World War I The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Chapter 3: Tsarism’s Most Dangerous Enemy (Part 1) :: Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “It is better that this come from above than from below”
  • “a form of conspicuous consumption on a national scale”

Thought Questions

  • What was Tsarism’s Most Dangerous Enemy?
  • In the opening quote why does the writer equate the granting of a Constitution with inspiring Revolution and why does he assume it is a situation unique to Russia
  • In what ways did the administrative example of Peter the Great allow the Russia Empire to continue
  • Describe the characteristics of Peter the Great’s reign
  • Compare and Contrast: the Russian and English nobility
  • Affirm or Refute: “modern Russia is but a metamorphosis of Muscovy.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The Russian state was top heavy and spread thin.”
  • Describe the European concept of “Autocratic Principle” and how it was applied in Russia
  • What were the long term impacts of the Crimean War on the Russian tsar and his power
  • Explain and Expand: “Tsarism suffered a debilitation it could not overcome: the imperatives of autocracy undermined the state.”
  • Who was Alexander Ulyanov
  • Describe the genesis of a modern “political police” security service in Russia
  • Explain and Expand: “Russia’s autocracy was deliberately archaic. Tsarism choked on the very modernity that it desperately needed and, to an extent, pursued in order to compete as a great power.”
  • Explain and Expand: the connections between “modernity” and colonialism and how Tsarist Russia fit into this mold
  • In what ways did(does) Russia’s landmass and geography impact its position in the great power world
  • What was the impact of Russian Far East relationships

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

 

World War I The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Chapter 2: Lado’s Disciple (Part 2) :: Stalin: Paradoxes of Power by Stephen Kotkin

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “When all is said and done, the future Stalin may have just outgrown the seminary, being two years older than his cohort and already deeply involved in Lado’s revolutionary activities. Jughashvili was not going to join the priesthood, and a seminary recommendation to continue his studies at university seemed unlikely.”
  • “According to agent information, Jughashvili is a Social Democrat and conducts meetings with workers,” the police noted. “Surveillance has established that he behaves in a highly cautious manner, always looking back while walking.”
  • “As late as 1900, the overwhelming preponderance of Tiflis inhabitants under police surveillance were Armenians, who were watched for fear they maintained links to their coethnics across the border in the Ottoman empire. But just a few years later, most of the police dossiers on “political” suspects were of Georgians and Social Democrats—238 of them, including Jughashvili’s.”
  • “His words were imbued with power, determination. He spoke with sarcasm, irony, hammering away with crude severities,” but then “apologized, explaining that he was speaking the language of the proletariat who were not taught subtle manners or aristocratic eloquence.”
  • “It was during this imprisonment that Jughashvili began regularly using the pseudonym Koba, “avenger of injustice.””
  • “Koba distinguished himself from all other Bolsheviks,” one hostile Georgian emigre recalled, “by his unquestionably greater energy, indefatigable capacity for hard work, unconquerable lust for power, and above all his enormous, particularistic organizational talent” aimed at forging “disciples through whom he could . . . hold the whole organization in his grasp.”

