Revolution and Counter-Revolution

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Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Q1. In the Chinese Revolution of 1949, the elements of Communism and Nationalism were discernible. Explain the statement in the light of Mao's strategy which was different from that of Lenin. (2018 ) 

Ans. Karl Marx, while laying the foundations of Communist Philosophy, failed to offer a systematic theory of national question and a proper political strategy for the Proletariat to seize power. Therefore, the Communists of different parts of the world reinterpreted his theories to suit the local demands. 

  • Lenin and Mao both were pioneers, who established the Communist States in Russia and China respectively while following strategies that differed in certain respects. 
  • For Lenin, the creation of a national community had to start with the unification of oppressed races and ethnic minorities to create a worker's state. The Proletariat had to lead the revolution by breaking the geo-cultural barriers that were exploited by the bourgeoisie to mislead the working classes and ultimately create a Communist society under the leadership of the universal proletariat. 
  • However, the oppressed races and ethnicities should reserve the right to ethic self - determination. Mao, on the other hand, believed that a national struggle was necessary to elevate the feudal minded ethnicities into modern proletariat class conscious societies,thus, establishing a multi - ethnic regime of the proletariat dictatorship. 
  • Thus, Lenin supported the right to self - determination for nationalities and eventually allowed the creation of national republics under the union of Socialist Soviet Republics.
  • Lenin even renounced the Russian colonial claims in CentralAsia. On the other hand, Mao was determined to forge a national identity by suppressing minority culture. The propaganda based on Long March, Yan'an Rectification Movement, Sino - Japanese War and Chinese Civil War laid the foundation of this. 
  • Post - 1949,the cultural revolution was aimed at eliminating cultural differences. Another difference between Mao's and Lenin's strategies was that while Lenin argued that the Proletariat (Working Class) had to lead the revolution and the peasantry class, Maowas convinced that the peasantry class itself could be sufficient to bring about a communist revolution. 

These differences again were due to varied national situations, as Russia was only partially industrialized at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution while China was predominantly an agrarian country at the time of revolution

Q2. Examine the circumstances which led to the overthrow of democracy and the establishment of Fascistdictatorship in Italy. (2017) 

Ans. Italian Unification was achieved through the efforts of Cavour, Garibaldi and Mazzini and the Parliamentary Government was adopted. However, the system could not function effectively as: 

  • The Franchise was not wide enough. 
  • Regional affiliations and identities were still strong. 
  • In addition, Italy did not industrialize rapidly after Unification due to a structural divide between the North and South population growth, thus further aggravating the prevalence of poverty.
  • Thus, these factors highlighted the failure of democracy and fuelled social unrest, even before WorldWar I.
  • The rise of the socialist movement in Italy was reflected in the increasing number of strikes in the pre-war year. Moreover, the Catholics remained hostile to the government since the annexation of Rome. 
  • Italy participated in World War I on the side of the Allied hoping to gain territories that would fuel her economy.In return, however, she was treated disrespectfully by other Great Powers and her gains were small. Thus, the public opinion in Italy was that she had been cheated at Versailles and this further eroded the legitimacy of the democratic government. 
  • Moreover, the financial burden of war further worsened the economic hardships of the people and a communist revolution was considered imminent. 
  • Governments under Nitti and later Giolitti failed to curb the rising tide of Communism and thus alarmed the middle and upper classes to take action. Mussolini emerged as the leader of resistance against inroads by Communism and Fascist clubs were established acrossItaly, turning it into a battlefield between Fascism and Communism. 
  • In 1922,Mussolini effected a coup, by staging a March on Rome, retracing Julius Caesar's March and was appointed as the Premier by Victor Emmanuel III, marking the rise of Fascist Italy. 

Thus, circumstances which led to the overthrow of democracy have been examined along with the establishment ofFascist dictatorship in Italy.

Q3. Examine the statement that "the danger of Bolshevism dominated not only the history of the years immediately following the Russian Revolution of 1917but the entire history of the world since that date". (2017) 

Ans. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia led to the formation of the first Socialist State in the world and was a challenge to the capitalist world order perpetuated by the West. Lenin further sparked these fears by establishing the Communist International as an organ to bring about a global socialist revolution. 

