What is the dictionary definition for this idea/event?
Communism is defined as a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.
Who (give me precise people) started this idea/event?
Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engles (1820-1895) started and founded the modern Communist movement to promote the value of the common man, and to end the suffering of individuals under the rule of aristocracies and tyrants. Their aim was ultimately advanced by the Bolsheviks under Vladimir Lenin, but perverted under Stalin to create the very sort of ruling class that they wished to eliminate.
What were the reasons that this happened (previous philosophies/events that led up to this)?
They believed that Communism is inevitable point in history when the workers and government hold the power over state. Throughout history there have been many different kinds of communist leadership. Every leader has taken this system of government to different extents. Communism started because Marx, Engels, and other communist thinkers saw problems in society due to the unequal distribution of wealth. To usher in a utopian society for everyone, the distinctions between the rich and poor classes must be removed. Since the rich class will never give up their property and power voluntarily, a revolution of the poor, working class is necessary. Communism is a socio-economic philosophy that maintains violent struggle is necessary to achieve a utopian, classless society. Whereas capitalism is a socio-economic system based on individual rights (and individual wealth), communism was created to be the direct opposite. Communism proposes equality (goal) through force (means). Individual rights and private property are lost to absolute government control for the ultimate benefit of the collective. (Communism dismisses religion as the “opiate of the people,” and embraces atheism as part of its socio-economic philosophy.)
List and describe the major events and people in this idea/event
Vladimir Lenin: Russian founder of the Bolshevik Communist Party and leader of the Russian Revolution and first head of the USSR (1870-1924)
Leon Trotsky: Russian revolutionary and Communist theorist who aided Lenin and built up the Red Army.
Karl Marx: founder of modern communism, German philosopher, economist, and revolutionary. With the help and support of Friedrich Engels he wrote The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867-1894). These works explain historical development in terms of the interaction of contradictory economic forces, form the basis of all communist theory, and have had a profound influence on the social sciences.
Friedrich Engels: socialist who wrote the Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx in 1848 (1820-1895)
Alexander Kerensky: Leader of Provincial Government installed in Russia following the March 1917 Revolution; overthrown by Bolsheviks
Joseph Stalin: The man who turned the Soviet Union from a backward country into a world superpower at unimaginable human cost.
Other Important Leaders:
Mao Zedong: Zedong was a Chinese communist leader and founder of the People's Republic of China. He was responsible for the disastrous policies of the 'Great Leap Forward' and the 'Cultural Revolution'.
Fidel Castro: Cuban leader Fidel Castro (1926-) established the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere after leading an overthrow of the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
The Russian Civil Revolution (1917 - 1921)
The Russian Revolution, also called Bolshevik Revolution or the October Revolution, is famous as the first outburst of the unrest among the people against the growing economic divide. Basically, there were two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first was the February Revolution, where the monarchy of the Tsar ended and the provisional government rose to power. The second revolution was the Bolshevik or October Revolution, where the provisional government replaced the Bolsheviks, the group of self-proclaimed professional revolutionaries, led by Vladimir Lenin. Lenin, one of the prominent political figures in history, is known for his contributions to the theory of Marxism-Leninism. The start of communism in Russia is associated with Lenin.
Death of Lenin, Stalin Become USSR Leader (1924)
Another revolutionary leader who has acquired a crucial place in the history of communism is Joesph Stalin. Stalin, as a young revolutionary, supported the acts of Lenin and slowly gained his confidence. As Lenin saw great potential and power in Stalin's personality, he appointed Stalin as head of many important organizations in the party. In October 1922, Lenin was admitted in hospital and slowly was succumbing to death due to poor health. Stalin gained enormous power in the party during this period. Finally, when Lenin died in 1924, Joseph Stalin became the USSR leader.
The Iron Curtain Speech (1946)
What countries/civilizations were affected most by this idea/event?
During the reign of the Soviet Union, there were numerous communist countries throughout Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa. Communist countries in the twentieth century included Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Congo, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mongolia, Mozambique, Poland, Romania, Somalia, South Yemen, Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. To this very day, only five communist countries remain; China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Vietnam.
What effects of this idea/event do we encounter today?
Communism has had many quantifiable effects around the globe that we encounter to this very day.
For example, in the pre-Castro years of the 1950s, the Cuban population as a whole had access to good sustainable medical care through association clinics (clinicas mutualistas) which predated the American concept of health maintenance organizations by decades, as well as through private clinics. At that time Cuba's medical system was an excellent one. but under communism they virtually have no access to antibiotics or medical products. Cuba's healthcare has become a disaster especially for patients and physicians. Another example is North Korea, one of the world's most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power output have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel. There are also systematic human rights abuses all over North Korea. Another major effect would be the high concentration of pollution after the collapse of the iron curtain in November 1989. An emphasis on production without regard for environmental consequences in Central and Eastern Europe and wrought and greatly compromised the quality of the air, water, soil, crops, and forestlands.