World War I The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Chapter 2: Lado’s Disciple – Part 1 :: Stalin: Paradoxes of Power by Stephen Kotkin

Up to “Agitator, Teacher”

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “He also developed into a voracious reader who started keeping a notebook of thoughts and ideas.”
  • “Because peasants in communes held no private property as individuals—either before or after emancipation—thinkers such as Herzen and Bakunin imagined the empire’s peasants to be inherently socialist and therefore, they argued, in Russia socialism could appear essentially before capitalism.”

Thought Questions

  • Briefly describe the history of Georgia and its relationship to Russia
  • How was 19th century Georgia in a period of transition? How was this different from the changes that took place in the 17th and 18th century?
  • Compare and Contrast: the human environment in Georgia villages such as Gori (I not Y) and the more urban Tblisi (Tbl – isi)
  • What role did the Russian Orthodox Church play in cultural life and education in Georgia
  • What role did the Russian Orthodox Church play in the early life of Jughashvili (spelling hint: Jug-hash-vili, a Jug of Hash with Vili)
  • Describe the educational experience of Jughashvili
  • Who was Vladimir “Lado” Ketskhoveli and what influence did he have on Jughashvili?
  • Describe the Georgia nationalist movement in the late 19th century
  • Regarding his skill as an insurgent. Explain and Expand: “But in 1895–96, he had to conceal his own Georgian-language poetry publishing triumph from the Russifying seminary authorities.”
  • Describe Jughashvili’s transition from populist nationalism to Marxism
  • Describe the Marxist theory behind the evolution of governing systems
  • How was Marxist theory blend with Russian history in the late 19th century?
  • What did Marx think of Russian evolution?
  • Explain and Expand on the relationship between Socialism and Communism
  • Compare and Contrast: Socialism and Communism
  • In what ways did Marx build theories on Adam Smith’s philosophy?
  • What was the International Workmen’s Association?
  • Who was Georgi Plekhanov?

Articles and Resources

Further Reading


The Cold War and Post War European History

Chapter 5 – The Coming of the Cold War :: Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt

Response / Thought Quotes

  • “This war is not as in the past; whoever occupies a territory also imposes upon it his own social system. Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach. It cannot be otherwise.”
  • “It’s quite clear— it’s got to look democratic, but we must have everything in our control.”
  • “On September 15th the Bulgarian Peace Treaty officially came into force and four days later the USA offered to extend diplomatic recognition to the government in Sofia. Within 96 hours Petkov was executed, his sentence having been delayed until the official American announcement. With Petkov judicially murdered, the Bulgarian Communists need fear no further impediments.”
  • “For many months, based on logical analysis, I have felt and held that war was unlikely for at least ten years. Within the last few weeks I have felt a subtle change in Soviet attitude which I cannot define, but which now gives me a feeling it may come with dramatic suddenness.”
  • “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.”
  • “If you open that Pandora’s Box, you never know what Trojan ’orses will jump out”
  • “Here the ego is at half- pressure; most of us are not men and women but members of a vast, seedy, overworked, over- legislated neuter class, with our drab clothes, our ration books and murder stories, our envious, strict, old- world apathies— a care- worn people. And the symbol of this mood is London, now the largest, saddest and dirtiest of great cities, with its miles of unpainted, half- inhabited houses, its chopless chop- houses, its beerless pubs, its once vivid quarters losing all personality, its squares bereft of elegance . . . its crowds mooning around the stained green wicker of the cafeterias in their shabby raincoats, under a sky permanently dull and lowering like a metal dish- cover.”
  • ‘‘it is rarely possible for the English, in their parliamentary debates, to give utterance to a principle. They discuss only the utility or disutility of a thing, and produce facts, for and against.”

Thought Questions

  • Describe the events the Eastern European nations experienced during the consolidation of Soviet power
  • How did the Soviet strategy succeed and fail in Western Europe and Greece regarding working with local Communists? and Socialists?
  • What were the main reasons the Soviets were unable to successfully work with local Communists and Socialists in Western Europe and Greece
  • Compare and Contrast: The relationship between Eastern European nations and Russia in Pre-War Europe and Post War Soviet Occupied Europe
  • In what ways did the Soviets use pre-war and wartime allies in post-war Soviet occupied Europe?
  • Why did the Soviets reject existing Communist / Socialist leadership and structures in Eastern Europe?
  • Who was Mátyás Rákosi and how was he representative of and dissimilar from other leaders in Soviet occupied Europe
  • Explain and Expand: “it is perhaps worth emphasizing that neither Stalin nor his local representatives were in any doubt as to their long- term goal. Coalitions were the route to power for Communist parties in a region where they were historically weak; they were only ever a means to this end.”
  • Explain and Expand: ” The Communists’ stated objective in 1945 and 1946 was to ‘complete’ the unfinished bourgeois revolutions of 1848”
  • Affirm or Refute: “The result was that Communist parties adopted instead a strategy of covert pressure, followed by open terror and repression. In the course of 1946 and into 1947 electoral opponents were maligned, threatened, beaten up, arrested, tried as ‘Fascists’ or ‘collaborators’ and imprisoned or even shot. ‘Popular’ militias helped create a climate of fear and insecurity which Communist spokesmen then blamed on their political critics.”
  • Explain and Expand: “overwhelmingly rural eastern Europe, its allegiance was traditionally Socialist, not Communist. Thus since the Socialists could not easily be beaten, the Communists chose instead to join them.”
  • Define: “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Stalinist”, “Leninist”, “Marxist”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Socialist”, “Communist”, “Stalinist”, “Leninist”, “Marx”
  • In light of pre-war Nazi appeasement, React and Respond: “either in the innocent belief that everyone would benefit, or else in the hope of moderating Communist behavior.”
  • In light of the pre-war Nazi takeover of power, React and Respond: “with some help from violent assaults on their remaining opponents, intimidation at polling stations and blatantly abusive vote counts.”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Communism” and “Fascism”
  • Compare and Contrast: “Socialism” and “Fascism”
  • In what ways did post war Soviet occupation government define themselves in relation to Fascism? How did they use this to assume legitimacy?
  • In what ways were Finland and Yugoslavia exceptional in their post war relations with the Soviet Union?
  • React and Respond: “Communism had lost its revolutionary edge and become, deliberately, part of a broad anti- Fascist coalition.”
  • Describe the process that established West Germany and the reaction in the Soviet Union
  • Explain and Expand: “Accordingly, when the blockade failed, the Soviet leader changed tack.”
  • Explain and Expand: “The Berlin crisis had three significant outcomes”
  • What was “The Brussels Pact”? What was the “1951 Paris Treaty”? How did these form the first stage of NATO and the EU?
  • Describe the process that established NATO
  • React and Respond: “Hence the famous bon mot of Lord Ismay, who took up his post as NATO’s first Secretary General in 1952: the purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was ‘to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.’”
  • How did the option of German neutrality impact the formation of post war Europe?
  • In what ways did domestic politics in post- war Britain impact the formation of post-war Europe?
  • React and Respond: “It was queues for everything, you know, even if you didn’t know what you were queuing for . . . you joined it because you knew there was something at the end of it.”
  • Explain and Expand: “This is something which we know, in our bones, we cannot do.”
  • What were the priorities of France in post war Europe?
  • React and Respond: “The French duly did what the British might have done in other circumstances and made ‘Europe’ in their own image, eventually casting its institutions and policies in a mould familiar from French precedent. At the time it was the continental Europeans, not the British, who expressed regret at the course of events. Many prominent European leaders deeply wanted Britain to join them.”
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