  • The response of the capitalist countries was first an attempt to dislodge the Bolsheviks by supporting counter revolutions followed by the diplomatic isolation of the USSR. A thaw was reached when Britain and France resumed diplomatic relations with the USSR, while the Communists in the West continued to be repressed. 
  • The USSR, in turn, was spreading the ideas ofCommunism across the Colonial States and took an Anti- Imperialist position. However, it was the rise of Hitler in Germany coupled with the formation of Rome, Berlin and Tokyo Axis that shifted the focus from Communism to Fascism as the threat to global peace. 
  • The outbreak of World War II followed by the invasion of the USSR by Germany brought the USSR and the West together but this alliance began to wither as soon as Germany was defeated. Churchill declared Communism as the next threat after Fascism to world peace while 
  • Stalin betrayed the agreement at Yalta and propped up Communist regimes across the Eastern Europe by 1948. 
  • The Berlin Blockade was the final stretch that led to the formation of NATO in 1949 and the world was divided into two rival Camps. The Bolshevik success became a model for Chinese Communists who emerged victorious in 1949.
  • The Communist forces prevailed in Vietnam by 1975and the West led by the US, recurrently tried to intervene against these Communist expansions. The Domino Theory which implied that the success of one Communist insurrection could lead to the fall of capitalist regimes in the entire region was the guiding factor behind this. 

Thus, since the Bolshevik Revolution, the fear of the spread of Communism has played a major role in determining the foreign policies of western capitalist nations in particular and international relations in general and hence played a critical role in the history of the second half of the 20th century.

Q4. Discuss how agrarian crisis accompanied by severe industrial depression triggered the Revolutions of 1848.

Ans. With the rise of Napoleon, the ideas of Nationalism, Liberalism and to an extent, Socialism had spread across Europe. 

  • After defeating Napoleon, the Great Powers of Europe tried to suppress the forces of change by forming a Concert of Europe, yet these sentiments erupted recurrently (1818-21,1830-32, and 1848), gradually weakening absolutism. 
  • These revolutions invariably began with unrest in France, and thus Metternich remarked that when France catches cold, entire Europe sneezes. 
  • However, the agrarian industrial distress prevailing in years immediately preceding 1848was also crucial in leading to a pan- Europe revolution in 1848. 
  • Europe saw rapid population growth in the first half of the 19th century and the consequent pressure on land kept rising. 
  • By the 1840s, this transformed into a rising food grain shortage, both in urban as well as rural areas. In addition, Feudalism was still prevalent in certain parts of Europe and thus the peasantry class was facing a dual burden. 
  • In the urban areas also, population growth as well as migration from rural areas due to increasing pressure on land was creating unrest. While most of the industrial workers lived in squalid conditions, their purchasing power continued to decline since the 1820s.Further, the Panic of 1847 exponentially increased unemployment as a large number of firms got closed by 1848. 
  • These grievances of urban and rural working classes were harnessed by the bourgeoisie led associations, which presented democracy, universal franchise, nationalism and socialism among other ideas as a solution to their grievances. 
  • The urban areas were often more active in revolutions and emerged as centers of resistance to royal absolutism. 

Hence, it was evident that the agrarian as well as industrial unrest immediately preceding the revolution encouraged the leaders of the liberal movements to make compromises with the working class in order to ensure success and thus played a critical role in the revolution of 1848.

Q5. How did Lenin achieve an abrupt transition from a Monarchical autocratic to a Socialist State ? (2016) 

Ans. Lenin was one of the foremost proponents of Socialism in Russia. Lenin's radical views and urgency over a socialist uprising led to a split in the Social Democratic Party in 1903. Opposed to Mensheviks, he advocated that a socialist uprising would materialise in Russia without industrialisation, through a coalition of peasants and workers. 

