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GCSE: Russia, USSR 1905-1941

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 6
  • Peer Reviewed essays 1
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Why did Alexander II Emancipate the Serfs in 1861?

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    put a seal on the matter."[2][2] However, "the new reign opened with a blaze of hope."[3][3] Many were optimistic about the new power in Russia. As a child, Alexander had been given a very liberal education. His main tutor had been V.A. Zhukovsky, poet, humanist and friend of Pushkin. Zhukovsky's teachings were said to have "exercised a liberal influence over his young pupil until manhood"[4][4]. Alexander's tutors were said to be, in general, "more enlightened and imaginative than the mood of the times"[5][5].

    • Word count: 2182
  2. History Force essay. A specific individual and group, Lenin and the Bolsheviks were strongly influenced by the ideas on Marxism that they were fundamental to the shaping of Russian communism in Russia

    Marx claimed that eventually, the proletariat would revolt, overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism. During this stage a Dictatorship of the proletariat would be necessary to rule on behalf of the workers. Eventually, a system called communism would emerge where the people owned the means of production, profit and power were shared equally, and all people would belong to one class and be equal. Eventually, no government would be necessary and everyone would live in communes. Marx's theory of communism was very influential to Lenin and Bolshevik's as it provided a vision of a much fairer society and the hope of improving the lives of their fellow countrymen and women.

    • Word count: 2221
  3. How successful were Stalins Economic Policies?

    The third Five Year Plan was meant to switch factories to the production of consumer goods, but it was cut short by the outbreak of World War Two as factories had to produce military equipment. The other economic policy is Collectivisation. This worked on developing agriculture to support Russia's modernisation, but with more focus on changing the culture to be more communist. Before collectivisation farmland was divided up into tiny plots of land for each individual peasant where they could grow food for themselves and sell the surplus on for profit.

    • Word count: 2280
  4. The Russian Revolution 1917

    A more likely contribution to the fall of the Tsar is his failure during the war. Many historians argue that because the Tsar went to war in 1915 and the Tsarina was left in control of the country, Rasputin was left with a lot of power due to her trust for him, which disheartened and upset the Russian public, and in addition, caused the country to be run very poorly, possibly stirring the murmurs of revolution. In actual fact, Rasputin tried to advise the Tsar to make certain military decisions, which he ignored.

    • Word count: 2828
  5. Which of the following views best explain the fall of Tsarism of Russia? (I) Autocracy is an outdated form of government not suited to twentieth century Russia. By Count Leo Tolstoy. (II) Without war Tsarist Russia would have survived and pr

    In this essay I will endeavour to explain how the different sources support either Tolstoy or Kokovstov's view by providing quotes and evidence form the sources. Count Leo Tolstoy was an aristocrat who believed in reform. He was a strong figure across Europe therefore he could talk against the Tsar and not be arrested. His view informs us that Autocracy and the leadership of one overall supreme leader is a form of government which is not acceptable in the modern 20th Century. Source 1 uses an extract from Tolstoy's letter to the Tsar, three years before the revolution of 1905.

    • Word count: 2261
  6. History - Russia

    It is supposed there were five'. This shows conflict between the beliefs of Sources A and B with Source C - and so despite the fact Sources A and B provide a fairly similar series of events does not necessarily mean that they are reliable. However, it also doesn't mean that it isn't reliable - Source I, comes from the perspective of a Bolshevik, and some of the details in Source I draw comparisons to the Menshevik perspectives portrayed via Sources A and B.

    • Word count: 2810
  7. History - USSR - The main reason for the February/March Revolution was The World War I. Do you agree?

    The majority of the population were peasants and the minority were very wealthy. * The people of Russia were denied freedom of speech. * Nicholas's secret police, The Okhrana, were employed to crush any strikes or protests. * The living and working conditions of peasants and industrial workers were very bad. * Revolutionary groups were formed: The Liberals, The Social Revolutionaries and The Social Democrats. * In 1904, Russia suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of Japan. This caused more bitterness towards the Tsar and his autocratic rule. * In 1905, a peaceful protest took place, with the aim of asking the Tsar peacefully to improve conditions in Russia.

