20th Century Russia (1905 - 1940)

By harimp
  • Creation of Communist Manifesto

    Creation of Communist Manifesto
    Communist Manifesto was a political pamphlet written by Karl Marx proposing the theory of Marxism. In the manifesto, it states that capitalism induces the experience of feudalism with self-limiting capability. Also, revolution of common man can overthrow capitalism when it has reached its final stage, and dictatorship of the proletariat must be in order. Finally, the pamphlet says that intermediate period of withering will show itself a true communism.
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    Russo-Japanese War

    Russia sought the industrial strength of Korea and Manchuria. However, as Japanese were expanding north, Russia's expansion plan was thwarted, leaving many revolutionaries displeased with the shame of the Romanov Dynasty.
  • Bloody Sunday

    Bloody Sunday
    Bloody Sunday was a mass killing by the Tsar's troops of unarmed citizens demonstrating and parading in the streets. The Tsar's poor judgement left 96 dead and 333 injured (as recorded by Tsar's officials), proving Tsar's incompetence to dealing with public dissatisfaction. This affair led imperial government to break down even further, and many of Tsarist workers joined the revolutionaries.
  • October Manifesto

    October Manifesto
    In response to the Bloody Sunday, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, under the influence of count Sergei Witte, wrote the October Manifesto, which summed up the condition of Russia in 1905 and enlisted all those are needed to be done to ensure the well being of the citizens. These promises later failed and led to further break down of Tsar's and the government's competence.
  • Rise of the Soviets

    Rise of the Soviets
    After Bloody Sunday, Tsar tried to make concession to the "unrest" public; however, that did not work and the revolutions continued. Later, experienced farmeres and peasants gathered to form a worker's council Soviet (Soviet = "council" in Russian) in St. Petersburg. They were mostll Marxist revolutionary workers who wished for the nation to form a communist state.
  • The Strike that Started All

    The Strike that Started All
    The workers at Putilov (the largest factory of Petrograd) announces strike. All strikers were fired and shops were closed. No injury was made after some clashes with Tsar's forces.
  • Women Workers' March

    Women Workers' March
    Women Workers that were fired during the strike went onto the streets and paraded for their economic and political demands. The women workers brought out about 50,000 workers on strike to march with them. This showed the power of the people they had as workers.
  • February Revolution (1917)

    February Revolution (1917)
    The workers on strike joined a few women calling for overthow of the Tsar. As Tsar Nicholas II tried to send cossack (militia-like force of Tsar) to stop the revolution, the force instead joined the strikers. Military troops as well revolted against their commander and joined the strikers as well. By the end of the day, the whole city of Petrograd was under control of the revolutionaries.
  • Abdication of Tsar

    Abdication of Tsar
    By the 14th of the month, Moscow fell down as the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated his throne. He was placed under house arrest in a cottage near Moscow. The Duma was resolved and Russia was given a new chance for reestablishment of the government.
  • Establishment of Provisional Government

    On 16th, the Soviet and Duma (two governmental groups of Russia) got together to form a provisional government after the abdication of the throne (thus called Provisional Government) with two goals in mind: 1) establishment of Constituent Assembly with universal secret ballot and 2) legalization of strikes.
  • April Thesis

    April Thesis
    Upon his arrival to Russia, Lenin proposed a thesis to which he viewed must be done in Russia for the people's well-being and justice. Through this, the famous slogan of Lenin "Peace, Bread, Land" was created. [More detail on my blog]
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    Kornilov Affair

    Recent disturbance in Petrograd "alarmed" Kerensky and Kornilov and they made an alliance , agreeing to dispatch forces. However, Kornilov's greed of power compulsed him to make an effort to a coup with the destination as military dictator. As Kerensky pleaded the mass for aid, Bolshevik factory workers and other followers of Lenin rose up to help Kerensky. The coup was lost; both Kornilov's and Kerensky's power receded, and the Lenin and the Bolsheviks held political and military power.
  • July Days

    July Days
    During 16th and 18th of July, radical soldiers and mobs as well as the Bolsheviks tried to seize power and overthrow the government. This effort, however, was faced by utter failure without the support of the Soviet. This was a key to enlightenment of the power that Soviet possessed.
  • New Prime Minister inaugured

    New Prime Minister inaugured
    Alexander Kerensky, a moderate, became the new Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, and the conservative socialists gained his favour.
  • State Conference

