The Soviet Union - An Extremely Short History
(Lecture Notes from Mr. Kersey's 7th Grade Geography Class)
Lenin and Communism
- In 1917, Vladimir Lenin took over the government in Russia. He wanted to turn Russia into a communist state.
- Communism was created by two guys names Karl Marx and Frederick Engles. Together they wrote the Communist Manifesto.
- Marx and Engles outlined an idea where the working class would rise up and take control over the rich owners.
- In the new country that resulted, everyone would be equal.
- Lenin knew the idea of communism would appeal to the massively poor workers and serfs in Russia.
- Lenin was right. After a three year civil war, Lenin formed the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or U.S.S.R.
- Lenin did some pretty bad things to make sure the Soviet Union became communist.
- Lenin used propaganda to sell his ideas to the people.
Stalin Takes Over
- Lenin kicked the bucket in 1924, and a man named Joseph Stalin took over.
- Stalin was determined to make the Soviet Union work, and he didn’t care what he had to do to make that happen.
- Stalin wanted to bring in industry to Russia. He wanted to modernize it. He began building factories all over Russia.
- He also knew factory workers needed food, so he took over all the farms in the country.
- Anyone who objected or questioned Stalin’s policies was either executed or sent to remote Siberia to live a life in exile.
- Stalin wanted to “cleanse” all the Soviet Union of anyone who did not believe in his brand of communism.
- During Stalin’s rule, millions were killed.
The Cold War
- At the end of World War II, The Soviets had taken much of Eastern Europe back from the Germans.
- The other allies had captured much of Western Europe.
- When the treaty to end the war was signed, it was decided the USSR would control East Germany and the US, Britain, and France were left with the West.
- The Soviets had great influence over Eastern Europe.
- The US and Britain wanted to prevent communism from spreading.
- A tension developed between the Soviet Union and the Western powers that lasted for 50 years.
- South Carolina found success in growing indigo, a type of plant which made an excellent purple dye.
- North Carolina was much poorer, and they made most of their money growing tobacco.
- This happened much later than the other Colonies, in the 1730's.
- It was an experiment in social reform, they sent debtors and petty criminals there to start a new life. They were not allowed to drink or gamble, etc.
- But, they did not mend their ways. The colony succeeded by growing rice and indigo, but the social experiment failed.