March 21, 2010
Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets to participate in so-called Day of Wrath opposition rallies all over the country. Those who oppose the current social and economic policies of the government are demanding protection of their personal liberties and constitutional rights.
`Health care is a right.'
What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us by Yuri N. Maltsev.
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.
withdrawal—(with draw ul) n. the act of leaving
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.” In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal "cradle-to-grave" healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The "right to health" became a "constitutional right" of Soviet citizens. The Communists 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.
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
The Last Year of the War
By 1917, European societies were cracking under the strain of war. Casualties on the fronts and shortages at home sapped morale. The stalemate dragged on, seemingly without end. Soon, however, the departure of one country from the war and the entry of another would tip the balance and end the stalemate.
A German Submarine Sinks the Lusitania
The sinking of the British line Lusitania in 1915, was part of Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. The incident was featured in propaganda posters as evidence of German brutality.
A New German Offensive
1918 The last German offensive, 5:32
Despite inspiring propaganda, by 1917 the morale of troops and civilians had plunged. Germany was sending 15-year-old recruits to the front. Britain was on the brink of bankruptcy.
A final showdown on the Western Front began in early 1918. The Germans badly wanted to achieve a major victory before eager American troops arrived in Europe. In March, the Germans launched a huge offensive that by July had pushed the Allies back 40 miles. These efforts exhausted the Germans, however, and by then American troops were arriving by the thousands. The Allies then launched a counterattack, slowly driving German forces back across France and Belgium. In September, German generals told the kaiser that the war could not be won.
Collapse and Armistice
World War I: Voices of the Armistice, 4:27
Uprisings exploded among hungry city dwellers across Germany. German commanders advised the kaiser to step down. William II did so in early November, fleeing into exile in the Netherlands.
By autumn, Austria-Hungary was also reeling toward collapse. As the government in Vienna tottered, the subject nationalities revolted, splintering the empire of the Hapsburgs. Bulgaria and the Ottoman empire also asked for peace.
The new German government sought an armistice, or agreement to end fighting, with the Allies. At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the Great War at last came to an end.
Rosa Luxemburg (Rosalia Luxemburg, Polish: Róża Luksemburg; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish Jewish (Marxist) theorist, philosopher, economist and activist who became a naturalized German citizen. She was successively a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, the German SPD, the Independent Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party of Germany.
In 1915, after the SPD supported German involvement in World War I, she co-founded, with Karl Liebknecht, the anti-war Spartakusbund (Spartacist League). On 1 January 1919 the Spartacist League became the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). In November 1918, during the German Revolution she founded the Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag), the central organ of the Spartacist movement.
She regarded the Spartacist uprising of January 1919 in Berlin as a blunder, but supported it after Liebknecht ordered it without her knowledge. The revolt was crushed by the Social Democrat government and the Freikorps (WWI veterans defending the Weimar Republic).
The Freikorps, oh Deutschland hoch in Ehren, 3:50
In response to the uprising, Social Democratic leader Friedrich Ebert ordered the Freikorps to destroy the left-wing revolution. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were captured in Berlin on January 15, 1919, by the Freikorps' Garde-Kavallerie-Schützendivision. Its commander, Captain Waldemar Pabst, along with Horst von Pflugk-Hartung questioned them and then gave the order to execute them. Luxemburg was knocked down with a rifle butt, then shot in the head; her body was flung into Berlin's Landwehr Canal. In the Tiergarten Karl Liebknecht was shot and his body, without a name, brought to a morgue. Likewise, hundreds of KPD members were summarily killed, and the Workers' and Soldiers' councils disbanded; the German revolution was ended. More than four months later, on June 1, 1919, Luxemburg's corpse was found and identified. After their deaths, Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht became martyrs for Marxists.
What happened within Germany after the armistice?
The Peace Settlements
Lloyd George, Clemenceau, and Wilson (left to right) at the Paris Peace Conference.
The victorious Allies met at the Paris Peace Conference to discuss the fate of Europe, the former Ottoman empire, and various colonies around the world. The Central Powers and Russia were not allowed to take part in the negotiations.
Just weeks after the war ended, President Wilson boarded a steamship bound for France. He had decided to go in person to Paris, where Allied leaders would make the peace. Wilson was certain that he could solve the problems of old Europe. “Tell me what is right,” Wilson urged his advisers, “and I’ll fight for it.” Sadly, it would not be that easy. Europe was a shattered continent. Its problems, and those of the world, would not be solved at the Paris Peace Conference, or for many years afterward.