  • The Bolsheviks played a prominent role in the 1905 Revolution, with Leon Trotsky himself leading the workers' agitation. However, repression by the Tsarist Government forced the revolutionary organisations to go into exile. 
  • Nevertheless, Bolsheviks cooperated with other political strands during the February Revolution to secure the ouster of Tsar. Meanwhile, a Soviet of workers and soldiers was formed at Petrograd followed by a rise of such Soviets across Russia. 
  • Eventually, the Provisional Government formed after Tsar's abdication was forced to share power with the Petrograd Soviet. 
  • The Provisional Government was controlled byMensheviks, who aimed to achieve Socialism gradually through the Constitutional methods. However, the arrival of Lenin in July led to a surge in support of Bolsheviks who advocated a socialist revolution to establish a dictatorship of the Proletariat. 
  • By October 1918,the Bolshevikshad secured majorities in the Soviet ofPetrograd, Moscowand other cities and were able to stage a coup and seize control from the Provisional Government. 
  • The capture of power was orchestrated by LeonTrotsky and executed by Stalin and ultimately Lenin was able to successfully transform Tsarist Russia into a socialist state within a matter of months. 

Therefore, in this way, Lenin was able to achieve an abrupt transition from a Monarchical autocratic to a Socialist State.

Q6. What is the Metternich system? Assess its impact on Europe. (2016) 

Ans. The Metternich System was based on the agreement between the Great Powers of Europe - Austria, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain at the Congress of Vienna (1814). 

  • The Doctrine of Legitimacy was accepted as the sole determinant of sovereignty and changes introduced by Napoleon in the political map of Europe were undone. Further, it was decided to maintain a balance of power as a safeguard against the future threat of any aggressive state like Napoleonic France. 
  • Thus, the Great Powers decided that all future European disputes were to be resolved through the Congress and status - quo was to be maintained and for this purpose, the Concert of Europe was established. 
  • However, the ideas of Nationalism and Liberalism remained deep-rooted and by the 1820s,there were popular revolutions across Europe demanding a constitution from their rulers. 
  • Therefore, at the Congress of Troppau (1820),Metternich emphasised that revolution against any state in Europe was a threat to all European States and therefore proposed the Principle ofIntervention. 
  • By it, the Great Powers took it upon themselves to restore or protect the rulers threatened by revolutions and in the process completed the hegemony of Great Powers of Europe. So,the Metternich System was established as an instrument to safeguard Monarchy against the threat of Liberalism and Nationalism. 
  • The Metternich System was successful in quelling a series of revolutions across Europe in 1820-21,1830 and 1848-49,except in France where the 1830 Revolution led to the overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty and the 1848 Revolution overthrew the Orleanist Dynasty. 

Thus, these revolutions in France sparked the flames of Liberalism and Nationalism and despite the failures of these rebellions, most of the people were able to secure some sort of Constitution as a limit on the monarchical powers, by the middle of the 19th century. Metternich himself was forced to go into exile in 1849 and the Metternich System collapsed with the rise of the Eastern Question.

Q7. "The failure of Kuomintang against the Communist on slaught was unimaginable and it was Mao Tse-tung whose tenacity and innovative approach had accomplished the unthinkable." Discuss. (2015) 

Ans. Dr. Sun Yat Sen reorganised the Kuomintang in 1917 and again became the President of the Republic of China. However, his power was dependent on the cooperation of Southern warlords while the Northern warlords resisted any cooperation. 

