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.