Monday, March 15, 2010

AP Economics: 16 March 2010


Current Events:

Gardner Says Fed Likely to Oversee Consumer Protection

Bloomberg — March 15, 2010 — March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Brian Gardner, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods Inc., talks with Bloomberg's Carol Massar about the outlook for legislation to overhaul financial regulation. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, will unveil an overhaul bill today without Republican backing. Gardner speaks from Washington. (Source: Bloomberg)

Gertler Discusses Federal Open Market Committee Meeting

Bloomberg — March 15, 2010 — March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Gertler, a professor of economics at New York University, talks with Bloomberg's Carol Massar about the outlook for Federal Reserve monetary policy and the U.S. economy. (Source: Bloomberg)

The Ch. 18 Short Answer Test is on Thursday; be sure to consult the Ch. 18 Test Prep Page and, as a review for Short Answer type answers, consider the newly posted Ch. 16 Short Answer Quiz KEY page.

We will pick up where we left off in Chapter 21.

Chapter 21 The Monetary System

Chapter Overview

This chapter covers the definition and functions of money (and the measurements M1 and M2), then turns to a discussion of the demand for and supply of money examining the market for money and the market for bonds. How banks create money is next, followed by material on the Federal Reserve System and an introduction to the tools of monetary policy (monetary policy is the subject of the next chapter). It should be noted that the chapter discusses monetary policy in terms of the Fed changing the supply of money to cause changes in interest rates.

Chapter Outline

Functions of Financial Institutions
Fractional Reserve System
The Money Creation Process

Money Creation by Chris Martenson, 4:19

Understanding how money is created provides a foundation for appreciating the implications of our massive levels of debt, because it tells us how that debt came into being. As John Kenneth Galbraith once said, "The process by which money is created is so simple, the mind is repelled." Dr. Martenson walks us through this simple process of fractional reserve banking.

The Money Multiplier

Multiplier effect and the money supply, 11:06

How "money" is created in a fractional reserve banking system. M0 and M1 definitions of the money supply: the multiplier effect.

The Federal Reserve System

Federal Reserve, 7:07

PBS NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman explains the workings of the Federal Reserve, c. 5:00, up to the sail analogy.

The Structure of the Federal Reserve
The Board of Governors
Federal Reserve Banks
Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)
The Tools of the Federal Reserve
Reserve Requirements
Discount Rate
Open Market Operations
Checkpoint: The Federal Reserve System
Ideas for Capturing Your Classroom Audience

Chapter Checkpoints

Extended Example in the Chapter
Where Did All the One-Dollar Coins Go?
The U.S. government continually tries issuing dollar coins, but they don’t seem to
catch on. Dollar coins don’t seem to circulate in the United States. The 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar was not popular (many people said it was too close in size to a quarter) and neither was the Sacagawea dollar coin introduced in 1999. So why would the government try again now in 2007 with the Presidents series of dollar coins?
It may be that the purpose has changed. While the argument was saving on the cost
of producing money in earlier decades (a dollar coin lasts longer than a dollar bill) the attraction now may be for the coins NOT to circulate! See the article by Gordon T. Anderson titled “Congress Tries Again for a Dollar Coin: After Two Bellyflops, Congress Is Considering a Dollar Coin Again. This Time It Might Actually Work” (CNN Money, April 28, 2005: 5:35 PM EDT), available on the Web at http://money. The author points out the seigniorage profits the government can earn if people hoard the coins instead of using them.
Examples Used in the End-of-Chapter Questions
Question 2 asks about barter and modern economies. It’s worth noting that an
increase in barter characterized the late 1990s in Russia, a situation unusual among nations in transition. There are numerous studies of barter in Russia, but an interesting perspective can be found in this piece by the president of the Ukraine talking about the “murky” bartering of resources with Russia. The article is “A Deal to End All Barter” by Victor Yushchenko (09:44 25 JANUARY 2006, The Wall Street Journal Europe). See the Web at
Question 7 references the FDIC. To learn more about the agency visit its Web site at
Questions 11 and 15 concern the independence of the Federal Reserve System. For
more information see the Web site at
Question 12 asks about the membership of the FOMC. For more information see the
Web site at
For Further Analysis
Required Reserves and the Money Multiplier
This example can be used as a small group exercise or as an individual exercise.
The exercise provides an opportunity for students to apply the material in the chapter on reserve requirements and the money multiplier to work through some of the calculations. Setting the required reserve ratio equal to zero allows students to see that the amount of money in circulation would grow by an infinite amount. You may also consider having students construct the same example as an Excel spreadsheet.
Web-Based Exercise
Learn more about the people who make up the Federal Reserve Board of
Governors. You can find links to their biographies from the site at http://www.
Note to instructors: In the summer of 2007 there were two vacancies on the Board.
In a May 15, 2007, story from Market Watch (Dow Jones), Greg Robb reported
that President George W. Bush had nominated Elizabeth Duke, the chief operating
officer of TowneBank of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Larry Klane, a senior official
at Capital One Financial Corp., to fill the positions. See the article at
aspx?guid=%7BAE3A0592-80B2-477C-8C4B-89719F6E51F1%7. Depending on the
time at which you cover this material, it might be of interest to learn more about
the confirmation hearings for new appointees.
After reading the biographies, answer the following:
1) Discuss the backgrounds of the people who make up the Board. Are they all
2) How long has each person served?
3) Has the fact that President Bush has appointed all of the current members
affected the Fed’s independence?
Tips from a Colleague
The topic of “how banks create money” always stumps students because they don’t
completely understand that the loan checks issued by banks result in transfers of
deposit funds. Emphasize what is and what is not money; for example, it is not the
check that is money but the funds on deposit. Even more important, debit cards are
money but credit cards are not.

