attend Lenin’s funeralproved costly Kamenev & Zinoviev As Chairman of both the Politburo and Sovnarkom (1923-4) Lev Kamenev was potentially in a strong position to succeed Lenin. Kamenev, however, lacked the vision and ruthless ambition required to become supreme leader Grigory Zinoviev was Chairman of the Comintern. He delivered the Central Committee’s th th report to the 12 & 13 Party Congress (previously Lenin’s responsibility). He was ambitious but not an intellect; he was described by E.H. Carr as ‘weak and vain’ and lacked personal popularity Kamenev & Zinoviev never had the full trust of hardline Bolsheviks: they had opposed the October Revolution and subsequently favoured a socialist coalition. Both were criticised in Lenin’s Testament (at the time, Lenin had called them ‘deserters’). Trotsky also cast doubt over their revolutionary credentials in ‘Lessons of October’(1924) Bukharin Nikolai Bukharin was a popular figure within the party, a favourite of Lenin who was highly regarded as an intellectual and economist. He was not, however, a skilled politician. A ‘right’ Bolshevik, Bukharin was often at odds with mainstream party policy, criticising the Treaty of Brest- Litovsk, Georgian suppression and the purge of Trade Unions. He was also criticised by hardliners for moving from the ‘left’ to the ‘right’ by advocating the introduction of NEP POLICY ISSUES Bureaucratisation Trotsky attempted to draw battle-lines with Stalin over the issue of bureaucratisation. Trotsky believed ‘party bureaucracy’ was becoming an increasing problem due to the vast number of government offices that had been created in the wake of the revolution He attempted to seize the political initiative by condemning bureaucracy, as Lenin had done before him, and advocated a return to ‘party democracy’ Trotsky’s ill-judged attack on bureaucracy played into Stalin’s hands; the party was so weighed down by bureaucracy that it could not function any other way. Many party members owed their position within the party (and their privileges) to bureaucracy Economic Policy Economic policy was at the forefront of debate within the party. Trotsky – along with Kamenev and Zinoviev - regarded NEP as a deviation from true socialism. In 1923, he led a group of ‘left Communists’ known as the ‘Platform of 46’ in criticising the policy and urging a return to tighter state control of industry and commerce. On the ‘right’, Bukharin championed the continuation of NEP, believing it would lead to a wealthier class of peasants who would then spend money on manufactured goods. Stalin’s views on NEP were ambiguous. He first appeared to side with Bukharin in supporting NEP in order to out-manoeuvre the left; by the late 1920’s, he took the opposite view and condemned NEP, using it as a weapon to attack Bukharin ‘Socialism in One Country’ Trotsky was driven by his belief in a worldwide proletariat revolution. ‘Permanent Revolution’ was the idea that the workers’ revolution in Russia was only a first step; that it was vital for the revolution to be spread beyond Russia’s frontiers in order to achieve true socialism and for the Communist regime to survive Stalin, on the other hand, championed ‘Socialism in One Country’; he believed that consolidation within the USSR was the first priority. He argued that the Soviet Union must first become a modern, industrialised state capable of rivaling the capitalist west. Trotsky’s views were thus portrayed as ‘fanciful’ while Stalin was seen as the great Russian patriot THE DEFEAT OF ‘LEFT’ AND ‘RIGHT’ The Defeat of the ‘Left’ th By the time of the 13 Party Congress (1924), Trotsky was all but isolated within the party. Stalin had formed a ‘triumvirate’ with Kamanev and Zinoviev, who bore personal grudges against Trotsky following his criticism of them in ‘Lessons of October’ Stalin used Trotsky’s political isolation to undermine his position within the party and ensure he received a hostile reception. Stalin was able to ‘deliver the votes’, in other words, count on the support of delegates who owed their allegiance to Stalin rather than Trotsky th At the 14 Party Congress (1925), Trotsky was relieved of his position as Commissar for War. Kamanev and Zinoviev were also isolated after calling for the NEP to be abandoned and the removal of Stalin as Party Secretary In 1926, Trotsky joined his former opponents Kamanev and Zinoviev to form a ‘United Opposition’ against Stalin and the right. Stalin used the ‘ban on factionalism’ to denounce the left bloc Stalin used his alliance with key figures on the right – Tomsky, Rykov and Bukharin – to outvote the left bloc and oust Trotsky, Kamanev and Zinoviev in turn from the Central th Committee and Politburo. At the 15 Party Congress (1927) all three were expelled from the party along with other ‘Trotskyists’ The Defeat of the Right Having defeated the ‘left’, Stalin now appeared to denounce NEP. He turned on his former allies Rykov, Tomsky and Bukharin on the ‘right’. Stalin advocated rapid industrialisation and state grain procurement, measures which Bukharin argued could destabilise the economy but which found favour with party hardliners who had always opposed NEP Stalin used his own supporters and those on the left who were anti-NEP to outvote the right. Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky were all removed from the Politburo to be replaced by pro-Stalinists such as Molotov; they were allowed to remain in the party only after admitting the ‘error of their ways’ th By the time of the 16 Party Congress (1930) Stalin was unchallenged as leader of the Communist Party. As no such position officially existed, Stalin maintained his position as General Secretary until his death in 1953 Cults Academy Advanced Higher History Soviet Russia 1917 – 1953 Revision Notes 7. The Soviet Economy Under Stalin 8.The Stalinist Purges THEME 7: THE SOVIET ECONOMY THE SOVIET ECONOMY: TIMELINE 1927: Stalin announces programme of rapid industrialisation 1928: widespread collectivisation begins; First Five Year Plan implemented 1930: Collectivisation temporarily halted: ‘Dizzy with Success’ 1932/3: The Great Ukrainian Famine 1933: Second Five Year Plan begins 1935: Stakhanov Movement founded 1938: Third Five Year Plan begins 1946: Fourth Five Year Plan begins 1949: COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Aid) founded 1951: Fifth Five Year Plan begins Key Figures Josef Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party Nikolai Bukharin: Leader of the party ‘right wing’ and supporter of NEP Sergei Ordzhonikidze: Commissariat for Heavy Industry Alexei Stakhanov: the inspiration behind the ‘Stakhanov Movement’ ORIGIN OF STALIN’S ECONOMIC POLICY The End of NEP At the 15th Party Congress in December 1927, Stalin announced plans for a new programme of rapid industrialisation. This effectively brought NEP to an end, in favour of the First Five Year Plan. There were a number of reasons for the ‘Great Turn’ in Soviet economic policy, both political and economic: Having defeated the ‘left’ of the party, Stalin now turned on NEP as a means of undermining Bukharin and the ‘right’. NEP had remained unpopular with hard-line Bolsheviks, particularly on the left, who saw it as a betrayal of socialist principles While NEP had initially resulted in an upturn in grain production, agriculture remained inefficient. In 1928, a Grain Crisis emerged after a poor harvest leading to food shortages and requisitioning. Stalin argued that the grain crisis was caused by Kulaks and NEPmen who sold food to the urban population at inflated prices Industrial production had grown under NEP but the Soviet economy was still stagnant and inefficient by comparison to the west; unemployment remained high; real wages were little better than before the revolution; living conditions in the cities remained poor, with bad housing and rising crime rates Stalin’s Economic Aims Stalin’s desire to modernise the Soviet economy had two essential components: collectivisation and industrialisation While Bukharin and the right believed the economy would evolve at its own pace, Stalin favoured direct state control or ‘central planning’. He referred to this phase of Soviet history as the ‘second revolution’ so great was its importance. