Document Question The Russian Revolution And The

Document Question: The Russian Revolution And The New Soviet State 1917-1929 Essay, Research Paper

1)a) Document A refers to the grain seizures of 1918.? The term ?revolutionary enthusiasm and

discipline? refers to the way in which Lenin and his Bolsheviks wish the

actions to be carried out.? He expects

his fellow comrades to be enthusiastic about working for the good of the state

and to be disciplined and focussed on their task.? However, this order was given soon after the revolution and

therefore, the Bolsheviks are appointing a political commissar (a Bolshevik) to

ensure that his fellow ?comrades? who are not yet used to the communist way,

perform their actions in the correct manner.?

The order therefore expects the requisitioning squad not to carry out

their actions with ?revolutionary enthusiasm and discipline? and hence the

appointment of a political commissar. b) Document C refers to the problems of War Communism.? The extract ?Trotsky was the first prominent

Bolshevik to accept publicly the need to abandon requisition? refers to way in

which Trotsky in February 1920 was willing to go against the party and Lenin?s

policies in order to achieve the best for Russia. Trotsky realised before many

other Bolsheviks that the policy of War Communism was failing although he was not

the first to do so.? His prominence

within the party and his role in the civil war gave his word weight when he

spoke up against the policy.? It was a

realisation on his part that the nation needed reconstruction and War Communism

was not the best way to provide this.?

Trotsky, always the revolutionary, wanted change in order to achieve

improvement.c) Document D refers to the replacement of War Communism

with the New Economic Policy.? The

phrase ?in order to strengthen the peasant economy? refers to one of the key

aims of the policy.? The idea of the new

tax in kind was that the government received income in order to improve the

country, however, the Bolsheviks had realised that the peasants were motivated

to work only when working improved their existence.? For this reason, they were allowed to work as little or as much

as they wanted provided taxes were paid to the government.? This introduction of capitalism into a

communist society was designed in such a way as to bring about improvement in

the peasant economy.? The idea was that

the more money the individual peasant made, the more economically prosperous

the peasant class as a whole would become leading to an improvement in the

Russian economic situation as a whole and therefore, forming a vital part of

the post 1920 reconstruction.2)? War Communism was

clearly an unpopular policy in contrast to the comparatively successful New

Economic Policy. Documents A and B deal with the terror and force used by the

requisitioning squads in obtaining grain from the alleged greedy Kulak class

which was supposed to be holding back grain from the people.? Similarly, Document C attempts to explain in

depth the characteristics of War Communism.?

This source is particularly valuable to us in assessing the problems

with War Communism in comparison with?

Lenin?s New Economic Policy (NEP).?

It is clear from the first three sources that the Bolshevik?s, unused to

government as the title of these documents tells us they were, began by

implementing very idealistic communist ideals.?

Document C shows us that not only did the new Bolshevik government

attempt to ban all private enterprise and nationalise all industry but they

also attempted to remove money from the new communist system altogether.? However, Lenin?s claim that such measures

were necessary for the civil war in Document E is not entirely unjustified as

much of the state industry was entirely geared towards fighting a successful

war.? Furthermore, the terror under War

Communism was necessary whilst fighting the war in order to suppress all

possible uprisings against the Bolsheviks from within Bolshevik controlled

territory whilst the war was being fought.?

On the other hand, by February 1920, as Document C tells us, a new and

contrasting policy was being thought up.?

The policy of War Communism, partially necessary for the war and

partially due to the idealistic and partially naÏve policies of the new

Bolshevik government, was replaced by the NEP in order to be the ?basis on

which reconstruction could be achieved?? as Document C says. It is clear from

Document E that Lenin?s decision to alter his policy was due to the fact that

War Communism was not a policy that could be pursued during peacetime. We also

learn in Document D that Lenin realises that economic prosperity could not be

achieved under the idealistic values of War Communism.? ??????????? The first

three sources are concerned mainly with the faults of War Communism although

Document C branches briefly into the NEP.?

These show some of the attitudes that came with War Communism.? The Kulak class, a class of wealthy, greedy

peasants was ruthlessly persecuted under War Communism and all forms of

Capitalism was discouraged, whereas in the final two sources we see that under

NEP capitalism was actively encouraged in order to encourage economic

prosperity.? Furthermore, the attitude

towards learning from other capitalist states has changed, it is clear from the

first three sources that War Communism was a policy breaking away from convention

whereas in Document E, Lenin actively encourages learning from others: ??????????? ?We must

not be afraid of learning from bourgeois specialists, merchants and

capitalists.? ??????????? However,

even in the NEP we see a continuance of some of the War Communism style

policies.? In Documents C and D, the

collection of a tax in kind suggests that much of the produce will go to the

State and the State will still play an essential role in the day to day running

of the country but to a lesser extent. 3)???????? Document B

as a pictorial document can be considered as art and therefore is, to a limited

extent in this case, open to the interpretation of the viewer.? Different individuals may view this source

in a different light.? It is clear that

this source is a piece of propaganda used by the Bolshevik government to

present a negative image of the Kulak class.?

