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Lecture 2

HIST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Great Purge, Red Scare, Gulag

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Elizabeth Neswald

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Empires and Revolutions
Module 3
Lecture 2
Communism in Power: Russian Revolution 1917
Communism would occur in a place with a powerful Bourgeoisie and a
growing Proletariat
Russia: 80% peasants, tiny working class
Bolsheviks (Majority): Russian social democratic labour party (in WWI)
Couldn’t pay for the war or their people to eat so they pulled out in 1918
2 Russian revolutions: February and October of 1917
In February: Russian Tsar of the Romanov family is captured by the Bolsheviks
Him and his family were sentenced to death in 1918 including his son who
was a hemophiliac
1917-1922: Russian Civil War
Vladimir Lenin took charge
Led to the death of 8-10 million people
Lenin’s slogan was “Peace, land and bread”
4 ingredients: Nationalization, Collectivization, 5 year plan, terror
Nationalization: ownership of the government
Only concerned about members and not the actual people
Made all the decisions for the country
Industrialize: take recourses from rural places to industrial areas which was
considered an economic and ideological choice
NEP (New Economic Policy): Lenin wanted his policy to go slow so people
could be easily and steadily integrated into it
He said that peasants could keep their lands and produce recourses and they
will tax them
Joseph Stalin: Became in charge of the party after Lenin died in 1924
He comes up with a new Policy
Collectivization: wanted to nationalize all the farms and make the peasants
work in them
Peasants slaughtered their animals because they didn’t want to give up their
ownership of their land
Resulted in a famine
Over 1 million peasants where sent to gulag (Russian Prison)
He came up with a 5 year plan that they had to achieve to >x the crisis
It was a success; by the end of the 5 years Russia’s GDP increased by 50%
Prisoners were basically used as slaves which really helped achieve the 5
years plan.
Stalin was very paranoid; he accused German doctors of trying to poison him
(doctors plot)
Great terror: 1937-38
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