    State Conference
    The Provisional Government met at a major conference to sort out the major crisis Russia was facing. Rather than solving the problems, the conference instead worsened the rift between Marxist and non-Marxist members, proving the government to be a failure.
  • Bolshevik Revolution: Seize of Petrograd

    Bolshevik Revolution: Seize of Petrograd
    The controlled and "quiet" revolution began as the Bolsheviks seized Petrograd. [See timeline for more info. on the Revolution]
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    Bolshevik Revolution

    Bolshevik Revolution, also known as October Revolution, was the Communist Revolution that Lenin long dreamed of. Though it was called a "Revolution," there were actually almost no battle and chaos; this revolution was very controlled, with no violence and almost no resistence.
  • Bolshevik Revolution: Seize of Moscow

    Bolshevik Revolution: Seize of Moscow
    Ten days past the seize of Petrograd, the Bolsheviks took control over Moscow, the heart of Russia. [See more of timespan for more information]
  • Bolshevik Revolution: Return of Lenin from Denmark

    Bolshevik Revolution: Return of Lenin from Denmark
    Lenin returns from Denmark after the capture of Moscow by the Bolsheviks. This led to the full strength of the soon-to-come Communist Party led by the Bolsheviks.
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    Lenin's New Government

    As Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power, he could carry on with the construction of the new Communist State. The two initiatives set by Lenin were 1) the war to immediately end, and 2) the peasants to seize the land. Lenin ruled the state by his personality, strict Marxism but eventually compromised.
  • Bolshevik Revolution: Seize of Power

    Bolshevik Revolution: Seize of Power
    Lenin, along with Trotsky and the Soviet, arrested the Provisional Government almost without any resistence. This led to the commencement of construction of Lenin's long dreamed Marxist-Communist nation.
  • Desperate attempt for Democracy

    Desperate attempt for Democracy
    Seeing the unstable and seemingly dictatorial government of Lenin, the old Assembly met in a final, desperate attempt to restore the Provisional Government's demoracy. Lenin, as soon as he was informed, sent out troops to yield the meeting. As no police or military force were to aid the old Assembly or stand up against the now-mighty Red troops, no response were made and democracy was gone in the land of Russia for a long time.
  • Treaty of Brest-Litovsk

    Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
    Lenin did not think that a "baby" government like Soviet Union's can resolve internal issues while participating in such devastating war. Therefore, despite the large opposition, Lenin carried forward the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where Russia would give Germany a huge parcel of land in exchange for peace.
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    Introduction of Communism

    For information, see this post on my blog.
  • Cancellation of Tsarist Treaties

    Cancellation of Tsarist Treaties
    As Lenin rise to power, he cancelled all Tsarist treaties and agreements that were made with foreign countries. Of these included "cancellation of all foreign debts seizure of all foreign property" (Falk, 41)
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    War Communism

    War communism was in effect as Soviet Union were in the Civil War. All industry were made nationalized; eventually, all private industry disappeared and were made public. Compulsory labour was put in effect, and all private business were suppressed and made as state trade. War communism led a cruel practice; peasants to give away all of their produce except for their own sustenance of family and farm.
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    Civil War

    The Russian Civil War has been between the Red and White forces. Whites drew their strength from Tsarist army officers, Cossacks, bourgeoisies and outlawed political groups. While the White forces controlled most of Russia, the heart cities were controlled by the Red army, one of the major reason for Red victory. Also, failure to connect as one command and have vast support from intervention led to the Red victory, as well as tactics of military genius Trotsky.
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    Allied Interventions of the Civil War

    In 1918, fourteen countries sent troops to fight in the civil war, helping the White forces in the East. In the west, however, the troops were sent to prevent the Japanese from further continuing north in the Siberian expansion. The intervention was completed in the West in 1920 with the retreat of Japanese forces and in the East by 1922 with withdrawal.
  • Establishment of Comintern

    Establishment of Comintern
    Comintern has been set up in March 1919 to supervise international communist revolution. However, by 1922 Lenin saw that international revolution must wait until later and rebuild and polish the USSR communism.
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    The NEP: New Economic Policy

    Lenin eyed the War Communism definitely as a wrong approach to USSR's economic recovery. Therefore, Lenin made some flexibility by allowing some private trade, permitting peasants to sell the surplus of their produce and legalizing a small private factory ownership with less than 25 workers. He sacrificed some of his believed ideals of Marxism for the country. The results were satisfying to the production.
  • First International Conference with USSR