  • The Communists remained a part of the Kuomintang Party and were crucial in suppressing the warlords. However, alarmed by their rising power, Chiang Kaishek purged them out of Kuomintang and thus began a Civil War between the Nationalist Government and the Communists. 
  • The Communists had set up a base in South-Western China, however, their army was inferior to that of Kuomintang. Chiang was backed by the rich elites, who were skeptical of the Communist aim of redistribution of wealth. Chiang sent a number of expeditions against the Communists and the fifth one succeeded in encircling them. 
  • When encircled, Mao decided to lead a March of his 100000 troops to North and North-Western parts of China in order to escape the Kuomintang forces. During the March, the Communists fought against both warlords as well as the Kuomintang, and emerged as protectors of the common people. 
  • Their land distribution particularly benefited the peasants, while the Long March proved to be a great propaganda story. As a result, Communists regrouped in Northern China and began to wage the Guerrilla War. 
  • As Chiang controlled large parts of China, along with coastal and other natural resources, the Communist armies failed to gain the main territory. However, the Japanese invasion brought a compromise and both sides decided to first oust Japan. 
  • The Communists however took the lead in fighting the Japanese and protecting common people while Chiang's army retreated into the interior. As such, by the end of World War II, the Communists were able-to garner massive support.
  • However, Chiang insisted on the primacy of Kuomintang and so all talks for power sharing failed and the conflict was renewed. Despite US support to Chiang Kaishek, the Communists managed to garner enough troops by 1948, abandoned guerrilla warfare and confronted the Kuomintang forces directly. 
  • From reaching near oblivion in 1934, Mao strategically reconstructed the Communist groups and managed to increase its popularity, especially by implementing the land redistribution in Communist held areas. 
  • He further legitimised the Communist Party as the true successor of Kuomintang, following his three points- Nationalism, Democracy and People's Livelihood. 

By January 1949, the Communists captured Beijing and later that year, forced the Nationalist Government into exile to Formosa (Taiwan). Thus, faced with insurmountable odds, Mao successfully brought about the Chinese Revolution of 1949.

Q8. "The whole episode that is known as the July Revolution (1830) was fought and won not for the establishment of an extreme democracy but to get rid of the aristocratic and clericalist attitude of the restored Bourbons." Critically examine. (2015) 

Ans. The defeat of Napoleon In 1815,followed by the Treaty of Paris led to the restoration of the Bourbon Dynasty in France under Louis XVIII, who followed a moderate policy to balance Republicans and Bonapartists on one side and Ultra-royalists on the other. 

  • His successor Charles X however decided to restore the old regime. He favoured the Clergy and Nobility Classes, restored their status and privileges and finally appointed the most reactionary Ministry headed by Polignac. 
  • In 1826,the king issued four ordinances which suspended press' liberty, dissolved the Chamber of Deputies, changed the Electoral System and reduced the electorate.
  • However, the wave of Nationalism and Liberalism unleashed by the French Revolution was still not subdued. 
  • The Parisian Mob again erupted against the aristocratic and clericalist reactionary policies and Charles X was forced to abdicate in the favour of his grandson. 
  • However, the excesses of the French Revolution and Reign of Terror were still fresh in the public memory here. 
  • Instead of establishing an extreme democracy, the revolutionaries placed Louis Philippe,the Duke of Orleans and a self-professed liberal, on the throne. 
  • The king, in turn, granted a liberal constitution, guaranteeing religious equality, freedom of the press and greater freedom to the people. 

Hence, it could be concluded that the July Revolution was fought not for an extreme democracy. 

Q9. "If the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (that resulted in the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Union) inaugurated an international competition for the hearts and minds of people all over the globe, the Chinese Revolution raised the stakes of that struggle' Comment. (2013) 

Ans. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917led to the birth of the first Communist State in the world. This revolution brought the ideas of Marx from the realm of ideologies into reality and eventually led to the formation of Comintern, aimed at world socialist revolutions.

  • By renouncing its colonial claims in Asia, the USSR further popularised Socialist creed amongst various nationalist movements in Asia and Africa. Thus, this threatened the world order based on Capitalism, Imperialism and Colonialism. 
  • The Chinese Revolution of 1949 marked a significant victory for Communism. 
  • The Communist forces under Mao Zedong, backed by Russia, had prevailed over Chiang Kai-shek forces by 1949, which were backed by the western powers. 
  • Coupled with the establishment of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, this side of Socialism proved to be a threat of enormous proportion. 
  • Consequently, the western powers were forced to intervene in the Civil Wars of Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, etc in order to stop the spread of Communism. 

Thus, the Chinese Revolution of 1949 made the western powers conscious of their precarious position in the capitalist order.

Q10. "The impact of the French Revolution (1789) was initially confined to Europe, but that of the Russian Revolution (1917) was global."Critically reviewed. (2012) 

Ans. The French Revolution was the first successful challenge to the Monarchy in Europe, achieved through mass popular action. 

