Dictatorship of the proletariat


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Dictatorship of the proletariat

  1. 1. DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT Created by David William Phillips
  2. 2. In 1914, a lack of experienced military leaders and outdated weaponry left the Russian Empire ill prepared for the Great War. The poorly trained and equipped Russian army suffered terrible losses on the Eastern Front against the Central Powers.
  3. 3. By 1917, the Russian will to continue fighting in the war had disappeared. In March 1917, working-class women in St. Petersburg, upset by the war and food shortages called for a massive strike to shut down the factories.
  4. 4. Czar Nicholas II responded by ordering his troops to break up the crowds with force. However, many soldiers refused their orders to fire and instead joined the demonstrators.
  5. 5. On March 12, 1917, the Duma urged the czar to abdicate his throne, which he did. Power was handed over to a provisional government.
  6. 6. The provisional government decided to continue fighting the Great War. This was a grave mistake; workers and peasants wanted to end the terrible years of fighting.
  7. 7. The government was challenged by the power of the soviets — councils representing workers and soldiers — which came to play an important role in Russian politics. Soviets sprang up around Russia. Most were made up of socialists.
  8. 8. The Bolsheviks were a radical Marxist political party whose influence was on the rise. They were led by V.I. Lenin, and were dedicated to beginning a violent revolution to overthrow the capitalist system.
  9. 9. The Bolsheviks promised to end the war, redistribute land to the peasants, transfer control of factories and industries from capitalists to the workers, and transfer government power to the soviets.
  10. 10. Three slogans summed up the Bolshevik program: 1. “Peace, Land, Bread” 2. “Worker Control of Production” 3. “All Power to the Soviets”
  11. 11. By the end of October, 1917, the Bolsheviks held majorities in the St. Petersburg and Moscow soviets. On November 6, the Bolsheviks seized the Winter Palace and the provisional government collapsed.
  12. 12. The Bolsheviks renamed themselves the Communists. In March of 1918, Lenin ended the war with Germany. By the terms of the Brest- Litovsk treaty, Lenin surrendered vast amounts of Russian territory to end the fighting.
  13. 13. He did not feel it was a loss because believed that these territories would soon return to Russia as the Marxist revolution spread through Europe.
  14. 14. Civil war soon broke out in Russia. Many people were opposed to the Communists, including czarists, liberals, and anti-Leninist socialists. They were aided by the Allies, who gave them troops and supplies, hoping Russia would rejoin the war.
  15. 15. But, by 1920, the Communist Red Army emerged as the victor.
  16. 16. By 1921, the Communists had complete control of Russia. The country had become a centralized state dominated by a single party. However, the country and government were both on the verge of collapse.
  17. 17. Due to the long years of war, Russia’s industrial output was only 20% of its 1913 capacity. Then, in the early 1920s, millions in Russia died during a great famine caused by drought.
  18. 18. Because of the role the Allies had played in the civil war, the Communists mistrusted them and remained hostile. They would have no outside help.
  19. 19. In 1921, Lenin created the New Economic Policy (NEP) to cope with the extreme problems. This was a modified version of capitalism. Peasants could sell produce and small businesses could be privately owned but the government still controlled heavy industries and banking.
  20. 20. In 1922, the Communists created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or Soviet Union.
  21. 21. The NEP saved the Soviet Union from economic ruin, but the Communists saw it only as a temporary measure on the path to true communism.
  22. 22. In 1924, Lenin died and a bitter struggle for power in the Politburo, the committee that controlled the policies of the Communist Party, ensued.
  23. 23. One faction, led by Leon Trotsky, wanted to end the NEP and rapidly industrialize the nation at the expense of the peasants. They also wanted to spread communism to other countries.
  24. 24. Trotsky’s main rival in the Politburo was Joseph Stalin. He had been born as Iosif Dzhugashvili but adopted the name “Stalin” which means “Man of Steel.” Stalin was not a great philosopher but was a great bureaucrat and organizer.
  25. 25. Stalin held the job of general secretary, and as such had appointed thousands of officials throughout Russia. These officials helped Stalin gain complete control over the Communist Party.
  26. 26. By 1929, Stalin had removed Trotsky, the original Bolsheviks, and anyone who threatened his personal power and made himself the powerful dictator of the Soviet Union.
  27. 27. Trotsky fled to Mexico, where he was tracked down and assassinated in 1940, on Stalin’s orders.
  28. 28. The Stalinist Era began a time of radical changes in the Soviet Union. In 1928, Stalin ended the NEP and instituted the First Five-Year Plan.
  29. 29. The Five-Year Plans set clear economic goals for five-year periods. The plans emphasized rapid industrialization and production of capital goods and greatly increased the output of heavy machinery and production of oil and steel.
  30. 30. The Five-Year Plans, however, took a heavy toll on the Russian people. Urban housing for millions of workers was terrible. Wages declined.
  31. 31. The government dealt with these problems by using propaganda to boost morale.
  32. 32. “We are on guard in defense of Socialism.”
  33. 33. “Working in a new way; leading in a new way – Our production program can and must be achieved.”
  34. 34. “We will fulfill the decisions of the party about the elimination of illiteracy.”
  35. 35. “The Tractor is in the field; it is the end of the will of God.”
  36. 36. “The Road to Worldwide Revolution! Hoover plan – Crisis.”
  37. 37. “Preparing Resistance to the Growing Reaction!”
  38. 38. “Soviet Youth, go the front ranks of the Bolshevik Shock Brigade for sowing!”
  39. 39. “Enemies of the Five Year Plan.”
  40. 40. “Enemies of the Five Year Plan.” The Landowner glares like a ferocious watchdog The Kulak [rich peasant] snorts through his bulbous nose The habitual drunk boozes his woes away The [village] priest frantically whoops and and wails. The corrupt journalist spits and hisses The capitalist sharpens his tusks The Menshevik rages like a madman The White Soldier effs and blinds. These dogs that have not been thrown into jail - Everyone defending the bad old ways - Put an evil curse on the Five-Year Plan And declare war on it. They threaten its disruption, realizing That it spells their utter ruination.
  41. 41. Stalin also collectivized agriculture. Collectivization was a system in which the government took over ownership of private farms and had the peasants work them.
  42. 42. Many peasants resisted by hoarding food and killing livestock. Stalin responded by increasing the number of farms in the program.
  43. 43. Those who resisted Stalin’s programs were sent to Siberian gulag forced labor camps.
  44. 44. During the early 1930s, millions of Russians starved to death due to food shortages from collectivization.
  45. 45. Stalin conducted Great Purges of Old Bolsheviks, Red Army officers, and others, most of whom were executed. The purges spared no one.
  46. 46. Stalin had people killed by the secret police removed from history books and photographs as if they never existed. Gradually, the official history of revolution was rewritten to be a story about just two men: Lenin and Stalin. The true history of Stalin’s reign will always remain shrouded in mystery and doubt.
  47. 47. Stalin’s harsh policies transformed the Soviet Union from a backwards, agricultural nation to an industrial powerhouse prepared to fight in the Second World War.
  48. 48. However, Stalin’s policies and purges may have killed as many as 25 million Soviet citizens.