For each question, please use the reading and relative references, 1.5pages each (450 -500 words)
a) Discuss Stalin’s rise to power in the 1920s. Was Stalin’s consolidation of power based only on high politics (such as his use of the power of the Secretariat), or did his policies respond to more structural problems, pressures, and aspirations? Hint: Here are some elements you could consider: economic problems with NEP; Socialism in One County; legacies of World War I (remember the Holquist article) and Civil War mentality in the Party; impatience with NEP …. etc.
b) How does John Scott’s account of the building of Magnitogorsk reflect the objectives, failures, and successes of Stalin’s policies of rapid industrialization? Are the practical difficulties described in the account rooted in the policies of the 5-year plan, or are they due to poor implementation?
c) One historian of Russian has written that by the middle of 1918 “Russians of all classes were living under much greater sufferings than had been sufficient to bring about the fall of Kerensky.” Yet the Bolsheviks won the civil war. Explain this apparent paradox.
d) Boris Kolonitskii, in his article on “anti-bourgeois consciousness” that you read for this class conclude that the liberal government in fact had very little chance of surviving the turmoil of 1917. Do you agree? Why or why not?
For the following question, do a short answer, takes 2pages total!
Other study questions:
Why did the Bolsheviks succeed in taking power?
What were the sources of Bolshevik support?
Why did the Provisional Government lose popular support over the course of 1917?
What was the difference between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. Why did this difference matter
for the outcome of 1917 ?
Why did the Bolsheviks not support the « Dual power » arrangement set up after February ? What were differences in the positions of the Provisional government and Bolsheviks? How did
these differences contribute Bolshevik success?
On the Civil war :
Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War?
Why did the Party embrace – then abandon – War Communism? What were the consequences of the Civil War?
On NEP : Why did the NEP fail?
What were the principal problems and tensions caused by NEP, and why did it create political
problems for the Party ?
Who opposed NEP and why ?
What was the role of each of the following in Stalin’s rise to power: Secretariat, economic
problems with NEP; Lenin’s “testament”; Socialism in One Country; Scissors’ and procurement crises; concepts of backwardness and attitudes towards peasants
On the “Great Turn” and coercion/purges :
Why did the Party launch its policy of forced collectivization ? What was its impact on agriculture,the peasantry, and economic development?
What was the link between collectivization and industrialization?
How was industrialization linked to coercive policies, and why?
How and why did the use of coercion take such proportions ?
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