The Age of Dictators

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22 Apr 2012
HIST215 The Age of Dictators
(1) The Soviet Union from Lenin (1870-1924) to Stalin (1879-1953)
- 1918-1921: Civil War in Soviet Russia
- 1921-1924: New Economic Policy or NEP
- 1924: Lenin’s death
- 1928: Stalin’s consolidation of power and new political and economic
“Socialism in one country”
First Five-Year Plan (a.k.a. “Stalinism”): forced industrialization,
collectivization of land, political terror, central planning, elimination
of “kulaks” (1928), expansion of Gulag (labour camps 1934)
- 1935-1938: The Great Terror
Elimination of real and potential class enemies and political
opposition, show trials
Questions: Did Stalin merely continue what Lenin had started? Was
Stalinism inherent in Marxism and Bolshevism or was it a detour, an
- The principles of Marxism are still valid
(2) Italy and Germany: the seizure of power
- Combination of use and abuse of parliamentary procedure with extra-
parliamentary intimidation: black-shirts and storm troopers (SA), Mein
Kampf (1925), organization of Fascist and Nazi parties
- October 1922: Mussolini’s “March on Rome”
- January 1933: Hitler named chancellor
For details of Fascist and Nazi takeovers: see Merriman 1005-1008
and 1012-1014, 1020-1022
- Both Mussolini and Hitler: used existing parliamentary institutions,
insisted on proving to the world that they could have/did come to power
with legitimate names
(3) The consolidation of Fascist and Nazi state Hitler’s rise to power
- Weimar Republic born in crisis
- Series of elections polarize public and divide Left
- February 1933: Reichstag fire, emergency decrees
- March 1933: elections (44%), followed y Enabling Law (banning all other
political parties)
Mussolini’s elimination of the parliamentary system and political
enemies, role of propaganda
Hitler’s elimination of the parliamentary system and establishment of
total control
1934: purge of SA
1935: Nuremberg Laws
Fascist vs. authoritarian regimes in Europe see partial list in Merriman,
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