"edexcel russia 1917 39 revision notes"
1 RUSSIA, 1917-39 Key Topic 1: The collapse of the Tsarist regime 1917 The Nature of Tsarist rule Autocracy meant that the Tsar had absolute power. He could make laws, appoint ministers and decide on all polices completely on his own. Even after the setting up of the Duma in 1906, Nicholas II was very reluctant to allow it any real power. This meant that it was impossible to bring about any changes in Russia without Nicholas agreeing to them. Nicholas II was weak and easily influenced by others. Even when he took the right decision, e.g. after the 1905 Revolution, he changed his mind later on. He did not want to be Tsar and was not capable of acting sensibly. But he felt he had to keep going to pass the throne on to his son. The Tsars had traditionally relied on repression to deal with opposition. The secret police, the Okhrana, were very efficient and street disturbances were broken up by the Cossacks. This had always worked in the past and he had no other alternatives. This meant that opposition groups also tended to be violent. Nicholas’s grandfather, Alexander II, was killed by a bomb in 1881. In Russia there were extremes of wealth and poverty, far greater than in any other European country. These were made worse by big increases in the populations of the two main cities, St Petersburg and Moscow. The number of people living in these cities nearly doubled between 1880 and 1914. This led to overcrowding, shortages of food and unrest. The opposition groups in Russia took advantage of this situation. In 1917 events in Petrograd were all important. Russia was a very backward country. Only 2% of the population worked in industry, 80% worked in agriculture, which was often very primitive, and there was 80% illiteracy. Many Russians distrusted Western ideas and preferred to use old-fashioned methods. This included the army commanders who thought the bayonet was the most important weapon. There were many opposition groups in Russia. The most powerful and the biggest was the Socialist-Revolutionaries. They were strongest in the countryside, where they were supported by many peasants. But the Bolsheviks, part of the Social Democrats (the other part was the Mensheviks) were to be the most significant. All of these groups used violence. 2 Industrialisation was proceeding rapidly in the big cities of St Petersburg and Moscow. Their populations increased by more than 50% in the twenty years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This meant that Russia became an important industrial power, but also that tens of thousands of workers were squashed into overcrowded districts in the centres of the cities. In 1904 and 1905 Russia was defeated by Japan in the Russo-Japanese War. This was humiliating. It led to protests, like ‘Bloody Sunday’, which helped bring about the 1905 Revolution. There were protests throughout the year and Nicholas was only saved because the army remained loyal. But he did not learn his lesson. The October Manifesto was granted by Nicholas II in October 1905, after the revolution of that year had threatened his overthrow. In the Manifesto Nicholas II promised Civil liberties for all people, including freedom from arrest and freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association The creation of a State Duma, which would have to agree to all laws Universal suffrage for the election of the Duma. Why was the October Manifesto ineffective? Nicholas soon changed his mind; the Duma met in 1906 but was closed by Nicholas after seventy-two days. Three more Dumas met in the next ten years, but each had fewer powers and was elected on a narrower franchise. Nicholas retained the title of Autocrat and continued to appoint and dismiss ministers. Laws continued to be promulgated by the government without reference to the Duma. There was no apparent relaxation in the power of the Tsar's secret police the Okhrana. In fact Nicholas had probably never intended to honour his promises. He had been forced to agree to the Manifesto under threat of force. He deliberately omitted any reference to the word 'constitution' and retained the word 'Autocrat'. Why did Tsar Nicholas become unpopular in the years leading up to 1914? Rasputin's influence grew from 1905, but became very important after the Tsar made himself Commander-in-Chief of the Army in 1915. Nicholas left Petrograd and never returned. Alexandra, Nicholas’s wife was stupid and short-sighted. She was unpopular in Russia because she was German and was suspected of being a German spy 3 after the outbreak of war. She gave Nicholas a very misleading picture of events in Petrograd in 1916 and 1917. The impact of the First World War The First World War was by far the most important factor in Nicholas's unpopularity. The Army The Russian Government believed that they could win the war against Germany easily. It did not realise how powerful the German Army was. The Russian Army was poorly equipped and old-fashioned. In August all messages were sent by radio. The Germans were able to listen in and find out just what the Russians were doing. The Russians suffered a series of disastrous defeats at the hands of the German army. The Russians relied on the bayonet. They had few machine-guns and most of their soldiers were untrained. Russian industry was not able to keep the army supplied. There were 6,000,000 men in the army, but only 4,500,000 rifles. Soldiers went into action with no rifles. They were told to take them from soldiers who had been killed. There were inadequate medical supplies. Thousands of casualties were left unattended. 