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AS and A Level: Modern European History, 1789-1945

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  1. Lenin was responsible for the deaths of millions during the Russian Civil War Do you agree with this statement?

    Lenin, in all fairness did contribute in no small part to the sparking of the Civil War. He was an advocate of maintaining power through the use of force and this was seen in his actions when he dissolved the Constituent Assembly in January 1918 rather than find some middle ground with some other political party to form government. Firstly, he did not believe in the idea of elections, which he felt were tools used by the bourgeoisie to keep themselves in power. Secondly, he did not deal in compromise and believed he could only govern by totally crushing all opposition despite knowing that this would almost certainly lead to a Civil War of some kind since

    • Word count: 1442
  2. Was the collapse of tsardom inevitable in Russia by 1914?

    The situation certainly looked bleak for tsardom since Nicholas' ascension in 1894. Against a backdrop of political confusion caused in no less part due to the conflicting approaches in the handling of state matters by the two previous Tsars, Nicholas had to lead a country, which had been unceremoniously thrust upon him due to the sudden passing of his father due to kidney failure. There was an increasing number of the middle class who had become enlightened over the years to liberal ideas of democracy and constitutional representation such as those developing in other parts of Europe.

    • Word count: 1255
  3. Did Stalin come to power in Russia through adapting himself to the system or by adapting the system to him?

    He was part of the first Politburo formed in 1918 ultimately resulting in his appointment as General Secretary in 1922. In his initial days, Stalin was careful not to overstep his authority and eked out a career as a subservient follower. He was consistent in his portrayal of being a 'Leninist' who was keen to follow in the footsteps of the great leader. He first supported the denouncement of the Provisional Government for which he was rewarded with the appointment as Commissar of Nationalities. This was also evident as he pointed out in support of the New Economic Policy (NEP)

    • Word count: 1447
  4. How far did Colbert achieve his economic objectives?

    Colbert's summary of the King's finances for the year 16802 is a very valuable source in strongly supporting this claim as well. The summary shows that Louis spent 1,917,413 livres purely on his food and drink account, a further 817,489 livres on his royal stables and over 3 million livres on his personal household, on top of 2,030,092 livres of ready cash for his personal use. Considering that Louis' total expenditure on the whole of France in this year was 95,964,011, these are significant sums of money which strongly support the claim that Colbert was very successful in providing the King with the money required to live a lavish lifestyle.

    • Word count: 2361
  5. Explain how the Weimar Governments dealt with problems and threats between 1919 and 1943.

    By the 10th of January, Luxemburg and Liebknecht had been murdered, and the Spartacist uprising had failed thanks to the government's reliance on external, variable and conditional aide from an extremist group. The left-wing was not the only political side to oppose the government. A little over a year after the failure of the Spartacist Rebellion, in March 1920, another rebellion, this time right-wing, was commenced: The Kapp Putsch (or, more accurately, the Kapp-L�ttwitz Putsch), which was started by a group of the Free Corps called Marinebrigade Ehrhardt and led by Doctor Wolfgang Kapp and Walther von L�ttwitz (who was the driving force behind the putsch, despite Kapp being the nominal leader).

    • Word count: 1353
  6. Stalins leadership was the most significant reason for the Soviet victory over Germany in the 1941-45 war Discuss.

    Many events and causes led to this final victory some having more significance than others. 'The Soviet people must understand this and cease to be carefree; they must mobilize themselves and restructure all their work on a new wartime basis, showing the enemy no mercy', this an extract from Stalin's radio broadcast to the people on the 3rd of July 1941 showing Stalin's determination and organisation for his people - he as a wartime leader rallying his people long before victory was in sight. Before the war Stalin had already gained command over the Soviet people and although much of it was made with the use of force it did lead to compliance and obedience through the war years.

    • Word count: 1947
  7. Why did Stalin emerge as leader of Russia 1928-1929?

    Since Party Congresses were used to select the Central Committee, Stalin had a powerful influence over the leadership party. Through the Lenin Enrolment he recruited members of the Communist Party, and as Head of the Worker' and Peasant's Inspectorate he had the power to sack party members. In contrast, Stalin's opponents had little institutional power. Zinoviev and Kamenev had only local leadership roles and Trotsky was leader of the Red Army but still inferior to the leaders of the Communist Party. In this way, Stalin had power over the lower and upper ranks of the party and used this to gain support in the leadership struggle.

    • Word count: 773
  8. To what extent was the Italian Liberal state unstable in the years 1896 1914?

    This was shown through statistics; the government had over 20 prime ministers between 1896 and 1914. These ever-changing governments indicated that Liberal politics was not about principle of the good of the nation; it was simply the pursuit of power or its own sake. There was also evidence to show political stability, Liberals had extended the vote for Males, so from 1912 there was effectively universal male suffrage. They also introduced an eight-hour day, income tax and Women's rights. According to the liberals, Italy had a stable political system. The Liberal leader Giovanni Giolotti, who was prime minister for all but three years 1903 - 1914, had managed to co-opt both moderate Socialists and moderate Catholics into governing society.