Chapter 20 Material

Chapter Checkpoints
Demand-Side Fiscal Policy
Question: Explain why cutting taxes represents expansionary fiscal policy.
The point is to check that students can: apply their knowledge of the determinants
of aggregate demand to help evaluate the effect of cutting taxes (the key link is less taxes to more income to more spending).

Supply-Side Fiscal Policy

Question: In 1962 at a speech before the Economic Club of New York, President
John F. Kennedy argued that "it is a paradoxical truth that taxes are too high
today and tax revenues are too low.and the soundest way to raise taxes in the long
run is to cut rates now. Is President Kennedy's argument consistent with supply side economics? Why or why not?

The point is to check that students can: apply their comprehension of the material
on supply-side economics and evaluate the quote from President Kennedy.

Implementing Fiscal Policy

Question: Unless the economy enters a deep recession, we rarely hear Congress
discuss the budget in terms of fiscal policy: passing a spending and taxing package for macroeconomic purposes. Most of the discussion is on particular spending priorities for specific programs and bringing home projects for an individual politician's district. Has Congress essentially abandoned fiscal policy and left macroeconomic stabilization to the Federal Reserve and the setting of monetary policy?

The point is to check that students can: understand how changes in the price of oil affect the economy. It might be useful to point out that the initial effect is a decrease in aggregate supply against an unchanging aggregate demand.

Extended Example in the Chapter

The Size of Government Debate

Fiscal policy debates may have as much (if not more) to do with the philosophical
debate about the proper size of government as about the state of the macroeconomy.
In general, those on the left of the political spectrum favor a larger and more
active government while those on the right are constantly looking for ways to limit the size and power of the government. Examining federal receipts and expenditures as a percentage of GDP reveals the federal government’s tendency to spend more and more. The reason for this seems obvious: to cut spending Congress must cut programs, and whose programs would be cut? (In a later chapter, Chapter 23, the question of the budget deficit will be considered in more detail.)

Examples Used in the End-of-Chapter Questions

Question 2 references an article by Robert Dunn, titled “Let the Surplus Go” (The
New York Times, August 19, 2001) regarding the declining budget surplus. A summary
of the article in outline form (with key words noted) appears on the Web site
of Truth and Politics at

Question 4 references The Power of Productivity by William Lewis (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2004). An interview with William Lewis (by Nick
Schultz) is available on the Web site of TCS Daily: Technology, Commerce, Society,
at Among the points elaborated
in the interview are Lewis’s views about the combination of big government and
underdeveloped economies.

The pieces are “Remember Fiscal Policy?” in the “Economics Focus” section and
“The Case for Using Fiscal Policy” in the “Economic Policy Section.” The first piece presents the arguments that fiscal policy may have less of an effect on the economy than its proponents contend and moreover, that for political reasons, policymakers are “incapable of designing the right measures or enacting them at the right time.” The second piece contends that Keynesian measures to counteract a recession (particularly deficit spending) went “out of fashion years ago.” It goes on to suggest that such methods had been misapplied, meaning that they were being used to promote growth as opposed to counteracting recession.