18,000 were left on a Petrograd station for a week. Nicholas II To try to put things right, Nicholas appointed himself Commander-in-Chief in 1915. This meant that he was now directly responsible, before he was able to blame his generals. As he had no military experience, he was no use as a commander. He also left Petrograd never to return. He had to rely on Alexandra for information. As law and order in Petrograd broke down, Nicholas was out of touch with events. Inflation and shortages The railway network was inadequate and soon broke down. There was plenty of food, but not enough locomotives to pull the trains. What trains were available were diverted to carry food and munitions to the army. 4 This led to severe shortages of food. The worst affected places were Petrograd and Moscow. Food shortages led to inflation. In Petrograd prices rose by 300%, because the war meant that more and more people flocked into the city to work in the munitions factories. Rasputin began to influence the Tsar through the Tsarina. He persuaded her to ask her husband to dismiss ministers and change military tactics. Rumours spread about the influence of Rasputin and his relationship with the Tsarina. Eventually he was murdered in December 1916 by a group of Russian nobles. The unpopularity of the Royal family and Rasputin was strongest in Petrograd. There were many rumours that Rasputin was having an affair with the Tsarina. The reputation of the royal family fell to an all time low. The Tsarina was accused of being a German spy During the war more and more people had crowded into Petrograd to find work in the munitions factories. They lived squashed together in working class districts near the city centre. The effects of inflation and shortages of food were most severe in Petrograd because the population had grown very quickly and the city was relatively isolated. The fall of the Tsar and the establishment of the Provisional Government The February Revolution By January 1917 there was increasing unrest in Petrograd; then on 22 February the temperature improved by 20 degrees C. International Women’s Day was held on 23 February; there were parades and demonstrations. This led to strikes and by 25 February half the workers were on strike. The Tsar was kept informed by his wife and Rodzianko, the Chairman of the Duma. The Tsarina told him that all was well and that there were only minor disturbances. Rodzianko said that there was a serious crisis and that a new government must be formed. The Tsar believed his wife. He thought that Rodzianko was just trying to use the situation to become prime minister. By 27th and 28th February there were many demonstrations by workers and when troops were sent to stop the unrest, the Garrison of Petrograd supported the strikers. There were 340,000 troops in the city but they were mostly recruits. 5 When the Tsar tried to return on 1 March it was too late. He was forced to abdicate on 2 March in favour of his brother, Michael. His brother abdicated on 3 March. In March 1917 a Provisional Government was formed by members of the Duma. The first prime minister was Prince Lvov. The problems facing the Provisional Government The Provisional Government was a temporary government created by members of the Duma until a general election could be held. The first prime minister was Prince Lvov. It had no authority whatsoever. The members believed that they could take no major decisions until a proper government had been elected, so they continued the war against Germany. The Provisional Government had little authority outside of Petrograd and even inside the city it had to contend with the Petrograd Soviet What was the Petrograd Soviet? The Petrograd Soviet was elected by the soldiers and workers of Petrograd, so it had far more authority than the Provisional Government. It governed Petrograd and was controlled at first by the Socialists-Revolutionaries. It issued Military Order Number One; this stated that orders from the Provisional Government were only to be obeyed if they were approved by the Soviet. For the next eight months the Provisional Government always had to gain the approval of the Soviet. This created chaos in Petrograd. Why did the Provisional Government become unpopular? The Provisional Government became more and more unpopular because it did not end the war. The members did not believe that they had the authority to make peace and did not want to let down the western Allies. The Provisional Government made no attempt to introduce land reform, which many peasants wanted. The Provisional Government did try to tackle the problems of shortages and inflation, but, during the summer of 1917, rations in Petrograd fell. The main problem facing the Provisional Government was Lenin, the leader of the Bolsheviks, which was the smallest of the revolutionary parties in Russia in 1914. 