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Category: History Other
Autor: anton 05 December 2010
Words: 2096 | Pages: 9
The Twentieth century set the stage for many conflicts and revolutions around the world. These conflicts turned into war and these revolutions turned into dictatorial rules that caused more conflicts between countries around the world. These times have given rise to some of the world's greatest dictators and revolutionaries that challenged politics and introduced us to nationalism, fascism and communism. The First World War, "the war to end all wars" , many nations saw themselves in desperate states as their countries were left in shambles, frantic to be saved and rebuilt themselves. In countries such as Germany, Italy and Russia, there was an insurgency of persons, who felt they had the answers that would bring an end to all the suffering. Hitler and Mussolini rose were quickly gaining recognition in their countries with their National Socialistic ideas, a decade after the First World War. During the First World War in Eastern Europe, a former political prisoner was speaking to the starving people of Russia of his ideas on Communism. He was the leader of the Bolsheviks and came to power as the mastermind of the October Revolution in 1917. He was an inspiration to the corrupted czarist ruled Russians by promising to end the class struggles that people have been fighting for. He and his Comrades successfully win the revolution and begin their communist regime. Lenin's many Bolshevik friends included the brilliant military ideologist Leon Trotsky and Trotsky's enemy Stalin. Trotsky was ousted by Stalin which made Stalin the palpable heir after Lenin. Both these men engineered the revolution that would bring both stability and corruption among the 160 million people in Russia . Lenin's rule would be short and thus give Stalin the upper hand in ruling the first communist nation. Stalin succeeded in building a strong nation through his precise economic planning, the building of heavy industries and his influence on education, social welfare and equality.
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov better known by his adopted name Lenin was an educated theoretical and ideologist who was the leader of the Social Democratic group the Bolsheviks who orchestrated the 1917 Russian Revolution. When he was a youth, Lenin endured the death of his brother Alexander who was hanged for conspiring to assassinate then Czar of Russia Alexander III . It was during this time that Lenin as a lawyer became increasingly involved in radical politics and after being exiled in Siberia for over three years he gained recognition as a communist theorist, tactician and party organizer. To his family and friends and colleagues he was kind and openhearted and unlike his successor was a humble figure who worked 16 hour days and read comprehensibly and did not crave tyrant riches . His dedication to reading brought and inspired him to adopt the Marxist theories and apply them to his general tactics. "The incomprehensibility of Lenin is precisely this all-consuming intellectuality Ð’â€” the fact that from his calculations, from his neat pen, flowed seas of blood, whereas by nature this was not an evil person," writes Andrei Sinyavsky . His rule as leader of the Communist party was not to last long. After his coup in 1917 Lenin began a long lating tradition on waging war on any intellectual who opposed his regime by executing, imprisoning and exiling them. His ideas of the 1917 revolution which overthrew the government of the Czar Nicholas II who was losing public support for his weak command during the war, the influence of his German wife and his poor political reform which left millions of Russians starving. Thus a coup of the government was inevitable in the eyes of million of Russians who were eagerly waiting the birth of a new, stable government that would lead Russia in the twentieth century. The Russians sympathized with the ideas of socialism and welcomed the Bolsheviks (the Reds) and supported their fights with the provincial government (the Whites) . The Bolsheviks under Lenin's leadership successfully won the hearts of the peasantry that populated 80% of Russia . Under such a brief rule, Lenin failed to build Russia's economy with his New Economic Plan and his policy of War Communism. On the contrary, peasants failed o produce grain as factories and minors output decreased due to their knowledge the governments plan to seize their production. Soon Lenin opened Russia's economy to a free market which aided the Soviet economy due to an increase in industrial and food production which also increased the living standards. His short rule was limited as Lenin had to spend much of his time fighting foreign invasions from countries that tried to prevent the new government form obtaining power. Lenin understood that Russians wanted peace in 1918, and thus signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, in which Russia had to give its many territories which included the Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania . This peace treaty humiliated the Russians Ias it deprived Russia of nearly 1/3 of her agricultural land and population, more than 3/5 of her iron-ore and coal production and 1/2 of her industrial plants. This peace treaty meant the loss of all the land that Russia had fought to win, dating back to the times of Peter the Great. Throughout his short rule, Lenin's time was devoted to fighting the opposing people and countries that feared his leadership which challenged his brief rule of a country that was shattered after years of civil and world war.