For Further Analysis
Using the AS/AD Model to Explore the Impacts of Demand-Side Fiscal Policy
This example can be used as an in-class small group exercise or as an individual in class exercise. It is designed to complement the text’s material by employing the graphical analysis of the AS/AD model to illustrate the effects of demand-side fiscal policy when the economy is below full employment and when it is above full employment. It would not be difficult to adapt the handout to have students consider contractionary policy as well.

Note that for the second question students will have to show a shift in aggregate
demand and then a resulting shift in aggregate supply in order for the economy to
return to long-run equilibrium. You may also wish to summarize the assignment,
pointing out how important it is for the government to assess how close GDP is to
full employment and that regardless of the current level of output (compared to Qf), expansionary fiscal policy seems to always result in higher prices.

Web-Based Exercise

Listen to the Candidates Debate
This example can be used as a small group exercise or as an individual exercise.
The exercise provides an opportunity for students to apply the material in the chapter to positions of political candidates. This also allows students to appreciate the political spectrum, particularly in terms of the “middle” where positions are not so clearly “left” or “right.” You can make the assignment more or less extensive by choosing a number of candidates for students to consider, including local or state candidates as well as presidential and congressional candidates. Alternatively, you can also have students learn more about the positions of their already-elected state (or local) representatives; for example, what are their voting records?

Listen to the Candidates Debate
Visit the Web sites of political candidates and learn more about their positions with regard to the economy, particularly in terms of taxes and spending. Remember that government spending is associated with funding particular programs.

Tips from a Colleague

Students may not appreciate that the size of government is an ongoing matter of
debate in the United States and other countries. You may wish to review the material from Chapter 1 regarding the role of government in the economy and discuss the normative aspects of economics. Students may not fully appreciate the role of Congress and the interaction between Congress and the Executive Branch in terms of fiscal policy, so the process may be worth a brief review, particularly in the discussion of lags.


Email HW to

Be sure to consult the Ch. 18 Test Prep Page for the upcoming Ch. 18 Short Answer Test on Thursday.

1. Be sure to review Chapters 19-21 (we will have Quizzes and Tests on this material as well, TBA). Some students have asked to be tested as close as possible after covering the material. To this end, we can have a Short Answer Ch. 18 Test before students forget the material; since, we have already started Ch. 21.

2. Chapter Checkpoints
Demand-Side Fiscal Policy
Question: Explain why cutting taxes represents expansionary fiscal policy.
The point is to check that students can: apply their knowledge of the determinants
of aggregate demand to help evaluate the effect of cutting taxes (the key link is less taxes to more income to more spending).

Supply-Side Fiscal Policy

Question: In 1962 at a speech before the Economic Club of New York, President
John F. Kennedy argued that "it is a paradoxical truth that taxes are too high
today and tax revenues are too low.and the soundest way to raise taxes in the long
run is to cut rates now. Is President Kennedy's argument consistent with supply side economics? Why or why not?

The point is to check that students can: apply their comprehension of the material
on supply-side economics and evaluate the quote from President Kennedy.

3. As review for HW, typical questions that you may encounter on the actual AP Economics Macro Test are included daily:

Financial Sector, Review Questions

1. An item used as money that also has intrinsic value in some other use is

a) fiat money
b) token money
c) commodity money
d) legal tender
e) barter money

2. Currency and coin held outside banks plus demand deposits plus travelers' checks plus other checkable deposits equals

a) M1 money supply
b) M2 money supply
c) M3 money supply
d) L4 money supply
e) K1 money supply

3. The Central Bank of the United States is known as the

a) Federal Reserve System
B) Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
C) Department of the Treasury
D) Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation
E) Capital Reserve Corporation

WH II Honors: 15 March 2010

Current Events:

Armed Mexican Navy Helicopter Buzzing American Homes, Incursions Increasing

BROWNSVILLE — The Zapata County sheriff Thursday was questioning why a Mexican military helicopter was hovering over homes on the Texas side of the Rio Grande.

It was one of the more jarring incidents of the fourth week of border tensions sparked by drug killings, and rumors of such killings, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said he'd reviewed photos of the chopper flown by armed personnel Tuesday over a residential area known as Falcon Heights-Falcon Village near the bi-national Falcon Lake, just south of the Starr-Zapata county line. He said the helicopter appeared to have the insignia of the Mexican navy.

It's always been said that the Mexican military does in fact ... that there have been incursions, Gonzalez said. But this is not New Mexico or Arizona. Here we've got a river; there's a boundary line. And then of course having Falcon Lake, Falcon Dam, it's a lot wider. It's not just a trickle of a river, it's an actual dam. You know where the boundary's at.

