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War Communism

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War Communism

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War Communism

  1. 1. War Communism and the Great Famine Key Terms, Events, Names: Conscription, Nationalisation, Communist Sundays, Soviet Farms, Grain tax, Vesenkha, Kulaks
  2. 2. War communism was introduced by the Bolshevik government to help it fight the Civil War against the (1). The Bolsheviks were Communists. They wanted to take control of (2) * and food production in Russia. The Bolsheviks took control of (3) * , mines, workshops and railways. Grain was taken away from the (4) * using force. Private (5) * was not allowed. Food was (6) * . War communism failed. Peasants hid grain. Many peasants were arrested or (7) * . Peasants grew less grain. There was a (8) * in 1921. The number of goods produced by factories (9) * . The sailors at the naval base at (10) * revolted against the Bolshevik government. War communism was introduced by the Bolshevik government to help it fight the Civil War against the (1). The Bolsheviks were Communists. They wanted to take control of (2) * and food production in Russia. The Bolsheviks took control of (3) * , mines, workshops and railways. Grain was taken away from the (4) * using force. Private (5) * was not allowed. Food was (6) * . War communism failed. Peasants hid grain. Many peasants were arrested or (7) * . Peasants grew less grain. There was a (8) * in 1921. The number of goods produced by factories (9) * . The sailors at the naval base at (10) * revolted against the Bolshevik government. War Communism: In a Nutshell! Fill in the blanks with the below: Krondstrat, Whites, factories, trade, peasants, industry, famine, fell, shot, rationed Fill in the blanks with the below: Krondstrat, Whites, factories, trade, peasants, industry, famine, fell, shot, rationed
  3. 3. What was War Communism? These were policies imposed by the Bolsheviks to assist during the Civil War. They included the following: 1.Involved forced conscription – to industry or the Red Army. 2.Forced confiscation of grain and food (called requisitioning). 3.Establishment of Soviet Farms on large estates. 4.Nationalisation of industry – told factories what to produce 5.Rationing of food and a grain tax. 6.Introduction of ‘Communist Sundays’ – a day where loyal Communists were expected to ‘volunteer’ to aid the war effort. These were policies imposed by the Bolsheviks to assist during the Civil War. They included the following: 1.Involved forced conscription – to industry or the Red Army. 2.Forced confiscation of grain and food (called requisitioning). 3.Establishment of Soviet Farms on large estates. 4.Nationalisation of industry – told factories what to produce 5.Rationing of food and a grain tax. 6.Introduction of ‘Communist Sundays’ – a day where loyal Communists were expected to ‘volunteer’ to aid the war effort. War Communism had two main aims: 1.To put communist theories into practice by re-distributing wealth among the Russian people. 2.Help with the civil war by keeping the towns and Red Army supplied with food and weapons. War Communism had two main aims: 1.To put communist theories into practice by re-distributing wealth among the Russian people. 2.Help with the civil war by keeping the towns and Red Army supplied with food and weapons. 1
  4. 4. War Communism in Industry • 1918 – industrial production running at about 30% of 1913 levels. • Problems from the Provisional Government continued – lack of raw materials, failures of the transport system and inflation. • The Allies blocked foreign trade from entering Russia. • Industry put under centralised state control run by the Supreme Council of State Economy called Vesenkha. • Vesenkha aimed to bring discipline to factories. • Workers were fined for lateness or not meeting their output target. • Each worker had a record-book which they had to present in order to get food rations. • Trade Unions were taken over the Communist Party officials • 1918 – industrial production running at about 30% of 1913 levels. • Problems from the Provisional Government continued – lack of raw materials, failures of the transport system and inflation. • The Allies blocked foreign trade from entering Russia. • Industry put under centralised state control run by the Supreme Council of State Economy called Vesenkha. • Vesenkha aimed to bring discipline to factories. • Workers were fined for lateness or not meeting their output target. • Each worker had a record-book which they had to present in order to get food rations. • Trade Unions were taken over the Communist Party officials 2