    • Word count: 2761
  8. Why did the Tsar abdicate after the 1917 revolution

    Alexandra played a huge part in convincing Nicholas to resist ever growing calls for increased democracy within Russia. Alexandra was a firm believer in the autocratic principle. Nicholas required little persuasion as a nationalist he condemned those who favored western style democracy. Nicholas and Alexandra had five children four daughters and one long awaited son who unfortunately had hemophilia. When Tsar Nicholas II came to the throne in 1894, he seemed to have much to offer. He was hard working, sincere and devoted to his family. However he also had significant weaknesses. He was indecisive and found it hard to govern the country.

    • Word count: 2499
  9. Russia - Stalin

    In conclusion though Trotsky had a ruthless side, shown in his severe death punishments and taking ex-Tsarist officers' families as hostages, this merciless organization and determination secured the success of the Red Army and consequently the communist party (the Bolsheviks) and led them to stay in power for years. b) Explain why Stalin, and not Trotsky, emerged as Lenin's successor. When Lenin became seriously ill, he began to notice that Stalin would not be fit as his successor, so he decided he would write his last will and testament and state that under no circumstances must Stalin be allowed to be given any power and that he had been underestimated.

    • Word count: 2730
  10. Stalin : Man or monster

    This source seems to be biased as it was painted by an official Soviet which was controlled by Stalin. This suggests that it is likely that the Soviets were forced into producing this source of propaganda making Stalin look better than he really was. Source C is photograph congratulating wives of army officers, he is shown to be a caring and pleasant man .The photograph shows him being admired and idolised by many women who are reaching out for his hand, desperate to touch him. Although a real photograph is shown, this could be staged and could be a form of propaganda, showing Stalin as a caring man and showing his support and good relationship with the army.

    • Word count: 2421
  11. To what extent were the sufferings of the Soviet people in the 1930s a price that was worth paying for the progress that was made under Stalin?

    He also wanted to raise money for his industrialisation programme, and needed money to buy machinery from other countries. Foreign experts would also need to be hired and paid to help get things running. The problem was that no other country wanted Russian currency, so the Russians had to export food (especially grain) to get foreign currency. Extra grain was also needed to feed the growing urban population. Now that Russia needed to sell its grain, Stalin decided to make the peasants hand in their land and make it into one big collective farm (known as a kolkhoz). The name given to this was Collectivisation. The peasants had to work on the farms, but weren't allowed to control it.

    • Word count: 2572
  12. What Happened To The Romanovs

    This is another reason why these sources could be unreliable. There is a possibility that they are biased against the Reds (Bolsheviks). Sir Charles Eliot's report came from the evidence of Judge Sergeyev's findings. Source C, part of a book by Judge Sokolov, Sergeyev's replacement, says: "My predecessor, Sergeyev, on handing the case to me, had no doubt about the fact that the entire Romanov family had been massacred in the Ipatiev house." This opposes both sources A and B which both believe that there were 5 people killed in the house.

    • Word count: 2228
  13. Was the October Revolution inevitable

    Tsar-Martyr Nicholas IIRussia's October Revolution occurred on October 25, 1917 (November 7, N.S.) therefore it is necessary to look at the background leading to this event. Russia had been ruled by an aristocrat tsar since 1547, he had been supported by the religious belief that he had been chosen to reign by god; this was the commonly held belief by the majority of his royal subjects and of course by himself. During the reign of Alexander II (1855-81) there had been some advancement in the introduction of the Duma (parliament). It was introduced allowing some reformers to hope that that the future was in that of a constitutional monarchy.

    • Word count: 2411
  14. Do these sources give similar or different impressions of Stalin? Explain your answer with reference to the sources.

    Both these sources are very noticeably biased towards Stalin. Source B is an official soviet painting of Stalin which clearly could not have been against Stalin in the 1930's as Stalin controlled all that was printed, published, even, said. Source C is a photograph portrayed so that Stalin is worshipped by his people. Source A, on the other hand, portrays Stalin in an entirely different light. Source A is a cartoon published in Paris in the 1930's. At the time, Paris was an anti-communist city; therefore it is clear that the source would be anti-Stalin.

    • Word count: 2033
  15. How true is it to say that Stalin effectively removed opposition to the exercise of his personal power up to 1941?

    In 1928 there was the Shakhty show trial of engineers accused of wrecking coal mines which pre-dated the Moscow show trials in the 1930's. Going back even further, the Tsar had secret police in the Okhrana which meant Stalin's NKVD were nothing new. Therefore, it can be said there was a tradition of terror in Russian history and that Stalin had just escalated a tendency that had always existed. However, there are some significant differences between the use of terror in the 1930's under Stalin's rule and its previous uses.

