Eoc – Authoritarian Governments – Fascism, Nazism, Communism – Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler Stalin and Franco



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EOC – Authoritarian Governments – Fascism, Nazism, Communism – Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler Stalin and Franco.

Describe the authoritarian governments in the Soviet Union, Italy, Germany, and Spain, and analyze the policies and main ideas of Vladimir Lenin (Russia/USSR), Joseph Stalin (USSR), Benito Mussolini (Italy), Adolf Hitler (Germany), and Francisco Franco (Spain).



Part 1 – Describe the authoritarian governments:

The Soviet Union – The rise of the Communist United Soviet Socialist Union (USSR), from what had been the Russian Empire began with the Russian Revolution.

I. Background information

A. The cruel oppressive rule of most 19th century Russian absolutist monarchs – called tsars or czars – caused widespread social unrest for decades.

1. Army officers revolted in 1825.

2. Secret revolutionary groups plotted to overthrow the government.

3. 1881 – revolutionaries assassinated the reform-minded czar, Alexander II, because he didn’t make reforms fast enough.



B. Causes for the Russian Revolution

1. In 1881 – new czar Alexander III halted all reforms in Russia

a. Believed in absolute authority of the czar (himself), holding total power.

b. Anyone who questioned the czar’s authority, worshiped outside the Russian Orthodox Church or spoke a language other than Russian was labeled dangerous.

2. To wipe out revolutionaries Alexander III imposed strict censorship codes on published materials and written documents, including private letters.

a. His secret police spied on schools.

b. Teachers had to send detailed reports on every student.

c. Political prisoners were sent to Siberia, a cold remote part of eastern Russia.

3. To establish uniform culture Alexander III oppressed other national groups living thin Russia.

a. Made Russian the official language and outlawed the use of minority languages in school.

b. Alexander III targeted Jews for persecution

i. Encouraged pogroms – violent attacks against Jews in which police did not help when Russian citizens destroyed Jewish homes and businesses and synagogues, or beat Jews up.

4. Nicholas II became czar in 1894 and continued Russian autocratic rule despite evidence of a changing social climate.

5. Russian began rapid industrialization that changed the Russian economy

a. Factories doubled between 1863 and 1900 yet Russia still lagged far behind rope in industrial production.

b.1890’s – Nicholas II Minister launched a building reform program in heavy industry, especially steel production.

c. He got foreign investors and raised taxes.

d. By 1900 – Russia was the world’s fourth-largest producer of steel.

6. Under Nicholas II Russia built the Trans-Siberian Railway connecting European Russia in the west with Russian ports on the Pacific Ocean in the east.

7. Rapid industrialization caused discontent among the Russian people

a. Growth of factories brought problems – bad working conditions, low wages, child labor.

b. Government outlawed trade unions organized to protect workers.

c. Unhappy workers began to strike (refuse to work)

8. Result: Revolutionary movements began to grow and compete for power.

a. One successful group was the Marxists – followers of the communist views of Karl Marx.

b. Marxists believed the industrial class or workers would overthrow the czar and form a “dictatorship of the proletariat” the workers – and rule Russia.

9. 1903 Russian Marxists split into two groups disagreeing over revolutionary tactics.

a. Moderates – the Mensheviks – wanted a broad base of popular support from the Russian people.

b. Radical Bolsheviks supported a small number of committed revolutionaries willing to sacrifice everything for change.

10. The Bolshevik leader was Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, who adopted the name Lenin.

a. Lenin was charming, an excellent organizer and totally ruthless.

b. In early 1900’s after getting in trouble with the czarist government, Lenin fled to Western Europe but maintained contact with other Bolsheviks, waiting for the time he could safely return to Russia.



II. Russia faced a series of crises:

A. Russo-Japanese War – late 1800’s – Russia and Japan competed for control of Korea and Manchuria in China.

1. Russia and Japan signed a series of agreements over the issue of the territories but Russia broke the agreements.

2. Japan retaliated by attacking the Russians at Port Arthur, Manchuria, China in February 1904.

3. News of repeated Russian losses led to revolt at home in the midst of the war.

B. Bloody Sunday: The Revolution of 1905 –

1. 200,000 workers and their families approached the czar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, carrying a petition asking for better working conditions, more personal freedom and an elected national legislature.