  5. 5. Grain requisitioning – War Communism and the Peasants • The food crisis in Russia continued in the new regime. • During 1918, industrial goods were so scarce, and at such high prices, peasants saw no point in sending food to market. • They were virtually subsistence farmers. • The Bolsheviks were convinced that the peasants were deliberately hoarding food and armed Cheka units were sent into the countryside to seize grain. • Grain-requisitioning squads of 75 men were sent to overcome any peasant resistance. • By 1920, 8000 members of the requisitioning parties had been murdered by peasants who literally had no more grain or patience to give. • The food crisis in Russia continued in the new regime. • During 1918, industrial goods were so scarce, and at such high prices, peasants saw no point in sending food to market. • They were virtually subsistence farmers. • The Bolsheviks were convinced that the peasants were deliberately hoarding food and armed Cheka units were sent into the countryside to seize grain. • Grain-requisitioning squads of 75 men were sent to overcome any peasant resistance. • By 1920, 8000 members of the requisitioning parties had been murdered by peasants who literally had no more grain or patience to give. 3
  6. 6. War Communism and the Kulaks • Richer peasants named ‘Kulaks’ were blamed for the rising prices during the food shortage. • The Communists believed they were hoarding grain and sent groups of Cheka to force the Kulaks to hand it over. Mass terror and suspicion resulted. • Peasants would now only produce enough grain to feed their families = food shortages. • Historians debate as to whether the food shortages were caused by hoarding or because War Communism removed any incentive to produce a surplus. • Richer peasants named ‘Kulaks’ were blamed for the rising prices during the food shortage. • The Communists believed they were hoarding grain and sent groups of Cheka to force the Kulaks to hand it over. Mass terror and suspicion resulted. • Peasants would now only produce enough grain to feed their families = food shortages. • Historians debate as to whether the food shortages were caused by hoarding or because War Communism removed any incentive to produce a surplus. 1
  7. 7. 500 000 (est.) died in the Red Terror, but can you work out the links and significance of these pictures? The Cheka & The Red Terror LO: How was the War Communism enforced by the Bolsheviks?
  8. 8. Source Analysis Write a letter to a middle class relative in America who fled Russia after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. Tell them: •How War Communism operates •How people in the cities are faring, particularly the middle classes. •What is happening in the countryside. •About the power of the Cheka and how control is kept. Write a letter to a middle class relative in America who fled Russia after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. Tell them: •How War Communism operates •How people in the cities are faring, particularly the middle classes. •What is happening in the countryside. •About the power of the Cheka and how control is kept. Use the source sheet and your own knowledge to help you with this letter Use the source sheet and your own knowledge to help you with this letter
  9. 9. The Great Famine • The Great Famine killed many Russians through malnutrition and epidemics. • Historians estimate that at least five million died of starvation and disease, though this figure could be as high as eight million. • In 1921 the situation was so desperate, the Bolsheviks accepted famine relief from the ARA (an American charity). • The ARA imported over a million tons of grain and fed in excess of 10 million people per day in Russia. • The Great Famine killed many Russians through malnutrition and epidemics. • Historians estimate that at least five million died of starvation and disease, though this figure could be as high as eight million. • In 1921 the situation was so desperate, the Bolsheviks accepted famine relief from the ARA (an American charity). • The ARA imported over a million tons of grain and fed in excess of 10 million people per day in Russia. 2
  10. 10. The Great Famine • A lack of rainfall in the Ukraine (black soil region providing 1/3 of Russia’s grain and cereal crops) had a severe impact on the rest of the country. • 1921 crop yield = half the total crop yield on 1913. • Normally, peasants would be prepared for a situation like this as they would store a year’s grain in reserve. However, after years of war and grain requisitioning, these stores were empty. • A lack of rainfall in the Ukraine (black soil region providing 1/3 of Russia’s grain and cereal crops) had a severe impact on the rest of the country. • 1921 crop yield = half the total crop yield on 1913. • Normally, peasants would be prepared for a situation like this as they would store a year’s grain in reserve. However, after years of war and grain requisitioning, these stores were empty. 3
  11. 11. The Great Famine Source A: Suspected cannibals found selling body parts for food. Source B: Ilarion Nyshchenko to save himself from starvation killed his 3-year-old brother and ate him. Source A: Suspected cannibals found selling body parts for food. Source B: Ilarion Nyshchenko to save himself from starvation killed his 3-year-old brother and ate him. Source A Source B