The simplicity of the artwork is designed specifically so that everyone

can understand what the Kulaks are doing i.e. hoarding up grain and getting fat

and rich.? This source is obviously

extremely biased towards the communist government and against the Kulak class

of peasants.? The source as a piece of

evidence is limited in its historical value in so far as it is an inaccurate

artistic impression of what the government wanted its people to think. However,

it is an interesting piece of historical government as it shows that attitude

of the Bolshevik government under Lenin towards the greedy hoarding of the

Kulak class.? It is unknown whether the

Kulak class did in fact exist in Russia, and we cannot tell whether Lenin and the

Bolsheviks actually saw that Kulaks as the sort of people portrayed in this

picture.? However, we can tell that this

is how they wanted them to be portrayed and this is the value of Document B as

a piece of historical evidence. ??????????? Document D

is similarly a piece of historical evidence requiring careful analysis.? As a decree published by the All-Russian

Soviet Executive Committee published in Pravda, the Bolshevik party newspaper

it is clearly valuable in so far as it is a directive direct from the government.? It is clearly a directive explaining and

excusing government policy and therefore must be taken as a biased piece of

historical propaganda and it must be realised that anything published in Pravda

will have been censored and it will take the government line on an issue such

as the NEP.? The decree clearly paints

the NEP in a very positive light and it is difficult to judge its relative

merits from this article.? However, some

facts regarding the NEP can be ascertained such as the fact that limited amounts

of capitalism are to be reintroduced.?

Therefore, as a historical source it can be useful in so far as it

presents some of the facts regarding the introduction of NEP into the new

Bolshevik government.? However, it must

be weighed up carefully as it places the NEP in a very positive light and will

certainly refer to none of the possible problems or harmful side effects that

the new policy may bring.? In this way

again, Document D is a useful source in so far as it is a piece of biased

writing.? 4) The policy of War Communism was introduced by Lenin once

power was seized in 1917.? The policy

was intent upon the introduction of an idealistic communist style government

into Russia at the same time as fighting a war.? The army drained the resources and were it not for the effective

repression of the Cheka, the new government would almost certainly have been

overthrown.? The problems with the new

system were twofold.? First, War

Communism was an idealistic policy based upon Marxist teachings.? When these ideas were put into practise,

Lenin and his Bolsheviks found that they led to the collapse of industry and

agriculture due to a shortage of production as there was no incentive for

people to work.? Idealistic ideas such

as the abolition of currency were unsuccessful in practise.? It was the transition between being an

idealistic, revolutionary opposition party and being a successful government

that, in part, caused the problems with War Communism.? In short the Bolshevik party had no

experience and no ideas of how to run a country, they turned to their

fundamental beliefs in Marxist ideologies only to find that in practise these

too were impractical and failed to take into account human nature.? However, there naivety cannot be blamed

entirely for all the problems of War Communism.? The starvation of the people owed more to the civil war than to

ineffective government.? The civil war

meant that productive areas were lost, many farmers and workers were

conscripted to fight and indeed in 1919 two thirds of all the working days

available were lost.? The towns

depopulated as people went hungry and as the army drained the country of

supplies, those who were not fighting found survival was tough.? War Communism was designed partially as a

means to sustain the Bolsheviks whilst fighting the civil war and in this

respect it was successful, however, from its abysmal failure, the Bolsheviks

learnt much about communism and its faults in practical government.? It is unsurprising then that Lenin, intent

upon maintenance of power rather than sustaining ideological government changed

his ideas to allow a limited amount of capitalism into his system. Lenin, as

shown in Document E, realised that his policy had been an abject failure, he

acknowledges in this source that the war has ruined Russia and for this reason

he is willing to allow a limited amount of capitalism and is willing to learn

from other more experienced systems in order to reconstruct Russia under

communist rule.? The Kronstadt Sailors

uprising against the Bolsheviks, of whom they had previously been passionate

supporters, in 1921 was the final straw that forced Lenin to realise the damage

War Communism was causing.? Despite the

bloody repression of this and other revolts, the loss of loyal supporters

forced Lenin to make the realisation expressed in Documents D and E.? It was in fact Trotsky who first realised

the obvious problems with War Communism in February 1920 as shown in Document

C.? It was a demonstration of Trotsky?s

powers of persuasion that within a year the New Economic Policy had been

introduced.? ??????????? The NEP was

introduced because of the failure of War Communism.? It was a realisation on Lenin?s part that it would take time for

a communist system to be introduced and the people must first get used to

socialism before communism could be brought about.? Lenin here continued the process of fashioning Marxist theory

into his own system of practical government.?

Lenin was far more concerned about the maintenance of power than the

strict application of Marxist philosophy.?

In his step allowance of limited capitalism he showed is willingness to

adapt in order to achieve improvement.?

As Document C says: ??????????? ?By the

beginning of 1920 the time had come to consider the basis on which

reconstruction could be achieved.? ??????????? It was for

the good of the country and for the maintenance of power that Lenin abandoned

War Communism and replaced it with the NEP.?

Lenin was willing to abandon his communist ideologies to allow the

country a limited amount of breathing space and to make economic recovery



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