As violence continued Thursday with a highway shootout in Tamaulipas, a Senate subcommittee in Washington heard testimony that drug cartels are trying to infiltrate U.S. agencies along the border, with corruption cases among Homeland Security personnel on the rise.

In the past two years, there have been 400 public corruption cases involving federal, state and local law enforcement agents originating from the Southwest border region, Kevin Perkins, FBI assistant director for criminal investigations, told the Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on preparedness.

James Tomsheck, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner, told the panel the drug cartels operating in Mexico are making a concerted effort to infiltrate CBP, and the agency is responding with more screening of job applicants with polygraph tests and background investigations. Corruption cases were opened last year on 576 CBP officers and Border Patrol agents.

Gonzalez, the Zapata sheriff, said the incursion was about a mile over the border and took place over a neighborhood populated by many U.S. Customs officers who work at area border crossings — and that they knew what they were seeing.

My understanding is the U.S. military were informed, he said. I don't know what action was taken, if any.

3 people associated with U.S. consulate killed in Mexico.

(CNN) -- Three people connected to the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, were killed in two drive-by shootings, a senior White House official told CNN Sunday.

Two of the victims were an American employee at the consulate and her U.S. citizen husband. The husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate was also killed. The shootings happened Saturday afternoon, the official said.

"We know that the U.S. citizens were targeted," Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes Ferriz told CNN, saying a police officer witnessed a car shooting at the Americans' car. "We know they were chasing them. We know they wanted to kill them."

The overview of World War I is helpful to orient our attention.

The Home Front: The Impact of Total War

On total war the best reference is:

War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World by Max Boot, pp. 198-201.

The broad impact of the Industrial Revolution resulted in both gains and losses. There was more food, medicine, clothing, more of everything, yet, the new technologies extinguished "life as effectively as they could be used to support it" (Boot, p. 198).

The Industrial Revolution did not cause WW I yet indirectly it "fostered the rise of Germany" (Boot, p. 198). "The figures boggle the mind:

from 1914 to 1918, sixty three million were seriously wounded or disabled.

Millions of civilians also died. . . . they were many orders of magnitude greater than those of any previous conflict. Pre-industrial states could not possibly have fed, clothed, equipped, moved--or slaughtered--so many individuals. Germany and France had 20 percent of their populations under arms. Britain mobilized only 13 percent, but this was still far higher than the 7 percent that Napoleon had been able to marshal with the levee en masse" (Boot, p. 198). Each soldier in addition had far more firepower than an entire regiment possessed a century earlier.

Increased Government Powers

Planned economies were necessary to fuel the increased demands of total war (Boot, p. 199). The pre-industrial state was not equal to the task of equipping and arming such large armies that were required in modern warfare. Governments nationalized industries along with the cooperation of major private companies. In Britain, France, and Germany, military spending shot up 2,000 percent (Boot, p. 199).

Manipulation of Public Opinion

Public dissent was not encouraged. A military dictatorship controlled Germany but even in the liberty-loving U.S. antiwar activists such as the socialist Eugene Debs was subject to arrest and confinement (Boot, p. 199).

Total war also meant controlling public opinion. Even in democratic countries, special boards censored the press. Their aim was to keep complete casualty figures and other discouraging news from reaching the public. Government censors also restricted popular literature, historical writings, motion pictures, and the arts.

Both sides waged a propaganda war. Propaganda is the spreading of ideas to promote a cause or to damage an opposing cause. Governments used propaganda to motivate military mobilization, especially in Britain before conscription started in 1916. In France and Germany, propaganda urged civilians to loan money to the government. Later in the war, Allied propaganda played up the brutality of Germany’s invasion of Belgium. The British and French press circulated tales of atrocities, horrible acts against innocent people. Although some atrocities did occur, often the stories were distorted by exaggerations or completely made up.

Total War and Women

Women of WW 1, 7:36

Women gained more rights as they took jobs previously open only to men (Boot, p. 200). It is not surprising that not long after the war women were granted the right of suffrage.

Women played a critical role in total war. As millions of men left to fight, women took over their jobs and kept national economies going. Many women worked in war industries, manufacturing weapons and supplies. Others joined women’s branches of the armed forces. When food shortages threatened Britain, volunteers in the Women’s Land Army went to the fields to grow their nation’s food.

Nurses shared the dangers of the men whose wounds they tended. At aid stations close to the front lines, nurses often worked around the clock, especially after a big “push” brought a flood of casualties. In her diary, English nurse Vera Brittain describes sweating through 90-degree days in France, “stopping hemorrhages, replacing intestines, and draining and reinserting innumerable rubber tubes” with “gruesome human remnants heaped on the floor.”