  • The slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity along with the Republican ideals began to infiltrate Europe, especially after the rise of Napoleon and led to the dismantling of divisions in Germany and Italy. 
  • These ideas remained firmly rooted despite all efforts of the Concert of Europe and led to a series of revolutions across Europe in the first half of the 19th century (1820-21,1828-31 and 1848),ultimately leading to the victory of Liberalism and Nationalism. 
  • In contrast, the impact of the Russian Revolution spilled over across the globe.It was not just a challenge to Monarchy, but to the established world order based on Capitalism, Imperialism and Colonialism. 
  • By establishing the first Communist State of the world,it created insecurities among the western countries about similar socialist upheavals. 
  • The formation of Comintern aimed at a global socialist revolution, further intensified the conflict between Russia and the western countries. 
  • Most importantly, by renouncing its colonial claims in Asia and taking a stand against Imperialism and Colonialism,Russia successfully managed to incorporate the creed of Socialism into several national movements of Asia and Africa. 
  • However, the French Revolution's global impact was also considerable, if not equally important. The National Convention in 1792 abolished Slavery in all French Colonies.
  • The ideals of the French Revolution played a crucial role in the Haitian Rebellion as well as in democratic movements of the colonies. 

Thus, it could be said that ''The impact of the French Revolution(1789) was initially confined to Europe, but, that of the Russian Revolution (1917) was global"

Q11. "The announcement of the creation of the Peoples' Republic of China on October 1, 1949 by Mao Zedong ended the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party (KMT)." Elaborate. (2012) 

Ans. China had been embroiled in internal conflicts since the 1911 Revolution. While Dr. Sun Yat Sen established the Nationalist Government in Southern China, huge parts in the North and South remained under the control of warlords. The Communists cooperated with Kuomintang against the warlords until 1927when the latter began to target the former, pushing China back into the civil war. 

After successive campaigns, the KMTalmost managed to encircle the Communist forces in 1933,when Mao decided to lead his forces for the Long March towards northern China. In the meanwhile, the Japanese aggression was on a rise after the invasion of Manchuria and its influence was spreading in the neighbouring provinces. The KMT, however, evaded any action against the Japanese and continued to fight the Communists until 1937, when both sides decided to form a united front against the Japanese forces. 

However,while the KMTforcesfollowedthe scorched - earth policy and retreated into the interior inaccessible parts, the Communists emerged as the champions of Chinese masses against the Japanese oppression. In addition, the Communists solidified this support by implementing land redistribution in the areas under their control. 

Hence, by the end of 1945, the Communists had gained considerable support. Except for Manchuria, which was occupied by the Soviet forces,the entire Japanese occupied China was under the US forces. After an attempt to form a joint government failed, the US and USSR allied with the KMTand the Communists respectively. 

In the early part of 1949, the Communists seized Beijing and the last of the KMT strongholds, who now retreated to Formosa (Taiwan). The presence of the US naval fleet in the Strait of Taiwan deterred any further conquest by the Communists. 

Thus, the announcement of the creation of the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC) on 10th October 1949 ended the Chinese civil war. Both PRC and the Republic of China (Taiwan) continued to stress on One China Policyand claimed sovereignty over the entire China. But China effectively came under the Communist control with the exception of the Island of Formosa.

Q12. "All long marches begin with small steps." Comment. (2010) 

Ans. The statement refers to the Long March of the Chinese Communists under Mao Zedong, which went on to eulogize Communism. 

After the short lived alliance between the Communists and Kuomintang came to an end, Chiang Kaishek directed 5 military expeditions against the Communist stronghold ofJingxi. In the last expedition, the Communists were totally surrounded and faced extermination. However, Mao decided to lead a tactical retreat towards the West and North. 

Along the March, the Red Army captured 62 cities, defeated 10provincial warlords and ultimately found refuge in the Shaanxi Province in the North. Although suffering huge losses, the Communists were able to regroup and gain the support of the peasantry class across several parts of China, whom they protected from the warlords and Kuomintang troops. 