6 Lenin and the Bolsheviks In March 1917 Lenin was living in Switzerland. He was sent back to Russia by the Germans, who hoped that he would create as much trouble as possible, which would undermine the Russian war effort. Lenin returned to Petrograd in April 1917 and immediately published the ‘April Theses’, an end to the war with Germany, the abolition of the Provisional Government and all power to the Soviets, all property and land to be taken over by the state, all banks united into National Bank and put under the control of the Soviets, all factories to come under the control of the Soviets, the army to be transformed into a national militia. Lenin believed that he could take advantage of the chaos caused by the February Revolution to seize power in Russia. He was determined to stir up as much trouble as possible and to attract as much support by making extravagant promises, which he had no intention of keeping, e.g. allowing peasants to take land. The Bolsheviks first tried to seize power in Petrograd in May, but failed. In July they tried again, the ‘July Days', but failed. The Provisional Government was saved by the army. The Bolshevik leaders were all either arrested and put in jail, or they fled to Finland. After the July Days, Prince Lvov resigned and Alexander Kerensky became prime minister. He had been a Socialist-Revolutionary before becoming Minister for War in the Provisional Government. The Kornilov Revolt In August the army commander-in-chief, General Kornilov believed that Kerensky was about to make himself dictator. He ordered his arrest. As the army marched on Petrograd, Kerensky asked the Bolsheviks to save him. Lenin agreed if they were let out of jail and given weapons. Lenin now realised that the Provisional Government had very few supporters and that the Bolsheviks had a real chance of seizing power. 7 Key Topic 2: Bolshevik take-over and consolidation, 1917-24 The October Revolution In September Leon Trotsky became leader of the Military Committee of the Petrograd Soviet and the Bolsheviks became the largest party in the Petrograd Soviet. Leon Trotsky had been a Menshevik until September, but when he joined the Bolsheviks he soon became Lenin's right hand man. In September and October, when Lenin was in still in hiding in Finland, Trotsky became the leading important Bolshevik in Petrograd. Lenin eventually returned, without his beard, wearing a wig and in disguise. He remained in disguise until after the seizure of power. Nevertheless it was Lenin who forced the Bolsheviks to accept the idea of a seizure of power. On the other hand it was Trotsky who organised the seizure of power and carried it out. He planned the events of 24-25 October, cutting telephone wires, seizing control of the post office, railway stations and other key buildings and isolating the Winter Palace, where the Provisional Government met. Trotsky used his position in the Military Committee to move army units loyal to the Provisional Government out of Petrograd and ordered them to defend the city from an advance by the Germans. On 24/25 October the Bolsheviks attacked of the Winter Palace. Kerensky sent repeated messages to the army appealing for help, but only a few hundred assorted troops turned up, including some students, 140 women and forty soldiers who had been crippled by wounds. There were only a few thousand Bolsheviks and it took them two days to win control of the Winter Palace. The Petrograd Garrison could easily have stopped them, but it did not. Why did the Bolsheviks succeed? No one was interested in saving the Provisional Government. Kerensky had virtually no support in Russia. There were 340,000 troops in the Petrograd garrison who stood idly by and refused to come to Kerensky’s aid. Most of the garrison were raw recruits who did not want to fight. They believed that the Bolsheviks would end the war. 8 Imposing Bolshevik control, 1917-21 Lenin immediately issued the Peace Decree and the Land Decree. The Peace Decree declared that the war with Germany was over. The Land Decree declared that land belonged to the peasants who farmed it. The general election was held in November and was won by the Socialist- Revolutionaries. In the meantime, Lenin continued to govern Russia and issued a series of decrees. The CHEKA (secret police) was set up in December. When the Constituent Assembly met on 5 January (18 January) 1918, it was crushed by Lenin. He now began to rule as a dictator. All businesses were taken over and at first workers were allowed to elect the managers. The lands and wealth of the Russian Orthodox Church were confiscated. All ranks in the Army were abolished and soldiers were allowed to elect their officers. