Should mobile phones be banned in schools Essay Sample
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Should mobile phones be banned in schools Essay Sample
Lenin was one of the leading political figures and revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century, who masterminded the Bolshevik take-over of power in Russia in 1917, and was the architect and first head of the USSR. Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov was born in Simbirsk on the Volga River on 22 April 1870 into a well-educated family. He excelled at school and went on to study law. At university, he was exposed to radical thinking, and his views were also influenced by the execution of his elder brother, a member of a revolutionary group. Expelled from university for his radical policies, Lenin completed his law degree as an external student in 1891. He moved to St Petersburg and became a professional revolutionary. Like many of his contemporaries, he was arrested and exiled to Siberia, where he married Nadezhda Krupskaya. After his Siberian exile, Lenin – the pseudonym he adopted in 1901 – spent most of the subsequent decade and a half in western Europe, where he emerged as a prominent figure in the international revolutionary movement and . In 1917, exhausted by World War One, Russia was ripe for change.
Assisted by the Germans, who hoped that he would undermine the Russian war effort, Lenin returned home and started working against the provisional government that had overthrown the tsarist regime. He eventually led what was soon to be known as the October Revolution, but was effectively a coup d’etat. Almost three years of civil war followed. The Bolsheviks were victorious and assumed total control of the country. During this period of revolution, war and famine, Lenin demonstrated a chilling disregard for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen and mercilessly crushed any opposition.
Although Lenin was ruthless he was also pragmatic. When his efforts to transform the Russian economy to a socialist model stalled, he introduced the New Economic Policy, where a measure of private enterprise was again permitted, a policy that continued for several years after his death. In 1918, Lenin narrowly survived an assassination attempt, but was severely wounded. His long term health was affected, and in 1922 he suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. In his declining years, he worried about the bureaucratisation of the regime and also expressed concern over the increasing power of his eventual successor Joseph Stalin. Lenin died on 24 January 1924. His corpse was embalmed and placed in a mausoleum on Moscow’s Red Square. TROTSKY
Trotsky was a key figure in the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, second only to Vladimir Lenin in the early stages of Soviet communist rule. But he lost out to Joseph Stalin in the power struggle that followed Lenin’s death, and was assassinated while in exile. Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein on 7 November 1879 in Yanovka, Ukraine, then part of Russia. His father was a prosperous Jewish farmer. Trotsky became involved in underground activities as a teenager. He was soon arrested, jailed and exiled to Siberia where he joined the Social Democratic Party. Eventually, he escaped Siberia and spent the majority of the next 15 years abroad, including a spell in London. In 1903, the Social Democrats split. While Lenin assumed leadership of the ‘Bolshevik’ (majority) faction, Trotsky became a member of the ‘Menshevik’ (minority) faction and developed his theory of ‘permanent revolution’. After the outbreak of revolution in Petrograd in February 1917, he made his way back to Russia.
Despite previous disagreements with Lenin, Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks and played a decisive role in the communist take-over of power in the same year. His first post in the new government was as foreign commissar, where he found himself negotiating peace terms with Germany. He was then made war commissar and in this capacity, built up the Red Army which prevailed against the White Russian forces in the civil war. Thus Trotsky played a crucial role in keeping the Bolshevik regime alive. He saw himself as Lenin’s heir-apparent, but his intellectual arrogance made him few friends, and his Jewish heritage may also have worked against him. When Lenin fell ill and died, Trotsky was easily outmanoeuvred by Stalin. In 1927, he was thrown out of the party. Internal and then foreign exile followed, but Trotsky continued to write and to criticise Stalin. Trotsky settled in Mexico in 1936. On 20 August 1940, an assassin called Ramon Mercader, acting on Stalin’s orders, stabbed Trotsky with an ice pick, fatally wounding him. He died the next day.
One of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history, Stalin was the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century. His regime of terror caused the death and suffering of tens of millions, but he also oversaw the war machine that played a key role in the defeat of Nazism. Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born on 18 December 1879 in Gori, Georgia, which was then part of the Russian empire. His father was a cobbler and Stalin grew up in modest circumstances. He studied at a theological seminary where he began to read Marxist literature. He never graduated, instead devoting his time to the revolutionary movement against the Russian monarchy. He spent the next 15 years as an activist and on a number of occasions was arrested and exiled to Siberia.
Stalin was not one of the decisive players in the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, but he soon rose through the ranks of the party. In 1922, he was made general secretary of the Communist Party, a post not considered particularly significant at the time but which gave him control over appointments and thus allowed him to build up a base of support. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin promoted himself as his political heir and gradually outmanoeuvred his rivals. By the late 1920s, Stalin was effectively the dictator of the Soviet Union. His forced collectivisation of agriculture cost millions of lives, while his programme of rapid industrialisation achieved huge increases in Soviet productivity and economic growth but at great cost. Moreover, the population suffered immensely during the Great Terror of the 1930s, during which Stalin purged the party of ‘enemies of the people’, resulting in the execution of thousands and the exile of millions to the gulag system of slave labour camps.
These purges severely depleted the Red Army, and despite repeated warnings, Stalin was ill prepared for Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. His political future, and that of the Soviet Union, hung in the balance, but Stalin recovered to lead his country to victory. The human cost was enormous, but was not a consideration for him. After World War Two, the Soviet Union entered the nuclear age and ruled over an empire which included most of eastern Europe. Increasingly paranoid, Stalin died of a stroke on 5 March 1953.