  12. 12. Famine in the Cities • ¾ of wages were spent on food. • Cuts to rations in Jan 1921 lead to demonstrations which had to be broken up by the Cheka. • Many people fled the cities (Petrograd 1917 = 2.5mil to 1921 = 0.75 million). • Rations were calculated on a class basis so a worker got more than a bourgeois. • Water and electricity were rarely available. • Housing was controlled by committees, so former owners of a large house could find themselves living in one room, sharing their former home with several families. • Peasants in famine-affected areas left for the cities, but the situation there was equally bad. • In Kiev and Moscow (1921) foreign aid workers found dozens dead on the streets. • ¾ of wages were spent on food. • Cuts to rations in Jan 1921 lead to demonstrations which had to be broken up by the Cheka. • Many people fled the cities (Petrograd 1917 = 2.5mil to 1921 = 0.75 million). • Rations were calculated on a class basis so a worker got more than a bourgeois. • Water and electricity were rarely available. • Housing was controlled by committees, so former owners of a large house could find themselves living in one room, sharing their former home with several families. • Peasants in famine-affected areas left for the cities, but the situation there was equally bad. • In Kiev and Moscow (1921) foreign aid workers found dozens dead on the streets. 1
  13. 13. Famine in the Cities “ Our staple diet when things were grim were potato peelings fried. One evening we found a large, black crow, frozen solid. Tousia, my sister, plucked it, cutting off its feet and its head…we now had the most magnificent chicken.” A young girl describes food shortages in Moscow, 1921. “ Our staple diet when things were grim were potato peelings fried. One evening we found a large, black crow, frozen solid. Tousia, my sister, plucked it, cutting off its feet and its head…we now had the most magnificent chicken.” A young girl describes food shortages in Moscow, 1921. “Sometimes a starving family eats the body of one of its junior members…sometimes parents at night take part of a body from the cemetery and feed it to their children.” A Russian Doctor, 1921. “Sometimes a starving family eats the body of one of its junior members…sometimes parents at night take part of a body from the cemetery and feed it to their children.” A Russian Doctor, 1921.
  14. 14. Famine in Rural Areas • Rural areas were even worse than cities – most had fled leaving entire families dead. Those remaining survived on seed, acorns, tree bark, etc. • Government officials in one town suggested that starving residents dig up the dried bones of animals, grind them into flour and bake a “bread substitute (that has) a nutritive value of 25 per cent more than rye bread, in spite of its unpleasant smell and taste” • The consumption of these foods killed many. • Other diseases spread through Russia – typhus, typhoid fever, smallpox, influenza, cholera and even the bubonic plague. • Murders were frequent, either for revenge, pity or eliminate another mouth to feed. • The Bolsheviks almost lost control as peasant rebellions increased due to the lack of food. • Railways barely functioned, blocked by abandoned trains which were home to gangs of bandits or filled with bodies of typhus victims. • Rural areas were even worse than cities – most had fled leaving entire families dead. Those remaining survived on seed, acorns, tree bark, etc. • Government officials in one town suggested that starving residents dig up the dried bones of animals, grind them into flour and bake a “bread substitute (that has) a nutritive value of 25 per cent more than rye bread, in spite of its unpleasant smell and taste” • The consumption of these foods killed many. • Other diseases spread through Russia – typhus, typhoid fever, smallpox, influenza, cholera and even the bubonic plague. • Murders were frequent, either for revenge, pity or eliminate another mouth to feed. • The Bolsheviks almost lost control as peasant rebellions increased due to the lack of food. • Railways barely functioned, blocked by abandoned trains which were home to gangs of bandits or filled with bodies of typhus victims. 2
  15. 15. Effects of War Communism • British Historian Peter Oxley estimated that out of the 10 million deaths during the period of war, 9.5 million were from famine and disease. • Industrial output fallen to 15% and agricultural output to 60% • Number of industrial workers had halved • Coal production had fallen to 30% of total output • Electrical energy had fallen to 25% of its total output • Bribes had be come an every day aspect of life • Savage stories emerged of cannibalism and slated human flesh being sold at markets • British Historian Peter Oxley estimated that out of the 10 million deaths during the period of war, 9.5 million were from famine and disease. • Industrial output fallen to 15% and agricultural output to 60% • Number of industrial workers had halved • Coal production had fallen to 30% of total output • Electrical energy had fallen to 25% of its total output • Bribes had be come an every day aspect of life • Savage stories emerged of cannibalism and slated human flesh being sold at markets 3

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