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Soviet Union Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Collapse of the Soviet Union

The coup attempt sparked anger against the Communist Party. Gorbachev resigned as general secretary of the party. The Soviet parliament voted to stop all party activities. Having first seized power in 1917 in a coup that succeeded, the Communist Party now collapsed because of a coup that failed. The coup also played a decisive role in accelerating the breakup of the Soviet Union. Estonia and Latvia quickly declared their independence. Other republics soon followed. Although Gorbachev pleaded for unity, no one was listening. By early December, all 15 republics had declared independence. Yeltsin met with the leaders of other republics to chart a new course. They agreed to form the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, a loose federation of…

Plato’s Republic and the Rise of the Soviet Union

The Greeks are credited with inventing the concept of democracy. This was evident in the establishment of city-states were ordinary people – those who are not part of the nobility – can help shape policies that would in turn affect every aspect of city life. It is therefore interesting to find out that one of the most popular Greek scholars, Plato, was opposed to the idea of democracy. His magnum opus The Republic is a testament to this fact. But what is more interesting is the realization that the former Russian Empire was transformed into a communist state based on the ideas found in Plato’s book. Men like Karl Marx, Lenin, and Stalin were influenced by the ideas of government…

The Rise and Fall of the “Iron Curtain”

“Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!” ~ John F. Kennedy (Introduction) The Berlin Wall was built in the dead of the night on August 13, 1961 and stood for about 28 years until the Wall finally came down on November 9, 1989. The history behind the creation and destruction of the Berlin Wall is truly tragic. It was built due to the fact that the relationship between the Soviet…

Stalin’s Rise to Power

This essay will analyze Stalin’s rise to power through the study of four main elements, which can be denominated as situation in the USSR, Stalin’s personal strength, the weaknesses of Stalin’s enemies and the role of luck and opportunities. Thanks to all four of them it was possible for Stalin to reach to the power of one leader of a single party. The tradition of autocratic rule gave the advantage of the situation to Stalin, as soviet people were not accustomed to choose their leaders therefore he did not had to gain support of the people to reach power. Moreover, Stalin always adopted the role of accessible, working class party boss, while other leaders were considered as middle class or…

Strength of the Soviet Economy

The Soviet Union played a major role in the allied victory in World War II. They stopped the Nazi advances and eventually pushed them back on the eastern front. The Russian people showed great resolve to triumph in spite of drastic errors in judgment by the Soviet leaders. Some of the poor decisions were made by Joseph Stalin. The first major mistake was that he believed that he could stall the Soviet Union’s involvement in the war until 1942. Stalin also made an error in trying to take advantage of the war by launching an attack on Finland. The Second World War was also a test of the Soviet system’s organizational power. The collective agenda allowed the Soviets to out…

Ukraine to Soviet Union

The breakup of the Soviet Union was a pivotal event of the 20the century that changed significantly the political environment of the world. Million of people in Eastern Europe awakened from a bad dream as the communism collapsed. Poland and Ukraine are two of the countries that have come out of the Communist block and embarked in a transition, from the general characteristics of a Communist society (dictatorship, single-party system, state economy) to those of a capitalist society (market economy, multi-party system, active civil society). During the process of transition from communism to democracy, Poland and Ukraine faced similar problems and challenges. First, the governments of Poland and Ukraine had to dedicate their work towards a process of state building…

Russian Gulags

Russian gulags were labor camps that were founded from the 1920’s to the 1950’s by Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps for political prisoners and criminals of the Soviet Union. The term “GULAG” is an acronym for the Soviet bureaucratic institution, Glavnoe Upravlenie ispravitel’no-trudovykh LAGerei (Main Administration of Corrective Labor Camps), that operated the Soviet system of forced labor camps in the Stalin era After Stalin’s death in 1953, Soviet authorities began to dismantle the camps. The Gulag system finally ended in 1957. The Gulag gained international notoriety in 1973 with the publication of the Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, a study of the Soviet prison camp system. Today, the word Gulag is used to describe any prison…

The “Reds” in John Wyndham’s Literary Works

The Cold War was a (mostly) peaceful conflict lasting from 1947 to 1990, “fought” between two superpowers, each supporting their own ideology; in the West, there were the United States of America with its capitalism, while in the East the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) lurked with its communism. Having started soon after the Second World War, and ending with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1990, the Cold War spanned 43 years. Coinciding with this “war” was John Wyndham`s career of being a writer of full-fledged literature. In those days, every news outlet ranging from television to radio broadcast, from printed media like newspapers to simple word-of-mouth, reported the latest antics of the two ideological blocks. The…

How Did the Bolsheviks Consolidate Their Rule?