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Negotiations to end the war began in January. Trotsky was sent by Lenin to do a deal, but was horrified at the German demands. Lenin ordered him to sign in March 1917/ At the Treaty, Russia lost 25% of its population, 25% of its iron and wheat and had to pay 300,000,000 gold roubles. Why did Lenin accept the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk? He expected a revolution in Germany in which the workers would seize power and the lands would be returned. He expected a civil war and would not be able to fight two enemies at the same time. He believed that Germany would soon be defeated and the land would be recovered. He had to keep his promise to end the war. Lenin’s actions led to the outbreak of civil war in the summer of 1918. The Bolsheviks were surrounded by ‘White’ forces; Kolchak in the east, Denikin in the south and Yudenich in the north-west. 9 The Whites were supported by the Allies: GB, France, the USA and Japan. The Czech Legion, which had been fighting for the Austrians, changed sides and supported the Whites. Poles, Ukrainians, Tartars and many nationalities joined in to win freedom from Russian control. At first the Whites were very successful and the Bolsheviks (Reds) were forced back. In 1919, the tide turned when Trotsky took over the Red Army and Lenin imposed War Communism. Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War? Their opponents, the Whites, were divided and never worked together. They were fighting for different purposes. Some wanted to restore the Tsar, Ukrainians wanted independence, army officers wanted to continue the war against Germany. The total forces of the Whites numbered about 250,000. The Red Army eventually had 2,000,000 men. The Bolsheviks controlled the centre and the railway network. They had most of the industry. They were able to keep the Red Army supplied much more effectively. Trotsky recruited many officers from the Imperial Russian Army and made them join the Red Army. These provided the organisation and discipline that the Red Army needed. Each unit had a Commissar, who reported to the Bolshevik Party, in case the officers did not obey orders. The Red Army was, therefore, better trained and better supplied. At first the western Allies sent men and aid to the Whites, but this was never sufficient to turn events their way and the Allies pulled out in 1919. The Whites were often more brutal than the Bolsheviks. To most Russians the Reds were a slightly better bet. Trotsky was a good organiser and travelled around the battlefields urging the Red forces to fight. He had a war train to take him from front to front. Most of the fighting took place along railway lines. Lenin introduced War Communism in 1918 to take supplies from the peasants and give them to the Army. The army took priority for all industrial production. 10 Creating a new society What was War Communism? The Bolsheviks attempted to abolish all private trading, put control of all distribution and labour in the hands of the state, nationalise all large scale industry and replace money with a form of rationing controlled by the state. In May 1918 Lenin introduced the grain monopoly; this stated that all surplus grain would now become the property of the state. Food brigades were set up that roamed the countryside terrorising villages and searching for hoards of food. Anyone suspected of concealing food could be shot on sight. In November 1917 the Decree on Workers' Control had allowed committees of workers to run factories; this led to chaos. From the spring of 1918 the Bolsheviks had begun to appoint managers to run factories. All factories became state property. Whatever was produced was taken by the state and the workers were given rations in return. Workers were also controlled by being prevented from moving from one job to another without approval War Communism was imposed by the CHEKA through the Red Terror. At least 50,000 Russians were murdered in the years from 1918 to 1921. The Tsar and his family were short on 18 July 1918, to prevent them being recaptured by the Whites. What were the effects of War Communism? The most serious result was a major famine in which 5,000,000 people died. This was brought on as peasants refused to hand over food and simply destroyed it instead. Many tried to evade state control by bringing food into the big cities and selling in. Patrols were put on railway stations to try to catch these 'bagmen' as they were called. In some provinces, particularly Tambov, there were uprisings against the Bolsheviks. More and more resources had to be diverted to keeping order, when they would have been better used fighting the Civil War. The Kronstadt Rebellion was the final straw that convinced Lenin that the system was not working. 11 What effects did the Civil War have on Russia? There was a massive famine from 1919 to 1921. 