IB European History
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- 1 French Revolution: cases, course, effects
- 2 Napoleon I and the restored French monarchy to 1848
- 3 Post-Napoleonic Europe to 1852
- 4 Revolutionary France
- 5 Hitler's Effectiveness
- 6 The USSR (1917 - 1953)
- 6.1 Russia Prior to Lenin - a resumé
- 6.2 Rise of Stalin
- 6.3 Domestic Policy Under Stalin
- 6.4 Foreign Policy Under Stalin
- 6.4.1 Overview
- 6.4.2 Bolshevik’s (revised) Policy (pre - 1934)
- 6.4.3 Stalin’s Foreign Policy (post - 1934)
- 6.4.4 Nazi-Soviet Pact
- 6.4.5 WWII and Russia (1941-1945)
- 6.4.6 Cold War and Russia (post - 1945): Berlin Crisis
- 6.4.7 World Revolution and the Comintern
- 6.4.8 The Fall Of Stalin
- 6.5 Castro (1958 - present)
- 6.5.1 Cuba Prior to Castro
- 6.5.2 Rise to Power
- 6.5.3 Domestic Policy Under Castro
- 6.5.4 Foreign Policy Under Castro
- 6.6 Hitler (1930 - 1945)
- 6.6.1 Germany Prior to Hitler
- 6.6.2 Account for Rise to Power
- 6.6.3 Domestic Policy Under Hitler
- 6.6.4 Foreign Policy Under Hitler
- 6.6.5 Account for Fall
- 7 Comparison of the Causes of World War I and II
- 8 References
French Revolution: cases, course, effects
- intellectual origins, philosophies
- Louis XVI and the monarchy, ancien régime
- political, fiscal, economic problems
- constitutional experiments, radicals, terror
- Robespierre, Jacobins, Girondins
- revolutionary wars, reaction, the Directory, rise of Napoleon I
Napoleon I and the restored French monarchy to 1848
- Napoleon I: domestic and foreign policies
- Napoleonic wars, the Treaties of Paris, the Vienna Settlement
- restored Bourbons: Louis XVIII, 1814 to 1824; Charles X, 1824 to 1830; Louis Philippe,
- 1830 to 1848
- revolutions in France, 1830 and 1848
Post-Napoleonic Europe to 1852
- Vienna and post-Napoleonic settlement, attitudes of the Great Powers
- later Congresses: Aix-la-Chapelle, Troppau, Laibach and Verona
- Metternich’s influence in Austria–Hungary and Europe
- demands for parliamentary/constitutional reform
- 1848 revolutions: causes, events, suppression, results
The monarchy failed to handle the economic crisis and social change before and during the Revolution. The systems of the Ancien Regieme proved ineffective at handling a society in which the middle class are the most productive group. Absolutism was destroyed by Louis's indecision and cowardice, combined with the Enlightenment and destruction of Christianity Absolutism had peaked during the reign of Louis XIV, whose numerous wars and palaces bankrupted the nation.
- National Constituent Assembly
- Served as a legislature and a body to draft a constitution
- Abolished feudalism 1789
- The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen was not a constitution, but a set of principles (like the US Declaration)
- Created a single unicameral house and the king would only have a suspensive veto
- In 1790, according to the Tennis Court Oath, they were required to have elections, but Mirabeau successfully argued for elections to be suspended until the constitution was finished
Amidst these intrigues, the Assembly continued to work on developing a constitution. A new judicial organization made all magistracies temporary and independent of the throne. The legislators abolished hereditary offices, except for the monarchy itself. Jury trials started for criminal cases. The king would have the unique power to propose war, with the legislature then deciding whether to declare war. The Assembly abolished all internal trade barriers and suppressed guilds, masterships, and workers' organisations: any individual gained the right to practise a trade through the purchase of a license; strikes became illegal.
Causes of the French Revolution
1. Seven Years' War (1756 - 1763) A series of conflicts fought between France and her alliances against a coalition of Great Britain and her alliances in an attempt to gain greater territory in India, Germany and North America. However, these conflicts ended poorly for France, with great investment put into the war effort (money, troops), that resulted in a loss of land in the disputed areas. Furthermore, France assumed a massive debt through these wars, which contributed to the financial crisis during the 1780s. The Austrian War of Succession (1740-48) and the American War of Independence (1776-83) worsed the debt situation.
2. The War of Independence France's involvement in the American Revolution was not only costly on the French economy, it provided an example for revolution. Many French soldiers returned with
3. The Three Estates and Taxation (c. 1700s) The three estates in France were: the clergy, the nobility, and the peasants/bourgeoisie. The first two estates, the clergy and the nobility, were exempted from taxes, which laid the taxation burden on the Third Estate, the peasants. The peasants were the pooerest of the three estates and were forced to bear the burden of the taxes. This inequality led to a general resentment of the feudal system, which was especially dangerous given that 97% of France's populace belonged to the third estate.
4. Emergence of the Bourgeoisie (c.1700s) The men from the upper end of the Third Estate in France were known as the bourgeoisie. This emerging middle class was well educated and rich. However, they held no political power because they were still considered part of the Third Estate, the peasantry.
5. Louis XVI (King of France from 1774 - 1792) Louis XVI was King of France before and during the French Revolution. He had no real interest in the political affairs of his country while he was the monarch of France. He was a weak leader at a time that required a strong monarch. He was also greatly influenced by his wife, Marie Antoinette, who was strong willed and ignorant of what the people of France needed.
6. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) Jean Jacques Rousseau was an Enlightenment philosopher from France who lobbied for the rights of the masses. He came from the lower classes of society and believed that equality, freedom and justice should be the foundations of a country.