Thought Questions

  • In what ways did Lado impact Jughashvili’s early revolutionary years (1898– 1903)
  • Describe Jughashvili’s experience in Tbilisi seminary
  • How did the Russification policies at the Tbilisi seminary impact Georgian students and what was their reaction
  • Explain and Expand: “Jughashvili remained a book person, and more and more imagined himself in the role of teacher.”
  • Who was Lado Ketskhoveli and what impact did he have on Georgian radicals generally and Jughashvili particularly
  • Describe Jughashvili’s experience at the Tiflis Meteorological Observatory
  • Explain and Expand: “But whatever the bad personal blood, a genuine difference in tactics was at stake: the future Stalin, in sync with Lado, insisted that the Marxist movement shift from educational work to direct action.”
  • React and Respond: “The nominal charge was that his father, Beso, owed back taxes in Didi Lilo, the village Beso had left more than three decades earlier without, however, formally exiting the village rolls. … Nor is it clear why Jughashvili was not arrested for his own debt to the state from the seminary scholarship. Police incompetence cannot be ruled out. But the arrest for Beso’s debt does seem like a pretext, a warning to a young radical or perhaps a maneuver to mark him: Jughashvili was photographed for the police archive.”
  • Describe the origins of May Day
  • Who was Mikhail Kalinin and how did he become connected to Stalin?
  • Describe the role and impact of underground newspapers and pamphlets in pre-Revolutionary Russia
  • Compare and Contrast: demi- intelligentsia and worker members and their advocates in pre-revolutionary Russia
  • Explain and Expand: “Lenin’s advocacy for an intelligentsia- centric party would soon come to divide the Iskra group. 99 At the November 1901 Tiflis Committee meeting, meanwhile, a majority of Caucasus Social Democrats voted to admit workers to the party, against Jughashvili’s Lenin- like urgings.”
  • Explain and Expand: “Mass arrests ensued. Secretly, the Caucasus military chief confided to the local governors that Social Democrat “propaganda” was finding “receptive soil” because of the workers’ dreadful living and laboring conditions. Moreover, the policy of deporting protesting workers to their native villages was only magnifying the rebellious waves in the Georgian countryside. On March 9, a crowd carrying cobblestones sought to free comrades at the transit prison awaiting deportation. “Brothers, don’t be afraid,” one imprisoned worker shouted, “they can’t shoot, for God’s sake free us.” The police opened fire, killing at least fourteen.”
  • Describe the “Batum massacre” and the impact it had on Imperial Russia
  • Describe Jughashvili’s experience in exile
  • Who was Lev Rozenfeld – Kamenev and how did he work with Jughashvili during his exile
  • Explain and Expand: “Even officialdom showed awareness (in internal correspondence) of the strong impetus to revolt: the factory regime was beyond brutal; landowners and their enforcers treated postemancipation peasants as chattel; any attempt to alleviate such conditions was treated as treason.”
  • React and Respond: ” In August 1903, when Lado refused to stand down from the window, a prison guard, after a warning, shot and killed Lado, age twenty- seven, through the outside window of his locked cell. … Later, Stalin would not erase Lado’s independent revolutionary exploits or existence, even as almost everyone else connected to the dictator at one time or another would be airbrushed.”

Primary Sources

Articles and Resources

Further Reading

World War 2 National Socialism and the Holocaust

Chapter 1: Flight Of The Rabid Wolf: The Long-Term Impact Of The War In The East :: Absolute War: Soviet Russia in the Second World War by Chris Bellamy

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “This book is the story of that war. The greatest, most costly and most brutal war on land in human history. It was fought between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany for 1,418 days, from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945, on a front from the Arctic Circle to the Caucasus, from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea, up to 3,200 kilometres long.”
  • “Without British and US dominance at sea, the strategic air campaign and the war in the Pacific, it is very possible that the Soviet Union would have been defeated in 1942 or that, at the very least, the war in the East would have gone on much longer.”
  • “The failure of Barbarossa, which became apparent during 1942, created the conditions for the initiative to pass to the Allies at the end of 1942.13 For that reason, this book pays particular attention to that period and especially to 1942.”
  • “The advance of their Armies from Stalingrad to the Dniester river, with vanguards reaching out towards the Pruth, a distance of 900 miles [1,440 km], accomplished in a single year, constitutes the greatest cause of Hitler’s undoing. Since I spoke to you last not only have the Hun invaders been driven from the lands they had ravaged, but the guts of the German army have been largely torn out by Russian valour and generalship. The people of all the Russias have been fortunate in finding in their supreme ordeal of agony a warrior leader, Marshal Stalin, whose authority enabled him to combine and control the movements of armies numbered by many millions upon a front of nearly 2,000 miles.”
  • “In 1942, the British government had been planning for action ‘in the event of a Russian collapse’. By April 1944 the Foreign Office assessed, rightly, that the Soviet Union would emerge from the war ‘as the strongest land power in the world and one of the three strongest air powers’.”
  • “one Paris night will replace them”
  • “The occupied area contained two-fifths of the grain and four-fifths of the sugar beet produced in the USSR, plus about a quarter of the nation’s farm animals, tractors and combine harvesters. In occupied areas of the Soviet Union the invaders and defenders, between them, destroyed 1,710 towns, 70,000 villages, 32,000 industrial plants and 65,000 kilometres of railway track.40 In the Russian republic alone 23,000 schools were razed to the ground.”
  • “Sixty years on, the demographic, environmental and political impact of the Second World War has largely been absorbed in the West, and in the Pacific. … Yet Russia, while a major power in the world order, remains somewhat isolated. And whereas people in western countries properly acknowledge the tragic experience of the Second World War, as it slips from living memory they have moved on.”