Lenin's death left Russia without a direct heir to the communist regime. Many contenders came before the party, hoping to become Soviet Unions powerful dictator. Though, to many it was a war of modernization between two men, one was Lenin's brilliant tactic general that helped Lenin succeed many revolts before the October Revolution in 1917. The other man trying to seize the power considered himself to be Lenin's natural heir and held the position as Lenin's General Secretary. Both men Trotsky the ideologist and the power hungry Stalin. In his book Transfer and Tyranny, A.J Koutsoukis described the future dictator as "Ð’â€¦An opportunist rather than a planner, found power increasingly within his grasp" . Both men had different beliefs in the theory of socialism and revolution. Trotsky believed in a world revolution whereas Stalin supported the theory of "socialism in one country" which he felt was an extension of Lenin's ideas of the party seizing power and it being the basis of the governmental rule and all its aspects. Stalin, being the great manipulator that he was, was able to attack Trotsky's ideas on communism as "unrealistic" and his lack of faith in the Russian people. Stalin used his powers as editor of the communist newspaper Pravda and his rank in the communist party to gain as many supporters as he could. He also argued the validity of Trotsky's faith in Leninism by using Trotsky's involvement in the Menshevik Party the right winged socialists which opposed the Bolshevik ideology of socialism, to portray his nemesis as a traitor to the Party and Lenin. Stalin soon became victorious through his manipulation of facts and became the eventual leader of the USSR. Just like his mentor, Stalin rose above all others through a time of inconsistency and took on Russia's most powerful and dangerous mission.
As quickly as Stalin achieved the status that he longed for all of his life, the soon he set up a plan to make the Soviet Union the most powerful and industrialized nation in the world. His first act as leader of the Soviet Union was industrialization. He abandoned Lenin's New Economic Policy and established his own Five Year Plans. Stalin stressed this idea of survival and development which according to him could only be achieved by the quick development of the industry as he stated that the Soviet Union was "fifty to a hundred years behind the advanced countries", and this distance must be limited "in ten years. " This was needed to be done in order for Russia to rival their industrial rates of the United States and Germany, e stronger economy would have meant financial protection from any possible attacks by capitalist nations, and finally it would prove to the world that a socialist system is better than a capitalist system to build a successful modern and industrial nation. The first FYP was heavily enforced on the development of industries such as machine construction and coal mining. From 1928-1932 new factories, hydro electric stations, tractor plans were built and the Trans-Siberian railway was now double tracked instead of single tracked. The Second (1933-1937) and the Third (1939-1943) Five Year Plans were designed to develop the light industries focusing on consumer goods . The threat of war challenged Stalin and forced him to neglect the light industry and focus on the heavy industries in order to produce more armaments and increase electricity output which increased 16 times since 1913. During the end of 1930's Stalin had made Russia into an industrial power second in production to the U.S.A . Throughout this time, "Capitalistic" ideas were introduced in the employment sector. Workers who worked hard and obeyed all of their rules were rewarded by higher wages and foreign technicians were placed to give advice. All of Stalin's high goals as imposed by the FYP were successful as Russia quickly became a world power.
Stalin was a man of ambition and power and would stop at nothing to achieve what he wanted. In order to improve governmental profits, Stalin focused on the agricultural production of the country which was lacking in development. Through collectivization, Stalin united small farms together to work together while using machines to produce greater production in a short amount of time. Throughout this time, rich peasants known as kulaks grew in number. They were forced through collectivization to deliver the food at fixed prices set out by the government. This was advantageous for the government since the price of food was low, the government could reduce the wages of the workers and cost of industrial production. This form of cheap labor and low income level allowed the government to sell the food overseas and collect big profits . This also the government more power to control its people which benefited the needs of the whole country.
Among Stalin's achievements in agriculture and the economy was the emphasis he placed on providing education, social security and equal rights. Stalin made it compulsory in 1931 for all children aged from eight to eleven to receive primary education and the building of secondary schools to build more doctors, scientists, engineers and managers in factories. Stalin also increased the building of libraries which reduced the illiteracy rate from 60% in 1917 to 20% in 1939 . Social welfare expanded as Stalin built its aid to provide financial help for working mothers and infants. He also provided free medical care and hospitalization. The status of women was increasing as they became doctors, engineers and teachers.
Lenin left Russia in a devastating and unwanted state after his early death and short rule of only six years. His many plans to industrialize Russia through the New Economic Plans failed to reach the standards that the country had hoped. His quarrels with opposing intellectuals resulted in his weak attempts to rule a country while executing the rivalry. Simply said, Lenin's short rule did not result in Russian development. His future heir, Stalin rose to the challenge undefeated and carefully manipulated his opponents and won himself the title of leader of the Soviet Union. His ambition to place Russia on the map as a powerful country, heavily industrialized and continuously developing was a success. His Five Year Plans quickly and efficiently exposed Russia as a leading power that brought fear to all other nations who were unwilling to help the first Communist country. The Soviet Union ranked third in industrial production of the world; The Russian military could stand alone and defeat the Nazi Germans during the Second World War without suffering many casualties and winning the war under Stalin's leadership. Through Stalin's undeniable iron fist and his masterful precise planning, Stalin built an immense power that would be undefeated for many years to come.
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