7. Need for Economic Reform (c.1760s) After the Seven Years' War, France faced severe financial difficulties. Not only was the Crown facing enormous debt from this war, but the method of collecting taxing was completely disorganized. Individuals appointed by Louis XVI attempted to reform taxation by including the Nobles and Clergy. His finance ministers, (ie. Turgot and Necker) were unsuccessful in addressing the deficit situation, largely because they faced fierce opposition from the first and second estate. Had Louis invoked the 'lit de justice' (which would force the reforms to pass), his finance minister may have stood a better chance.
8. Bankruptcy of the Crown (c. 1760s - 1780s) The expenditures of the French Crown during the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution ultimately led to the bankruptcy of the Crown. This event was also caused by standstill in economics; no reforms were successfully carried out.
9. Revival of Parlements (c. 1774) The Parlements were royal courts that could register laws from the King. They were abolished before the reign of Louis XVI, who revived them in order to gain popularity. They mainly consisted of 'nobles of the robe', who were lesser nobles, and would follow the king as long as he respected their privileges.
10. HIgh Prices and Famine (c. 1780s) In Europe during the early sixteenth century, prices were rising. In France however, wages were not increasing to balance high prices. In addition to this deteriorating situation, harvest was destroyed by the weather in 1788. These two factors led to much starvation and the creation of a desperate mob in the streets of Paris.
The Legislative Assembly
A legislative assembly was formed, but it lasted less than a year. It resembled early America - complete with Articles of Confederation, military branches including an army and a navy (though weak at the time), and a treasury without any funds to substantiate its existance.
In 1792, The Paris Commune took control and took the ruling family as its prisoners. A new republic was formed, and subsequently forced upon the nation. The true power of the new government rested in the Committee on Public Safety, which was controlled by the Jacobins.
Eventually, a constitutional monarchy was formed as a moderate solution to handle the balance of power between the people, the king, and the nobles. Apart from the obvious lack of any king, which eliminated the monarchist theory, the constitutional monarchy fell apart because external pressure from other countries (the Duke of Brunswick, the Brunswick Manifesto) - combined with an internal revolt - caused the nation to drift towards a more extremist, totalitarian government.
The new constitution installed the Directoire (English: Directory) and created the first bicameral legislature in French history. The parliament consisted of 500 representatives (the Conseil des Cinq-Cent (Council of the Five Hundred)) and 250 senators (the Conseil des Anciens (Council of Seniors)). Executive power went to five "directors," named annually by the Conseil des Anciens from a list submitted by the Conseil des Cinq-Cent. The new régime met with opposition from remaining Jacobins and royalists. The army suppressed riots and counter-revolutionary activities. In this way the army and its successful general, Napoleon Bonaparte gained much power.
On November 9, 1799 (18 Brumaire of the Year VIII) Napoleon staged the coup which installed the Consulate; this effectively led to his dictatorship and eventually (in 1804) to his proclamation as emperor, which brought to a close the specifically republican phase of the French Revolution.
Hitler’s Nazism was a political philosophy bent on the creation of a stronger Germany, both militarily and economically, as well as an ethnically clean and superior Germanic race. Hitler’s rise was precipitated by a power vacuum, and the failure of the Weimar Republic to effectively address the needs of the people. The Weimar Republic’s ratification of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), the treaty that ended the First World War, was the cause of great embarrassment and anger throughout the land. The greatest cause for anger in the Treaty of Versailles was the Guilt Clause which placed all of the blame for the First World War on Germany and forced them to pay reparations. This anger and disgrace, mixed with a worsening economic situation as well as the use of propaganda, clearly aided in Hitler’s rise.
Not all of the goals that Hitler set out for himself were accomplished, but he did manage a great deal of success overall. His successes were mainly due to the intertwining of policies, such as his economic policy and his foreign policy.
During Lebensraum, Hitler enacted two different economic plans to support it, the first being "Partial Fascism" (from 1933 to 1936), which started a job creation program to reduce unemployment and curb union power. The second economic plan, the New Plan (enacted in 1934), called for greater exportation to increase Germany's liquid assets. Later, he enacted the Four Year Plan, which called for autarky (self sufficiency) right before the war. Hitler also supported Lebensraum by masterfully orchestrating a string of agreements which he never wished to fully follow, such as the Non-Aggression Pact (1934), which pledged that Germany would not attack Russia; and the Munich Pact (1938), which said that Germany would stop attacking countries after taking the Sudetenland (Germanic part of Czechoslovakia).
Rise to Power
Hitler’s rise to power is partly due to an amazing upsurge in nationalistic feeling due to the failure of the Weimar Republic’s government to effectively address the worsening economic problems of the Republic. “Of all of the industrial states, Germany was undoubtedly the most vulnerable to a sudden downturn in economic conditions... As the depression deepened, foreign loans were withdrawn and the banking system eventually collapsed in 1931... The inevitable result was a rapid increase in unemployment, from 2 million in 1929 to 3.5 million in 1930, 4.4 million in 1931, and over 6 million in 1932.” (Lee 156)
Germany‘s current situation quickly connected with the already low national moral due to the indignation of the Guilt Clause in the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler appeared onto the national stage as a prominent and very appealing personality “The rise of Hitler involved distinct processes which, although connected, did not lead inevitably from one to the other… [One] was the emergence of an entirely new form of right wing movement which, under Hitler, eventually replaced this…system with a totalitarian regime.” (Lee 159)
The “new form of right wing movement” that Lee talks about is the Nazi’s extreme right wing nationalism (Nazi being a shortened name for Nazional Sozialismus - National Socialism). The basis of this nationalism was the belief of German, or Aryan, supremacy over all other Worldly societies, especially Judaism and Slavicism. According to Lee “Race was the fundamental rationale for all social developments” (Lee 203). This ‘Aryan society’, or dream of an Aryan society, was clearly part of Hitler’s propaganda campaign to bring in new followers.