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘Revolution from Above’ Stalin believed that Soviet Russia was ‘surrounded by enemies’ who wished to see the downfall of the Communist regime. Only by modernising the economy and increasing industrial output could her security be guaranteed. As Stalin himself proclaimed: "Either we do it, or we shall be crushed" COLLECTIVISATION Stalin believed that only by making agriculture more efficient could sufficient capital be raised to stimulate rapid industrial expansion. This would be done through collectivisation. Stalin predicted an increase of 50% in agricultural production would lead to an increase of 330% in industrial production as a result of collectivisation. Peasants would no longer farm the land for their own profit, but for the state. To increase efficiency, their efforts would be ‘pooled’ in collective state-run farms. There were several main motives for collectivisation: Profits from collectivised farms would be used to finance Stalin’s proposed programme of rapid industrialisation More efficient farming methods would ‘free up’ labour in the countryside; peasants would drift to the cities, thus providing an enlarged urban workforce Increased agricultural production would ensure plentiful supplies of food for the workers There were three main types of collective farms: Toz: peasants owned their own land but shared machinery and livestock. These types of farm were generally phased out in the 1930’s Sovkhoz: state-owned farms where the peasants worked directly for the government and earned a regular wage Kolkhoz: the most common type of collective farm. All land, machinery, livestock and resources were pooled. The land was run by an elected committee who were compelled to ensure grain quotas were met MTS Stations: ‘tractor and machinery’ stations were established to provide support for the collectivised farms. In reality, they were often used by the party to exert control over the countryside Propaganda Propaganda played an important part in the establishment of collectivised farming. The government was keen to use films and posters to promote the image of a ‘voluntary’ programme willingly embraced by the rural population. In reality, peasants were embittered by an unpopular policy forced upon them against their will – a far cry from the land ownership they had expected to benefit from after the revolution Resistance to Collectivisation For peasants who owned land or property, collectivisation meant giving it up to the collective farms and selling most of the food that they produced to the state at minimal prices. Understandably, this proved very unpopular with most peasants Many peasants opposed to collectivisation offered both passive and active resistance. There were numerous acts of sabotage, including burning of crops, destruction of machinery and slaughtering animals. As much as 50% of the harvest in the Ukraine was either not collected at all or was deliberately destroyed In areas where there was greatest resistance to the process, bands of peasants armed themselves and violence broke out with attacks against party officials and requisitioning squads In August 1932, the ‘Decree on the Protection of Socialist Property’ allowed for the death sentence for sabotage of state land and property. 125,000 sentences were passed between August 1932 to December 1933 De-Kulakisation The idea of a ‘Kulak class’ of peasant was a Stalinist myth; in reality, Kulaks were peasants who showed more enterprise or efficiency than their neighbours. Propaganda portrayed kulaks as ‘enemies of the state’ who exploited poor peasants and were in league with the capitalists In 1930, the Politburo drew up quotas of 1 million kulak households (6 million people) to be deported or exiled; Anti-Kulak squads (OGPU) forcibly deported kulaks and their families to work on agricultural labour camps, often in remote regions of Siberia At local level, quotas were increased by the local Soviet in the hope of finding favour in Moscow. This typically meant 5% of all peasant households were classed as Kulaks. Definitions of Kulaks varied wildly from one region to the next; in some cases lots were drawn to determine who was ‘kulak’ Thousands of kulak families died during transportation or because of the appalling conditions in the labour camps. As this new wave of terror escalated, many kulaks were executed for hoarding or other ‘crimes against the state Stalin’s war against the Kulaks continued throughout the 1930’s. It proved counterproductive, however, and had a negative effect on the economy, depriving the agricultural sector of some of its most enterprising farmers The Scale of Collectivisation The speed of collectivisation proved so rapid that in March 1930, an issue of Pravda carried Stalin's article ‘Dizzy with Success’ calling for a temporary halt to the process Stalin stated that 50% of peasant farms had been collectivised, greatly exceeding expectations. He claimed that as a result, some ‘comrades’ had become dizzy with success and had lost ‘clearness of mind and sobriety of vision.’ (It is likely, however, that increasing peasant resistance to the policy was the main reason for the temporary cessation) After the publication of the article, the pressure for collectivisation abated; the number of peasants living on collective farms dropped by 50%. Soon collectivisation was intensified again, however, and by 1936, about 90% of Soviet agriculture was collectivized The Impact of Collectivisation Due to government quotas, peasants generally earned less for their labour than they had done pre-collectivisation. In some cases, collective farm earnings were only a quarter of those generated from private plots of land Between 1929 and 1932 there was a huge fall in agricultural production and widespread famine in the countryside. Consumption of bread, potatoes, meat and butter fell eg. Bread 250 kilos per head (1928) – 214 (1932) The number of livestock - cows, pigs, sheep amd horses – was cut in half as peasants deliberately slaughtered their animals; only on the late 1950s did animal stocks begin to approach 1928 levels eg. Cattle 70 million (1928) – 34 million (1932) The Great Famine Estimates of the deaths from starvation or disease directly caused by collectivisation have been estimated at between 4 - 10 million. According to official Soviet figures, some 24 million peasants disappeared from rural areas with only 12 million accounted for by moving to jobs on state farms or in the cities Nowehere was the famine more severe than in the Ukraine, once the ‘breadbasket of Russia’ and where resistance to collectivisation was strongest. Stalin was determined to crush Ukrainian nationalism; severe measures were taken against the population. As many as 5 million Ukrainians died at the height of the famine in 1932/3 – an act of genocide referred to as ‘Holodomor’ – ‘death by hunger THE FIRST FIVE YEAR PLAN One success of collectivisation was the many thousands of peasants who fled the countryside to the towns and cities in search of work. So great was the migration of people to the towns that internal passports had to be introduced Stalin required additional labour for his huge industrial and construction projects that would form the basis of the First Five Year Plan (October 1928 – December 1932). Stalin wanted to create a ‘war economy’, placing the emphasis on heavy industries – coal, iron, steel, electricity and oil production. Stalin saw the Depression of the 1930’s as a warning against the dangers of capitalism: he expected the Soviet Union to become an ‘autarky’, a self-sufficient economy in the shortest possible time. The First Five Year Plan was therefore something of a propaganda exercise to show that the Soviet Union could not only match but surpass the West Organisation & Implementation Organisation for the First Year Plan was generally chaotic. The Commissariat for Heavy Industry led by Sergei Ordzhonikidze laid down a series of targets which the State Planning Commission ‘Gosplan’ was charged with implementing. This then filtered down to regional administrators and factory managers whose responsibility it was to meet targets. There were no guidelines as to how these targets were to be met The original targets were optimistic; for example, coal production was expected to increase from 35 – 68 million tons per year; iron ore from 6 – 15 million tons but because local officials and factory managers falsified figures, they were soon revised upwards to become ‘Optimal targets’ Propaganda was used to convince workers that they were part of a movement to build a new and better society. Many participated in the projects with zeal; those who were less convinced were generally bullied, intimidated and coerced into maximizing their rate of production Foreign participation played an important role in the First Five Year Plan. Due to a shortage of skilled labour, foreign companies sent specialists, engineers and skilled workers to participate in large construction projects Successes The first Five Year Plan was a remarkable achievement overall. Coal and iron output doubled; steel production increased by a third. Electricity production trebled Huge industrial plants were built at Magnitogorsk in the Urals and Kuznetz in Western Siberia. At Magnitogorsk, an entire city of 250,000 grew up around what became the world’s largest steel works There were massive engineering and construction projects such as The Dnieprostroi Dam which became the biggest construction site in the world, multiplying Russia’s capacity for electricity production. The Moscow-Volga Canal and Moscow Metro System were other notable examples There was a big increase in the manufacture of farm machinery and turbines. Huge tractor works were built at Kharkov and Stalingrad, where the tractor factory would become one of the epicenters of the 1942 battle Weaknesses Not all sectors of industry showed rapid progress. Chemical targets were not met; textile production fell and there was a shortage of affordable consumer goods for workers to spend their wages on The plan suffered from the inadequate transport system and a shortage of raw materials and skilled labour, leading to competition between factories to secure valuable resources and manpower Due to the speed of production, the quality of manufactured goods (such as tractor tyres) was often poor. There was massive over-production in some sectors and underproduction in