5,000,000 people died. The famine was partly brought on by the actions of the Bolsheviks before War Communism. When peasants took over land they were not nearly as interested in producing for the market as big landowners. There was a fall in the amount of food being produced. The situation became much worse during War Communism. Peasants were forced to hand over food supplies and were allowed to keep enough for themselves. Many began to destroy crops and animals rather than hand them over. The power of the Cheka, led by Felix Dzherzhinsky increased dramatically. Altogether about 50,000 people were killed, usually without a trial. The favourite method was to shoot the victim in the back of the neck. The Kronstadt Mutiny Even when the Civil War ended, the situation did not improve. Eventually there was a mutiny at the naval base of Kronstadt in February 1921. Until then the sailors at Kronstadt had been loyal to the Bolsheviks. Trotsky ordered the Red Army to attack the base and crush the rebellion, but it made Lenin realise that things had gone too far too quickly. The New Economic Policy The New Economic Policy was introduced into Russia in 1921. It marked a reversal of the policy of War Communism that Lenin had begun in 1918. It is now believed that War Communism was in fact an attempt to introduce a fully socialist society, rather than just an attempt to win the Civil War. The New Economic Policy (NEP) signalled the failure of Lenin's plan. How did the New Economic Policy change Russia? The buying and selling of goods was allowed once more. Soon markets developed and private trade reappeared. People were allowed to own small businesses with up to 25 employees. This encouraged private enterprise, especially in agriculture. This led to the emergence of the Kulaks and NEPmen. 12 People were allowed to make a profit and then pay taxes, instead of having goods confiscated by the state. 1921 to 1928 the Russian economy began to recover, food production rose. Why did Lenin introduce the NEP? The period from 1913 to 1921 saw a collapse of the Russian economy. Industrial output in millions of tonnes/kilowatts 1913 1921 Coal 29 9 Oil 9.2 3.8 Iron 4.2 0.1 Steel 4.3 0.2 Sugar 1.3 0.05 Electricity 2039 520 The collapse was brought about by the effects of seven years of warfare, first of all against the Germans and then during the Civil War. There had been widespread destruction in European Russia in particular. During the Civil war both sides had destroyed factories and farms to prevent them falling into enemy hands. War Communism had brought about a severe famine. 5,000,000 people had died in the years 1918 to 1920, when peasants all over Russia either refused to hand over food supplies or destroyed them. In 1920, there was a series of local rebellions sparked off by seizures of food. The most serious was that in Tambov Province, which began in August 1920 and lasted for nearly a year. The rebels destroyed bridges and roads and fought a guerrilla war against the Red Army. In February 1921, sailors in the naval base at Kronstadt rebelled and had to be crushed by the Red Army led by Trotsky. This was even more significant for Lenin as the Kronstadt sailors had played a key role in the events of 1917 and had been loyal supporters of the Bolsheviks. The NEP lasted for seven years until 1928. It was then destroyed by Stalin's Five Year Plans. 13 Key Topic 3: The nature of Stalin’s dictatorship, 1924-39 The struggle for power Joseph Djugashvili was born in 1879 in Georgia in southern Russia. At some point in the years from 1907 to 1914, he changed his name from Djugashvili to Stalin. This meant ‘man of steel’. In 1917 Stalin was editor of Pravda, the Bolshevik newspaper, but otherwise played no special part in the events of 1917. In 1918 he was appointed Commissar for Nationalities in November after the Bolsheviks had seized power. In 1919 he became a member of the Bolshevik Central Committee, the equivalent of the Cabinet. In 1922, the post of General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party became vacant. No one was prepared to take his place. The other Bolshevik leaders regarded it as a boring and unexciting job. Eventually the post was offered to Stalin, who accepted it immediately. Why did Stalin become general secretary? The first reason was that it immediately promoted him to one of the most important posts in the Bolshevik Party and Russia. In effect Joseph Stalin became the third most important man in Russia. The second reason was that the post of General Secretary gave him opportunities that he would never have got anywhere else. As General Secretary Stalin got to hear about everything that was happening in Russia. he heard about every post that became vacant, about every meeting that was held, about every decision taken. He set about making sure that every post was filled by someone loyal to him, every meeting considered his point of view, every decision went his way. Over the next two years Stalin steadily built up a network of people who he could trust all over Russia. Why did Stalin and not Trotsky become leader of the Soviet Union in 1928? Lenin's Political Testament In 1922, Lenin suffered a serious stroke and was a virtual invalid for the rest of his life. This allowed Joseph Stalin to play a much more prominent role in the government of Russia. He visited Lenin regularly to keep him informed. 