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Russia and the Soviet Union: Autocracy to Dictatorship

By | Copyright Year:2009 | ISBN-13: 9780170246828

This text addresses the HSC National Study ‘Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1941’ by examining the events, ideology and personalities of Russia and the Soviet Union during this intense period of social and political upheaval. The major issues and events are examined from all perspectives to provide your students with the opportunity to analyse, interpret and develop their understanding of the topic.


CHAPTER 1 The Romanov Dynasty on trial
Issues in Russian history
The seeds of a revolution: Russian society, 1855–94
Tsar Nicholas II
Rasputin, the opportunist monk
State security: the Okhrana
Industrialisation and the proletariat
Nicholas’s gamble: the Russo–Japanese War, 1904–1905
Blood on the snow: St Petersburg, January 1905
Mutiny on Potemkin
The St Petersburg Soviet
Manifestos, dumas and fundamental laws
Russia and World War I
The battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes
Generals Nicholas and Brusilov
The legacies of war
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 2 Russia in 1917: Riots, failed governments, Bolsheviks
and a revolution
Tensions mount: Petrograd, February–March 1917
Russia’s diarchy, part 1: The Provisional Government
The war does not end
Russia’s diarchy, part 2: The Petrograd Soviet
Lenin returns
Lenin: ‘Bread, peace and land’
Lenin and the Bolsheviks
Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and violence
The Brusilov offensive and the Bolsheviks’ July putsch
‘Speedy’ Kerensky
General ‘Drumhead’ Kornilov
A fateful meeting: Petrograd, 10 October 1917
Trotsky: ‘Capture the bridges’
Petrograd, 24 October 1917
Red October, 25–26 October 1917
Cinematic propaganda
The Russian Revolution in retrospect
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 3 Communism on trial: The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist
Republic and civil war, 1917–22
Lenin defies his opponents
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Russian civil war
‘Iron Felix’ and the Cheka
The Red Army
CASE STUDY The constitution of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic
Communism or Leninism?
Democratic centralism and the Communist Party
War Communism
Russia at war
The Red and White armies
The Czech Legion
The death of the Romanovs
CASE STUDY Lenin, the Red Terror and the gulags
The Tambov and Kronstadt uprisings
The New Economic Policy
Trotsky’s propaganda trains
Why did the communists win the civil war?
Russia’s society and culture, 1918–24
Lenin and the USSR
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 4 Stalin: The Red Tsar (Part 1)
Lenin’s legacy to Russia
Lenin’s legacy to Stalin and the Communist Party
CASE STUDY Stalin: Portrait of a revolutionary
Stalin’s rise to power
Reasons for the triumph of Stalin as leader of the USSR
CASE STUDY Profiles of communist officials
The Soviet state under Stalin
Collectivisation and industrialisation
Stalinism as totalitarianism
Impact of Stalinism on society, culture and the economy
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 5 The Red Tsar (Part 2)
The Soviet state under Stalin
Stalin’s machinery of power
Practice purges and show trials of 1928–33
The major purges, show trials and ‘the Terror’ of 1934–39 and their impact
The purges
The ‘Great Terror’: The purge of the people of the Soviet Union
CASE STUDY Gulags and prison camps
CASE STUDY Life in the camps
The show trials
The impact of Stalinism on society
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 6 Russia and the world community:
Foreign policies, 1917–41
A nation without allies: Russia’s dual diplomacy
The Comintern
Communism in China: An experiment, 1919–27
Foreign Minister Chicherin, 1918–21
Chicherin, France, Italy and Britain, 1921–27
The Genoa and Rapallo conferences: Russia and Germany, 1922
The Ruhr invasion, Locarno and the Treaty of Berlin, 1923–26
Foreign Minister Litvinov, 1930–33
The rise of Hitler: Stalin reacts, 1933–36
International tensions and confrontations, 1936–37
The Anschluss and Czechoslovakia, 1938–39
The Nazi–Soviet pact, 1939
CASE STUDY The foreign policies of Germany and Russia in 1939 and
comments by Stalin, Hitler and A. J. P. Taylor
Nazi and Soviet aggression: Poland and Finland, 1939
Operation Barbarossa and the Lend Lease program, 1941
Pearl Harbor, Berlin and the Cold War, 1941–45
Summary of world events and Russia’s international relations, 1918–56
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 7 Leon Trotsky, 1879–1940
Family background and education
Development of political ideals
Politics in pre-revolutionary Russia
Trotsky’s rise to prominence
Trotsky’s final rise to prominence
Trotsky’s role in the 1917 revolution
Significance and evaluation
The struggle for power with Stalin
Expulsion from the Party
Life and activities in exile
An evaluation of Leon Trotsky
Chapter in review

CHAPTER 8 Alexandra Kollontai, 1873–1952
Historical context
Rise to prominence
Significance and evaluation
Chapter in review

HSC essay scaffolds


Jan Brady is a respected, experienced author, and has an eLearning and teacher resource focus. She has many years of experience as an educator, and is currently teaching at Arden Anglican School in Epping, NSW.


Uses an extensive range of sources and case studies, with a focus on historiography, to help stimulate student’ empathy and understanding

Essay scaffolds