others The Human Cost Living standards remained very poor for most urban workers; at Magnitogorsk, for example, most workers earned low wages and lived in miserable overcrowded tents, barracks or mud huts NEPmen who had prospered under NEP now found their small-scale businesses and workshops swept aside; many went out of business as all available resources were diverted to heavy industry ‘bourgeoisie specialists’ – managers, engineers and officials – became scapegoats when targets were not met. Accused of sabotage, they were often found arrested, tried and deported to forced labour camps THE SECOND AND THIRD FIVE YEAR PLANS Organisation & Implementation The Second & Third Five Year plans were modeled on the patterns of the first, but the targets were more realistic. and the aim was to consolidate and build on the successes of the first. The People’s Commissariat was still responsible for coordinating the Plans but by 1934 had become better organised. More detailed plans and targets were worked out for each area of industry. Training schemes were established to encourage workers to learn new skills Successes The Second and Third Five Year Plan benefited from the large-scale industrial plants such as Magnitogorsk; Coal and steel production continued to rise significantly; oil production doubled while electricity production multiplied by five times. Progress in these four key areas eventually enabled Soviet Russia to amass sufficient resources to defeat Germany during World War 2. During the Third Five Year Plan, resources were increasingly diverted to the military – accounting for 17% of the total budget by 1938 and 33% by 1940 Metal works developed with the production of copper, zinc and tin. The USSR became almost self-sufficient in the production of machine tools and less reliant on foreign imports; some consumer industries saw wider availability of goods; food processing plants meant shortages became less severe and food rationing was ended Weaknesses There were the same problems of lack of co-ordination, skills shortages, over-production in some areas and under-production in others. Shortages of raw materials remained a problem. Consumer goods remained in short supply By 1938, industry was beginning to stagnate; diversion of resources to the military caused severe shortages in other areas. Steel production failed to increase between 1937 – 1940, while oil production also stagnated leading to a fuel crisis A neglect of agriculture (which Stalin saw as secondary to the needs of industry) along with a very harsh winter in 1938 led to food shortages once again The Human Cost Some workers who had acquired new skills and exceeded their targets prospered during the 1930’s with better working conditions, improved housing and better wages. Alexei Stakhanov was held up as an example to all workers of what could be achieved; the ‘Stakhanovite Movement’ encouraged other workers to achieve similar targets For most workers, however, living standards in real terms were lower than in 1928; food rationing, high prices, fuel shortages and overcrowded housing with lack of sanitation all led to miserable conditions Under the ‘Labour Code’, Workers were denied the right to strike or campaign for improved conditions while facing increased demands from under-pressure managers; there were severe penalties and even imprisonment for failing to reach targets During the Second and Third Year Plans, the Stalinist Purges were in full swing. Managers were increasingly held responsible for failing to meet targets and often arrested Engineers and specialists were accused of espionage and industrial sabotage – thousands were tried and deported to forced labour camps, leading to a fall in production The Post-War (Fourth and Fifth) Five Year Plans The German invasion of Russia in 1941 brought the Third Five Year Plan to a premature end. After the war, the emphasis was on reconstruction; Stalin promised that the USSR would become the world’s leading industrial power Much of the USSR had been devastated with widespread damage to the land and to the cities. Compared to pre-war levels, electricity was down to 52%, iron 26%, steel 45%, food production 60%. Reconstruction was impeded by a chronic labour shortage due to 20 million war casualties In 1949, the Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Aid) was set up, linking the Eastern bloc countries economically. A third of the Fourth Five Year Plan's expenditure went on Ukraine, vital agriculturally and industrially, and was one of the areas most devastated by war In 1947, food rationing was ended, but agricultural production was barely above the 1940 level by 1952. However, industrial production recovered and by 1952 was nearly double the 1940 level THEME 8: THE STALINIST PURGES THE STALINIST PURGES: TIMELINE 1928: The Shakhty Affair 1932: The Ryutin Affair 1934: The Kirov Murder / Decree Against Terrorist Acts 1936-9: The Great Purge / Terror 1936: First Show Trial (Kamanev & Zinoviev) 1937: Second Show Trial / Purge of the Red Army begins 1938: Third Show Trial (Bukharin & Rykov) 1945: Purge of wartime ‘collaborators’ 1949: The Leningrad Affair 1953: The Doctors’ Plot Key Figures Josef Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party Martemyan Ryutin: ‘old’ Bolshevik whose ‘Ryutin Platform’ set off the first wave of purges Sergei Kirov: popular Secretary of the Leningrad Soviet whose murder led to an escalation of the purges Gengrikh Yagoda: NKVD leader who presided over the early purges until being replaced by Yezhovf in 1936 Nicolai Yezhovf: NKVD leader who took over from Yagoda and became synonymous with the Great Terror Lavrenti Beria: Succeeded Yezhovf as head of NKVD in 1938 Andrey Vyshinsky: the Prosecutor General of the Soviet Union who presided over the show trials ORIGIN OF THE PURGES “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic.” Joseph Stalin. In the 1930’s, Stalin moved to eliminate all opposition to his authority. This was to become notorious as the time of the great Stalinist purges The purges began in the 1920’s under Lenin. Many opponents to the Bolshevik Regime had already been crushed by the ‘Red Terror’; in 1922, the ‘Exile of the Intellectuals’ saw hundreds of academics expelled from the Soviet Union After Lenin’s death, the ‘ban on factionalism’ was used to justify the removal of dissidents from the Communist Party; this included the expulsion of Trotsky, Kamanev and Zinoviev in 1927 and Trotsky’s exile in 1929 Early Purges & the Ryutin Affair The early purges targeted ‘industrial saboteurs’ accused of disrupting the first Five Year Plan. The ‘Shakhty Affair’ (1928) saw 50 Russian & 3 German engineers from the coalmining town of Shakhty in the Donbass region tried for ‘sabotage in collusion with foreign powers’ The case was given great publicity in the Soviet media, and was a clear attack on the ‘bourgeois specialists’ as a whole. The confessions by some of the defendants was a forerunner of the "show trials" of the 1930’s The early purges were not confined to industry. In 1932, the Ryutin Affair took place. Martemyan Ryutin was an ‘old Bolshevik’ and a former political ally of Bukharin and Rykov on the ‘right’ of the Party In June 1932, Ryutin wrote a 200-page document - the Ryutin Platform - calling for the end of collectivisation and the restoration of party membership for those who had been expelled, including Trotsky On 23rd September, Ryutin was arrested by the NKVD. Ryutin and his supporters were tried and expelled from the party Around a million Party members (a third of membership) were expelled on the grounds of being ‘Ryutinites’. Ryutin was later executed in 1937 during the Great Purges The early purges of the 1930’s were not as brutal as those that followed after 1934. Victims faced dismissal from their jobs, exile, loss of Party Card (with all associated privileges) but as Stalin’s paranoia increased, the Purges took on a more sinister turn THE KIROV PURGES (1934 – 5) The Kirov Murder Sergei Kirov was Secretary of the Leningrad Soviet, a prominent revolutionary and one of the most popular members of the Communist Party. He had been elected to the Politburo th at the 17 Party Congress in 1934 with a far greater measure of support than Stalin Opposed to the use of extreme measures against Party members, Kirov formed part of a ‘moderate bloc’ around which opponents of Stalin might gather; Stalin clearly saw Kirov as a threat to his leadership credentials st On 1 December 1934, Kirov was shot dead at the Smolny Institute in Leningrad by a Communist Party member, Leonid Nicolaev, whose wife was said to be having an affair with Kirov Stalin exploited Kirov’s murder to the full by passing the ‘Decree against Terrorist Acts’; he claimed it was part of a Trotskyite conspiracy to overthrow Stalin’s authority Around 3,000 suspected ‘Leftists’ and ‘Trotskyites’ were rounded up by the NKVD on the authorisation of its leader, Gengrikh Yagoda; a wave of arrests, trials and executions followed Consequences of the Kirov Murder The consequences of the Kirov Affair were far reaching. It gave Stalin the excuse to purge those who he believed offered any opposition to his authority, including prominent party members; Trotsky’s former allies on the left, Kamanev and Zinoviev were among those arrested and later executed for their supposed involvement