Lenin led the Bolsheviks and Trotsky led the red army. When the Bolsheviks took power, they were a small unpopular government but Lenin in a very short time passed decrees, which satisfied the people and set up a strict secret police, which squashed opposition completely. Lenin used many methods to make his government strong but winning the people over certainly was a major factor as well as the fact that he was strong. Firstly, the power of the red army who were led by Trotsky meant that the Bolsheviks were well disciplined because there were harsh rules if any soldiers stepped out of line. Secondly the Bolsheviks got rid of their opposition. In November decrees Lenin allowed self-determination, which allowed…

Lenin and Trotsky in the Russian Revolution

APlan of Investigation To What Extent Was Vladimir Lenin Responsible for the Downfall of the Tsarist Regime, and Subsequently the Provisional Government? The aim of this investigation is to determine the reasons that Vladimir “Lenin” Ulyanov was responsible for the downfall of the Tsarist Regime, and subsequently the provisional government in 1917. The investigation focuses on Lenin’s newspaper, The Pravda, Lenin’s eloquent speaking in St. Petersburg, and his leadership during the “November Revolution”[1] in 1917 in St. Petersburg (known as Petrograd at the time of the aforementioned revolution). Additionally, in the section entitled Evaluation of Sources, two of the sources used for this investigation, Lenin and the Russian Revolutions, and Lenin: The Man who made a Revolution, are evaluated with…

The Expo 67

The Expo 67 was a Category One World’s Fair which was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from April 27, 1967 to October 29, 1967. It was considered one of the most successful world’s fair of the twentieth century with the most attendees; 50 million visits and 62 participating nations. This world’s fair was not originally supported in Canada due to the high costs but the determination of Jean Drapeau (Montreal’s Mayor) allowed the expo to take place. This event was significant because it allowed the chance to show what Canadians were capable of doing and presenting it worldwide in the Expo. It is still considered to be one of Canada’s finest cultural achievements. The total revenue was $221,239,872, costs of…

Essay on the Russian Revolution

The Russo-Japanese War lasted from 1904 to 1905, and arose from both Japan and Russia’s desire for expansion and dominance in Korea and Manchuria. Russia suffered many great defeats in this war, against a nation that was considered inferior and was not one of the Great Powers. This humiliated the people of Russia, and caused them to lose confidence in Tsar Nicholas II, as well as causing great military, economic, and political problems for Russia. When the Russo-Japanese War erupted in 1904, Russia was not fully prepared to involve itself in a war. The Trans-Siberian Railway was not completed and would not be until 1905, so Russia’s army was not fully mobile. Russia’s inability efficiently mobilize caused them to lose…

Lenin’s Power Essay

Lenin was able to consolidate his power because of the weakness of his opponents. Find evidence to support or refute this statement. Chloe Tomlinson There were many different equally important reasons why Lenin and the Bolsheviks were able to hold on to their power. For Lenin, and the Bolsheviks, winning political power was relatively easy, compared with retaining it. They had many different objects to overcome, such as; Russia was in chaos, politically and economically, and normal government had broken down in large areas, yet despite all these problems Lenin was able to consolidate his power – and create the world’s first communist state. There are four main topics in which Lenin was able hold on to his power; Trotsky’s…

Stalin’s Achievement of Total Power in the USSR

Why was Stalin able to achieve total power in the USSR by the end of the 1920’s? Stalin’s rise to power was due to many different factors. Firstly, on Lenin’s funeral day Stalin had given the wrong date to Trotsky which meant that Trotsky never turned up. Stalin took great advantage of the ‘Lenin Levy’ and how they worshipped Lenin. Stalin had written a short book which had summarised all of Lenin’s ideas and plans. From the side of the new Bolsheviks, this showed Stalin as the ‘true heir’ or natural successor of Lenin which made it increasingly difficult for his opponents to criticise him and his decisions. The absence of Trotsky at Lenin’s funeral created a large amount of…

