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In order to fully understand the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under Stalin (1924 - 1953), we must look to the time before the country was conceived and the forces that brought about the great social and economic revolution of the former Russian State.
Before the onset of the socialist revolutions, Russia was a dictatorship with the Tsar as the omnipotent leader. With the onset of industry and constant social unrest the Russian Tsar became a very unstable leader. This "civil-unrest" eventually came to a head in1917 with the February revolution and the overthrow of the Tsarist state. The first revolution occurred on February 24-29 and the second occurred on October 24 - 25. The first revolution overthrew the Tsarist government and established a provincial government of Duma members. This first government was doomed from the beginning because of its inability to stop the slaughter of Russian Troops to the Germans and the inability to stop the widespread famine sweeping Russia.
On October 24 - 25 the Bolshevik party, under Lenin, led Russian workers and peasants through the USSR's October revolution. The new government resolved to begin construction of a socialist society, but soon encountered extreme obstacles. While the new government attempted to come to peace with all Europe's warring nations, only Germany agreed to peace with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Lenin stood for signing the proposed peace treaty in accordance with the first promise the Bolsheviks had used before coming to power - "Peace". Lenin assured the Central Committee that Germany could be defeated from within by its workers in a socialist upheaval of the capitalist state. This would occur in much the same fashion as the revolution that Russia just experienced. He stated that if the German revolution did not occur and the treaty was not signed, Russia would be worse off because Germany would simply conquer more Russian land and force worse terms of peace for the Russian people. Bukharin opposed the acceptance of the peace terms and advocated a revolutionary war against the Germans. Trotsky proposed that the war be declared at an end but that the peace treaty not be signed. He felt then if the Germans continued to advance the terms should then be accepted "at the point of bayonet." This position was intended to show the international and German workers that the Soviets had held out against German imperialism until no other option was available. When World War I ended the Entente powers that consisted of the US, Britain, France, and Japan, continued to invade Russia with the help of tsarist generals and provisional government politicians. A four-year Civil War decimated the country with crippling famine and mass casualties. The new government was forced to adopt War Communism to survive. War Communism attempted to stem the tide of urban starvation that was occurring because Russian industry was completely dedicated to defending the country and the farming peasants were hoarding food supplies. Since the urban workers were building little that the farming peasantry could use, peasants refused to sell their produce to the cities. The confiscations of grain for the urban workers created discontent among Russia's vast peasant population. The peasants were displeased with the fact that grain was being taken away and nothing was given in return.
Russia had many policies to try and improve their industrial growth. During 1921 to 1928 they developed a plan called the New Economic Policy (NEP) . It started on March 1921 mainly because of the uprising by peasants in response to war communism.
The "Red Sailor" from the naval base located on Kronstadt started the revolt. The revolutionaries demanded free speech, secret elections and the right to own small-scale private industry. In response to this uprising, Lenin realized that it was not only the peasants that he had to deal with but he also had to ease control to rebuild the economy. Therefore he implemented the New Economic Policy.
The NEP was a combination of socialistic and capitalistic ideals. The state kept control of large and heavy industries like banks, transportation and steel plants but allowed free internal markets like restaurants and small shops. One of the stipulations was they were only allowed to use family as labor and not allowed to hire labor. Peasants were now not forced to submit their crops but instead paid a tax. The NEP gave rise to a new class of entrepreneurs called the Nepmens. They were the middle-men who find
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