in the plot Those who were removed from key positions of authority were replaced by hard-line Stalinist supporters such as Andrei Zhdanov, Andrei Vyshinsky, Alexander Poskrebyshev and Stalin’s future successor, Nikita Khrushchev, who became Party leader in Moscow Meanwhile, the ‘Stalin Enrolment’ had admitted thousands of new members to the Communist Party who owed their allegiance to Stalin in return for the privileges of party membership. By 1935, therefore, Stalin was in an almost unassailable position as Party leader (although no such position officially existed) THE GREAT PURGE 1936 -9 Despite having almost complete control of the Communist Party following the Kirov Purges, Stalin’s paranoia increased rather than abated from 1936. He declared that the Soviet Union was ‘under siege from enemies within’ The period from 1936 is referred to as the time of the ‘Great Terror’. The Soviet people faced reprisal and retribution against anyone suspected of opposing the Stalinist regime, led by the ruthless Nicolai Yezhovf, Stalin’s ‘Bloody Dwarf’ who replaced Yagoda as NKVD Chief The Great Purge fell into 3 categories: a) The Purge of the Party b) the Purge of the Armed Services c) The Purge of the Soviet people The Purge of the Party Communist Parties across the Soviet Union were made aware of the existence of a ‘Trotskyite-Kamanevite-Zinovievite Leftist Counter-Revolutionary Bloc’ and instructed to root out suspected sympathisers Among those who were arrested, accused of conspiracy and executed following the socalled public ‘show trials’ were some of the most loyal ‘old Bolsheviks’ A key figure in these trials was Andrey Vyshinsky, the Prosecutor General of the Soviet Union; a former lawyer known for his clever rhetoric, Vyshinsky condemned the accused with venom, claiming they should be shot ‘like the mad dogs they are’ In order to legitimise the executions, confessions played a key role in the trials. Many of the accused appeared to willingly confess their ‘crimes’: in some cases, this was a demonstration of complete loyalty to the Party; in other cases, confessions were made as a result of torture The executions of Kamanev and Zinoviev in 1935 were followed by a purge of the old ‘right’ and ‘centre’ – Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky were brought to trial as part of an ‘AntiSoviet Trotskyite Centre’ in 1937 Along with other ‘Trotsky-rightists’ Bukharin and Rykov (Tomsky had committed suicide) were accused of espionage, conspiracy and plotting to kill Stalin. They were executed despite Bukharin’s eloquent defence Remarkably, of the original 24 members of the Bolshevik Central Committee of 1917, only Stalin remained in power; all others had been executed, imprisoned or exiled. Of the 1996 delegates who attended the 1934 Party Congress, 1108 had been executed by 1938 The Purge of the Armed Forces In 1937, at a time when industrial resources were being increasingly deployed towards the military, Stalin began a widespread purge of the armed forces In May, Vyshinsky announced the uncovering of a huge conspiracy within the Red Army; this led to the arrest of Marshal Tukhachevsky and seven other generals, all heroes of the Civil War. After ‘evidence’ was produced of treason and espionage, the generals confessed and were shot In the months that followed, the purge of the Red Army escalated; War Commissars, members of the Supreme Military Council, Army Commanders and half of all commissioned officers (35,000 in total) were either executed or imprisoned There were also purges of the Soviet Navy and Air Force. All serving admirals and all but one senior air force commanders were executed. By 1939, therefore, the Soviet military was seriously weakened by these losses Even the NKVD was purged; in a twist of irony, one of Bukharin and Rykov’s co-accused in 1938 was Yagoda, the former NKVD Chief who oversaw the arrest and execution of Kamanev & Zinoviev in 1935. His successor, Yezhof, also fell out of favour with Stalin was executed in 1940. Lavrenti Beria, the new head of the NKVD, carried out this purge and prospered under Stalin until he himself was executed in 1953 The Purge of the Soviet People The apparatus of terror used against the Soviet people reached its height in 1937-8; Yezhov’s NKVD squads followed a policy of mass oppression; around 1/18 of the population were arrested during the Terror Many victims were randomly chosen on the most spurious charges to fulfill quotas; a number of mass grave have been uncovered such as at Butovo near Moscow where 20,000 bodies were found. By 1939, over 20 million Russians had been sent to gulags in remote regions of Siberia where more than half died due to the terrible conditions Charges of industrial sabotage continued to be brought against managers & workers; kulaks accused of agricultural sabotage were executed or sent to labour camps; there were also purges of the legal and academic professions The trials were not confined to Moscow and Leningrad but took place across the Soviet Union; in the Republics, purges were used as a means of bringing the national minorities into line THE POST-WAR PURGES While the purges temporarily abated in the late 30’s, they resumed at the conclusion of World War 2. It is estimated that around 1 million Russians died in the purges between 1947-53 National minorities who were deemed to have collaborated with the Nazis during the German occupation were executed en masse – notably around 50,000 Cossacks Soviet troops who had been taken prisoner during the war were also deemed to have collaborated with the enemy; on being released from captivity, many were executed or sent to forced labour camps Stalin took retribution against military commanders who he deemed responsible for failure during the war. Even General Zhukov, the hero of Stalingrad and Kursk and who had led Russian troops to the gates of Berlin, was demoted in 1946 and only reinstated after Stalin’s death in 1953 The Leningrad Affair The Leningrad Affair was a series of "criminal" cases fabricated in the late 1940’s against prominent members of the Communist Party in Leningrad The entire Leningrad leadership – some 2,000 members – were accused of using Leningrad as an alternative power-base to Moscow and replaced by Stalinist hardliners The motivation appears to have been little more than jealousy of the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ status many of the Leningrad party members had aquired following the city’s siege The Doctors’ Plot The final phase of the Stalinist purges was the so-called Doctors’ Plot which emerged in 1953. Stalin ordered a pogrom (orchestrated campaign) against the medical profession th On 13 January, Pravda reported that a plot by doctors to poison the Soviet leadership had been uncovered. This led to the arrests of hundreds of doctors. Only Stalin’s death in March 1953 prevented a full-scale purge of the medical profession Cults Academy Advanced Higher History Soviet Russia 1917 – 1953 Revision Notes 9. Soviet Foreign Policy / The Great Patriotic War 10.The Origins of the Cold War THEME 9: SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY/THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY: TIMELINE 1927: Communist uprising in China crushed 1934: Soviet Union joins League of Nations 1935: Pact of Mutual Assistance with France & Czechoslovakia 1936: Anti-Comintern Pact (Germany, Italy & Japan) Spanish Civil War begins 1939: Nazi-Soviet Pact 1941: Operation Barbarossa launched Siege of Leningrad begins 1942: German surrender at Stalingrad 1943: Battle of Kursk 1945: Fall of Berlin Key Figures Josef Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party Georgi Dimitov: Chairman of Comintern (from 1928) Maxim Litvinov: Commissar for Foreign Affairs (until 1939) Vyacheslav Molotov: Commissar for Foreign Affairs (from 1939) Georgi Zhukov: Commander of Red Army on Eastern Front SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY (1927 – 41) Stalin & the Comintern Stalin took relatively little interest in the Comintern (although he played a key part in the dismissal of its Chairmen, Zinoviev (1926) & Bukharin (1928) Stalin appeared reluctant to support Communist uprisings abroad; in China, for example, Stalin did not believe the Communists were powerful enough to seize power and gave military aid instead to Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists In 1927, Chinese Nationalists massacred 40,000 Communists prompting Trotsky to describe Stalin as the ‘gravedigger of the Revolution’ Stalin was acutely aware that the Soviet Union remained isolated and made security the first priority of his foreign policy; the Comintern therefore changed its emphasis from spreading revolution abroad to providing international security for the Soviet Union International revolution was not abandoned altogether; Stalin was prepared to play a waiting game, believing that the ‘corrupt’ capitalist powers would eventually collapse – the Great Depression was evidence of this Meanwhile, Stalin ordered that Communist Parties abroad should not co-operate with other left-wing parties. This had repercussions in Germany where the KPD, USPD and SPD failed to find common ground. The division of the ‘left’ in the Reichstag helped Hitler into power Stalin became increasingly concerned with the threat posed by Nazi Germany. He was alarmed