Wilson was one of three strong leaders who dominated the Paris Peace Conference. He was a dedicated reformer and at times was so stubbornly convinced that he was right that he could be hard to work with. Wilson urged for “peace without victory” based on his Fourteen Points.
peace agreements through open agreements
self-determination (the right of each people to have its own nation)
Wilson's idealism ran into difficulties in Europe
Treaty of Versailles, 1:15
The Paris Peace Conference
Two other Allied leaders at the peace conference had different aims. British prime minister David Lloyd George had promised to build a postwar Britain “fit for heroes”—a goal that would cost money. The chief goal of the French leader, Georges Clemenceau (klem un soh), was to weaken Germany so that it could never again threaten France. “Mr. Wilson bores me with his Fourteen Points,” complained Clemenceau. “Why, God Almighty has only ten!”
Reading Skill: Categorize
One way to summarize information is to divide it into categories. In the table below, the left-hand column lists issues the world faced after World War I. As you read and listen to the lecture, categorize the information in the text in one of the second two columns.
Crowds of other representatives circled around the “Big Three” with their own demands and interests. The Italian prime minister, Vittorio Orlando (awr lan doh), insisted that the Allies honor their secret agreement to give former Austro-Hungarian lands to Italy. Such secret agreements violated the principle of self-determination.
Self-determination posed other problems. Many people who had been ruled by Russia, Austria-Hungary, or the Ottoman empire now demanded national states of their own. The territories claimed by these peoples often overlapped, so it was impossible to satisfy them all. Some ethnic groups became unwanted minorities in newly created states.
Wilson had to compromise on his Fourteen Points. However, he stood firm on his goal of creating an international League of Nations. The League would be based on the idea of collective security, a system in which a group of nations acts as one to preserve the peace of all. Wilson felt sure that the League could correct any mistakes made in Paris.
People in History
The Treaty of Versailles
In June 1919, the Allies ordered representatives of the new German Republic to sign the treaty they had drawn up at the palace of Versailles (vur sy) outside Paris. The German delegates were horrified. The treaty forced Germany to assume full blame for causing the war. It also imposed huge reparations that would burden an already damaged German economy. The reparations covered not only the destruction caused by the war, but also pensions for millions of Allied soldiers or their widows and families. The total cost of German reparations would later be calculated at $30 billion (the equivalent of about $2.7 trillion today).
A New Map of Europe
This cartoon portrays one view of the peace treaties that ended World War I.
* The turkey symbolizes Germany.
* Britain holds a carving knife and fork, ready to carve the turkey.
* Other Allies await the feast.
1. What does carving up the turkey symbolize?
2. What attitude do you think that the cartoonist has towards the treaties?
Europe 1914, Europe 1920
Web Code: nap-2641
The peace treaties that ended World War I redrew the map of Europe.
(a) Lithuania (b) Czechoslovakia (c) Yugoslavia (c) Poland (d) Danzig
Which countries lost territory in Eastern Europe?
3. Draw Conclusions
Why might the distribution of territory after World War I leave behind widespread dissatisfaction?
Other parts of the treaty were aimed at weakening Germany. The treaty severely limited the size of the once-feared German military. It returned Alsace and Lorraine to France, removed hundreds of square miles of territory from western and eastern Germany, and stripped Germany of its overseas colonies. The treaty compelled many Germans to leave the homes they had made in Russia, Poland, Alsace-Lorraine, and the German colonies to return to Germany or Austria.
The Germans signed because they had no choice. However, German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles would poison the international climate for 20 years. It would help spark an even deadlier world war in the years to come.
The Allies drew up separate treaties with the other Central Powers. Like the Treaty of Versailles, these treaties left widespread dissatisfaction. Discontented nations waited for a chance to revise the peace settlements in their favor.
Where the German, Austrian, and Russian empires had once ruled, a band of new nations emerged. Poland became an independent nation after more than 100 years of foreign rule. The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia fought for and achieved independence.
Three new republics—Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Hungary—rose in the old Hapsburg heartland. In the Balkans, the peacemakers created a new South Slav state, Yugoslavia, dominated by Serbia.
European colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific had looked to the Paris Peace Conference with high hopes. Colonial leaders expected that the peace would bring new respect and an end to imperial rule. However, the leaders at Paris applied self-determination only to parts of Europe. Outside Europe, the victorious Allies added to their overseas empires. The treaties created a system of mandates, territories administered by Western powers. Britain and France gained mandates over German colonies in Africa. Japan and Australia were given mandates over some Pacific islands. The treaties handled lands that used to be part of the Ottoman empire as if they were colonies, too.
In theory, mandates were to be held until they were able to stand alone. In practice, they became European colonies. From Africa to the Middle East and across Asia, people felt betrayed by the peacemakers.
The War's Legacy
What clause in the Treaty of Versailles particularly angered the Germans?
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
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 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.
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 War.com - 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.
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 One News Report, High School History Project
Songs are in this order: It's A Long Way to Berlin but We'll Get There, The Yanks Started Yankin, I May Stay Away A Little Longer, It's A Long Way to Tipperary, What Kind of an American Are You, How Ya Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Monday: p. 519, #4-6
Finish the sentences:
Last week, what I liked least about the class was . . .
Last week, what I liked most about the class was . . .