TTC – Rise and Fall of Soviet Communism (Audio)| Size : 325.06 MB
Professor Gary Hamburg of the University of Notre Dame leads you on a probing historical journey that sheds light on the recent history and near future of a key world power.
Gain New Insights, No Matter What Your Chief Interest May Be
Whether your chief interest is Russian or world history, political theory, or international relations, you take away a wealth of knowledge and insight from these scholarly and comprehensive lectures as Professor Hamburg examines:
- The improbable origins of Communist rule in Russia
- The ascent of the Red Star to its zenith
- Its decline and apparent end in the wake of 1989′s epoch-making events.
Beginning with the failures of the czarist regime and the horrors of the First World War, then moving through the bloody era of Josef Stalin’s purges and beyond to Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, Professor Hamburg familiarizes you with the story of 20th-century Russia.
Peek into Newly Opened Archives
Using new material from previously sealed Soviet archives and covering recent controversial findings by both Russian and Western scholars, Professor Hamburg offers you an analysis of the Soviet experiment.
His method is to draw a sharp focus on the major turning point of each of Soviet history’s three key periods:
The first period centers on the breakdown of the czarist regime, the events culminating in the Menshevik and Bolshevik revolutions of 1917, the outbreak of Russian civil war, the triumph of the Bolsheviks, and the birth of the Communist party-state system.
Czarist Russia’s disastrous involvement in World War I sets the stage for the fall of the czar and the rise of Lenin, who masterminded the Bolshevik coup that has gone down in history as the October Revolution.
Along with Lenin’s role in the suppression of “bourgeois” democracy and the creation of the Soviet state, Professor Hamburg explores his decisive theoretical influence on the form that Marxism took in Russia.
You learn that Marx himself would not have thought Russiaa largely agrarian society at the time”ripe” for revolution.
The second period begins with Lenin’s announcement of the New Economic Policy and continues with the debates, power struggles, and eventual consolidation of his power in the late 1920s, the social terror of agricultural collectivization and the political terror of the party purges in the 1930s, the bloody horrors of World War II and its aftermath, and the death of Stalin in 1953.
In teaching this second period, Professor Hamburg devotes extensive time to an explanation and analysis of Stalinism. You examine the cruel dictatorship of Stalin, who used forced starvation, murderous purges by secret police, and brutal labor campsthe infamous “gulag archipelago”to consolidate his grip on power.
Next you examine the Nazi invasion and the “Great Patriotic War” of 194145, which nearly toppled Stalin and killed millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians.
If you’ve ever wondered about the parallels between Stalin and Adolf Hitler, you will find much food for thought in Professor Hamburg’s careful comparison of the two.
The third and most recent period begins with Khrushchev’s first efforts at de-Stalinization, continues with the Brezhnev reaction, and reaches its climax with Gorbachev’s startling initiatives of perestroika and glasnost in the late 1980s. This leads to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ascendancy of Boris Yeltsin, and the current era of post-Soviet disarray.
You learn how Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, and Gorbachev all tried to curb the abuses of power and tendency toward the “cult of personality” associated with Stalinism. Yet they tried to do so while preserving the power structure Stalin had created, along with the principles of Communism itself.
Professor Hamburg turns his lens on the policies of perestroika and glasnost to convey most fully the impact of these final years of the Soviet regime.
Two Major Schools of Thought
On the theoretical side, Professor Hamburg also considers the two ways to interpret 20th-century Russian history:
- The mainstream view, which generally holds that the only real discontinuities in 20th-century Russian history are the Bolshevik Revolution and the collapse of the USSR. In this view, the entire Soviet period is essentially undifferentiated from Lenin to Stalin to Gorbachev.
- The revisionist view, which sees major continuities in Russia’s history prior to the Bolshevik Revolution and following Gorbachev, but major discontinuities within the Soviet period.
Although his own views tend toward the mainstream, Professor Hamburg is careful to give due account to the revisionists’ arguments.
“Neither interpretation has gained full acceptance for the simple reason that we are still too close in time to most of these events.
“Moreover, we must all appreciate from the outset the duration, complexity, and uniqueness of recorded Russian history, of which the 20th century is but a very small part.”
Intrigue, Befuddlement, and Fright
“Russia, in its vastness and diversity, has always intrigued, befuddled, and frightened ‘the West.’ You shouldn’t be surprised that there are no easy answers to the questions raised in these lectures.”
In his closing lecture, Professor Hamburg discusses Communism’s prospects in Russia and assesses the possibility that the Soviet Union will re-emerge in some form.
- This lecture discusses Russia’s entrance into the Great War, the military-political crisis of 1915, failure of the Brusilov offensive in 1916, and isolation of the tsar. The lecture also sketches the atmosphere in the imperial capital, Petrograd, just before Nicholas II was overthrown.
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