14 On 25 December 1922 Lenin drew up a Political Testament, in which he summarised the good and bad points of all of the leading Bolsheviks. He then stated that Trotsky should succeed him when he died. Twelve days later Lenin added a further section to the Testament, in which he advised the other leaders to get rid of Stalin. He then gave the document to his wife with instructions to hand it to the Central Committee after his death. In his Political Testament, Lenin named Trotsky as his successor and recommended that Stalin should be dismissed from the post of General Secretary of the Party. The Testament was handed to the Central Committee in May 1924, by Lenin's widow, but the other Bolshevik leaders decided to keep the Testament secret. They did not want Trotsky to succeed Lenin. Trotsky was outspoken and arrogant and unpopular with the other Bolshevik leaders. This gave Stalin the chance to become the ruler of the Soviet Union. In 1924 the Soviet Union was ruled by a committee of Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin. But Stalin soon began to conspire with the right wing in the Communist Party, Bukharin and Rykov so that he could get rid of Kamenev and Zinoviev. He attacked the plans of the left wing to bring about rapid industrialisation in Russia and sided with the supporters of NEP. But once he had got rid of the left wing, Stalin then turned on Bukharin and Rykov and in 1928 emerged as the sole ruler of the Soviet Union. All of his opponents found that he had so much support in the party that opposition was useless. He then introduced much greater plans for industrialisation than the left wing had ever thought of. The Purges of the 1930s In the 1930s, Stalin began to get rid of anyone who he suspected of opposing him. These attempts became known as the Purges. At first the purges concentrated upon technical experts, who Stalin blamed for the failures of the First Five Year Plan. They were accused of sabotage and there was a series of trials in 1930-1 In 1932 more than 800,000 members of the party were expelled, but the real purges began with the murder of Sergei Kirov in December 1934. He was the Communist Party leader in Leningrad and he may well have been murdered on Stalin’s orders because he had become too popular. The purges lasted from 1934 to 1938; at least 7,000,000 people disappeared. 15 Who were purged? Bolshevik leaders who Stalin had forced out in 1925 to 1927. Managers of industries who did not meet their targets for production. Poets, writers, artists, musicians, anyone creative who might have ideas which Stalin did not like. Millions of ordinary Soviet citizens, who often did not know what they had done to anger Stalin. Scientists, engineers, experts of any kind who Stalin did not trust or understand. Only loyal party officials, who accepted Stalin’s decision without question were safe. Army and Navy officers; every Admiral of the Soviet fleet, three of the five Marshals of the Red Army, 90% of the generals and more than half of the officers of the Red Army What were the Show Trials? The leading Bolsheviks were given ‘Show Trials’, where they forced to confess to ridiculous crimes which they could not possibly have committed. They were accused of sabotage and treason and of murdering Kirov. The aim of the Show Trials was to get rid of all the Old Bolsheviks who knew the truth about Lenin and Stalin. They all confessed to the crimes that they were accused of, usually because they were told that their families would be left alone if they did. Stalin also wanted to destroy the reputation of Trotsky. The results of the trials were announced to the world. Altogether, 35 of the leading Old Bolsheviks were executed in 1936-8. What effects did the Purges have? The Red Army lost almost all its experienced officers. In 1941 it stood no chance against the German army. Science and technology suffered as new inventions were stopped. Stalin actually prevented development in some areas by clinging to outdated ideas. Industry suffered because managers were unwilling to try anything new. Literature art and music were all stifled. Only Stalin's favourite form of art, Socialist Realism was accepted. This showed workers striving to create the Soviet Union. 