by Hitler’s anti-Bolshevik rants and the ‘Pact with Poland’ (1934) The same year, Stalin ended his isolationist policy and joined the League of Nations; the Soviet Union was represented by Commissar for Foreign Affairs Maxim Litvinov Stalin had little faith in collective security, however. In 1935, the USSR signed a ‘pact of mutual assistance’ with France and Czechoslovakia (Franco-Soviet Pact) The Comintern abandoned its previous stance of non-cooperation with other left-wing parties and attempted to form ‘Popular Front’ coalitions across Europe. This led to Popular Front governments coming to power in France & Spain Stalin’s suspicions of Nazi Germany was confirmed by the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact (1936) with Italy – Japan joined in 1937 The Spanish Civil War Following the outbreak of war in 1936, the Soviet Union officially followed a policy of Non-Intervention but - like Germany & Italy - ignored this agreement Stalin offered support to Spain’s Popular Front (Republican) Government in the face of Franco’s Nationalist Revolt. Increasingly, the Republican war effort became reliant on Soviet aid Arguably, however, Stalin’s aid to the Republican cause was half-hearted as he feared that a Communist victory in Spain might lead to Britain & France forming an alliance with Hitler and Mussolini against the Soviet Union The Soviet Union supplied military aid including 1,000 aircraft, 900 tanks and 1,500 artillery pieces. Two-thirds of Spain's gold reserves ($500 million) were shipped to the Soviet Union as payment by the Republican government The Comintern were involved in organising the International Brigades. NKVD agents were sent to deal with anti-Communists within the Republican movement (eg. leaders of the Spanish Worker's Party (POUM). The division of the left was a factor in Franco’s triumph The Nazi-Soviet Pact Deeply concerned by the Anschluss and the formation of the Anti-Comintern Pact, Stalin became increasingly alarmed over the events surrounding the Munich Agreement in September 1938 Stalin was angered at his exclusion from the Conference and dismayed by its outcome. He believed that Britain and France had given in to Hitler’s demands far too easily, shattering any remaining faith in collective security Even after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, neither Britain nor France were willing to enter into an alliance with Stalin against Hitler In August 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop (Nazi-Soviet) Pact was signed; Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to maintain peaceful relations for 10 years. A secret clause agreed to the USSR annexing the Baltic states and the division of Poland between Germany and Russia The Pact appeared to guarantee the security of the Soviet Union, thus fulfilling Stalin’s main foreign policy goal. Stalin was naïve, however, in his belief that Hitler would stay true to the terms of the Pact THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR (1941-45) Operation Barbarossa The Nazi-Soviet Pact had several consequences: it lulled Stalin into a false sense of security; it enabled Hitler to secure his western frontier by defeating France in 1940; it left Soviet defences unprepared against a German Offensive nd On 22 June 1941, the German Army launched Operation Barbarossa, a massive invasion of the Soviet Union involving over 3.5 million Axis troops and 4,000 tanks on an 1,800 mile front The German Army was divided into ‘Army Group North’, ‘Centre’ and ‘South’. Barbarossa was a three-pronged attack towards Leningrad in the north, Moscow in the centre and Stalingrad in the South (where capturing the oil fields of the Caucus region would be crucial) Speed was essential to the success of Barbarossa; it was necessary to capture the key objectives before the onset of winter and before the Soviet war machine – with its superior resources of tanks and aircraft - could be put into full operation The initial phase of the operation was highly successful; Stalin had chosen to dismiss reports of an imminent invasion. In the first days of Barbarossa, he appeared stunned and failed to issue orders, refusing to believe that Hitler had broken the Nazi-Soviet Pact Soviet paralysis enabled the German Army to advance rapidly through Ukraine and Belarus and across the vast Russian Steppe – ideal tank country. In the first four weeks of the offensive, hundreds of miles were gained and the Germans advanced rapidly towards Leningrad & Moscow The Failure of Barbarossa Despite early advances, Barbarossa ground to a halt as Soviet forces began to mobilise. A huge Soviet force blocked the road to Moscow at Smolensk in July 1944 While many Russians initially welcomed the Nazis as ‘liberators’, German atrocities alienated people against the invader and stirred patriotism; there was an upsurge in partisan resistance against the Nazis The weather also intervened; autumn rains turned the landscape into mud; poor roads made rapid advance difficult. The onset of winter brought snow and ice. War on the Eastern Front became a terrible war of attrition The Siege of Leningrad th On 6 August 1941, Hitler ordered ‘Operation Nordlicht’, the capture of Leningrad. In late August, the city came under terrible bombardment from land & air, destroying its industrial plants, factories and transport links. The ‘900 Days’ Siege of Leningrad was to become one of the most terrible events of World War II Defense of the city was organised by General Zhukov; a defensive perimeter was formed. Over a million civilians were organised into labour corps to build the defences, including trenches, barricades, tank traps & mine-fields Although the city was virtually encircled, Soviet forces were supplied during the winter via the ‘Ice Road’ across the frozen Baltic wastes. In summer, the city was supplied by British and French ships by sea A Soviet counter-attack, Operation Iskra, partially lifted the siege in January 1943; fighting continued for another year until German forces were finally defeated In addition to over 300,000 military casualties, around 1.2 million civilians died of starvation, disease or cold. More civilians were killed in the Siege of Leningrad than in the atomic bombs of Nagasaki and Hiroshima The Battle of Stalingrad Hitler was determined to capture Stalingrad, the city that took Stalin’s name. It was a ‘model’ industrial city, symbolising the success of the Five Year Plans; situated on the River Volga, it was key to the oil fields of the Caucus The German attack on Stalingrad was spearheaded by the Sixth Army, commanded by General Von Paulus. The Germans quickly captured much of the city; Soviet troops controlled only a small perimeter on the west bank of the Volga The Soviets launched determined counter-attacks across the river. Furious fighting took place around the factory district where the tractor factory continued to churn tanks off the production line even as battle raged inside th On 19 November, Zhukov ordered Operation Uranus, a huge Red Army counteroffensive that trapped German forces in the Stalingrad ‘pocket’. Frozen and cut-off, Von st Paulus surrendered on 31 January 1942 against Hitler’s orders Of the 91,000 soldiers of Sixth Army taken prisoner, only 5,000 survived Soviet captivity. The destruction of Sixth Army was a turning point in World War II. Total German losses were estimated at over half a million with Soviet casualties even higher From Kursk to Berlin th On 5 July 1943, Hitler made a final desperate attempt to capture Moscow, Operation Citadel. Kursk would go down as the largest tank battle in history and the end of Hitler’s aspirations on the Eastern Front The German Army amassed 700,000 troops, 2,400 tanks and 1,800 aircraft for the offensive, but Soviet forces were even larger with over a million troops at Red Army disposal and superior numbers in tanks and aircraft Again, Zhukov masterminded the Soviet defences and counter-attacks. After 12 days of fighting, Hitler ordered his battered forces to withdraw, fearing another ‘Stalingrad’ The Battle of Kursk was followed by a Red Army advance and the recapture of Kiev in the autumn of 1943. German forces were gradually pushed back in fierce fighting through Ukraine, Belarus and Poland By the spring of 1945, the Red Army was approaching Berlin. The Battle of Berlin April th nd 16 – May 2 ) resulted in the destruction of the German capital and the final Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War How Soviet Victory Was Achieved Victory in the war was achieved through an extraordinary effort by the Soviet people. After his initial shock at the German invasion, Stalin showed remarkable resolve to defeat the invader, urging and bullying the people to ever greater sacrifices The term ‘Great Patriotic War’ was coined shortly after the German invasion to rouse patriotism in the Soviet people. A medal ‘Order of the Patriotic War’ was introduced by 1942, over half the national income was diverted to the military. Industrial production was reorganised with factories re-assembled beyond the Urals Despite severe shortages, coal, iron & steel production continued to produce sufficient armaments to keep the Soviet war effort going; railways became more efficient A lend-lease programme with the United States saw 17 million tons of war materials sent to the