Unformatted text preview: The Soviet Union under The Soviet Union under Stalin in the 1930s
IAH 207: “Dangerous Art” November 16, 2011 Russia on Eve of Revolution
Russia on Eve of Revolution Prior to the Russian Revolution, Russia under Tsar Nicholas II (ruled 18941917). Resistance Parties seeking reform: Constitutional Democratic Party – promoted constitutional monarchy and peaceful social reform SocialistRevolutionary Party – promoted distribution of land among peasants Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) – promoted complete revolution in the Marxist vein 1903 – RSDLP splits into two groups: Bolsheviks – radicals under Lenin – wanted to seize power through force and violence if necessary Mensheviks – under Yuli Martov promoted peaceful and gradual development of socialism Russia on Eve of Revolution
Russia on Eve of Revolution 1905 – First Russian Revolution – started when a protest group, attempting to present a petition to the tsar, were fired upon by the police in what would be called “Bloody Sunday” – led to a general worker strike in response. Nicholas soon after issued the October Manifesto, which granted universal male suffrage and certain civil rights and allowed for broad participation in a state parliament (Duma) with a multiparty system. Led to drafting of a Constitution in 1906 and the establishment of a limited constitutional monarchy 1914 Russia enters World War I as ally of Britain and France and enemy of Germany and AustriaHungary Early military failures lead to rising opposition to the tsar 1917 A series of strikes and a bread riot in the capital lead military officers to persuade Nicholas to abdicate the throne in favor of his brother, who subsequently refuses it, leading to the end of the Romanov dynasty (Von Hagen 339). Revolution and Civil War
Revolution and Civil War Provisional government set up by the Duma, but this is challenged by a coalition of workers, soldiers and peasants, which became a short
lived “dual authority”: the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and the Soldiers’ Deputies (Von Hagen 33940). A subsequent “political crisis in the capital, combined with the economic breakdown and widespread shortages, the rising antiwar sentiment, and the general radicalization of opposition politics opened considerable space for the most extreme leftwing party, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin/Ulianov” (340) 1917 The Bolsheviks seize power in Moscow and Petrograd [St. Petersburg – name changed in 1914] (341) 1918 – Military officers create the Volunteer Army, which would lead to the White movement, a “coalition of military men, conservatives, and moderate socialists” (341) c. 19181921 Russian Civil War (c. 191821) primarily between Red (Bolsheviks and their allies) and the White Army with the Reds eventually winning out and establishing a Communist state in the new Stalinism
Stalinism Lenin’s revolution was based on the idea of a Europeanwide socialist revolution that never materialized. Joseph Stalin, who eventually assumed power after Lenin (following an internal struggle primarily with Leon Trotsky), therefore looked inward, to development of socialism within the solitary country of the Soviet Union: “Socialism in one country became a method for ‘building socialism’ – that is, for modernizing the country in order to raise it to the requisite economic and social level to supportsocialism. Under Stalin, socialism in one country became an autarkic alternative to capitalist modernization based on a combination of stateled industrialization and a “tribute” from the peasantry” (Viola 369) Stalin’s First Five Year Plan (1928–32): Rapid industrialization Forced collectivization of agriculture: “Soviet agriculture would be large scale and modern, facilitating the pumpingover of resources from agriculture to industry” (Viola 370) First Five Year Plan (192832)
First Five Year Plan (192832) Assumed violence from without: Stalin’s goal was “an autarkic [i.e., not dependent on trade from other countries] industrialized polity with the full capability to shore up its defenses within the context of ‘capitalist encirclement’ and what was perceived as the inevitable war with the capitalist powers of the West” (Viola 370) Assumed violence from within: “Collectivization would be conducted as a campaign in the full meaning of the term. Violence, arbitrariness, and ‘excesses’ would be everywhere, reaching nightmare proportions and sparking massive peasant resistance” (371) Results of Five Year Plan: “Famine in the countryside and social instability in the cities followed in the wake of the First Five Year Plan. The famine was devastating, resulting in the death of somewhere between five and six million people, mainly rural inhabitants” (3712) Passport System and Secret Police