Thus, from the brink of extinction, Communism in China regained momentum. In the united front with Kuomintang against the Japanese, the Communists took on the mantle of protecting Chinese Nationalism, while Kuomintang resorted to minimal participation. 

Therefore, the Communists gained popular support even from the middle and upper classes who had suffered from high inflation and the greed of Kuomintang. The Long March, thus, formed the first step in a journey which led to the triumph ofCommunism across the entire Chinese Mainland. 

Q13. Account for the overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia. (2009) 

Ans. Russia, much like the ancient regime of France, was an autocratic state without being efficient.Defeats in the Crimean War and Russo-Japanese War had exposed its weakness and anti- Tsarist sentiments grew stronger in the second half of the 19th century. 

The condition of the peasantry remained poor even after emancipation in 1861, as they were bound by the redemption payments. The nascent industrial working class was also suffering from poor work and living conditions. 

The spread of western ideas, though late, was rapid amongst intelligentsia and elites. Several political trends from Liberal Constitutional Monarchies to Radical Socialismbegan to grow roots in Russia. 

The 1905 Revolution had forced Tsar to offer concessions, called the October Manifesto. However, he was never interested in tolerating democratic reforms and so eventually introduced only token reforms while unleashing repression against students, professors, workers, peasants and Jews. Thus, strengthening the anti- Tsarist sentiments. 

Stolypin tried to introduce land reforms to secure the support of Kulaks (independent farmers) against the side of the revolution. However, rapid population growth led to increased pressure on land. Similarly, Russia witnessed a wave of industrial unrest in the years preceding the WorldWar, despite Stolypin's efforts to improve the conditions of the working class.

There is a view that this pre-war unrest could have continued indefinitely but Russia's entry into World War I sealed the fate of Tsardom in Russia. 

A series of defeats in the World War coupled with the shortages of grains exposed the weakness ofTsarist State. The soldiers also came under the influence of pacifist propaganda of the Socialists and thus Tsardom lost the support of its last bulwark against Revolution. 

Tsar Nicholas II's decision to take command of the war efforts in 1915proved to be a fatal error and he was held responsible for subsequent defeats. 

Eventually, a mass uprising in several parts ofRussia pushed the elites and Duma into action, forcing the Tsar to abdicate and paving way for the formation of a Provisional Government. 

Q14. 'Hitler did not really want a world war.His intention was only a short war with Poland(A.J.P.Taylor).'Comment. (2009) 

Ans. Hitler began to pursue an aggressive foreign policy with the rise to the position of Chancellorship. He pulled Germany out of the League ofNations and went on to violate the terms ofTreaty of Versailles one after the other. The British appeasement and French indecision to act upon Germany's aggression in Czechoslovakia, along with the Anglo - German Naval Agreement had convinced Hitler that both Britain and France were economically as well as militarily too weak to challenge Germany directly. Thus emboldened, he managed to sign a pact of non - aggression with Russia (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), with a secret protocol that envisaged the partition of Poland between the USSR and Germany. However, Hitler's blatant violation of the Munich Agreement had drawn the line for both Britain and France. Hitler demanded from Poland a passage to East - Prussia and control over Danzig. But Poland was aware that these were preliminary steps of German aggression and decided to resist. France and Britain declared support for Poland. Hitler had thought that with Russian neutrality secured, France and Britain would not act against Germany and so he would quickly complete the annexation of Poland. This miscalculation thus catalyzed the Second World War.

Q15. "Most of the European Revolutions of 1848 were nationalist as well as popular lnsurrectlons against foreign rule and repressive policy of Metternich."Comment. (2008) Ans. The Concert of Europe tried unsuccessfully to quell the spread ofLiberalism and Nationalism but a series of failed revolutions (1818-21, 1830-32, 1848-49) did manage to secure concessions, thereby weakening the Monarchy. 

In particular, the Revolution of 1848 began in France which led to the overthrow of the Orleanist Monarchy and led to the formation of the Second Republic. 