    • Word count: 947
  9. The weaknesses of the Left Opposition were responsible for Stalins victory in the Soviet leadership battle by 1929. Discuss.

    It meant that some shops and businesses were allowed to open to operate private trade. Peasants could sell surplus in local markets. They ultimately wanted Russia to be more modern, to try and keep up with other European countries that had started to use new agricultural and industrial techniques to increase speed of their work. The left on the other hand thought that this went against the party's ideology; it allowed the emergence of a middle class, something that was not very Bolshevik.

    • Word count: 1294
  10. A Political Failure and the Butcher of the Dardanelles! How Far do You Agree with This Assessment of Churchills Career Between 1902 and 1918?

    This was the government that introduced the idea of the 'welfare state'. Churchill played a part in the social reforms that helped make Britain the country it is today. With Lloyd George supporting his desire to do something about the state of the nation, he was able to put forward ideas to help Britain, and this is something for which we, as a country, can still be grateful for. It was with the help of his talent for speaking to the public and campaigning that these reforms were passed.

    • Word count: 815
  11. How far was Russia Politically Stable from 1905-1914?

    However, the results of this 'nearly' revolution brought, initially, political stability. The biggest cause for celebration was the October Manifesto, a document which granted the creation of a legislative Duma, freedom of speech, assembly and worship; the right for political parties to exist and the legalising of Trade Unions. These grants gave away some of the Tsar's power, which brought about political stability from the opposition, due to their right to exist. However, April of 1906, brought about the 'cancellation', in all but name, of the October Manifesto.

    • Word count: 1319
  12. Explain why; at the time of Lenins death in 1924 there was no obvious successor to lead the USSR.

    If this were to be circulated in the party it would mean that people lower down in the party would be questioning these people too, they might feel that these individuals had too much power. However, these were the leading communists and there did not seem to be any other Bolsheviks that were capable or ready to become a leader. Lenin called Trotsky 'excessively self-assured' Lenin thought that Trotsky focused too much on himself and not enough on the Russian people.

    • Word count: 1037
  13. How Far was the Failure of the 1848-9 Italian Revolutions Due to the Intervention of Foreign Powers?

    This lead to demonstrations taking place in Venice demanding the release of Manin. Once Manin was released he declared a Venetian republic in Venice. As a result, Grand Duke Leopald granted a conservative constitution in Tuscany. Metternich resigned over the demonstrations for reform in Vienna, and in the same month, King Ferdinand was announced to be no longer then king after the Sicilian elections. After the battle in Milan, where Radetzky withdrew his troops, there was a political vacuum. A provisional government was formed, and they asked for Charles Albert for protection.

    • Word count: 688
  14. Did The Legacy Of The 1848 Revolutions Play a Major Role In The Eventual Unification Of Italy

    On the other hand, both Germany and Italy achieved political unification over the next two decades, and there were a few immediate successes for some revolutionary movements. Austria and Prussia eliminated feudalism by 1850, improving the lot of the peasants. But in 1848, the revolutionaries were idealistic and divided by the multiplicity of aims for which they fought -- social, economic, liberal, and national. Middle-class revolutionaries feared the lower classes, demonstrating different ideas. As some reforms were enacted and the economy improved, some revolutionaries were stopped.

    • Word count: 603
  15. The Wannsee Conference was entirely responsible for the Holocaust. How valid is this assessment of the causes of the Holocaust?

    He believes that German peoples "entire life is dominated and endangered by the Jewish spirit." This shows that predating the rise of Nazism, some of the people of Germany would have been pleased to remove the Jews from their nation. This attribution is extremely important as it predates the rise of Nazism in Germany and indicates the opinion of some elements within the German social elite. Endemic Anti-Semitism is also obviously apparent in Adolf Hitler's Autobiography "Mein Kampf" which means "My Struggle". The book was written in 1924 during his time in Landsburg prison. In document 2 which is an extract from this book he states, when talking about the Jewish people " ...his intellect will never have a constructive effect, but will be destructive."

    • Word count: 3204
  16. In the years 1919-1932 the views of John Maynard Keynes were ignored Explain whether you agree or disagree with this view.

    This is true to an extent. John Maynard Keynes was ignored during the Paris peace Treaty in 1919. He resigned his position and described the Treaty Of Versailles conference by saying 'Paris was a nightmare'. After looking at the 'bigger picture' Keynes realised that Germany wouldn't be able to pay a huge amount of reparations and suggested a reparation fee. Keynes believed the conference lacked an extreme amount of economic common sense and the treaty was based solely based on political terms as opposed to economical. Due to the treaty being politically decided, Germany was fined 6.6 billion pounds.