Battleship Potemkin as Propaganda

The Battleship Potemkin (Segei Eisenstein, 1925, USSR), an attempt to record the historical 1905 mutiny upon the Russian Naval ship Potemkin, is renowned for its application of the Soviet Montage technique; A methodology pioneered by Eisenstein himself. The aim of this brave new cinematic vision was to elicit emotional and intellectual responses from audiences; A dialectic approach to film harking back to the ideals of Karl Marx. This particular strategy toward filmmaking proved incredibly useful in terms of propaganda within the Soviet State and as a result Potemkin is often cast aside as an artifact from this point of history, merely regarded by some as a piece of agitprop. But how did Eisenstein capture his audiences’ minds and passions, and…

Revolution in Russia

“Left Wing single party states achieve power as the result of a revolutionary process against tradition.” Does this adequately explain how any one single party state that you have studied acquired power? In 1917, a revolution took place in Russia that overthrew the traditional Tsarist regime and brought a single party state, the Bolshevik Party, into power. The Bolshevik party harnessed the revolutionary spirit from the overthrow of the Tsarist regime in order to overthrow the Provisional government and eventually seize power. There are several reasons that the Bolshevik Party went against tradition including the failure of the Tsarist regime and the failure of the Provisional Government to make decisive decisions. The downfall of the Tsarist regime was only prolonged…

Discuss the Reason of Rising of Detente During 1968-1978

Explain why failed in1980s. During 1968-1978, The tensed relations between 2 superpowers—US and USSR relaxed. Both of them tried various means to bring about peace such as closer communication and co-operations, Armament limitation etc. However, detente failed at the end of 1970s and marked the beginning of 2nd stage of cold war. There were several reasons which led to the rise of detente and the end of detente. The First reason for the rise of detente was because both superpowers were anxious to reduce the severe financial burden on military expenses. Since both sides were trying to defeat one another during cold war, they attempted in weakening another one by producing nuclear weapons. According to statistics, The military expenses almost…

The fall of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was established in 1922 and collapsed in 1991. It was the first state to practice and be based on communism. The communist party obliquely controlled the government at all levels; the party’s politburo efficiently ruled the state whose general secretary was the state’s most influential leader. Soviet factories and industries were owned and managed by the state whereas agricultural land was alienated into state farms, collectively owned farms and small, individually owned plots. The main reason behind its collapse was the cold war though it took nearly half a century to pull off. The cold war was a major worry on the international affairs front. Soviet Union being a communism state, they had a different perspective regarding…

Most Important Turning Point in WW2

There’s always a discussion or argument as to what the most important turning point in the war was. This is a very difficult question to answer because every important part of the war happened because of another important part of the war. But is there just one main turning point in the war or could there be multiple? The Battle of Britain The Battle of Britain took place between August and September 1940. After the success of Blitzkrieg, the evacuation of Dunkirk and the surrender of France, Britain, on the Western front, was by herself. The Battle of Britain was the closest British Civilians actually got to see any of the fighting in WW2. In July 1940 through to October…

Khrushchev Genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence

In the years 1955­62, Khrushchev was genuinely committed to peaceful coexistence. Peaceful co­existence is the idea that the two superpowers in the world, the USSR and the USA can accept each other’s ideologies and consequentially their satellite states in the interests of peace, whether Khrushchev was entirely committed to this notion is debatable due to his ‘behind the scenes’ actions between 1955 and 1962. The Austrian state treaty of 1955 seemed to show Khrushchev’s commitment to peaceful coexistence, but his aggression after the U2 spy plane incident of 1960 and the gamble with peace over the Berlin wall in 1961 and Cuba in 1962 suggest his commitment to peaceful coexistence was not genuine, but a delay tactic until opportunities to…

Why did the 1905 Russian Revolution break out

The 1905 Russian Revolution was the first of the revolutions that took place in attempt to overthrow Russia’s Tsarist (or Imperial Autocracy) regime. The revolution broke out in 1905 because of the public unrest and economic depression caused by the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-5; and because of the “Bloody Sunday” of January 9th, 1905. The significance of the 1905 Revolution was determined by the October Manifesto, which was the Tsar’s response to the revolution, and by the Tsarist-opposing parties realisation after the Tsar’s issuing of the Fundamental Laws. In 1904 the Tsar Nicholas II’s Minister of the Interior, Plehve, recommended to him that Russia expanded its Empire in the Far East and in doing so create “a small victorious war…