2. Czar Nicholai’s generals ordered soldiers to fire on the crowd.

3. 1,000 were wounded and several hundred were killed.

4. Russians renamed the event “Bloody Sunday.

5. Bloody Sunday provoked a wave of strikes and violence across Russia.

a. October 1905 – Czar Nicholas II promised Russians more freedom.

b. Nicholas II approved the creation of the Duma, Russia’s first parliament (law-making body), which met in May 1906.

c. Duma leaders were moderates – wanted a constitutional monarchy

6. Nicholas changed his mind and dissolved the Duma ten weeks later.

C. World War I: The Final Blow – 1914 – Nicholas II entered Russia into World War I.

1. Russia ill-prepared to handle the cost of war

a. Weak generals

b. Poorly equipped troops

c. No match for the German enemy whose machine guns (new kind of weapon then) mowed down advancing Russians by the thousands.

d. Defeat followed defeat – after 1 year, over 4 million Russians had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner.

2. 1915 – Czar Nicholas II moved his headquarters to the war front hoping to rally troops.

a. His wife, Czarina Alexandra, ran the Russian government while he was away, ignoring the Russian chief advisers and falling under the influence of a fanatic Russian priest called Rasputin.

i. Nicholas and Alexandra’s son Alexis had hemophilia, a life-threatening disease that caused uncontrolled bleeding.

ii. Rasputin seemed to be able to stop the symptoms.

iii. To show her gratitude, Alexandra let Rasputin make key political decisions.

iv. Rasputin opposed reform measures.

v. 1916 – A group of nobles murdered Rasputin, fearing his increasing control of the Russian government.

3. At the Russian front, Russian soldiers mutinied, deserted or ignored orders.

4. On the home front, food and fuel supplies were dwindling, prices were inflated and most Russians wanted change and an end to involvement in the war.

D. The March Revolution - 1917 – Women textile workers led a citywide strike

1. 5 days of riots over bread and fuel shortages

a. 200,000 workers swarmed the streets - demanded a change in the government and an end to the war

b. Initially, Russian soldiers followed the Czar’s orders and shot at the people, later, they sided with them.

2. The riots turned into a general uprising – the March Revolution

a. Czar Nicholas II is forced to give up (abdicate) the throne of Russia.

b. One year later, revolutionaries execute the czar and his family.

c. The March Revolution brought down 300 years of absolutist Romanov rule HOWEVER it did NOT establish a strong government to replace it.

3. The Duma (Russian legislature) set up a provisional government headed by Alexander Kerensky

a. Kerensky decided to keep Russia involved in fighting WWI – a mistake – it lost the support of the soldiers and workers who wanted out of the war.

b. Conditions in Russia worsened, peasants demanded land, city workers grew more radical and no one was satisfied.

4. Socialist revolutionaries began to form soviets (councils) of workers, peasants and soldiers.

a. The soviets often had more power than the provisional government.

5. Vladimir Lenin was kicked out of Germany where he had been living in exile, and sent back to Russia

a. Germany believed Lenin would stir unrest in Russia and hurt the Russian war effort against Germany. They were right.

b. Lenin reached Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg) in April 1917.

II. Bolshevik Revolution – Lenin and the Bolsheviks gain control of many Russian soviets

A. Fall 1917 – Lenin decided to take action when armed factory workers stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd, calling themselves the Bolshevik Red Guards.

1. Took over government offices and arrested the leaders of the provisional government

2. Kerensky and his colleagues disappeared.

3. Lenin immediately orders that all farmland be distributed among the peasants.

4. Lenin and the Bolsheviks gave control of factories to the workers.

5. The Bolshevik government also signed a truce with Germany to stop all fighting and began peace talks.

B. March 1918 – Russia and Germany sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

1. Russia surrendered a large part of its territory to Germany and its allies.

2. This humiliating treaty angers many Russians who objected to the Bolsheviks and their policies, and also to the murder of the royal family.