    • Word count: 2267
  16. Stalin's Russia course work What was wrong with Russia before 1917?

    Provisional government and the Petrograd soviet o Dorma formed the provisional government until elections could be held o Petrograd soviet met and other soviets were set up throughout the country o Petrograd soviet had more power in the cities than the provisional government o Distributing food, housing and running the rail service and control of the armed forces of the city. The weakness of the provisional government o Made up of different parties-hard to make decisions o Petrograd soviet was more united and had a clearer idea of what it wanted to do/ o Government rejected the idea of peasants owning the land they worked until an elected permanent government was formed.

    • Word count: 2510
  17. Why did the Tsar Abdicate after the 1917 Revolution but not after the 1905 Revolution

    Many young men from the peasant villages went off to the cities looking to work at the new factories; expecting better pay and good working conditions. However that was not the case as all it did for the workers was give them equally bad money and a higher risk of getting injured while working unprotected with dangerous machinery. This was the start of peasant uprisings and Revolution with new political parties forming against Tsarism. Themes: The two wars are an important part for the causes of revolution, The Russo-Japanese war (1904-5)

    • Word count: 2441
  18. To what extent was the Revolution of February/march, in Russia 1917, due to the nature of Tsarism and the policies of Nicholas

    He avoided direct involvement with public opposition, and instead commanded his army or secret police to eliminate problems. The consequence of this method was to create great resentment and tension amongst the public. The Royal family was supported by a small yet powerful noble class who owned the majority of the land. This nobility had been granted to them at the expense of the exploitation of the bulk of the people - the peasants. As industrialization and modernization were beginning to take place, so was the development and growth of new social classes, such as the proletariat, and middle-class capitalists, such as factory owners.

    • Word count: 2361
  19. How convincing is the argument that WW1 was the main factor in the collapse of Tsarism in Russia

    Peter Waldron notes: "The Imperial Russian state perished from its own weakness"1. This view seems valid as the Tsarist regime proved incapable of reacting to calls for change with anything more than a reluctant acceptance for reformation. During the war the unmodernised Russian economy was too weak to supply the army and maintain an adequate standard of living for the peasantry and urban workers. As a result all the problems accumulated over the past half century came into focus during wartime. Due to the critical state of Russia's political system and the vast social inequalities a revolution was inevitable; it was just a question of when.

    • Word count: 2947
  20. To what extent was the storming of the Bastille the most significant event of 1789

    In immediate reaction to the sacking crowds gathered around the Palais Royal and in a show of defiance, having been incited by the electors of the Hotel de Ville to 'take action', did so through the attacking and burning of customs posts. An effect of this was the forming of a national guard to protect the Assembly against both riots and a royal counter-revolution. It was the search for arms alone that took them to Bastille, having already seized arms from the royal hospital.

    • Word count: 2246
  21. Account for the success of the Bolshevik revolution in

    working peasantry without compensation, isolated excesses and seizure, hostility to private ownership and its continuance; lastly, the absence of any awareness by the peasants of the complexity of the land question or of the shortage of land for distribution.'2 The disagreement over land allocation acted as a spark to igniting popular discontent among the peasantry, therefore undermining the Provisional Government. The Bolshevik revolution came to prominence because of the Provisional Government's inability to gain support from the Russian population. 'The government enjoyed little confidence amongst the masses; and many of its members were largely unknown to the new Russia that had burst upon the political scene.'3 Kerensky himself comments on the problematic circumstances his government experienced, 'the old (governmental machine)

    • Word count: 2110
  22. ' Tzarist Rule In the Years 1856-1917 and Communist Rule From the Death of Lenin To the Death of Stalin Depended On High Degrees of Central Power and Control By the State. the Similarities Between the Two Forms of Government Were Therefore Much Greate...

    They arrested twenty million people in 1937 and created fear amongst communist workers, which became their biggest motivator. Stalin and Alexander III also persecuted groups with different beliefs to their own and banned opposition. The Tsar allowed black hundreds to kill Jew's and Stalin closed down churches and made religious meetings outside them illegal. Nicholas II used Stolypin to deal with riots. He hanged hundreds of Russians, the noose becoming known as Stolypin's necktie and strikes decreased from 13,995 (1905) to 892 (1908.) But the Tsar had least central control. After the 1905 Revolution the Russian people were granted civil rights, an elected Duma and redemption payments for peasants were cancelled.