War work gave women a new sense of pride and confidence. After the war, most women had to give up their jobs to men returning home. Still, they had challenged the idea that women could not handle demanding and dangerous jobs. In many countries, including Britain, Germany, and the United States, women’s support for the war effort helped them finally win the right to vote, after decades of struggle.

Laissez-faire economic structures did not survive World War I. Social hierarchies broke down under the transformation. Women were granted the right to vote. World War I is "a conflict that could never have been waged on such a titanic, transformative scale were it not for the changes in warfare that had occurred in the previous half-century. This was the bittersweet legacy of the Industrial Age (Boot, p. 201)."

Reading Check


What was the effect of total war on ordinary citizens?

People in History

Edith Cavell

Like most ordinary people caught up in war, Edith Cavell (1865–1915) did not plan on becoming a hero. An English nurse, she was in charge of a hospital in Belgium. After the German invasion, Cavell cared for wounded soldiers on both sides. She also helped Allied soldiers escape to the Netherlands.

In 1915, the Germans arrested Cavell for spying. As she faced a firing squad, her last reported words were, “Standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.” Why do you think the British government spread the story of Edith Cavell?

The Lusitania

Virtual Lusitania, 4:39

Sinking of the Lusitania 1918 Animation, 8:23

The Great Lusitania, 5:35 (Warning: this version is the most intense and the most realistic; do not view if you feel the sinking of the ship would make you feel uncomfortable.)

Germany used U-boats to create its own blockade. In 1915, Germany declared that it would sink all ships carrying goods to Britain. In May 1915, a German submarine torpedoed the British liner Lusitania off the coast of Ireland. Almost 1,200 passengers were killed, including 128 Americans. Germany justified the attack, arguing that the Lusitania was carrying weapons. When American President Woodrow Wilson threatened to cut off diplomatic relations with Germany, though, Germany agreed to restrict its submarine campaign. Before attacking any ship, U-boats would surface and give warning, allowing neutral passengers to escape to lifeboats. Unrestricted submarine warfare stopped—for the moment.


Section 3 The Russian Revolution
Key Terms


war communism

Background to Revolution

Revolution! Cf.

“Mr. War Minister!

We, soldiers from various regiments,. . . ask you to end the war and its bloodshed at any cost…. If this is not done, then believe us when we say that we will take our weapons and head out for our own hearths to save our fathers, mothers, wives, and children from death by starvation (which is nigh). And if we cannot save them, then we’d rather die with them in our native lands then be killed, poisoned, or frozen to death somewhere and cast into the earth like a dog.”

—Letter from the front, 1917

Note Taking

Reading Skill: Summarize Copy the time line below and fill it in as you read this section. When you finish, write two sentences that summarize the information in your time line.

Beginnings of Upheaval
Online exhibition of Nicholas and Alexandra
Find out more about the last imperial family of Tsarist Russia.


Photo album of Tsar Nicholas II's Romanov family


The year 1913 marked the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty. Everywhere, Russians honored the tsar and his family. Tsarina Alexandra felt confident that the people loved Nicholas too much to ever threaten him. “They are constantly frightening the emperor with threats of revolution,” she told a friend, “and here,—you see it yourself—we need merely to show ourselves and at once their hearts are ours.”

Appearances were deceiving. In March 1917, the first of two revolutions would topple the Romanov dynasty and pave the way for even more radical changes.

The outbreak of war in 1914 fueled national pride and united Russians. Armies dashed to battle with enthusiasm. But like the Crimean and Russo-Japanese wars, World War I quickly strained Russian resources. Factories could not turn out enough supplies. The transportation system broke down, delivering only a trickle of crucial materials to the front. By 1915, many soldiers had no rifles and no ammunition. Badly equipped and poorly led, they died in staggering numbers. In 1915 alone, Russian casualties reached two million.

Vocabulary Builder

crucial—(kroo shul) adj. of vital importance

In a patriotic gesture, Nicholas II went to the front to take personal charge. The decision proved a disastrous blunder. The tsar was no more competent than many of his generals. Worse, he left domestic affairs to the tsarina, Alexandra. In Nicholas’ absence, Alexandra relied on the advice of Gregory Rasputin, an illiterate peasant and self-proclaimed “holy man.” The tsarina came to believe that Rasputin had miraculous powers after he helped her son, who suffered from hemophilia, a disorder in which any injury can result in uncontrollable bleeding.