Foreign and Domestic Policy
Hitler’s foreign and domestic policies were intertwined. This is most clearly seen in the policy of Lebensraum and its influence on economic policy. Lebensraum is an externally expansionist policy. According to Lee, pan-European expansionism is seen in Hiter’s Mein Kampf where “he argued that Germany should abandon her former pursuit of economic power through colonies or through attempts to dominate Western Europe. Instead, he advocated ‘turning our eyes towards the land in the east.’ “(Lee 193). Hitler saw the east as a large plot of land with innumerable resources waiting to be reaped, according to Lee, Hitler also speaks of visions of ‘new communities.’ “New communities would eventually be established on land carved out of Poland and Russia by the German army. Germany would have self sufficiency in raw materials and food, as well as guaranteed outlets for her manufactured goals.” This is where economic policy begins mixing in even more with foreign policy.
Since Lebensraum called for expansion, it also called for military re armament. Since the Treaty of Versailles limited the number of troops that Germany could have at one-hundred thousand as well as forbade Germany of creating large caliber munitions such as those used in the Paris Gun, Hitler had to create a cloak of trust throughout Europe. He achieved this by combining every aggressive move he made with a symbolic appeasement move. This is best seen when Hitler proclaims to have an air force, according to Lee “The reaction of other powers posed a major diplomatic problem which Hitler needed to resolve.”(Lee 213) Hitler resolves this by creating a series of unilateral treaties, such as the Non Aggression Pact with Poland, and the Anglo-German Naval Pact, both of which served to quell the fears of European powers, as well as divide the Stresa Front (Britain, France and Italy).
Hitler’s economic policy had three main points
The period of ‘Partial Fascism’
According to Lee during the period of ‘Partial Fascism’ “the state moved into a programme of job creation to reduce the level of unemployment while, at the same time, seeking to control wages and eliminate trade union power.” (Lee 194) There was of course a more militaristic side to this policy; this is seen in the fact that most of these jobs were created through the creation of civilian as well as military infrastructure. Some of these great projects include the Autobahn Projekt which were integral to the blitzkrieg, as well as the armament and tank factories used for weaponry.
The New Plan (1936)
The New Plan, under Schacht, “regulated imports and allocations of foreign exchange in key sectors of the German economy. Overall Schacht was convinced that it was essential to raise the level of exports if Hitler’s objective of increased military expenditure were to be realized.”(Lee 194). Also under Schacht Germany developed trade agreements with “underdeveloped areas” to gain new markets and resources (Lee 194). All of these were necessary steps for German rearmament.
The Four Year Plan
According to Lee “The basic purpose of the Four Year Plan was to achieve self sufficiency, or autarky, in both industry and agriculture...” (Lee 194). According to Lee “The plan resulted in increased military expenditure.” (Lee 195). The epitome of policy intertwining is noted by Lee when he notes that the final economic step was the implementation of blitzkrieg. Blitzkrieg is utilized as a economic strategy to war due to the fact that German oil reserves could not hold on much more after one month of fighting.
Degree of Success
Hitler’s success in implementing the party line can be called successful to an extent. This is due to the fact that most of his initial policies, such as his economic policies, served their purpose as he had planned them. This is seen in the methodical calculation of timing economic necessities with the introduction of war. The first of the three steps of economic preparation for war, and their military equivalents all go through flawlessly, it is in the fourth step that Hitler stumbles, the fourth step being total war. According to Lee, by the time that total war began “The German economy was now pushed to its limit.”(Lee 195). Germany’s final downfall was due to its inability to not be outproduced by the U.S.S.R and the United States. The verdict on Hitler’s economic policy is mixed, relatively successful for the original goals, yet failed to make it past the finish line. Due to the failure of his economic policy the failure of his foreign policy, Lebensraum and the Thousand Year Reich, also failed.
==Rise and Rule of Single Party States
The USSR (1917 - 1953)
Russia Prior to Lenin - a resumé
During the early 20th century, Russia was still governed by Tsars (Tsar Nicholas II at this point). Though the peasants had been freed from serfdom by Tsar Alexander, they still suffered severe conditions and servitude to wealthy landowners and more advantaged peasants (kulaks).
By 1905, tensions were growing until the situation overboiled into a mass movement of strikes in February. They were caused by labor shortage, food shortage, an unsuccessful war against Japan and horrid working and living conditions. These strikes were so violently repressed on order of the Tsar that it led other labor and intellectual sectors of Russia to rise in mass revolt. The 'Bloody Sunday' took place on the 22 of January when Father Gapon and many other important figures (along with several thousand commoners) marched into the Palace Square of St. Petersburg with a petition, whereupon they were shot at by the guards and were attacked by the kossaks out of fear - unknowingly to the people, the Tsar was not even there.
Such was the violence and disorder of the state of affairs that the Tsar conceded to a setting up of a 'Duma' (a democratically elected parliament of sorts) to give democracy to Russia. However, the Duma was dissolved so many times by the Tsar that it was ineffective.
The onset of the Great War of 1914 and the ineffectiveness of the Duma leads to the planned revolt of February 1917 and Lenin's April Theses (also 1917). A Provisional Government was created with a mixture of Soviets and Political Parties represented. This was also ineffective and led to the seizure of power by Lenin with his Red Guards in October of 1917 (aka The Great October Revolution).