Thought Questions

  • Explain and Expand: “But now Hitler’s delusions were compounded by a perverted and superstitious logic. With so many Aryans being killed on the eastern front, extermination of the Jews and other ‘undesirables’ had to be stepped up to balance the books.”
  • Compare and Contrast: National Socialist Germany and Stalinist Russia with the statement – “However repressive the indigenous regime, whether under the Tsar or the red star, the majority of the people (though far from all) rallied to it, preferring home-grown despotism to anything imposed from abroad.”
  • What was the significance behind Time’s 1943 Man of the Year
  • Explain and Expand: “In the second sentence he alluded to the unwholesome but undeniable fact that only the authority wielded by the Soviet dictator and his security apparatus could coordinate a war effort on this scale in such a country.”
  • Compare and Contrast: The Russian Great Patriotic War and the American Civil War
  • What are some of the areas Soviet historians neglected about the Second World War?
  • Explain and Expand: “Its security measures were far from unjustified, or merely paranoid.”
  • Describe the demographic impact of the Great Patriotic War on the Soviet Union and modern Russia
  • Describe the economic impact of the Great Patriotic War on the Soviet Union

Further Reading

World War I The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Chapter 1: An Imperial Son :: Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “Over the more than four centuries from the time of ivan the terrible, russia expanded an average of fifty square miles per day.”
  • “Canadian agriculture was generally on a line with Kiev, far below the farms surrounding Moscow or St. Petersburg.”
  • “Too much has been made of Beso’s failings, and not enough of Yakov “Koba” Egnatashvili’s support. Too much has also been made of the violence in Soso Jughashvili’s early life. Beso beat his son out of anger, humiliation, or for no reason; the doting Keke beat the boy, too. (Beso struck Keke, and Keke sometimes thrashed Beso for being a drunkard.) 58 Of course, a sizable chunk of humanity was beaten by one or both parents.”
  • “To Iosif Jughashvili . . . for excellent progress, behavior and excellent recitation of the Psalter.” One schoolmate rhapsodized about Soso and other choirboys “wearing their surplices, kneeling, faces raised, singing Vespers with angelic voices while the other boys prostrated themselves filled with an ecstasy not of this world.”
  • “Stalin was very much a believer, going to all the services, singing in the church choir. . . . He not only observed all religious rites but always reminded us to observe them.”

Thought Questions

  • In what ways does the interior of the Russian Empire compare with the American western frontier?
  • In what ways does the availability of labor in 19th century Russia compare with the availability of labor in the United States?
  • Who were “Greater Russians”, “Little Russians”, “White Russians” and what is “Yellow Russia”?
  • Describe the situation Jews lived in during late Imperial Russia
  • Where is the Polish Pale of Settlement and what purpose does it serve?
  • What areas comprise the Russian Caucasus?
  • What are the principle cities of Georgia?
  • What areas comprise Russian Central Asia?
  • What areas comprise the Crimea?
  • Where is the Ossetia region?
  • Who were the “Old Believers” and how did they come into existence?
  • Explain and Expand: “Georgia’s Christian rulers were battling both the Muslim Ottomans and the Muslim Safavids and invited Christian Russia’s protection. That “protection,” in practice, was effected by opportunistic imperial agents close to the scene, and soon took the form of annexations, in 1801 and 1810.10 Russia terminated the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty and replaced the patriarch of the formerly independent Georgian Orthodox Church with a Russian Orthodox Church metropolitan (called an exarch). And yet, in another contradiction, the local “Russian” administration overflowed with Georgians, who were favored as fellow Christians.”
  • Describe the relationship between Russia and Georgia
  • Who was Besarion Jughashvili and Ketevan “Keke” Geladze?
  • Describe the Jughashvili family and their existence in Georgia
  • Explain and Expand:” These immense geopolitical facts that accompanied Stalin’s birth and early life—a unified industrial Germany, a consolidated industrial Japan, an American power greater than any other in world history—would shake the tsarist regime to its core and, one day, confront Stalin, too.”
  • How did industrialization in Russia impact the early life of Iosif Jughashvili?
  • Compare and Contrast: Clara Hitler and Ketevan “Keke” Geladze
  • Describe the relationship between the Orthodox Church and Iosif Jughashvili
  • Explain and Expand: “Much has been made over the young Stalin’s infatuation with a celebrated novel, The Patricide (1882), by Aleksandre Qazbegi (1848–93)”
  • How does Iosif Jughashvili assume the nickname “Koba” and who was Yakov Egnatashvili?
  • Describe the academic and religious education of Iosif Jughashvili
  • Compare and Contrast: The early lives of Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible with Iosif Jughashvili
  • Who were Sergei “Kirov” Kostrikov and Grigol “Sergo” Orjonikidze