By 1916, Rasputin’s influence over Alexandra had reached new heights and weakened confidence in the government. Fearing for the monarchy, a group of Russian nobles killed Rasputin on December 29, 1916.

The March Revolution

By March 1917, disasters on the battlefield, combined with food and fuel shortages on the home front, brought the monarchy to collapse. In St. Petersburg (renamed Petrograd during the war), workers were going on strike. Marchers, mostly women, surged through the streets, shouting, “Bread! Bread!” Troops refused to fire on the demonstrators, leaving the government helpless. Finally, on the advice of military and political leaders, the tsar abdicated.

Duma politicians then set up a provisional, or temporary, government. Middle-class liberals in the government began preparing a constitution for a new Russian republic. At the same time, they continued the war against Germany.

Outside the provisional government, revolutionary socialists plotted their own course. In Petrograd and other cities, they set up soviets, or councils of workers and soldiers. At first, the soviets worked democratically within the government. Before long, though, the Bolsheviks, a radical socialist group, took charge. The leader of the Bolsheviks was a determined revolutionary, V. I. Lenin.

The revolutions of March and November 1917 are known to Russians as the February and October revolutions. In 1917, Russia still used an old calendar, which was 13 days behind the one used in Western Europe. Russia adopted the Western calendar in 1918.

Reading Check


Develop a sequence of events leading to the March Revolution.

The Rise of Lenin

A profile of Lenin:

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (ool yahn uf) was born in 1870 to a middle-class family. He adopted the name Lenin when he became a revolutionary. When he was 17, his older brother was arrested and hanged for plotting to kill the tsar. The execution branded his family as a threat to the state and made the young Vladimir hate the tsarist government.

A Brilliant Revolutionary

As a young man, Lenin read the works of Karl Marx and participated in student demonstrations. He spread Marxist ideas among factory workers along with other socialists, including Nadezhda Krupskaya (nah dyez duh kroop sky uh), the daughter of a poor noble family. In 1895, Lenin and Krupskaya were arrested and sent to Siberia. During their imprisonment, they were married. After their release, they went into exile in Switzerland. There they worked tirelessly to spread revolutionary ideas.

Lenin’s View of Marx

Lenin adapted Marxist ideas to fit Russian conditions. Marx had predicted that the industrial working class would rise spontaneously to overthrow capitalism. But Russia did not have a large urban proletariat. Instead, Lenin called for an elite group to lead the revolution and set up a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Though this elite revolutionary party represented a small percentage of socialists, Lenin gave them the name Bolsheviks, meaning “majority.”

In Western Europe, many leading socialists had come to think that socialism could be achieved through gradual and moderate reforms such as higher wages, increased suffrage, and social welfare programs. A group of socialists in Russia, the Mensheviks, favored this approach. The Bolsheviks rejected it. To Lenin, reforms of this nature were merely capitalist tricks to repress the masses. Only revolution, he said, could bring about needed changes.

In March 1917, Lenin was still in exile. As Russia stumbled into revolution, Germany saw a chance to weaken its enemy by helping Lenin return home. Lenin rushed across Germany to the Russian frontier in a special train. He greeted a crowd of fellow exiles and activists with this cry: “Long live the worldwide Socialist revolution!”

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Lenin (1870–1924) was the son of a teacher and his wife who lived in a little town on the Volga River. Vladimir lived with his parents and five siblings in a rented wing of a large house. By all accounts it was a happy home. Vladimir excelled at school and looked up to his older brother Alexander. But when Vladimir was 16, his father died. When he was 17, his beloved brother Alexander was hanged for plotting to kill the tsar.

Still reeling from the death of his brother, Vladimir enrolled at Kazan University. There he met other discontented young people. They united to protest the lack of student freedom in the university. Within three months, Vladimir was expelled for his part in the demonstrations. How do you think Lenin’s early life affected his later political ideas?

Reading Check


What was Lenin's plan when he arrived in Russia?

The Bolsheviks Seize Power

Lenin threw himself into the work of furthering the revolution. Another dynamic Marxist revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, helped lead the fight. To the hungry, war-weary Russian people, Lenin and the Bolsheviks promised “Peace, Land, and Bread.”

The Provisional Government’s Mistakes

Meanwhile, the provisional government, led by Alexander Kerensky, continued the war effort and failed to deal with land reform. Those decisions proved fatal. Most Russians were tired of war. Troops at the front were deserting in droves. Peasants wanted land, while city workers demanded an end to the desperate shortages. In July 1917, the government launched the disastrous Kerensky offensive against Germany. By November, according to one official report, the army was “a huge crowd of tired, poorly clad, poorly fed, embittered men.” Growing numbers of troops mutinied. Peasants seized land and drove off fearful landlords.