--TF.Wettstein 11:24, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
The End of the War
Lenin wanted peace and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918 with Germany. Russia lost Poland, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Ukraine, and parts of Belorussia and Transcaucasia. This accounted for 1.3 million square miles of territory, 62 million people, 1/3 of Russia's railways, the most fertile land it possessed (accounting for over two thirds of its agricultural gross product), and much of her coal and iron resources. However, the Bolsheviks did not have to appease discontented minorities, allowing for time to concentrate on revolutionizing Russia and putting down the counter-revolutionaries in the Civil War.
Lenin's primary goal in Russia was to destroy class barriers and establish a socialist republic, which would gradually transition from socialism to communism. Through this process, he would establish a "withering away of the state." In order to speed the achievement of his goal, he wanted to redistribute the land to the peasants and give control of industry over to the Soviets of various industrial sectors.
However, these goals had to change, since the Bolsheviks had minor support inside Russia and since the Civil War was beginning. The transition would be made more difficult by the fact that Russia was not an advanced industrial state and that it still relied largely on a relatively conservative peasantry. Therefore, Lenin instituted an economic system now known as War Communism (see below) to provide for the workers and soldiers during the Civil War.
War Communism and the Civil War
1918 to 1922
The Civil War came as a result of the seizure of power and dissolving of the Provisional Government by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Many other parties and partisans of an ulterior political situation banded together to bring down the new socialist state. As a result, three factions formed: (a)the Whites, a gathering of all types, from Monarchists, to Liberals to the angry moderate Socialists (b)the Greens, land-based angry people who generally consisted of anarchists, peasants and cultural/ethnic independentists (c)the Reds, Bolsheviks and many Mensheviks led by Lenin and other key players such as Leon Trotsky.
War Communism was an economic policy of urgency (or perhaps created on purpose, see historical debates) so that the war effort could be supplied in order to win against the Whites (the Greens being fairly docile and often banding with Red Army troops). The central policy of War Communism was the forced requisitioning of grain and the nationalization of all industry (large and small scale). The effects by the end of the Civil War in 1922 were very bad. Several million rurally based people had starved and several more million emigrated to the West or to the southern Middle-Eastern or Eastern countries in three major waves between 1918 and 1921. Working and living conditions were horrid and the industrial and rural production levels had fallen very far below the 1913/1914 levels (pre-Communism). Figures:
1132 million linear meters of textile prodution in 1918 and 219 million by 1919 Decline in marketings from 9.5% in 1913 to 4.9% in 1926 as a result of reduced peasant taxes
--TF.Wettstein 21:03, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
New Economic Policy (aka NEP)
1922 to ca.1926
Lenin discovered that a policy revision was necessary to avoid a counter-revolution, even though it opposed communist ideals. Former industrial managers were instated because they were the only ones with expertise. A more lax attitude was also used in relation with the peasants so that they would reconciliate with the government. For them, the land and selling taxes were lessened, they were allowed to sell on markets for profit, but had to cede a certain grain tax to the government which was low enough for even small peasants to afford (in theory). Lenin eventually regained control of the economy, but many smaller enterprises were lost to private owners (even though the figures show that there were only approximately four thousand private managers in the USSR by 1925). Lenin grouped state-controlled industries together for an easier transition towards socialism. As a result of this action, food and industrial production increased. Lenin also brought education under state control, introduced social security schemes, attacked the Church’s position, and purged opposing factions of the Party by mandating a law banning factionalism (eventually to the detriment of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kemenev, Bukharin, Tomsky, etc.).
changes by --TF.Wettstein 11:46, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Death of Lenin
Lenin died of a stroke in 1924, leaving Russia poised on the brink of a major socialist movement and leaving the development of the NEP unattended to. His death created a major competition for leadership of the country between several players: Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Tomsky, Ryutin and Josef Stalin.
edited by --TF.Wettstein 11:50, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Rise of Stalin
The rise of Stalin can be accounted for by his new doctrine of “Socialism in One Country.” Within that theory, Stalin placed the development of Russia before any world revolution. By January of 1924 - following the death of Lenin - two conflicting ideologies competed for power in Russia.
The Left Wing Militant Communists, led by Trotsky, had a foreign policy that held that an immediate worldwide revolution was necessary to revolutionize a backwards Russia. Additionally, their domestic policy favored the rapid development of the economy and the creation of a socialist society.
The Right Wing Communists, led by Stalin, had a foreign policy based in the belief that a worldwide revolution would be unlikely in the near future. Their domestic policy relied on a gradual development through pragmatic programs such as the NEP.
A general agreement existed that Russia could not have a successful socialist program without help from more economically forward countries. Stalin competed for leadership by aligning himself with two other powerful politicians: Kamenev and Zinoviev of the All-Union Communist Party (the former Bolshevik party). In 1925, they removed Trotsky as Commissioner of War. After Trotsky's removal, Stalin slowly consolidated power and eventually broke with Kamenev and Zinoviev to take power in Russia. He then implemented his "Socialism in One Country" doctrine, which called for the construction of a socialist society in Russia regardless of the international situation. Finally, he exiled Trotsky in 1928, having ousted leaders of the left wing party in 1927.
Domestic Policy Under Stalin
Stalin viewed Russia as too far behind in technology. He wanted Russia to rise above the Western powers and become an industrial world pillar. To do so, he had to revolutionize the way Russia - a country of farmers - was organized internally. He collectivized agriculture, introduced new and cutting-edge technology with aid from the West, and further controlled what was being produced in Russia. His "five year plans" were also meant to rapidly revitalize various industrial sectors. Stalin revamped his government by conducting purges to wipe out opposition and introduce younger, more obedient officials.