3. Bolsheviks now faced open challenge from their home enemies.

a. The opponents to the Bolsheviks called themselves the White Army.

b. White army made up of many different groups – some supported the return of a czar, others wanted a democratic government, some were socialists who opposed Lenin’s style of socialism.

c. Groups barely cooperate with one another, which weakened them.

C. Meanwhile, the Bolshevik Red Army, led expertly by Leon Trotsky, fought successfully to maintain their power.

1. Civil war raged in Russia from 1918 to 1920.

2. Several western nations, including the United States, sent military aid and forces to Russia to help the While army, but were of little help.

D. 14 million Russians died during the 3-year civil war and the famine that followed it.

1. Red Army crushed all opposition.

2. War and revolution destroyed the Russian economy.

3. Trade was at a standstill.

4. Industrial production dropped.

5. Many skilled workers fled to other countries.

E. Lenin Restored Order – revived economy and restructured the government

1. March 1921 – temporarily put aside his plan for a state-controlled economy.

a. Instead, resorted to a small-scale version of capitalism, the system he and the Communist Bolsheviks were so opposed to.

b. Lenin called it the New Economy Policy (NEP), a reform policy that allowed peasants to sell their surplus crops instead of turning them over to the government for distribution

c. Government did keep control of major industries, banks and communication systems.

d. But small factories, businesses and farms were allowed to operate under private ownership.

3. Bolshevik government also encouraged foreign investment.

2. RESULT: Russia slowly recovered – by 1928 Russian farms and factories had reached production levels of pre-World War I.

3. Political Reforms: Bolsheviks saw nationalism as a threat to unity and party loyalty.

a. Lenin organized Russia into several self-governing republics under the central government.

b. 1922 – Russia renamed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), in honor of the councils (soviets) that helped launch the Bolshevik Revolution.

c. The Bolsheviks renamed themselves the Communist Party, after the writings of Carl Marx, who used the word communism to describe the classless society that would exist after workers had seized power.

d. 1924 – Communists created a constitution based on socialist and democratic principles.

e. The REALITY – Communist Party held all the powerLenin established a dictatorship of the Communist Party, not a “dictatorship of the proletariat (working men)” as Marx had advocated.

III. Joseph Stalin Became Dictator of the USSR – Lenin suffered a stroke in 1922 – lived but could not head the country any longer

A. Two Rivals for Leadership were Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin

1. Joseph Stalin was the stronger and forced Trotsky into exile.

2. Stalin was cold, hard, impersonal, and ruthlessly ambitious.

a. Began climb to power in 1922 as general secretary of the Communist Party

b. Worked behind the scenes to put his supporters into positions of power.

c. Lenin believed Stalin was a dangerous man.

3. By 1928Stalin in total control of the Communist Party.

B. Stalin believed in totalitarianism

1. A government that takes total centralized state control over every aspect of public and private life.

a. Totalitarian leaders appear to provide a sense of security to citizens and to give a direction for a country’s future.

b. Totalitarian rulers reach into all aspects of citizens’ lives.

c. Totalitarian leaders can build support and justify their actions while using secret police to crush opposition and creating a sense of fear among the people.

d. No one is above suspicion or accusations that he or she is an enemy of the state.

2. Totalitarianism challenges reason, freedom, human dignity and the worth of the individual.

3. To dominate an entire nation, totalitarian leaders devise methods of control and persuasion.

a. These methods include the use of terror, indoctrination, propaganda, censorship and religious and ethnic persecution.

4. Dictators of totalitarian states use terror and violence to force obedience and crush opposition.

a. Instead of the police protecting citizens from criminal activity, in a totalitarian state, the police serve to enforce the central government’s policies.

b. They do this by spying on citizens or by intimidating them.

c. Sometimes the police use brutal force and even murder to achieve their goals.

5. Totalitarian states rely on indoctrination – instruction in the government’s beliefs – to mold people’s minds.

a. Control of education is essential – glorify leader and policies and convince citizens to show unconditional loyalty and support,

b. Indoctrination begins with very young children and is strongly enforced in schools.

