The issue of millions of refugees

Peter Gatrell is a professor of economic history at the University of Manchester. In his work Introduction: World Wars and Population Displacement In Europe in the Twentieth Century, he speaks about the World Wars as well as the Russian Revolution. He spends much of the work talking about how there millions of refugees after the Russian Revolution, World War I, and World War II. While the number of people who were displaced after the wars is not agreed upon, all of the potential numbers were in the millions.… Read the rest here

Unity of All Laborers: Soviet Ideals in the Wake of Post-February Revolution Independence Movements

The Red Army occupying Moscow, during the Russian Civil War

The Red Army occupying Moscow, during the Russian Civil War

 

((Bolsheviks in Moscow. Digital image. The Russian Civil War: 1917-1920. Accessed February 7, 2016. http://www.emersonkent.com/wars_and_battles_in_history/russian_civil_war.htm))

In the U.S., there seems to be a commonly held misconception about the emergence of Soviet Russia and its relationship with its surrounding neighbors. From my history classes, I remember learning about Russia leaving World War I and the basics of the Russian Revolution. However, after that period, it seems that Russian history just disappears until World War II.… Read the rest here

Finland’s Whole New World

The 19th and 20th century Russian population was made up of a series of smaller groups. The people of Russia were less loyal to their nationality and more dedicated to their more personalized groups based on religion, status within the community, and the region in which they resided. This meant that after the 1917 Russian revolution places like Finland, Poland, the three Baltic states, and others would start to act upon their desire for their own country and government.… Read the rest here

Russia and Ukrainian (In)Dependence

It is clear that the revolutions that occurred in Russia in 1917 did not only affect Russia, but also its neighboring nation, Ukraine. The Revolutions may have even inspired the people to host their own rebellions. On June 10, 1917 the First Declaration of the Rada took place. In this Declaration, the congress explained their responsibilities to protect the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian land and its wish to have a free Ukraine without separating from all of Russia.… Read the rest here

The Fathers of the Russian Revolution

The Decembrist Revolt of 1825, although an immediate and clear failure, succeeded in setting the stage for later revolutionaries to topple the Russian autocracy. The Decembrists were a group of disgruntled, educated elite calling for the security of the individual in Russian society and the improvement of Russian administration, particularly in regards to the corrupt judiciary. Most of these men were young, some even adolescent, and their age showed in the uprising’s lack of organization. The three thousand men who formed in Senate Square assumed that their cause would attract other guard units who were angered and confused by the succession of Nicholas to the throne, but no additional mutineers rose up and Nicholas quashed the display without a problem.Read the rest here

Lenin, What is to be Done

Lenin asserted five points regarding what a successful revolution needs. Firstly, he stated that no movement could succeed without “a stable organization of leaders to maintain continuity.” Secondly, that revolutionary organization becomes more important “as the masses are spontaneously drawn into the struggle,” which basically means that the larger the movement is, the more cohesive it must be. Thirdly, that the revolutionary organization must “consist chiefly of persons engaged in revolutionary activities as a profession.” Fourthly, that in countries with autocratic governments, the revolutionary organization would be harder to catch if it restricted people “who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police.” Fifthly, that if the revolutionaries “professionally trained in the art of combating the political police” were restricted, a larger amount and a wider variety of people would support the revolution.… Read the rest here

What Makes a Revolution

In Lenin’s What Makes a Revolution, he discussed the differences between the economic and socialist view of a revolutionary. His friend, an economist, discussed revolutionaries in terms of trade unions and mutual aid societies. However, a true revolutionary, in the eyes of Lenin, is far more than a union member. Unions, while they may be illegal, still have certain standards they must uphold. In addition, unions have goals such as improving wages or working conditions, but they do not seek to change to system entirely.… Read the rest here

Metropolis’ Status in German Society

In 1927, Metropolis premiered to critical acclaim, citing both the incredible new film making techniques of Fritz Lang as well as its story, in light of recent political developments in Europe. While the film is seen as revolutionary movie in cinematography, it has undergone quite a few changes in the years since its original release in Berlin. I happened to watch the restored version (2010), which is the “most complete” version and is the one deemed closest to Lang’s original release.… Read the rest here

Mazower and Battleship Potemkin’s Violent Overthrow in Russia

Mark Mazower’s book Dark Continent and the film Battleship Potemkin provide insights into the causes of the Russian Revolution and the victory of the Bolsheviks over the other political parties of the time.  Although the film does not go into as much depth as Mazower’s book, both address the motivations behind the violent overthrow that occurred in Russia after World War I.

Mazower details the different types of governments that succeeded each other during the interwar period in Europe, from the autocratic Tsarist Empire to Bolshevism to communism. … Read the rest here

Two Portraits of Revolution (Re-post)

Revolution has proven to be an incendiary topic throughout history, thus becoming the subject of countless different interpretations across various mediums.  Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent, a rigorous portrait of early twentieth-century European governments, and Battleship Potemkin, a Russian propaganda film relating the story of a Russian sailing crew’s mutiny against the ship’s oppressive officers, present two equally informative images of the Russian revolution that vary drastically in perspective.

Mazower’s text revisits the topic of interwar European government from a perspective that does not presuppose the primacy of democracy.  … Read the rest here