Collectivization and the Five Year Plans
According to Stalin’s viewpoint, Russia had fallen too far behind in technological advances, and could either rise to power or be crushed.
"Do you want our Socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence? If you do not want this you must put an end to this backwardness as speedily as possible and develop genuine Bolshevik speed in building up the Socialist system of economy. There are no other ways……We are fifty to a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in ten years. Either we do it or they crush us."
In 1924, oftentimes "backwards" methods were used by peasants who worked in agriculture (roughly 80% of the population), who lived in widespread poverty, and had to deal with primitive conditions and archaic farming methods. Several problems were encountered because of the farmers' archaic methodology. According to Stalin, the conservative attitude of the population held back progress and especially blamed the 'kulaks' (wealthy farmers) for it. Industrial labor development was deemed impossible because of inefficient farming and unskilled peasant labor. Additionally, the peasants would not allow for a surplus, which would pay for imported foodstuffs. When Stalin collectivized farming by force, the peasants rebelled, destroying crops and animals.
The collectivization of agriculture had a number of advantages. A majority of peasants were organized onto collective farms, allowing the government greater control over food production and allocation. As a result, farming was modernized, and farmers were allowed access to modern machinery and methods. A stable food supply became available for the industrial reforms (Stalin's five year plans) and for future wars.
However, due to the peasant rebellion, the initial effect was a massive drop in net production when animals and crops were destroyed. The peasantry had to pay heavy tariffs in order to maintain their way of life. The uprising also resulted in a large human cost, as most of the rebels and many able farmers were killed or starved in the process. Additionally, long-term agriculture collectivization was insufficient because it was not responsive to local needs.
Five Year Plans (Industry)
A central planning system was required to allow the government to control production and allocate resources. Each sector was given a five year target. The "five year plans" would - Stalin believed - eliminate waste and increase concentration upon vital areas of the economy.
The first Five Year Plan, enacted from 1928 to 1932, aimed to create a solid industrial base. It was designed to achieve the expansion of coal and steel production, transportation, electrical power, and other such industries. However, its goal of a 20% per annum increase was diversify Russia's industrial interests. It had a more realistic aim of a 14% increase in production. As a result of this plan, certain areas experienced rapid and large growth, particularly in the engineering and metal-working sectors. The planners and workforce had more experience, and government control over labor increased. The consumer goods and similar sectors were less successful, and weapon production increased during the rise of Hitler. More resources were aimed towards weapon production, but no corresponding increase in wages occurred.
The third Five Year Plan, enacted from 1938 to 1941 (only lasting three years because of the onstart of World War II and the need to fund the war effort), had the central goal of strengthening Russia's economy. It had what was perhaps the most realistic goal: 12% growth. It resulted in the construction of new plants in Eastern Russia, but labour shortages and disorganization due to staff purges further hindered its adoption, as did Germany's invasion and armament plans in 1941.
Ultimately, the Five Year Plans met with a degree of short term success, having turned the USSR into a major industrial power in fifteen years. They allowed Russia to resist the German invasion in 1941. The plans led to a higher degree of government control, and an overall improvement in the standard of living. However, there was initially much error and waste, as well as an initial decline in living standards. The plans were harshly enforced, and a new elite was formed as a result. The plans also became increasingly complex, making them more difficult to organize and maintain. By 1945, a major reform would be needed.
In 1932, Stalin began to attack his political opponents in a series of purges (chistka, the show trials and the Yezhovshina) aimed at destroying the vestiges of political opposition to him. As a result, his opposition was eliminated, allowing for Stalin to become Russia's dictator. However, most of the able, experienced members of Soviet society were eliminated - including politicians and military officers. Millions of the population were executed, and fear grew within Soviet society to the point where the denouncement of others had become commonplace. Society became scared to voice its opinions, thereby hindering whatever initiative it once had.
Stalin was successful in some theoretical areas - Russia's army grew in power, her industries were expanded, and she became a world power. However, the costs of the improvements (purges, collectivization, and so on) proved an enormous burden on Russia as a whole.
Foreign Policy Under Stalin
The foreign policy of Russia was dominated by expansionist nationalism and hostility towards the capitalist world under its Marxist ideology. Stalin also had a distinct “Real Politik” ideology to all his foreign policies. This resulted in Russia adopting a variable political stance under his rule.
Bolshevik’s (revised) Policy (pre - 1934)
The Bolshevik’s revised policy was enacted when it became clear that the capitalist western world would not be revolutionized. It was founded in the belief that a revolution would eventually occur in the long run. The policy was designed to help nations against western imperialism, to exploit capitalist state rivalries, and to use the Comintern to encourage labor unrest.
Stalin’s Foreign Policy (post - 1934)
The change in Russia's foreign policy came about because of Hitler’s rise in power, and the total control over state policy by Stalin - which was based on “cold-blooded realism.”
Russia joined the League of Nations in 1934 and adopted “collective security.” An agreement of mutual assistance was signed with France, diplomatic relations were established with the United States, and Communist parties in other nations were urged by the Soviets to cooperate with left-wing groups against fascism. However, Britain and France saw fascism as a greater threat than communism, and adopted a policy of appeasement towards Hitler. As a result, the proposal for military cooperation against Germany failed, and collective security failed because of a severe lack of support. Russia was ultimately excluded from the Munich Conference.
This lead Stalin to sign the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939 with Hitler. Also called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (named after the two foreign ministers). Stalin had to accept this pact because of his suspicion of Britain and France and their lack of support against Germany. Additionally, he wanted to strengthen the Red Army and hoped that the pact would delay military conflict with Germany. Hitler promised Polish territory and the Baltic states to Russia, and promised to stay out of Russia's sphere of interest.