Soviet Union. This included thousands of tanks, aircraft and military vehicles as well as armaments and other military goods The Impact of War on the Soviet People During four years of brutal warfare, the Soviet people faced hardship and savagery almost unparalleled in history. Up to 25 million people died either as victims of warfare, or through starvation, hardship and disease Vast areas of the Soviet Union were devastated. Both sides adopted a ‘scorched earth’ policy where every resource that might have been useful to the enemy was destroyed. Grain requisitioning was re-introduced, resulting in starvation for millions of people Many people in occupied territories were deported to forced labour camps where they faced terrible hardships. Many atrocities were committed in occupied regions, often as reprisals for partisan activity. Millions of Russian Jews, gypsies and other ethnic peoples were rounded up and transported to concentration camps where they were unlikely to survive. Thousands were murdered by the SS in mass executions THEME 10: STALIN & THE ORIGINS OF THE COLD WAR ORIGINS OF THE COLD WAR: TIMELINE 1945: Yalta (feb) & Potsdam (july) Conferences 1946: Turkish Crisis Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech 1947-49: Communist governments imposed on Eastern Bloc 1947: COMINFORM established Truman Doctrime amid Greek Crisis 1948: Berlin Airlift begins 1949: COMECON established NATO formed Mao Zedong seizes power in China 1950: McCarthy ‘witch hunts’ in the USA 1950–53: Korean War 1953: Death of Joseph Stalin 1955: Warsaw Pact signed 1956: Kruschchev begins De-Stalinization process Key Figures Josef Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party Vyacheslav Molotov: Commissar for Foreign Affairs Nikita Kruschchev: succeeded Stalin as General Secretary Lavrentiy Beria: NKVD Chief (1938 – 53) Harry S Truman: US President (1945 – 53) Moa Zedong: Chinese Communist revolutionary leader YALTA & POTSDAM Yalta Conference During World War II, Stalin had formed the Grand Alliance with Britain & the USA as a means of defeating Nazi Germany. Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 to map out a post-war peace settlement There was a certain amount of co-operation between the ‘Big Three’; discussions over future political developments and territorial divisions in Europe were discussed, particularly with regard to Germany and Poland The main outcome was an agreement to partition Germany into four ‘occupied zones’ (Britain, France, USA and Russia) at the end of the war; it was also agreed that Germany would be demilitarised and should pay reparations After cessation of hostilities with Germany, the Soviet Union agreed to enter the war in the Pacific against Japan; in return, Stalin would be given territories in Asia and a ‘free hand’ over the Baltic States Stalin’s agreement that the Soviet Union would participate in the newly-formed United Nations seemed to offer hope of post-war co-operation between East and West. Stalin, however, insisted on a right of veto Churchill & Roosevelt were concerned about the spread of Communism. Pro-Soviet Governments were already installed in Poland and other Eastern European ‘satellite’ states Potsdam Conference The post-war conference was held at Potsdam near Berlin from July 1945. The issues on the agenda were essentially the same as at Yalta but relations were more strained Stalin saw himself as the elder statesman of the Conference, as the only one of the ‘Big Three’ who had also attended the Yalta Conference. Britain & France were represented by Clement Attlee and Harry S Truman respectively Issues related to demilitarisation, reparations and the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Territories annexed by Germany during the war (such as Alsace) were returned The Oder-Neisse Line re-drew the frontiers between Poland and Germany, extending Polish territory to include Danzig and Silesia; this extended the Soviet sphere of influence The Western Powers agreed to recognise the pro-Soviet regime in Poland rather than the exiled Polish war-time government in London. This was a major triumph for Stalin POST-WAR SOVIET FOREIGN POLICY The Eastern Bloc Satellites Having ‘liberated’ much of Eastern Europe from the Nazis, Red Army troops occupied East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. The social and economic depravation caused by the war proved a breeding ground for Communism in the East Stalin saw the Eastern Bloc as a ‘buffer zone’ against the west, who in turn viewed these developments with great alarm. In 1946, Churchill coined the phrase ‘Iron Curtain’ to describe the political division that now loomed over Europe Between 1947- 49, pro-Stalinist governments under direct control from Moscow were imposed on each of the satellite states. Elections were held (as decreed by the Yalta Conference) but results were often rigged in order to return Communist regimes Elections were often accompanied by a campaign of terror against opposition parties. This was the case, for example, in Czechoslovakia where Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk (son of Tomas Masaryk and a close political ally of Eduard Benes) was murdered in 1948. The Communists then seized power in the so-called ‘Czech Coup’ Typically, satellite states then went through a process of Soviet-style collectivisation, nationalisation of industry, class warfare and propaganda; terror was used to eliminate political opposition leaders, many of whom were murdered or fled into exile The exception was Yugoslavia, where the partisan leader Marshal Tito’s Communist regime ruled independently of Moscow. Tito refused to bow to Stalinsit pressure and ruled without interference from 1953 - 1980 A number of treaties of ‘friendship and mutual assistance’ were signed between the USSR and its satellite states: these included: COMINFORM (1947) COMECON (1949) WARSAW PACT (1955) Several popular risings against Soviet rule such as in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 (the infamous ‘Prague Spring’) were ruthlessly crushed. The satellite states remained under Soviet control until the collapse of Communism in the late 1980’s The COMECON The USA was concerned that a Europe devastated by war would fall easy prey to Communism; the Marshall Plan allocated $15 billion to shore up European economies; it was intended that much of this aid would go to Eastern Europe to stave off Communism Molotov refused to allow Marshall Aid for the Eastern Bloc states, fearing it was an excuse for ‘capitalist imperialism’ to extend its influence. This meant that economic ties between the West and its former allies, Poland & Czechoslovakia were cut off In 1949 the ‘Molotov Plan’ led to the creation of the Comecon (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). Intended to promote economic growth between the Eastern Bloc states, in reality, the Comecon was used to control the states economically and politically Membership of the Comecon included Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and the USSR (joined by East Germany in 1950. Meetings were sporadic and little was done to solve the economic problems of its members; the Comecon remained as an economic union between Communist states worldwide until 1991 The COMINFORM The Comintern - which had been disbanded during the war - was reformed in a new guise: the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau). The Cominform was founded in 1947 as an alliance of Communist Parties from across the Eastern Bloc states as well as Italy, France and Yugoslavia The purpose of the Cominform was to coordinate actions between Communist parties under Soviet direction. As a result, the Cominform acted as a tool of Soviet foreign policy;it was short-lived, however, lasting only until 1956 The Warsaw Pact In 1955, the Warsaw Pact was signed. This was an escalation of Cold War relations and a response to West Germany joining NATO in May 1955 The pact was signed by each of the Eastern Bloc countries; the pact agreed to recognise the national autonomy of its members; it was a military alliance between the states to offer mutual support in the face of foreign aggression Although the Pact never took any collective military action it was used to impose the political will of Moscow on its member states. The Pact was disbanded in 1991 following the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe COLD WAR DEVELOPMENTS The Turkish Crisis In 1946, the Soviet Union demanded free passage through the Dardanelles Straits; Soviet ships gathered in the Black Sea while troops massed along the Turkish border Fearing invasion, Turkey appealed to the West for support. President Truman dispatched a naval task force to the Mediterranean and warned Stalin that Britain and the United States would not stand for any Soviet incursion. Under pressure, Stalin backed down The Greek Crisis Between 1944-49, Greece was divided by a civil war fought – sporadically - between Communist guerilla factions and supporters of the democratically-elected government returning from exile after Nazi occupation The Communist rising was repelled with the assistance of British and American troops. The crisis convinced the US that Stalin intended to expand the Soviet sphere of influence into the Mediterranean (although in reality Stalin never actively supported