Passport System and Secret Police Another result of the First Five Year Plan was the institutionalization of an internal passport system in 1932 as “an attempt to control what had become a massive and unprecedented migratory flow [to the cities]… Periodic police roundups of those who fell outside the passport system – declassed elements, criminals, runaway kulaks [wealthy independent farmers]– became a standard method of attempting to control the skyrocketing urban population” (Viola 372) “The polity that emerged [from the First Five Year Plan]… was characterized by despotism; emergency rule featuring campaigns, extrajudicial administration by plenipotentiary forces, and the widespread use of the secret police; and militarized approaches to policy implementation. Repression assumed a massive scale. The secret police expanded in size and power, approaching a state within the state and presiding over a vast economic empire of forced labor, first populated by deported kulaks, that came to be known as the gulag” (372) Repression under Stalin
Repression under Stalin “Once Stalin had made the decision to transform peasant Russia into a military– industrial behemoth, as it were overnight, extreme centralization and the instrumental use of repression became virtually the primary method of governance. The sheer size of the nation, its underdeveloped transportation and communication networks, climatic extremes, and undergovernment reinforced Stalin’s own despotic tendencies, leading to hypercentralization, emergency rule, and the use of the secret police as a kind of supra
agency allowing Stalin to override or attempt to override the provincial outposts of Soviet power with their vested local interests and inbred inclinations to either inertia or extremes. The use of repression to control and mobilize people and resources became a substitute for more routine methods of administration and governance” (Viola 372) The Great Terror
The Great Terror During the 1930s there was “a mass purge of ordinarymen and women, in a series of campaigns whose dimensions became known only after the fall of the Soviet Union. The infamous ‘antikulak campaign’ (order 00447) was the largest and bloodiest in a series of police campaigns through the 1930s that sought to stem the tide of social chaos set off by the First Five Year plan. Order 00447 was aimed against ‘former kulaks, criminals and other antisocial elements,’ with quotas set at over 75,000 for subjects fated to arrest or execution, and 193,000 for those destined for forced labor in the gulag. The total numbers of repressed in the campaign reached over 268,000 people. Other mass campaigns, aimed at specific ‘ethnic’ groups, accompanied the antikulak campaign, resulting in mass arrests of a large series of individuals representing diaspora populations in the Soviet Union. According to official statistics, in 1937 and 1938 alone, the NKVD [the secret police] arrested 1,575,259 people, leading to 1,344,923 convictions and 681,692 executions; by early 1939, well over two million people were imprisoned within the labor camps, colonies, and prisons of the Stalin’s “Revolution”
Stalin’s “Revolution” “The great terror thus was a continuation of the Stalin Revolution of the First Five Year Plan. That ‘revolution’ had set in motion a chain of consequences to which the state would be forced to react through the course of the decade: (1) center– periphery power conflicts; (2) demographic chaos; (3) a population viewed as ‘suspect’ and ‘alien’ and not yet entirely ‘pacified’; and (4) an economy based on heavy industry and in need of continual ‘extractions,’ which, in turn, had the effect of constantly reinforcing the mobilizational and repressive momentum of the First Five Year Plan through unending levies of forced labor, ‘tribute’ from the countryside, and exploitation of the USSR’s vast natural and mineral resources” (Viola 373) Sources Sources
Viola, Lynne. “Stalinism and the 1930s.” A Companion to Russian History. Ed. Abbot Gleason. Hoboken, NJ: WileyBlackwell, 2009.
Von Hagen, Mark. “From the First World War to Civil War, 19141923.” A Companion to Russian History. Ed. Abbot Gleason. Hoboken, NJ: WileyBlackwell, 2009. ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2012 for the course IAH 207 taught by Professor Johns during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.
- Fall '08