The French success inspired revolutions against the Princes ofItaly and Germany as well, thus, justifying Metternich's comment that when France catches cold,the whole of Europe sneezes. Metternich had undone the work of Napoleon in unifying Italy and Germany and strived to maintain the status quo so as to secure Austrian dominance. The earlier revolution had been suppressed with the aid of Austria. 

Mazzini and Garibaldi took lead in the Unification ofItaly by establishing Republics in Rome and Tuscany while the Frankfurt Parliament sought to unify Germany under the Prussian Monarch, William IV,with a democratically elected National Parliament. Thus, the Revolutions of 1848were as much an expression of Nationalism as of reaction against the oppressive policies of Metternich. A revolt in Vienna forced Metternich to go into exile in 1849,thereby ending his career.

Q16. Discuss the main characteristics of Fascism. (2007)

Ans. The word 'Fascist 'comes from fasces that means a bundle of rods with a protruding axe which was a symbol of authority and power of ancient Roman Consuls. In the absence of any decision writer and patron, like Marx for Socialism,Fascism remained an ill-defined political philosophy which can be described only by the features of its corresponding Fascist States.

The main characteristics of Fascism are:

  • It aims to establish a stable and authoritarian state. In times of political instability, it offers hope for order and in return infringes upon the liberty of the citizens. 
  • It positions itself as the sole interface between capitalists and workers, landowners and farm-workers and acts as the chief arbitrator. 
  • Since it emerges in the time of crisis, usually it fuels extreme nationalism in order to garner support for its policies and demolish anyone who opposes the government, as being against the nation. 
  • It thrives by eliminating all opposition and in effect establishes a one - party state. Further, the government almost becomes independent and often superior to the Legislature. 
  • Extreme nationalism is evident in the economic sphere as it aims to secure self-sufficiency for the State. This enables the government to exercise greater control       over the economic sphere, but not solely in the interest of the Proletariat as in Marxism. • Propaganda forms a critical instrument of Fascism.Uniforms,marches, songs, displays, become a symbol of national pride and glorify the government and thus erode the legitimacy of opposition
  • To enforce this degree of control over human life, the support of the military becomes inevitable. The cult of violence gains acceptance and is used to silence all forms of opposition. 

Thus, the main characteristics of Fascism have been highlighted above..

Q17. Critically analyse the causes and results of the Chinese Revolution of 1949. (2006) 

Ans. The Kuomintang Party (KMT), led by Chiang Kai-shek had been engaged in a Civil War with the Communists led by Mao Zedong since 1927. However, the Japanese invasion of 1937forced the two sides to reach a compromise in order to oust the Japanese. However, with the end of the SecondWorld War, the difference between the two sides reappeared.

The causes and results of the Chinese Revolution of 1949:

  • The KMT, being the Nationalist Government, claimed primacy whereas the Communists wanted an equal power sharing arrangement. 
  • The USA had occupied most of the Japanese territories in China, except Manchuria which came under Russian control.
  • America initially tried to broker a power sharing agreement, in order to check the rise of Communism but mistrust between the two sides was deep rooted. 
  • TheAmericansthus allowed KMT forces to enter territories under their control while Russia allowed forces of Mao to enter Manchuria, and thus the Civil War resumed. 
  • The popular support ofCommunists had increased considerably over the years especially by the peasantry, which benefited from the land reforms. Even the middle class and industrialists, who earlier supported Chiang, turned against him, due to high inflation as well as the failure ofKMT to resist the Japanese aggression. By 1948,the Communist armies swelled up considerably and it allowed them to challenge the KMTforces directly instead of engaging in guerrilla warfare. By 1949,'the Communists drove out the KMT from the Chinese Mainland and forced them to retreat to Formosa Island (Taiwan).

The victory of Communists gave birth to the People's Republic of China, which went on to replace the Republic of China (ROC under KMT) as a Permanent Member of the UN and Veto Power holder in 1971. This was a victory of Socialism and two of the largest nations (USSR) and China had adopted Communism, along with numerous Communist regimes installed by Russia in Eastern Europe. Therefore, it confirmed the fears of the US, UK and France about a threat to the capitalist order and hence they later went on to playa direct role in Korean War, Vietnam War and Afghanistan, in order to curtail the spread of Communism.

