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Lecture 5

326 - Week 5 – Lecture 1 - Civil War.docx

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HIST 326
Katrin Bozeva

Week 5 – Lecture 1 History 326 – Russia from 1905 The Russian Civil War War ravaged Russia – dragged on inAsia until 1927-1928 and lasted about 3 ½ years in the European side of things - between 1921 and 1945 the myth of the Civil War was dominant in Russia until the 2WW replaced it 3 main points re. the civil war: 1) first questions were the exact origins and causes of the civil war complex ▯ short list of major causes which have differing importance w. the foundation a. start = cultural memory of imperial Russia: pre-rev Russia had a very fragmented cultural memory i. relationships between rich and poor were very confrontational  because of this, CW brutality would reach heights only surpassed by Nazis in 1941-5 1. nature of violence during the CW between sides due to class and social group differences = unimaginable and unspeakable  due to fragmented cultural memory existing before 1919 ii. measures taken early by the Bolshevik government  one of the first measures that the Bolsheviks as a government did was to nationalist all large industrial enterprises in November 1917 as well as nationalising all major banks and not to allow banks to exist outside the immediate control of the states  to get access to the national wealth (not a feature of socialism but purely a survival measure of the Bolsheviks since they needed currency to actually be able to pay all those at their disposal) 1. led to big businesses, not in favour of bolshevism even before this occurred, turned against the Bolsheviks party  transferred to what, in March, would become the Whites iii. dissolution of the Constituent Assembly  CAwas one of the main reasons why the PG was so weak as a lot of the measures were postponed so theAssembly could decide them  Lenin felt that the Bolsheviks were very weak in 1917 so he did not cancel the elections of November 1917, but it was likely that he was never going to permit these results to survive since it was an example of bourgeois democracy 1. once the Bolsheviks saw they were in 2 place with 24% to Socialists 41%, Lenin and his comrades decided to not allow the continuation of the CA’s work th a. opened on 5 January 1918 where the representatives met leading to a theatrical farce where representatives of the government were trying to persuade the representatives to recognise the Soviet government but the Bolsheviks were ignored = attempt to cancel each other out b. day later, the doors of the Tauride Palace were bolted 2. closure of the CAled to disapproval amongst groups whom had originally sided with the Bolsheviks e.g. members of the Social Revolutionaries = the left-wing of the SR withdrew their support for the Bolshevik government and left the government meaning that the government became completely Soviet as only the Bolshevik party had key ministries and key members a. left SR’s would try to provoke disturbances in Petrograd and Moscow over the following 2-3 months = assassinations etc. = immediate cause for establishing the Cheka, one of the most sinister forces in the Soviet society i. from the beginning, the institution was put above the law as it was not responsible or accountable for its actions except towards the highest authorities iv. separate peace that the Bolsheviks had to conclude with Germany  pushed to conclude an armistice with Germany in December – henceforth Germany pushed for harsher and harsher terms 1. the Soviet delegates discusses the nature of the peace treaty yet the Bolsheviks did not have the experience of all the diplomats and the Germans were appalled by the attempts of those like Bukharin  Bolsheviks looked like lunatics 2. Trotksy came up with the idea of ‘neither peace nor war’ no treaty but no fighting = the Germans began to advance rapidly towards Petrograd (one of the reasons why the capital moved back to Moscow since there was a danger of German occupation) a. As a result of this pressure, Lenin insisted on signing the harsh conditions of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty = 3 March 1918, the treaty was signed i. Humiliating disaster for Soviet Russia but proves Lenin’s dedication to the preservation of his regime which mattered much more than the loss of 4 countries of Tsarist conquest 1. 62 million people were let go – Poland, the Baltic States, Finland, Ukraine 2. also amounted to the loss of large industrial potential – 1/3 was gone BUT in the long-run, because Germany lost the war, the treaty was declared null and void confirming Lenin’s expectation that the treaty would not be long-term a. the Treaty is important since it demonstrates how far the Bolsheviks were prepared to go against Russian national and territorial interests in defence of their regime 3. this was the last nail in the coffin as the old officer classes esp. could not swallow the harsh terms of the B-L  by the end of 1918, there were various groups – Red, Whites, Blacks and Greens – in confrontation 2) Who was fighting in the Civil War and what were the reasons for red victory? a. Situation in the spring of 1918 was not promising for the Reds and there were not many things that were in their side in the initial stage of the conflict i. The Reds were relatively homogeneous – the Bolsheviks and those whom supported them, left-overs of Left win
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