the Greek Communists) The Truman Doctrine The United States feared the ‘domino effect’: that as one country fell to Communism, so would its neighbour and then its neighbour in turn th On 12 March 1947, President Truman delivered the so-called Truman Doctrine, an impassioned appeal to Congress to provide $400 million in economic and military aid to Turkey and Greece Without mentioning the Soviet Union, Truman urged that the United States should be prepared to support ‘free peoples’ who faced the threat of oppression The Doctrine is seen as a defining moment in the development of the Cold War. It demonstrated US intent to stand up to Communist global expansion, defining American foreign policy during the Cold War period It was viewed with great suspicion in Moscow and destroyed any remaining trust between the USSR and USA The Berlin Blockade By 1948, economic divisions between ‘East’ and ‘West’ Berlin were becoming increasingly apparent as the United States poured aid into West Berlin The introduction of a new ‘Deutschmark’ currency in West Berlin was condemned by the Soviets and used as the pretext for an economic blockade. Road and rail links between West Berlin and West Germany were closed; fuel & electricity supplies were cut off Fearing a Soviet incursion, a huge operation was mounted by the West from June 1948. At the height of the Berlin Airlift, an average of 600 British & American flights per day flew supplies into the city. Any attempt to interfere with the drops was to be viewed as an act of war On Easter Sunday 1949, 1,381 planes delivered over 12,000 tons of coal and other supplies without a single accident. Stalin was humiliated by the West’s resolve and the blockade was finally lifted in September 1949 The Berlin Blockade marked the first serious hostility of the Cold War. While free elections were held in West Berlin, martial law was imposed on the people of East Berlin. This was a forerunner of the formal separation of East Germany (DDR) from West Germany (FDR) The division of Berlin continued to symbolise the Cold War. By 1961, when the Berlin Wall was completed, some 2 million people had fled to the West. It was not until 1989 that the Wall was pulled down with German re-Unification following in 1990 ‘Détente’ Following the Berlin Airlift, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) was formed in April 1949 as an alliance of Western Powers against the Soviet threat It coincided with the news that Soviet scientists had developed nuclear capability just four years after the Manhattan Project had led to the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki The admittance of West Germany into Nato in 1955 sparked further tension and led directly to the formation of the Warsaw Pact – thus creating two ‘Power Blocs’ In fact, the nuclear arms race that followed (and continued well into the 1980’s) created a kind of ‘Détente’ where neither side was prepared to use these weapons against the other for fear of retaliation CHINA AND KOREA In 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China after a long and bloody civil war against Chiang Kai-Shek, military leader of the Chinese government. Kai-Shek fled to Taiwan where he re-established his government of the ‘Republic of China’ During the war, Mao received $1 billion military aid from Stalin to help overthrow KaiShek’s regime. Following a two-month visit to Moscow in 1950, Mao signed a ‘Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship’ which formed a 30-year military alliance with the Soviet Union China then underwent a process of industrialisation similar to that of the Soviet Union, assisted by Soviet loans and expertise. However, while openly praising Stalin for his achievements, Mao – like Tito - kept China independent of political control from Moscow The fall of China to ‘Chairman Mao’ was of great alarm to the West; the US refused to recognise the Communist regime. But while Mao inflicted terrible hardship on the Chinese people – notably during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s – China never joined the Warsaw Pact and relations with the Soviet Union became increasingly strained The Korean War At the end of World War 2, Korea had been partitioned between North (Soviet controlled) and South (American dominated). In 1948, two separate governments were established th In 1950, North Korean troops – urged by Stalin - crossed the 38 Parallel, the dividing line between North and South. Stalin hoped to humiliate the US by dragging it into an unwinnable war while gaining a valuable ally in the Far East After 3 years of bitter fighting, American, British & South Korean troops succeeded in holding off the Soviet-backed North Koreans. The Military Dividing Line was reth established close to the original 38 Parallel between North and South The Korean War ended in stalemate, but it was another set-back for Stalin, who once more witnessed the resolve of the West to stand up to Communist expansion in Asia. The United States pledged its ongoing support not only to the South Koreans but also to Chiang Kai-Shek’s deposed government in Taiwan as the rightful government of China Cults Academy Advanced Higher History Soviet Russia 1917 – 1953 Revision Notes 11. Soviet Culture under Stalin 12.Stalin’s Legacy THEMES 11 & 12: SOVIET CULTURE UNDER STALIN / STALIN’S LEGACY th SOVIET CULTURE: TIMELINE 1929: Stalin’s 50 Birthday Celebrations 1932: Avant-garde replaced with ‘Socialist Realism’ 1933: Maxim Gorky returns from exile 1938: Official ‘History of the Communist Party’ published 1939: ‘Stalin and the Soviet People’ Exhibition 1940: Execution of Vsevolod Myerhold th 1949: Stalin’s 70 Birthday celebrations 1953: Death of Stalin 1956: Kruschchev begins the period of ‘De-Stalinisation’ Key Figures Josef Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party Il Lissitsky: leading avant-garde artist in Soviet Russia Sergei Eisenstein: celebrated Russian film director Maxim Gorky: famous Russian novelist, prominent in the ‘socialist realism’ movement Vsevolod Myerhold: famed theatre director brutally murdered by the NKVD Marina Raskova: first female pilot and navigator in the Soviet Air Force SOVIET PROPAGANDA THE ‘CULT’ OF STALIN In the 1930’s and 40’s, a phenomenon known as the Cult of Stalin emerged in Soviet Russia. Initially, Stalin had promoted a hard-working, modest image of himself (he was once famously described as a ‘grey blur’) From the late 20’s following his emergence as party leader, Stalin took on the persona of th the ‘new Lenin’: the city of Stalingrad was named in his honour; his 50 birthday in 1929 was marked by lavish celebrations; speeches were met with rapturous applause In the early 1930’s, portraits and statues of Stalin began to appear across the Soviet Union; paintings, posters, poetry and musical performances were produced in his honour. At every opportunity, Stalin was depicted alongside Lenin as having been at the forefront of the revolution The image of Stalin gradually changed from a ‘man of the people’ to a distant, ‘god-like’ benefactor on a par with Lenin (Stalin was smart enough never to elevate himself above Lenin) In 1938, an ‘official’ History of the Communist Party re-wrote history to emphasise Stalin’s role in the revolution at the expense of Trotsky, Bukharin and the other ‘old Bolsheviks’; this was followed in 1939 by an exhibition entitled ‘Stalin and the Soviet People’ th th Celebrations for Stalin’s 70 birthday were even more lavish than for his 50 , with a giant portrait illuminated above Moscow and festivities that lasted over a year Paradoxically, Stalin kept himself a distant figure, remote and aloof from the Soviet people. He was not a skilled orator and rarely spoke in public. This only added to the ‘aura’ that surrounded Stalin Victory in the Great Patriotic War elevated Stalin even higher in the eyes of the Soviet people; Stalin and Zhukov took the victory parade in Red Square, however Zhukov – the real Hero of the Soviet Union - was quickly demoted to command the remote Odessa Military District Stalin’s domination of Soviet society and of the Communist Party in the 1930’s and 40’s was such that the political regime was now described as ‘Stalinism’ rather than ‘Communism’ The Soviet Media The Media in Soviet Russia was controlled by TASS (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union); TASS was established in 1925 as the central agency for collection and distribution of news for all Soviet newspapers, radio and television stations and continued until 1992 The official party newspaper was ‘Pravda’(Truth): it was first produced in 1912 from exile in Vienna and continued publication until 1991; foreign news was subject to strict regulation and censorship The Arts The Arts in Soviet Russia were intended to form a social and political role that reflected socialist values. Music, literature, cinema, paintings and architecture all came under scrutiny from the state Between 1917 and 1932, avant-garde was the favoured art form. This post-modern form of expression used abstract and geometric symbolism to convey meaning. Among those prominent in the avant-garde movement were the artist Il Lissitsky and the film-maker Sergei Eisenstein From 1932, Stalin announced that avant-garde was to be replaced with a new form of expression – ‘socialist realism’. Artistic freedom