German Invasion (1941)
The Nazis eventually became more aggressive in Western Europe, and Stalin realized that there was no controlling Hitler. He moved his army into the Baltic states for protection, but still had trust in Hitler instead of his generals and decided to purge them. The military was weakened by his purges, a fact that was taken advantage of by Hitler. He did not accept the British proposal for Polish protection in exchange for help against Russia, and Stalin - according to traditional views - did not listen to his generals about the impending German invasion.
In May of 1941, the German army invaded Russia (Operation Barbarossa), overtaking it within kilometers of Moscow. Due to the cold harsh winter, and effective Soviet war industry and German unpreparedness for the environment, the Soviet army began to push the Germans back.
WWII and Russia (1941-1945)
Now that Stalin was in the war, he began to make his first post-war moves. He demanded that Britain accept all of his annexations, but Britain refused him. He demanded that the United States and Britain send troops to the second front, but Britain and the U.S. delayed entering the second front until a year later, which resulted in increased tensions. At the Conference of Tehran (between Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill) Stalin asked for the warm water ports of Dairen, and Roosevelt and Churchill acquiesced to this demand. Stalin’s new boundaries and territorial divisions are also accepted under the condition that democracy be instigated in Eastern Europe. Soviet troops were sent to Eastern Countries to establish a Russian rule in place of a Nazi one. To placate the West, Stalin signed the Declaration of Liberated Europe, though elections only occurred in Hungary.
Cold War and Russia (post - 1945): Berlin Crisis
The divided Germany and divided Berlin led to increased tensions between the U.S. (who controlled West Germany and West Berlin along with France and Britain) and Russia (who controlled East Germany and East Berlin). In June of 1948, Stalin ordered the blockade of West Berlin, allowing no entry into or out of the city aside from a small airspace. The U.S. sent planes full of resources to the West Berliners. Not wanting to risk an all-out conflict, Stalin does nothing, and - on May 12, 1949 - Stalin backs down and stops the blockade.
World Revolution and the Comintern
The U.S.S.R. used the Comintern to promote a world revolution, with Russia - and therefore Stalin - as its leader. In 1927, it was used in the suppression of Trotskyism and Stalin’s subsequent concentration on building socialism in Russia, at which point the Comintern’s actions were moderated. In 1935, fascist dictators threatened the Comintern, which was taken as an act of aggression against all communist parties. In 1943, the Comintern is abolished as a action of goodwill towards Britain and the U.S.; however, Russia remains the leader of all parts of the Communist Party.
The Fall Of Stalin
On March 6, 1953, Stalin - now 73 - died in his sleep after a lengthy illness, according to Russian reports. Many theories circulated about the death of Stalin, including one that theorized that his top generals assassinated him, fearful of another purge. He was supplanted as dictator by Nikita Khrushchev.
Castro (1958 - present)
Cuba Prior to Castro
The First United States Occupation (1899 - 1902)
The Occupation had three major goals, primary of which was the desire of the U.S. to make Cuba into a self-governing protectorate. Additionally, the U.S. wanted to repair the damage caused by war. Finally, the United States wanted to absorb Cuba into the American economic sphere.
The Politics of Corruption (1902 - 1953)
The Revolution of 1933
The provisional government under Carlos Manuel de Cespedes could not stop the escalating violence in Cuba. On September 4th, 1933, a group of army sergeants and the Student Directory overthrew the government - Fulgencio Batista was a part of this overthrow. The new government had no political backing, and views differed within the regime; whereas the army wanted to defend the new order, the students sought genuine reforms. The reigns of power were ultimately handed over to Dr. Ramón Grau San Martín. He was forced out of office in January 1934, fled to exile, and was replaced by Carlos Mendieta.
The Era of Batista (1934 - 1944)
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar led Cuba - first through puppet presidents, from 1934 to 1940 - then as president from 1940 to 1944. Batista was alienated from the "respectable" elements of the upper and middle classes, but was nevertheless extremely popular with the masses. He presided over a mild reform program, eventually moving openly leftward in 1937 to support labour unions and communists.
The Auténtico Interlude (1944 - 1952)
Batista allowed an election for the constituent assembly, and Grau - who represented the Auténtico party - won. After many different presidents took control of Cuba, and the corruption continued unabated, Batista staged a coup with the help of low officers just prior to the election in March of 1952.
The Return of Batista as Dictator (1952 - 1959)
Batista abandoned the Cuban constitution and gave himself the title of Dictator; from this point on, all elections would be staged. Batista was on good terms with the U.S. government, and allowed large American corporations to enter Cuba and use Cuba’s resources for their own profit. However, the Cuban people remained poor; and no education or health care system was in place for the country’s people.
Rise to Power
1st Coup (1956 - 1958)
Castro opposed Batista’s unfair regime, and staged an unsuccessful coup. He was part of the M-26-7 - which included Che Guevara - which trained in Mexico. At this time, Castro believed in the cooperation of capital and labour, and was a true Marxist who told people to gain their support. He returned to Cuba and staged an unsuccessful coup on July, 26, 1953; he was caught and imprisoned, but eventually released.
2nd Coup (1959)
Castro’s movement gained support and eventually toppled Batista. The movement had grown to over 800 men (including army deserters), and - although outnumbered by Batista’s army - Castro won many military victories, especially against Batista in Operation Verano. On December 31, 1959, Batista fled the country to the Dominican Republic, and on January 8, 1959, Castro took Havana.