The Bolshevik Takeover

Conditions were ripe for the Bolsheviks to make their move. In November 1917, squads of Red Guards—armed factory workers—joined mutinous sailors from the Russian fleet in attacking the provisional government. In just a matter of days, Lenin’s forces overthrew the provisional government without a struggle.

The Bolsheviks quickly seized power in other cities. In Moscow, it took a week of fighting to blast the local government out of the walled Kremlin, the former tsarist center of government. Moscow became the Bolsheviks’ capital, and the Kremlin their headquarters.

“We shall now occupy ourselves in Russia in building up a proletarian socialist state,” declared Lenin. The Bolsheviks ended private ownership of land and distributed land to peasants. Workers were given control of the factories and mines. A new red flag with an entwined hammer and sickle symbolized union between workers and peasants. Throughout the land, millions thought they had at last gained control over their own lives. In fact, the Bolsheviks—renamed Communists—would soon become their new masters.

Reading Check


What was the impact of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on Russia?

Civil War in Russia

After the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin quickly sought peace with Germany. Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, giving up a huge chunk of its territory and its population. The cost of peace was extremely high, but the Communist leaders knew that they needed all their energy to defeat a collection of enemies at home. Russia’s withdrawal affected the hopes of both the Allies and the Central Powers, as you read in Section 3.
Vocabulary Builder

withdrawal—(with draw ul) n. the act of leaving

Opposing Forces

For three years, civil war raged between the “Reds,” as the Communists were known, and the counterrevolutionary “Whites.” The “White” armies were made up of tsarist imperial officers, Mensheviks, democrats, and others, all of whom were united only by their desire to defeat the Bolsheviks. Nationalist groups from many of the former empire’s non-Russian regions joined them in their fight. Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania broke free, but nationalists in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia were eventually subdued.

The Allies intervened in the civil war. They hoped that the Whites might overthrow the Communists and support the fight against Germany. Britain, France, and the United States sent forces to help the Whites. Japan seized land in East Asia that tsarist Russia had once claimed. The Allied presence, however, did little to help the Whites. The Reds appealed to nationalism and urged Russians to drive out the foreigners. In the long run, the Allied invasion fed Communist distrust of the West.

Brutality was common in the civil war. Counterrevolutionary forces slaughtered captured Communists and tried to assassinate Lenin. The Communists shot the former tsar and tsarina and their five children in July 1918 to keep them from becoming a rallying symbol for counterrevolutionary forces.


Who opposed the new Bolshevik regime?

Triumph of the Communists

The Communists used terror not only against the Whites, but also to control their own people. They organized the Cheka, a secret police force much like the tsar’s. The Cheka executed ordinary citizens, even if they were only suspected of taking action against the revolution. The Communists also set up a network of forced-labor camps in 1919—which grew under Stalin into the dreaded Gulag.

The Communists adopted a policy known as “war communism.” They took over banks, mines, factories, and railroads. Peasants in the countryside were forced to deliver almost all of their crops to feed the army and hungry people in the cities. Peasant laborers were drafted into the military or forced to work in factories.

Meanwhile, Trotsky turned the Red Army into an effective fighting force. He used former tsarist officers under the close watch of commissars, Communist party officials assigned to the army to teach party principles and ensure party loyalty. Trotsky’s passionate speeches roused soldiers to fight. So did the order to shoot every tenth man if a unit performed poorly.

The Reds’ position in the center of Russia gave them a strategic advantage. The White armies were forced to attack separately from all sides. They were never able to cooperate effectively with one another. By 1921, the Communists had managed to defeat their scattered foes.

Reading Check


Why did the Red Army prevail over the White Army?

War and Revolution in Russia 1914 - 1921 by Dr Jonathan Smele


Section 4 End of the War

Tanks, 1:46

Cassell Military Classics: Iron Fist: Classic Armoured Warfare by Bryan Perrett
One helpful animation is:

Animated Map: The Western Front, 1914 - 1918

Animated battle of the Somme


Among other animations, you can view: Life in the Trenches


You can try your luck during several front line missions with

Trench warfare:


By the time the Yanks get involved there is a popular song which memorialized American involvement:


American involvement in WW I, 4:11

The Great War #1, World War 1 Era Period Music and Pictures. WW 1 spanned from August of 1914 to November of 1918 and raged across the globe. The United States was officially involved in the war from April 1917 to the end.