16 By eliminating older figures, Stalin was able to promote younger men who owed their success to him. This made them completely loyal. For example, Lavrenti Beria, who became the head of the NKVD, Georgi Malenkov, who was expected to be Stalin’s successor. Propaganda and censorship In the 1930s Stalin began to rewrite the history of Russia and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. He made out that he was much more important than he really had been before he came to power. Textbooks and encyclopaedias were destroyed or altered. Children in school had to paste over pages in their books with the new versions of what had happened. Why did Stalin do this? He wanted to destroy the reputations of the other Bolshevik leaders. This would explain why he had put them on trial and had them executed. He picked on Trotsky in particular, because Lenin had chosen him as his successor. He accused him of treason and said that it he had done nothing to help Russia. Stalin claimed that he had had been responsible for the successes in the Civil War in 1918 to 1920. He wanted to make out that he had Lenin had been very close friends and that only he knew what Lenin had intended to do in Russia. This would explain why Stalin had become the leader and would make Russians accept him. He had made sure that Lenin’s body was preserved in a huge mausoleum in Red Square and encouraged Soviet citizens to visit it. He wanted to build himself up to be all-powerful and stop anyone opposing his ideas. This became known as the ‘Cult of Personality'. Stalin made out that he was a superman who never made any mistakes. What was the Cult of Personality? Stalin created the impression that he was a genius at everything. He was described as the ‘wisest man of the twentieth century’, the ‘genius of the age’. The Soviet people were told that he was never wrong. This protected Stalin from any further challenges. He expected love and worship, not respect and obedience. Stalin made sure that everyone knew about his successes. Huge rallies were held in his honour. 17 He used many forms of propaganda to pass on the news, but his favourite form was paintings and sculptures. These appeared all over Russia. Stalin was shown meeting smiling people, opening factories and dams, and he always looked rather taller and fitter than he actually was. Education Propaganda and censorship were reinforced by education, which became compulsory for four years in 1930. This was later extended to seven years. Students had to abide by strict discipline and wear uniform. Examinations were set every year to ensure that progress was made. If students did not work satisfactorily, the pay of their parents could be reduced. All school subjects ere designed to glorify Stalin. Only one history textbook was in use and that had apparently been written by Stalin himself. References to the Old Bolsheviks were removed and in their places were the names of cronies of Stalin. In the mid-1930s, changes took place so quickly, that it was impossible to rewrite books as people were disgraced and eliminated. School-children were given new versions of pages to paste into books to cover up photographs of party officials who had been executed. The 1936 Constitution The new constitution looked very impressive. It guaranteed democracy, equality, freedom of worship and political freedom, amongst other things. But it did not amount to anything in reality. The needs of the Communist Party could override all other considerations. How effective was Stalin's control of the Soviet Union? In the party hierarchy and the government Stalin inspired fear, but this led many officials to lie and falsify figures. On the streets of the Soviet Union, there was an increase of crime, alcoholism and divorce. 18 Key Topic 4: Economic and social change, 1928-39 Collectivisation Collectivisation was part of the First Five Year Plan. It was an attempt to get rid of the ownership of land by ordinary people and an attempt to solve the food problem in the Soviet Union. Food rationing had been introduced in 1928 because peasants had begun to hoard grain in an effort to force the price up. It was also an attempt to destroy the Kulaks, who Stalin hated and feared. They made profits and employed others, but they were also independent and resisted central control. Stalin hoped that he would be able to sell wheat abroad to raise foreign exchange to buy new technology. Stalin wanted to make the best use of machinery; machine tractor stations were set up which would serve the surrounding farms. Two types of Collective Farms were set up, Sovkhozes, or State Farms, where all the land was owned by the state, all the produce went to the state and workers were paid wages. The wages were paid whether the workers worked well or badly. These farms proved very expensive and few were set up. Kolkhozes, or Collective Farms, where workers kept plots of land for them selves and had to supply fixed amounts of food to the state at fixed prices. The workers kept what was left for themselves. If there was nothing left they starved. 240,000 of these farms were set up by 1940. Did Collectivisation work? Stalin’s attempt to set up Sovkhozes failed; he had to fall back on Kolkhozes. Most peasants could not use the machinery that was supplied. Many tractors did not work. The Kulaks resisted and destroyed crops and animals. This led to a massive famine in 1932-34, in which 5,000,000 people died. By 1937, when Collectivisation was almost complete, wheat production was up by a third on the 1928 figure. 