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Lecture

Nov 16 & 23.docx

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Department
History
Course Code
History 2145A/B
Professor
Robert Ventresca

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Nov 16/10 Lenin and the Birth of Soviet Totalitarianism -what happens in October 1917 is the start of the Bolshevik revolution not its end *-cycles of violence (from last class)- first cycle associated with the Lenin cycle 1917 and Beyond: Building the Soviet State 1) What were the main challenged facing Lenin and the Bolsheviks after October 1917? 2) How did the Bolsheviks consolidate their rule? 3) How did the Civil War contribute to the origins of Soviet totalitarianism? -the Bolsheviks manage to accomplish control of the capital (Petrograd) in October 1917- this is the political and economic heart of Russia- even a few days after that they manage to do that in Moscow- they have control of the few important cities *-tactical, strategic victory over economic and political capitals- use this to gain control over all of Russia -many obstacles in the way of the Bolsheviks: *1) decentralization- collapse of central authority, they won their tactical victory in the center, but the country is pulling away from the central (capital), they must contain this in some way 2) separatism- geographically disperse, pull away from the center 3) problem of suspicion of authority- mistrust in authority, stop taking orders from the tsar and military powers 4) anarchy- the country is slipping into this, people dont believe in government, doing what they want, loss of law and order, loss of political authority *-Lenin is the only revolutionary leader who is actually able to succeed- makes his revolution succeed and stay (until the 1990s) -April Theses in 1917 Lenin promises peace, land and bread but he delivers civil war, famine and creates an authoritarian state ruled by a single party -consolidating Bolshevik rule Lenin gave birth to soviet totalitarianism- Thesis for today Provinces: local soviets controlled by SRs and Mensheviks Bolshevik Nationalities Control in Peasant land in non-Russian seizures in empireof countryside Petrograd, Moscow LBolsheviks. centralism -Mensheviks are socialists but less radical- Bolsheviks have rivals on the ground -talking about dictatorship of the proletarian- how do you do this? Never been done before -institutional indeterminacy- means dont know exactly what your going to do -Bolsheviks talk about genuine democracy- he doesnt want a traditional, legitimate democracy- says hell make a government of the Soviets -government of the Soviets would run right into the Bolsheviks idea of centralization *-democratic centralism- this is the Bolsheviks idea *-how do they see Russia as a member of this international community?- they believed they were the start of a worldwide revolution, thought that what was happening in Russia would sweep across the world- permanent revolution (starts in one place but has to continue)- Bolsheviks are internationalists- think it has to spread -the Bolsheviks wanted their government to act different on the international stage- didnt want to look like the old tsar -questions in the west are nervous of the soviets- question what their true aims are- born in 1917 Trotsky and the Bolsheviks at Brest-Litovsk 1918 -population density in western Russia- closer to the big cities -national and ethnic minorities- what do you do with them? -Marx- nationalism is going to disappear which leads to revolution -Lenin figures because nationalism will disappear one day we can accommodate national self- determination- a people ought to be self-governed -by 1922 the U.S.S.R (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic) is created- socialist republics include Ukraine, Georgia, Latvia -created little autonomous nations within the U.S.S.R- correspond to nationalist boundaries- national languages are not destroyed, protection for ethnic minorities- soviets are supporting this- creating a national political release -when the USSR starts to crumble it starts in the nationalist socialist republics -resentment building among the nationalist republics against Moscow, etc.- Moscow dominating control -short-term consequence- helps Lenin consolidate power, long-term- crumbles republic The Legacy of 1917: Civil War, Famine, Authoritarian Rule -communal agriculture- people share a piece of land and farm it together, state enterprise- Lenin is trying to capitalize on peasant seizure of land, collectivize or nationalize land- pleases unrest in the countryside but still some resistance from Kuleks (landowning peasants, commercially successful) -1918 there is peasant resistance- how does Lenin deal with this? Lenin talking to peasants: Promise of Land -Lenin has a low view of peasants to actually lead a revolution -first of Lenins violence in 1918 is against peasants Peace, but at a Price: Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, 1918 -Lenin makes treaty with Germans while their allies are still fighting -Lenin understands that continuing to fight will jeopardize his consolidation of power -this is the German-Russian treaty that takes the Russians out of WW1- delivering his promise -treaty is really a defeat for Russia- land loss, loses about 65 million people in this arrangement, successor states (newly independent)- ex. Poland -White Russia- haven of forces for the civil war, heart of anti-Bolshevik resistance right after the Bolshevik revolution Civil War in Russia, 1918-1920 -bread- food shortages, helped bring about the collapse of the tsar, tough for Lenin to deliver -peasants hoarding- keep what they make and refuse to sell it even though in a collectivized system they were required to sell it *-Lenin promises bread, but what they get is famine, starvation between 1918-1920- approx. 5 million people die because of famine -some successes for Bolsheviks but a lot of failure- politics, economy, military future- immediate questions theyll have to answer -promises are only partially delivered -fall of tsar and fall of provisional government- freest time in Russian history, brief window of popular democracy- this is not what the Bolsheviks want, dont want anarchy, want centralized and disciplined government, controlling and containing democracy -war communism- associated with a radical swing in the immediate aftermath of Oct 1917- ex. private property, agricultural enterprise, government telling them how theyll run -democratic centralism- ex. soviets (committees) exercise some degree of decision-making, resort back to center, center is where the Bolsheviks are, power goes back to the party -seizing people private property, making decisions on peoples lives -centralized state planning- dictating terms- ex. what is grown, what is sold, how much it is sold for -all soviets are eventually under control of the party -Bolsheviks wont let things descend into chaos and anarchy- centralizing authority (all goes back to the party) -elections after revolution- free and fair, Bolsheviks come in a distant second place- about 30 percent of the popular vote, most went to the SRs (socialist revolutionists) -Lenin says the constituent assembly is not legitimate- says thats why they only got 30 percent of the vote -they have enough of the army in their control- use the threat of violence -they now have an argument and a force -the threat of violence is an important part of their consolidation of power, they use propaganda and censorship, dont recognize the legitimacy of the constituent assembly- have to use force because they dont have popular consensus -thought it was legitimate to use force and violence
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