6. Totalitarian states spread propaganda – biased or incomplete information used to sway people to accept certain beliefs or actions.

a. Control of mass media – no publication of writing, film, art or music allowed without permission of the state.

b. Citizens surrounded by false informationsuggesting information is incorrect considered treasonous and severely punished.

c. Individuals who object (dissent) must retract (take back) their work or are imprisoned or killed.

7. Religious/ethnic persecution – Totalitarian leaders create “enemies of the state” to blame when things go wrong.

a. These scapegoats are often members of religious or ethnic minorities.

b. These groups are subjected to campaigns of terror and violence.

c. May be forced to live in certain areas or are subjected to rules that apply only to them – discrimination.

C. Stalin wanted to create a perfect Communist state in Russia by transforming the Soviet Union into a totalitarian state.

1. Began by destroying rivals or perceived enemies

2. Built a police state to maintain power

a. Secret police used tanks and armored cars to stop riots and protests

b. Monitored phone lines, read mail, planted informers everywhere.

c. Children were encouraged to rat out their parents if they overheard disloyal remarks.

d. The secret police arrested and executed millions of supposed traitors.

3. 1934 – Stalin turned against members of the Communist Party

4. 1937Stalin launched the Great Purge – a campaign of terror directed at eliminating anyone who threated his power.

a. Thousands of old Bolsheviks who helped stage the 1917 Revolution stood trial and were executed or sent to labor camps for “crimes against the Soviet state”.

b. By 1938Stalin had total control of the Soviet government and the Communist Party.

c. Historians estimate that during this time he was responsible for 8 to 13 million deaths.

5. Stalin government controlled all newspapers, films, radio and other sources of information.

a. Many Soviet writers, composers and artists fell victim to official censorship.

b. Soviet newspapers and radio had to glorify communist achievements, Stalin himself, as well as his economic programs.

c. The Arts were used for propaganda purposes – “… Arts are levers in the hands of the proletariat which must be used to show the masses (people) positive models of initiative and heroic labor.”

6. Education and Indoctrination – Government controlled education – nursery school through universities – taught virtues of Communist Party, stressed importance of sacrifice and hard work to build Communist state.

D. Stalin Seized Control of the Russian Economy

1. 1928 – Stalin’s plan called for a command economy – system in which government made all economic decisions.

a. Leader (Stalin) identified country’s economic needs and determined how to fulfill them.

2. Stalin had several “Five-Year Plans” for development: set impossibly high goals to increase output of steel, coal, oil and electricity.

a. To reach goals: government limited production of consumer goods so people ended up with severe shortages of housing, food, clothing and other necessities.

3. Stalin’s tough methods did produce impressive economic result and Soviets main many gains.

4. Stalin government seized control of over 25 million privately owned farms in the USSR and combined them into large government-owned farms called collective farms.

a. Hundreds of families worked these farms, producing food for the state.

b. Some people resisted these methods – especially wealthy peasants called kulaks.

c. Kulaks fought government attempts to take their land, killing livestock and destroying crops in protest.

d. Soviet secret police herded thousands of farmers onto collective farms by force and fear of violence.

e. Between 5 and 10 million peasants died as a direct result of Stalin’s agricultural revolution.

E. Daily Life Under Stalin

A. Stalin’s totalitarian rule revolutionized Russian society

1. Women’s roles greatly expanded

a. In 1917 the Bolshevik Revolution had declared men and women equal.

b. Laws were passed to grant women equal rights.

c. Under Stalin: women had to join the labor force.

d. The state provided child care for all working mothers.

e. Millions of women worked in factories and construction, however, men still held the best jobs.

f. But, women had new educational opportunities and became doctors and engineers. By 1950 75% of doctors in the USSR were women.

2. People were better educated and mastered new technical skills.

3. The COST: Personal freedoms limited, consumer goods in short supply, any dissent prohibited.

4. Stalin’s economic plans created high demand for skilled workers, so university and technical training become essential to a better life.

F. By mid-1930’s Stalin had forcibly transformed USSR into a totalitarian regime and an industrial and political power.



1. Unopposed dictator.

2. Ushered in a period of total social control and rule by terror rather than constitutional government.


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