    • Word count: 2415
  23. Assess the idea that is the ideologies, which emerge from the French revolution, rather than the events, which have had a greater impact.

    " A truly working class reaction to their situation would change politics forever". (C/H French revolution). King Louis the sixteenth was placed on trial for betraying his country, he was found guilty of treason. The people voted for the death penalty, and he was later beheaded (1793). The peasants had a say in their country's government and 'the angry mob' was now in power. It was at this time, they first questioned how they were to govern themselves. "Through revolutionary ideology and institutional change, the bourgeoise gained a political authority not known before in any European country". (C/H French revolution).

    • Word count: 2356
  24. 'Only Alexander II's policies made significant progress in avoiding revolution in Russia.' How valid is this comment on the government of Russia 1855 - 17?

    Moreover, once becoming tsar he also gave freedom of the press in 1958, further testament to his liberal approach. Serfdom was the core of the Russian system of society and economy so this was a dramatic decision to make. After Russia's humiliation in the Crimean War (1953-56) it was clear that something needed to be done to avoid Russia losing its status as a great power. Emancipating the serfs seemed a huge but essential undertaking as the reason for defeat was down to most of the Russian army comprising of untrained serfs. With the emancipation of the serfs more reforms were inevitable, and indeed did occur in the judiciary, education and the military.

    • Word count: 2347
  25. Tsarist rule in the years 1856 - 1917 and Communist rule from the death of Lenin to the death of Stalin both depended on high degrees of central power and control by the state. The similarities between the two forms of government were therefore much g...

    The differences between the regimes are often subtle. For example, the Tsar ruled as an autocrat, compared to Stalin's "cult of personality" within Russia and the Communist Party, although the two are very similar. After the 1917 revolution, Lenin and then Stalin ensured the USSR would be ruled centrally, and Stalin in particular increased the level of central state power and control throughout his tenure. In contrast, the Tsar distributed more of his central control to other authorities and bodies as time progressed, eventually losing it in 1917, whilst the Soviets built a new government based upon it.

    • Word count: 2282

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • To what extent have revolutionary Socialists followed the teachings and doctrines of Marx?

    "In conclusion, no socialist revolutionary faithfully followed the communist manifesto and Marx's ideology because it is almost impossible to implement an ideology written half a century ago under totally different conditions and a totally different situation. Every revolutionary had a their own adaptation of Marxism, this is evident with all the varying 'isms' developed out of Marxism like Trotskyism, Leninism, Stalinism and Maoism."

  • To what extent was Stalin's economic policy successful? In the 1920's the soviet economy was failing disastrously the revolution and the civil war had devastated the soviet economy and the economic output

    "Stalin's right hand man Khrushchev backs the argument of collectivisation as a failure. Khrushchev states: 'Stalin's brand of collectivisation brought nothing but brutality and misery'. This source is a quote from Khrushchev after Stalin's death. This is a source of good utility and reliability as it is said by Khrushchev after Stalin's death when he was in power so he could say what he wanted to, secondly Khrushchev was Stalin's right hand man so he was present around the time of collectivisation and would probably have know as much as Stalin. This source has a good level of validity because it is on collectivisation and what Khrushchev believed it achieved. It is trustworthy as it is a direct quote from Khrushchev himself. The motives of this source can be slightly questioned. As it is post Stalin, when Khrushchev encouraged openness on Stalin, plus he criticised and distanced himself from him. So it might have been said by Khrushchev to enhance his popularity and show him as less of a tyrant than Stalin was. This source shows a view of collectivisation agreed on by a great many people in the Soviet Union and it is also the view of historians. Figures do not support any success in collectivisation theses figures taken from a history learning site from the UK:"

  • Assess the strengths & weakness of Russia around 1855

    "In conclusion, when Alexander II came to the throne in 1855 he faced many problems, the most drastic I think was the existing serfdom system. Alexander decided to resolve these problems b introducing new reforms, the most famous and most needed in my opinion is the abolishment of serfdom. But as actual abolishment was after 1855, Russia's serfdom community was still very much alive consequently was still a huge weakness, and illustrated their backwardness in 1855. So overall after weighing up the strengths and weakness of Russia at that time, I would definitely consider there to be more weakness in the Russian empire. I do acknowledge that Alexander II employed some key reforms; however Russia remained 50 - 100 years behind the west in sheer development of the country in 1855."

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