of expression was not tolerated; art in all its forms was expected to be accessible to the masses, reflect the triumph of the proletariat and convey an uplifting socialist message th A leading exponent of socialist realism was Maxim Gorky, regarded as one of the 20 century’s greatest literary figures. A Bolshevik supporter, Gorky had gone into exile in the 1920’s after criticising Lenin but returned to Moscow in 1933 at Stalin’s personal invitation Many artists fell out of favour with the Stalinist regime. Many films, theatre productions and musical performances were banned; examples included the famous novel of the Russian Civil War, Dr Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak and Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible trilogy which was deemed ‘unflattering’ to Stalin High profile victims of the purge of the arts included the famed theatre director Vsevolod Myerhold, who was brutally tortured and executed in 1940 after campaigning for greater artistic freedom. Maxim Gorky also died ‘under mysterious circumstances’ in 1936 EDUCATION & RELIGION Education Lenin had rejected the bourgeois education system as ‘elitist’: old textbooks were discarded, traditional academic subjects rejected and exams abolished. Pupils were no longer expected to obey their teachers Stalin was shocked at the decline in educational standards; he was aware that a literate, educated workforce was required to achieve an efficient economy Formal education was restored with strict codes of discipline reintroduced. Literacy, mathematics and science were made compulsory; further education colleges taught trades and basic technical skills While the system was meant to promote equal opportunity, the reality was different; fees were required after the age of 15: private tuition became common for ‘gifted’ children (usually those of party members) who would often go on to achieve university places Universities such as the Moscow State University and the Academy of Sciences came under state supervision. The work of academics was closely scrutinised; historians had to ‘rewrite’ history from a Soviet point of view. Soviet scientists were denied contact with western scientists Stalin’s belief in ‘socialist science’ reached its height when Trofim Lysenko claimed to have produced ‘super crops’ to solve problems of famine; anyone who disputed Lysenko’s claims was arrested, even though they were shown to be entirely false Religion Attacks on organised religion had begun in the early 1920’s under Lenin with the Decree on the Separation of Church and State. Stalin agreed that religion had no place in Soviet society; it was a symbol of the old Tsarist regime and ran contrary to socialist beliefs 1928 saw a renewed attack on the Orthodox Church and other religions. Churches and monasteries were closed; thousands of clergy were arrested and exiled, imprisoned or murdered. The attack on the church led to uprisings in the countryside amongst the deeply religious peasants The 1930’s saw further attacks on the church during the Great Terror. By the late 1930’s, religion – while not banned altogether - had been virtually eliminated: atheism was the official doctrine of the Soviet people while the worship of Stalin was of course encouraged WOMEN IN SOVIET SOCIETY Women’s Status in Society Lenin had promoted women as equals in a new socialist society. Feminists such as the prominent Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai had expected women - free from the constraints of marriage and drudgery - to play a full and equal role in post-revolutionary society, but under Stalin this proved increasingly difficult th Propaganda continued to celebrate the role of women. March 8 was still celebrated as International Women’s Day, though it was now renamed International Communist Women’s Day Marriage was once more encouraged in order to halt the moral decline in the social fabric of society. The importance of motherhood was emphasised The ‘Zhenotdel’ (Women’s Bureau of the Communist Party) was quietly forgotten about. Few women were elevated to positions of power and status within the party or in industry During the Five Year Plans, women were essential members of the workforce but often faced exploitation with poor working conditions and low wages. Labour shortages during the Great Patriotic War further increased the demand for female workers; by 1945, 15 million women worked in Soviet industry Women in the Armed Forces Over half a million women served in the Soviet armed forces; unlike most countries, Russian women were actively involved in combat, often serving as snipers, machine gunners and in tank crews In 1933, Marina Raskova became the first female aviator in the Soviet Air Force, paving the way for women pilots. Raskova was killed in a flying accident in 1943 and became the first casualty of the war to be given a state funeral 89 women were awarded the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ decoration during the war; very few, however, ever gained officer status. After the war, most women left the armed forces altogether th STALIN’S LEGACY Stalin’s death on March 5 1953 is surrounded by mystery. Theories that Stalin was poisoned by his head of security, Lavrentiy Beria, as part of a Kremlin conspiracy to prevent a new wave of purges or Soviet aggression against the West remain open to speculation Whatever the truth, There is little doubt that Stalin left a huge legacy not only on the Soviet Union but on the whole world. The impact of Stalinist policies were felt across the th globe for much of the 20 Century Stalin had succeeded in his primary objectives: he had transformed the Soviet Union into a modern and efficient economy with the capabilities of defeating the Nazi war machine during the Great Patriotic War he had preserved the security of the Soviet Union in the face of what he saw as the aggressive Imperialistic policies of the West He had established totalitarian rule over the Soviet people to such an extent that his regime was virtually unchallenged He had elevated the Soviet Union to the status of superpower, eventually capable of matching and even surpassing the United States in such fields as science and technology and military strength There are, however, many criticisms of Stalin’s legacy: He became a tyrannical dictator, imposing his own political doctrine of ‘Stalinism’ upon the people; this was far removed from the democratic ideals of Communism as envisioned by Marx, Lenin & Trotsky His regime was one of fear and oppression: millions were subjected to the Great Terror purges of the 1930’s, while basic human rights were denied and individual freedom of expression was removed His achievements came at a terrible cost to the Soviet people; millions died of starvation, disease and hardship during Collectivisation and the Five Year Plans He imposed Stalinist rule over the countries of the Eastern Bloc whose peoples became subjected to the same denial of freedoms as those of the Soviet Union The intensity of Cold War Divisions between East and West remained for many decades to come following Stalin’s death, leading to a climate of fear and suspicion that defined th the latter half of the 20 Century ‘DE-STALINIZATION’ Stalin was succeeded as General Secretary of the Communist Party by Nikita Kruschchev, a Communist hard-liner who had once been a close political ally of Stalin, but was shrewd enough to recognise the excesses of Stalin’s regime Kruschchev’s ‘Secret Report’ th In a ‘secret report’ delivered to select members at the 20 Party Congress in February 1956, Kruschchev denounced the ‘Cult of Stalin’ and in particular condemned the purges against the military and party members The ‘myth’ of Stalin and his flagrant ‘abuse of power’ was exposed. Kruschchev also cited Stalin’s failures in foreign policy, his treatment of the Eastern Bloc countries and even his role as war leader The venom of Kruschchev’s attack astonished Party members, many of whom agreed with such sentiments. Thus began a process of De-Stalinization, what is sometimes referred to as the Kruschchev Thaw The Kruschchev ‘Thaw’ Progressive economic measures were introduced within the Soviet Union; forced labour was abolished and some restrictions on private trade were lifted Most political prisoners were released from the Gulag labour camps and re-assimilated into Soviet society. A measure of free speech was restored A certain amount of autonomy was given to the Eastern Bloc states, though Communist regimes remained in power. Attempts to overthrow Communism such as in Hungary in 1956 were ruthlessly crushed There were attempts at reconciliation with the West. Prior to the signing of the Warsaw Pact in 1955, the Soviet Union had offered to join NATO but this was rejected by the Western Powers De-Stalinization took many forms. Stalin’s body was removed from the Lenin Mausoleum in 1961. His name was removed from the Soviet National Anthem. While Lenin remained a revered figure, statues and images of Stalin were often torn down. Today, only a few memorials to Stalin remain, scattered across obscure outposts of the former Soviet Union. Perhaps the only major statue is found in the centre of Gori, Stalin’s home city in Georgia, where his birthplace is now a small museum, complete with death mask. Here at least, the Cult of Stalin remains.