The dough boys are nearly forgotten today in the shadow of World War 2, Vietnam and Iraq. Millions of American men and women, black and white, served our country in The Great War. This series of shorts shows the music of their time and photographs from the Great War.


BBC Schools Links

GCSE Bitesize Revision - History
A secondary revision resource for GCSE exams covering the First World War.

The Bitesize series features audio clips from history and commentators:


Standard Grade Bitesize Revision - History
A secondary revision resource for Standard Grade covering the First World War.

BBC Sites

BBC History - World War One
This World War One site from BBC History features interactive movies, animations, feature articles and 3-d models.

One helpful animation is:

Animated Map: The Western Front, 1914 - 1918


History Trail – How to do History
Follow in the footsteps of professional historians and find out how they do history. Discover how postcards, council records, tapestries and people's memories of the past are all valuable sources for the historian.

Other Sites

Learning Curve – The Great War
This is a comprehensive offering from the Public Records Office, which tells the story of the First World War through six different source based investigations. It aims to show how the War developed and includes teachers' notes.

Spartacus Educational – The First World War
Spartacus' World War One website offers a growing encyclopaedia of entries about the war, as well as links to other websites.

First World - The war to end all wars
This site gives a general overview of the First World War. It offers a collection of insightful feature articles, photos and footage, memoirs and diaries.

Spark Notes – World War 1 (1914-1918)
Gives a summary and commentary on each main study area of the First World War.

Art of the First World War
Presents 100 paintings from international collections from around the world to commemorate the First World War.

The World War One Document Archive
The World War One Document Archive presents primary documents concerning the Great War.

World War 1 - Web Links
This site lists links to in-depth articles on all aspects of the First World War, including a large collection of links to primary source material.

National Curriculum Online: History
Information about the National Curriculum for History, QCDA and DfEE schemes of work, pupils' work and information about standards and support materials.

QCDA History
The Qualifications and Curriculum Development Authority (QCDA) History section.

Examine key issues with the help of original documents.


The best overall war reference for the entire modern period:

War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World by Max Boot

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Cassell Military Classics: Iron Fist: Classic Armoured Warfare by Bryan Perrett

Day of the Assassins: A Jack Christie Novel by Johnny O'Brien

War in the Air 1914-45 (Smithsonian History of Warfare) by Williamson Murray
The Encyclopedia of Warfare: The Changing Nature of Warfare From Prehistory to Modern-day Armed Conflicts by Robin Cross, pp. 170-193.

The Encyclopedia of Weaponry: The Development of Weaponry from Prehistory to 21st Century Warfare, Ian V. Hogg, pp. 112-139.

Battles and Campaigns (Mapping History) by Malcolm Swanston

A documentary about the battle of the Somme 1916 part 1, 9:58

War and Revolution in Russia 1914 - 1921

By Dr Jonathan Smele


World War I in Popular Culture
In 1966, the "Ace" was immortalized in song by the Royal Guardsmen with their hit, Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron. This was followed in 1967 by Return of the Red Baron, in which it is revealed that the Baron survived their previous encounter but runs away when Snoopy challenges him to a duel with pistols, and then by Snoopy's Christmas, in which the two foes temporarily set aside their differences for a Christmas toast, as per the Christmas Truces that occurred during World War I. Snoopy's Christmas continues to be played as a holiday favorite on many oldies radio stations.

During the 1968 U.S. Presidential election, the Guardsmen released two additional songs, "Snoopy for President", in which Snoopy's bid for the nomination of the Beagle party is tipped in his favor by the Red Baron, and "Down Behind the Lines", which does not mention Snoopy specifically but describes the attempts of a World War I pilot to fly his damaged Sopwith Camel back to friendly territory.

In 2006 the Guardsmen recorded a song called "Snoopy vs. Osama" in which Snoopy shifts his focus away from The Red Baron and captures Osama Bin Laden.

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, 2:08

1966, The Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, 2:40

The group from Ocala, FL with the British moniker rose to fame in 1966 with its single, “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” which became the title track of its debut album. The album reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and remained there for 12 weeks. It went on to sell one million copies, earning it gold certification from the R.I.A.A. in 1967.

How To Take Effective Notes

Email to

1. Monday: p. 514, Preview Questions, #1-2.

2. Focus Questions

Finish the sentences:

Last week, what I liked least about the class was . . .

Last week, what I liked most about the class was . . .