Domestic Policy Under Castro
In the beginning of Castro’s dictatorship, he implemented many reforms. He created social services, improved life for the rural masses, and endorsed public health and literacy. However, his economic failures and dictatorship rule would eventually eclipse these reforms. Under his Nationalization of Multinational Business policy, American corporate investments and land holdings in Cuba were seized.
In the mid-1990’s came the breakup of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance and the USSR. The need to establish a basis for growth without changing the regime were concerns for Castro, and the economy of Cuba began to free-fall. In the economic crisis, Cuba’s GDP dropped by half, and her already low living standards took a plunge. The economic conditions on the island - in addition to the re-emergence of small, isolated pockets of domestic opposition - caused the government to resort to a dual policy of liberalization of the external economic sectors and heightened repression in an effort to head off an impending political crisis.
Foreign Policy Under Castro
Cuba became dependant on the USSR for economic aid, as well as the trade of sugar and oil. She participated in the "world revolution" movement (Marxist-Leninist) by championing over the revolution in Latin America, and tried to end dependence on the U.S. - though she failed because of the collapse of the USSR and all benefits from the former Soviet Union. The new economic policy required Cuba to open up to foreign investment and ownership of select parts of the economy, as well as the legalization of the circulation of the U.S. dollar.
Hitler (1930 - 1945)
Germany Prior to Hitler
Germany remained vengeful, friendless, and threatened because of the Treaty of Versailles. The German people were in search of a leader who would return them to their former glory.
Treaty of Versailles
We agree to sign under compulsion, a dishonourable peace. --German Parliament
The terms of the Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to demilitarize the Rhineland, and to abdicate Alsace and Lorraine. In additon, it had to accept full responsibility for the war, and pay large reparations to other nations. The army was reduced to 100,000 units; the navy, to 15,000; and the air force was completely eliminated. The terms of the treaty were humiliating to the German public, and sentiments of anger and revenge began to grow. Germany was left poor and under a devastating debt roughly equivalent to what is US$35 million by today's standards. After it could not repay its reparations in full, France and Belgium invaded the Ruhr; Germany went through a period of hyperinflation which destroyed any of her economy left, leaving her people defenseless, threatened, and isolated.
Germany became a democracy after the revolution, during which the Kaiser was overthrown. The Germans, however, did not know how to run an effective democracy due to lack of experience. After the Kaiser stepped down, a power vacuum ensued, which pitted opposing ideologies and parties against one another. Ultimately, too many new ideas and too many people led to widespread fighting and brawling.
The Treaty of Rapallo was signed in 1922, formalizing an alliance with Russia. Extensive trade agreements were made - specifically in weapons - and Russia and Germany renounce all war claims. It was in this way that Germany was able to breach the agreements made at the Versailles treaty through a technicality. In the Treaty of Locarno (signed in 1925), Germany agreed to France’s possession of Alsace and Lorraine, and made the concession that the Rhineland would stay demilitarized. Additionally, Germany consented to the inviolability of France and Belgium, and gained admittance to League of Nations.
German Domestic Situation
A global depression kept Germany’s economy down, and unemployment soared following the Great Depression in the United States. Many European countries were reliant on American loans, most of all Germany, and the failure of the US economy meant a subsequent failure of the Weimar Republic. Jewish land owners demanded rent during the depression, which added to the economic crisis as well as growing ill-sentiment towards the Jewish people.
Account for Rise to Power
Hitler rose to power during a time of depression in both the industrial and political sectors. He used the general public sentiment to further his cause. Bavaria became the epicenter of many different ideological societies - including antirepublican, antidemocratic, antisocialist, and anticommunist societies - which had corresponding organizations led by officers that were left disgruntled by the Weimar democracy. Hitler was part of the political instruction program, which was against socialist and democratic propaganda. He eventually joined the German Worker’s party, where he quickly rose the ranks to become the leader of the party.
Birth of Nazism
In 1920, Nazism was born when Hitler announced the program (25 points) of the National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (NSDAP). The party adopted the swastika as a symbol of white supremacy and German values, and the red flag bearing it as the party symbol. On November 9th, 1923, the Beer Hall Revolution occurred, interrupting a meeting between Bavarian Prime Minister Kahr and General von-Lossow, who had earlier declared that he had taken over the Bavarian Reichswehr. On November 8th, Hitler called for a march on Berlin and - on November 9th - he attempted his Putsch, but due to lack of support from Kahr and the Reichswehr, he is quickly arrested by the Bavarian police force and sentenced to a five-year jail sentence by a reactionary judge. The judge later reduced the sentence considerably. During the nine months Hitler spent in jail, he wrote Mein Kampf, in which he outlined his ideology and philosophy. He expounded his views of racism, nationalism, collectivization, history, anti-Semitism, and politics within the tome; he summarily condemned the treaty of Versailles, called the Weimar Republic a humiliation and weakness, and denounced Marxists, Bolsheviks, communists, and socialists.
Hitler Takes Control
Nazis had never won a majority in the government; however, on January 30, 1933, after many attempts to gain the position of Chancellor, Hitler is appointed. He immediately calls for an election, but one week prior the Reichstag is set on fire and destroyed. After declaring a state of emergency, Hitler is given dictatorial powers and begins his Nazi revolution, calling it the Third Reich.
- Marxist: Nazi victory last manifestation of capitalism before socialist revolution
- Shirer: Nazism a continuation in German evolution, natural development
- Others: Weakness in Weimar republic, and positive values of Nazis attractive after Versailles Humiliation
Domestic Policy Under Hitler
The domestic policy instantiated in Germany under Hitler's dictatorship centered on indoctrinating the German people using propaganda, race ideology, and anti-Semitism.