19 Industrialisation Stalin believed that Soviet industry and agriculture was one hundred years behind the West. He said that they must catch up in 10 years. The Plans concentrated on coal, steel, oil, gas, engineering and chemicals. Stalin distrusted the West. He knew that they had tried to intervene in the Russian Civil War and he suspected that they were supporting Hitler against him during the 1930s. Stalin wanted to destroy the New Economic Policy, which Lenin had only intended to be temporary. Stalin hated the Kulaks and wanted to destroy them. He thought that they were parasites. Stalin wanted to increase his control over the Soviet Union. The Five Year Plans would enable him to do this. In the First Five Year Plan Stalin called for an increase of 200% in heavy industry. How did the Five Year Plans work? Private trade and working for somebody else were both declared illegal. A state planning agency was set up, GOSPLAN. It worked out targets for the production of all kind of goods. It was based in Moscow and employed 500,000 people. Every factory throughout the Soviet Union was given targets for each of five years and for the total five years. New industrial cities were constructed like Magnitogorsk and Chelyabinsk. These were built from scratch beyond the Ural Mountains. Many of the workers here were people arrested in the Purges, who worked as slave labour. Young people from KOMSOMOL, the Young Communist League, volunteered to help. 250,000 were sent every summer to help create the new industrial cities. Slave Labour was used. These were people who had been arrested in the Purges. Gulags, or Labour Camps, were set up in the north and in Siberia and the inmates were worked to death in appalling conditions. 20 ‘Stakhanovites’ were created, after Alexei Stakhanov the coal miner. He was credited with digging more than 100 tonnes of coal in a single shift and other miners were urged to follow his example. This was simply a propaganda trick to get workers to work harder. However, his record was soon beaten by another miner who dug more than 300 tonnes. What went wrong? Most targets were ridiculously high. They took no account of local conditions. The emphasis was on quantity not quality. 50% of tractors in the first Five Year Plan did not work. Many peasants flocked into the cities in search of higher paid jobs in industry. They were uneducated and could not do the work. Much machinery broke down as a result. Managers of factories tried to ‘cook the books’ rather than admit failure. No criticism of the Plans was accepted. Despite all this, the Plans did increase industrial production by about 400% during the 1930s. In 1940 the Soviet Union was the second industrial power in the world, only the USA produced more. Life in the Soviet Union How did life change for the peoples of the Soviet Union? On the face the results were impressive. Industrial production rose by about 400% in the 1930s. Education and housing improved literacy increased rapidly. Women were given equality for the first time. By 1940, 40% of workers were women. Crèches were set up in factories to allow women to work. The number of doctors increased and medical treatment improved. The real facts of life in the Soviet Union were very different. Work The Five Year Plans increased production, but not quality. 50% of tractors broke down. Managers of plants cheated in any way they could, because if they did not reach the target figures they might be shot. 21 A seven day week was introduced. Absence from work became a crime. Skilled workers were not allowed to leave their jobs. An internal passport was introduced. Industrial workers were given higher pay and rewarded with medals. Some social security benefits were provided. The standard of living As more people crowded into the cities to work in industry, living standards fell. Pay did not keep up with rises in prices. After 1931 most people were paid by piecework, yet average income was probably about 50% of that in 1928. There were often severe shortages, so queuing was a way of life. Fresh foods were often not available. Most people ate meals in the communal canteens at their place of work rather than cook at home. Housing was in short supply, because it was low on the Party’s priorities, and overcrowding common. Most people lived in part of a flat sharing a kitchen and, if they were very lucky, a bathroom. Luxury goods were just not available, or were only available in special shops for Party bureaucrats or managers. The effects of Stalin’s control Stalin used the secret police to force people to accept his changes. Agricultural production suffered as Kulaks destroyed their crops and animals, rather than hand them over. In 1932 to 1934 there was a massive famine which killed 5,000,000 people. People who objected found themselves in slave labour camps, called Gulags. These were often in Siberia or in Northern Russia, where the weather in winter was very cold. Here they worked with little food for ten years or more. Many died from exhaustion. Altogether at least 7,000,000 people disappeared in the Purges, perhaps twice or even three times that number. Stalin forced some ethnic groups to move from their homelands to Siberia. Whole populations were transported from southern Russia to the east.