    • Word count: 470
  17. How similar were the n**i dictatorship in Germany and the Fascist dictatorship in Italy to 1939?

    A common antipathy against Communism that pervaded in German and Italian society gave momentum to n**i and Fascist rising. The use of terror was an effective factor for the emergence of both dictatorships. Hitler's n**i brownshirts and Mussolini's squadrsiti both played important roles in eliminating their opponents. The minor difference in the n**i and Fascist paths to power is most manifest in the influence of WWI. Germany was heavily scarred by the economic, military and political penalty as a consequence of her defeat.

    • Word count: 858
  18. Why was Lenin able to become the ruler of Russia in October 1917?

    He was the founder of the RSDLP party in Minsk in 1898. During his exile in Europe he actively published articles and books concerning the political and economic development in Russia which formed an intellectual basis for the party. His book, What is to be done in 1902 outlined the idea of 'revolutionary vanguard' which was the rationale for Bolshevik participation in the 1917 events. His radical proposition of stepping into socialism without a stage of capitalism split the party into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, and his leadership over the Bolsheviks were strengthened.

    • Word count: 673
  19. How far did Stalin continue Lenin's policies to 1939?

    The red army as a counterforce of CHEKA was effectively combated. However, there is a noted difference of the extents to which the role of ideology dominated politics at Lenin's and Stalin's rule. Stalin established 'cult of personality' that worshipped images of both Lenin and Stalin himself. Terror was widely exercised not only on anti-Bolsheviks but innocent civilians. Many of Lenin's former colleagues and comrades were murdered in the ruthless purges and show trials. It could be seen that Lenin's policy of 'all power to the Bolshevik party' had been altered to 'all power to one person (Stalin)'.

    • Word count: 753
  20. Russian Revolution 1905 - Were the Underlying Causes Political?

    One of the most fundamental causes was the widespread social discontent of peasants and the urban working class who formed approximately 98% of the total Russian population of 125 million. In rural areas, where between 1961 and 1900 the average size of agricultural plots halved - living conditions had worsened to devastating lows with malnutrition and disease becoming increasingly prevalent. The result was extensive restlessness, which was also very evident within town workers as mass unemployment and poor working conditions becoming increasingly common towards 1905.

    • Word count: 1365
  21. How far was the Russian Provisional Government responsible for its downfall?

    Soviets of workers, soldiers and sailors had developed coincidentally, which then formed the Petrograd Soviet, however by June 1917 this expanded into an All-Russia Soviet. The Provisional Government's first mistake was not including the Bolsheviks, because in October 1917 the Bolsheviks took control of the Soviets. The Soviets were a huge problem for the Provisional Government, purely because the presence of the Soviets undermined the authority of the Provisional Government. In fact, one of the Soviets early decisions had a considerable effect on the army.

    • Word count: 1102
  22. How far was there economic and political stability in Germany in the years 1924-29?

    Although from a nationalistic background, he had become a republican because he was horrified by the alternatives. His background and ability gave him greater respect than previous Weimar politicians. Stresemann started by ending the deadlock in the Ruhr by lifting the policy of passive resistance and by agreeing to pay reparations once again. Stresemann and his fellow ministers also dealt effectively with the revolutionary disturbances of the Left and the Right, including Hitler's Munich Putsch in order to slightly regain political stability.

    • Word count: 1086
  23. Assess the economic, social and political consequences of the collectivisation of Russian agriculture in the 1930s.

    One of the main objectives of this plan was the creation of the 'kolkhoz', which is a collective farm. Collectivisation is, from Marxist theory, a representation of "a type of ownership specific to the socialist mode of production", and thus it is the process of creating collective communities where the land and the resources of an area are owned by the community or the nation as a whole, thus they do not belong to any individuals (Bottomore, Harris, Kiernan & Miliband 1991 p91).

    • Word count: 2348
  24. How successful was Alexander II in transforming Russian Society

    Following this reform, Alexander II set out to change even more. Local governments were set up, called the 'zemstva', and they could improve public services and administer relief. Towns were now represented by 'Dumas' and the electorates understood the town's issues, so could improve education and local welfare. In the zemstva, liberals were able to discuss the running of the country - a nod towards the western government system. The relaxing of censorship, which had even begun before the emancipation, meant western ideas would spread further.

    • Word count: 1445
  25. Explain the cultural values of Lenins Russia in the period 1917-1924.

    Abortion was made legal and cr�ches were encouraged. In 1919 the communist party set up a women's department called the Zhenotdel to make women active defenders of the revolution through propaganda and agitation. However in practice it focused on practical help such as social services, education and training and making sure that new laws protecting women in factories were enforced. The Bolsheviks were aggressively atheistic. They viewed organised religion as an instrument used by ruling class to deceive the masses into accepting their inferiority and poverty without complaint.

    • Word count: 994

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