The Nazi party was successful in imposing its ideals upon the people of Germany using effective propaganda tools including posters, newspaper articles, movies, books, and film among others. Additionally, the Hitler Youth program was created, with the ulterior motive of indoctrinating the youth. It was successful to a failing point; in fact, the children became so indoctrinated that as they grew older they were programmed to think that they were superior to all others, which caused them to become disobedient, violent, and irresponsible.
Race Inferiority/Superiority Ideology
The Nazi party promoted the ideology that the Germanic peoples represented the Aryan race, and believed that the Teutons were the purest of the Aryan race. To that end, the party worked to strengthen, develop, and expand the Teuton bloodlines. The Slavic people were considered to be inferior to Germanic peoples, as were Jews; in fact, Hitler believed that the Jews were the opposite of the Aryans, and were meant to destroy the race by interbreeding and thus contaminating German genetics. Hitler experimented with breeding men and women trained to fight - whom he considered genetically "perfect" - with the aim of creating a perfect race.
Since the Nazis considered Jews to be inferior to Germans, they took measures against Jewish people living in Germany. On April 01, 1933, Jewish officials were dismissed from their government ranks, and a boycott of Jewish shops began. On April 07, 1933, the newly-passed Civil Service Law forced the retirement of non-Aryan officials in any government position, including teachers. From this point on, a pseudo-science was taught in schools, which worked to spread the belief that the Jews were an inferior race compared to Aryans. On September 15, 1939, the Nuremberg Laws were passed, removing German citizenship from Jewish people and forbidding them to marry Germans. On November 09, 1938, Kristalnacht began; Jewish-owned shops were broken into and looted and destroyed, as were synagogues, schools and houses. This led to Jewish children being banned from schools with German children. During World War II, 90% of all the Jews in Germany were killed in concentration camps.
In 1932, the first Four Year Plan was passed, which aimed at the reduction of unemployment. It met with success, and five million jobs were created. In 1936, the second Four Year Plan was penned, which aimed at economic self sufficiency. It did not meet with the same success as the first plan. This is perhaps because the initial boom of jobs came largely from the expulsion or migration of the Jewish population, which opened up hundreds of thousands of jobs. Whereas independence from foreign trade was established, production and industrialization reached less than half of expectations.
Foreign Policy Under Hitler
Germany's foreign policy under Hitler concentrated on the expansion of Nazism, revising the Versailles treaty, uniting all German speaking peoples, and the concept of Lebensraum.
The central concept of the expansion was to spread the influence of Nazism to more industrial, political, educational, and similar areas. Additionally, the Nazi party focused on establishing more independent governments adhering to Nazi principles (they met with success in Austria, Sudetenland, and Czechoslovakia). In 1934, Germany signed a ten-year non-aggression pact with Poland. In 1936, they joined in the anti-Comintern Pact with Japan and Italy. In 1939, the party took part in the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact.
Revise Versailles Treaty
In 1933, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations and Disarmament Conference. In March of 1935, conscription was introduced, and the Saar Basin was repossessed; and, in 1936, the Rhineland was remilitarized. Germany had succeeded in revising the Versailles treaty, and were allowed to do so under the pretense of appeasement.
Unite All German-speaking Peoples in a Greater Reich
Hitler succeeded in uniting German-speaking peoples in the Third Reich, which included Austria, Suetenland, and Czechoslovkia.
The idea behind Lebensraum was to take control of Russia and border states for "living space." Germany met with initial success, having conquered Poland and one-half of Russia. However, Germany ultimately failed, as Operation Barbarossa was unsuccessful and they ultimately lost World War II.
Account for Fall
- Turning point in war: Operation Barbarossa
- War was essentially lost
- 1944: Russians defeated German forces in the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Baltic states and Poland
- 1945: Russian troops 40 miles from Berlin, Americans 60 miles away
- June, 06, 1944: British, Canadian and American troops invade Europe successfully in D-day (operation Overlord), took Normandy
- April, 30, 1945: Hitler commits suicide
- May, 07, 1945: German troops surrender. Fighting stops at 11:00am. Germany signs surrender the following day.
Comparison of the Causes of World War I and II
World War I
- The arms race
- Final Cause – The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo
- Ferdinand wanted to marry a lady-in-waiting but Franz-Josef would only allow him to if the relationship would end his power.
- Kaiser Wilhelm wanted to Austria to punish Serbia and he thought that Russia would back him.
- He assured Austria-Hungary that Germany would defend her even if Russia took punitive action. He assumed that the bond of monarchy would outrank Russia's connection to the Slavs.
- He misjudged the reaction of Russia, he didn't predict military involvement.
- Eventually, the Kaiser thought that the czar was using the telegram conversation to get a head start on military preparations
World War II
- The appeasement of Hitler
- Britain and France gave him a part of Czechoslovakia.
- They put up with his Lebensraum plans
- Hitler's personality
- He hated both the Jews and the Russians. He had a “mindless hatred” for the Slavic people.
- He was not globally aware
- Short term cause – Hitler's invasion of Poland
- He allies with Stalin so that the eastern front is eliminated and he can quickly crush Poland.
- Britain was obligated to protect Poland
Both WWI & WWII
- In the first, the Kaiser's ambitions and policies led to the outbreak
- In the second, it was Hitler's aggression
- In the first, nationalism in the Balkans
- In the second, Hitler's desire for “living space”
- The lack of a working international system
- Alliances & the failure of diplomacy
- Neither side could fathom the actual size of the impending war
- Only General von Moltke thought it would be a long war
Lee, Stephen J. "The European Dictatorships 1918-1945", Oxford University Press; Oxford, England