Collective security during the interwar period

The term ‘collective security’ can be defined as a security agreement in which all states cooperate directly, collectively, and and every state accepts that the security of one is in the concern of all. In other words, when one of the states part of this agreement violates the rights to freedom of other nations, all other member states will have to join forces to restore peace, penalizing the aggressor state. This model is based on participation and compulsoriness. An agressor state is about to meet a united opposition of the entire world community. The concept of collective security is based on the consent of all or the majority of states to act against any state that unlawfully violates peace. The…

An Evaluation of the Rule of Joseph Stalin

Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, new powers slowly rose to replace him. One of those people was Joseph Stalin. Stalin was a young revolutionary that fought for independence, and slowly rose through the ranks of the Communist Party, and became the general secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. After Lenin’s death, he and Leon Trotsky fought to be the next dictator of the Soviet Union. By the late 1920s, Stalin had effectively become the dictator of the Soviet Union. He launched series of reforms in attempt to make the Soviet Union a world power, and wanted to turn the Soviet Union into a socialist state as soon as possible. I think he was a good ruler…

Changes in Russia 1450-1750

Western civilization changed significantly between 1450 and 1750. While Russia remained an agricultural society, the West became very commercially active and developed a strong manufacturing base. Many of the core areas of the West transformed; governments increased their powers, science became the focus of intellectual life. These changes resulted from overseas expansion. Russia, on the other hand, was heavily concerned with territorial expansion, eventually becoming the chief power of Eastern Europe. From there, Russian tsars began a course of selective Westernization which, despite imitating the West, kept them mostly outside the global trade system. Russia’s early days had been shaped by the Byzantine Empire. When the Byzantine’s power faded, so did that of the early Russian Tzars. Before Peter the…

The League of Nations: Strengths and Weaknesses

Some may argue that the League of Nations was a success while other would say it was a total failure, but, failure or not, the concept was far ahead of its time. But nonetheless, the organisation had various flaws that contributed to its downfall. The League was created simply because Woodrow Wilson demanded it, in 1919 after the end of World War I. It was to promote international peace and righteousness. Wilson wanted countries to talk out their problems instead of resorting to violence and war. It was made of forty-two countries and by the 1930s, the number rose to sixty. There were various flaws in the League, but it still achieved many things in its short life. The League…

Assess the main achievements of Détente

Détente can be defined as a period of lessening or relaxation of tension between the two superpowers. It came about in 1963, with the signing of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and its main achievements had a noteworthy impact on international relations during this period. One achievement of détente, SALT (or the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty), signed in 1972, had the purpose of reducing the number of nuclear weapons of both sides. Its significance lies mainly with the Basic Principles Agreement, were both superpowers vowed to “do their utmost to avoid military confrontations”. This brought about improvements economically since trade was encouraged – and indeed, international trade increased significantly. However, this trade was in practice limited to grain supplies from…

Politics and Society

“There was an old bastard named Lenin Who did two or three million men in. That’s a lot to have done in But where he did one in That old bastard Stalin did ten in.” ― Robert Conquest[->0] According to the historian Robert Conquest, Joseph Stalin “gives the impression of a large and crude claylike figure, a golem, into which a demonic spark has been instilled.” He was nonetheless “a man who perhaps more than any other determined the course of the twentieth century.” “Any adult inhabitant of this country, from a collective farmer up to a member of the Politburo, always knew that it would take only one careless word or gesture and he would fly off irrevocably into…

Pierre Frankel in Moscow: Unfreezing Change

The case describes the conundrum of Pierre Frankel, a devoted employee of H-IT which is a global IT company. He was sent to the Russian subsidiary of H-IT in Moscow, to improve the subsidiary’s performance and increase profitability. The environment that greeted Pierre on reaching the Moscow office is not at all welcoming: (i) Lebedev, who is the MD for the Russian subsidiary tried to hire a number two for himself but his move was rejected by the upper management. He knew that Pierre was the replacement and considers him a threat. (ii) The subsidiary’s 450 odd workforce considered Pierre as an outsider who is trying to bring with him a lot of structural changes and break the status quo….

The personalities of the contenders

How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-29? Lenin’s death on the 21st January 1924 caused huge sadness across the country. After Lenin’s death, everyone was eagerly waiting to know who would be the next leader of Russia. In the years after Lenin’s death, there was no clear successor to his leadership. However, when Lenin was leader, Trotsky was always there for him, and he played a huge role in the Civil War, therefore everyone thought he would become Lenin’s successor. However, as well as Trotsky there were other significant contenders, such as Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev which created a huge power struggle. I…