Describe the impact a individual identity had on the live of ordinary people in a historical context.
Already in 1914, Russia is having trouble at home, which keeps it out of the First World War. Keeping the soldiers supplied meant that civilians went hungry, and although the Tsar Nicholas II took personal command of the army, that didn't change the fact the people turned
against him. Many soldiers were supporters of the revolutionary Bolshevik party, because the Tsar was unable to keep them satisfied either. Finally, in March 1917 Russia collapsed into revolution. The Tsar was overthrown and a new Provisional Government ruled Russia.
This government promised to carry on the war, but soon found out that neither the will or the resources were there.
In November 1917 the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, took power and pulled out of the war. This was very easy, because there were no massive demonstrations demanding the return of Kerensky (the Justice Minister in the Provisional Government) and the Provisional Government was very unpopular. Lenin's policy is known as the 'April Theses', which can be summed up in the words 'Peace, Bread and Land'. He introduces the New Soviet State with a one party rule. Other political parties such as the Mensheviks, the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Kadets were weakened by the arrest of their leaders and the closingdown of their newspapers. This is the first major impact Lenin had on Russia: it is now run by a totalitarian dictatorship.
The first thing Lenin did was to demand a peace treaty with Germany, who were very near the capture of Petrograd. In the treaty of Brest-Litovsk Russia lost very much territory, but it also caused the Civil War in 1918. The Reds (as the Bolsheviks called themselves) won from the Whites (as the opposition called themselves, in contrast with the Reds), but this was at the cost of loads of human lives. During the war Lenin had introduced 'War Communism', which was the state control of industry and agriculture. War Communism resulted in strikes, demonstatrations and eventually famine in Russia. The first hatred against communism occurred, especially because of the great hunger in the towns. Lenin ordered soldiers to requisition food and seize it without payment. These were known as Requisition Squads. This
resulted in even more hunger and distress, and even more opposition against the government. In the short term War Communism helped Lenin win the civil war but in the long term (the Civil War ended in 1921) it devastated the country.
Lenin recognised that changes were necessary and in March 1921 he introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP). He made agreements with the peasants to allow them to keep or sell any food they had left after the government had taken a specific amount. Smaller factories were given back to their previous owners, and Russian economy began to recover. However, Lenin didn't live long enough to see this, and he died in January 1924, due to several strokes.
Lenin's impact on Russia and the Russian people was huge. Russia had been governed by the Tsar and his family for three hundred years. When Lenin gained power he brought about a lot of reforms he modernised Russia to some extent. As said before, he was the one who put the ideas of Karl Marx into practise, and he was the one who realised the ideas of a One Party State and Communism. He led Russia through Civil War and when NEP began to be abandoned, the ordinary Russian was probably better off than at any time in 1914. According to the historian A.J.P. Taylor: 'Lenin did more than any other political figure to change the face of the twentieth century world'. However, to do this, Lenin and his Red Guards had killed thousands of opponents, which is an impact on the Russian people as well