    First International Conference with USSR
    The first international conference which was attended by USSR was at Genoa where Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Rapallo. Both countries were international outcasts and were making a break through out of the isolation.
  • Treaty of Rapallo

    Treaty of Rapallo
    As the war ended, both Germany and USSR were in a devastated state. Germany were not permitted by Treaty of Versailles to produce war materials. USSR, on the other hand, lacked the technology to advance in the modern state. Therefore, the Treaty of Rapallo were made where Germany will give manufacturing technology in exchange for production of illegal war materials.
  • Significant Name Changes

    Significant Name Changes
    First, the Bolshevik Party became the Communist Party, which were later called as simply "the Party." Second, Russia became known as Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR which were later called simply "Soviet Union."
  • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's Death

    Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's Death
    Lenin had been shot in 1921. Though the wound was not fatal, he never fully recovered. In January 21, 1924 he became a victim of stroke and deceased, leaving behind only of legacy to communist Russia and power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky.
  • Recognition of USSR in Europe

    Recognition of USSR in Europe
    The Soviet Union was not recognized by major European countries until 1924 when Britain recognized USSR for the first time in history upon Lenin's death. Within the same year, many other countries recognized USSR as well.
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    Stalin vs. Trotsky

    The power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky were major dispute. Stalin was, or at least pretended to be, one of the Moderates who wanted to continue the Lenin's NEP. In other words, they wanted a loosened Marxism. On the other hand, Trotsky was on the left opposition where they wanted a complete communism. This group was led by Trotsky, Preobrazhensky, Zinoviev and Kamenev. Despite Trotsky's high position, Stalin, who was on the position of General Secretary, had Trotsky expelled by... [cont.]
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    First Five Year Plan

    Stalin proposed Five-year plan system for the acceleration of economic and manufacture growth. The First Five Year Plan emphasized on command economy, which is a system where the centralized government will order the production of certain target, and collectivization, a system which communal land agriculture is emphasized. Through collectivization, the produce were taken away to feed the cities and to trade with other countries. It increased the famine and completely eliminated the Kulaks. link
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    As the command economy, collectivization and forced heavy industry have gone "fairly well," Stalin considered making allies again with other countries. Many of whom USSR has lost through the World War. The five key points were signing of Kellogg-Briand Pact in 1928, joining League of Nations in 1934, signing non-aggression pact with European countries, rearmament and solution to growing Japanese empire.
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    Rapprochement was a plan by Stalin to make treaties with European countries, gaining trust, trade routes and allies. In 1932, USSR signed non-aggression pacts wiht Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Finland. In 1935, she signed treaties for mutual assistance with France and Czechoslovakia. This was all attempts on gaining allies and trade partners, not to mention possible spread of communism.
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    Stalin viewed the Russia growing and wanted to make allies that USSR had lost during the WW1. The key 5 points to normalization were Kellogg-Briand Pact, membership in League of Nations, rapprochement, membership in Seventh Congress of the Third International and alliance with Britain against pending Japanese attacks.
  • USSR Recognized by USA

    USSR Recognized by USA
    While the Europe recognized USSR in 1924, USA did not recognize the Soviet Union until 1933 under President Roosevelt upon success of economic acceleration by First Five Year Plan. USSR was finally known essentially around the globe.
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    Second Five Year Plan

    The Second Five Year Plan were focused on the heavy industry. It, however, needed to be modified because of severity of the goals. During the plan, a downward revision occurred by the mini-revolt that occurred due to Stalin's dictatorial style. Party officials wished promote Sergei Kirov rather than Stalin. Stalin, who cannot let go of the "throne", had Kirov shot in Dec 1934. This was the beginning of the Purges.
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    The Purges

    In 1936, Stalin, who was paranoid about power rivals, started to try and execute many political and military figures. After the leaders of the Left Opposition were exiled or executed, including Trotsky, Stalin formed a "new" set of OGPU secret police called NKVD and executed all possible threat to his power. Ironically, he executed his old military heroes he would need in later WW2.
  • Nazi-Soviet Pact

    Nazi-Soviet Pact
    Secret talks betweet USSR and Nazi Germany has gone through simultaneously while Anglo/French/Soviet negotiation occurred. Nazis and Soviet reached an agreement of neutrality pact, which gave Stalin some time to prepare for the war. The secret part of this pact was the division of Poland between USSR and Nazi Germany.