Q18. Discuss the circumstances leading to the Chinese Revolution of 1949 and analyse its significance. (2005) 

Ans. The Kuomintang and the Communists had been engaged in a Civil War since 1927when the Communists were expelled from the Kuomintang Party. However, in the face of Japanese invasion of 1937, the two sides decided to end mutual hostilities and drive out the Japanese. However, while the Kuomintang retreated into interiors, the Communists took the lead in fighting the Japanese. They gained popular support, especially of the peasants who benefitted from land redistribution. Even the middle class and elites, formerly supporters of the Kuomintang party, began to turn against it due to their cowardly reaction to the Japanese attacks along with the high inflation. 

After the end of World War II, the US controlled most of the Japanese occupied territories, except Manchuria, which was occupied by Russia. While Kuomintang claimed primacy as the Nationalist Government, the Communists wanted equal power sharing in the government. Americans initially tried to broker an agreement over power sharing, however, the mistrust between the two sides was deeply rooted. Thereafter, to curtail the spread ofCommunism, America allowed the Kuomintang forces to move into US held territories, while Russia allowed Communists to occupy Manchuria.

However, by 1948, the Communist armies swelled up and abandoned Guerrilla warfare and confronted the Kuomintang forces directly. In January 1949, the Communists captured Beijing and later that year drove the Kuomintang out of Chinese Mainland and to Formosa (Taiwan) protected by the American Fleet.

The Chinese Revolution of 1949 thus established the People's Republic of China, with Mao Zedong as the Premier. The victory of Communist forces over Chiang Kai-shek's forces, backed by America, further confirmed the western suspicion of a global communist revolution. 

As a result of these growing Communist influences, the western powers made a determined effort to quell the rising side of Socialism across the globe and went on to participate in the Korean Civil War, Vietnam and Afghanistan as well.

Q19. 'The Russian Revolution (1917) was an economic explosion hastened by the stupidities of the autocratic Government. 'Comment. (2005) 

Ans. The anti-Tsarist sentiments in Russia had been simmering since the second half of the 19th century. Even the 1905 Revolution had failed to dislodge Tsardom in Russia. However,economic problems in the years preceding and during WorldWar I created unprecedented mass upsurge as Stolypin's land reforms had failed to benefit the peasantry as rapid population growth led to increased pressure on land. The expanding working class continued to suffer because of low wages and poor working and living conditions.

These economic grievances of the masses were further aggravated when Russia entered the First World War. While on one hand, it led to grain shortages, the military defeats, on the other hand, exposed the vulnerabilities of Tsarist Russia. The soldiers also came to be influenced by pacifist propaganda and adopted an anti-Tsarist stand. 

Tsar Nicholas II taking control of war efforts proved to be a fatal error and made him responsible for the following defeats. 

Therefore, these failures of the Tsarist State emboldened the masses to come out on the streets. This forced the elites and Duma to ensure the abdication of Tsar in order to prevent a mass uprising and thus led to the collapse of Tsardom in Russia.

Q20. What were the weaknesses and difficulties of the Weimar Republic? How did Hitler succeed in establishing his dictatorship? (2004) 

Ans. As the German Emperor Wilhelm II abdicated the throne, a provisional government was set up by Friedrich Ebert. The Spartacus Revolution could be suppressed only with the help of Freikorps (a militia) and thus exposed the vulnerability ofliberal democracy. The Constituent Assembly drafted the Weimar Constitution and established democracy. 

The weaknesses and difficulties of the Weimar Republic were: 

  • Since the beginning, the Weimar Government was regarded as a weak government and therefore forced to accept the dictated peace at Versailles. 
  • Germany lost its colonies and territories along with industries and was militarily crippled with a ban on conscription and limitation on the size of troops and armaments. 
  • The War Guilt Clause along with the reparation payment was a mark of dishonour which further eroded the legitimacy of the Weimar Government.
  • When Germany defaulted on reparation payments in 1923, the French and Belgian troops went on to occupy the Rhine and seized goods worth £ 40 million. The industries in these regions went on strikes and the German Mark was soon worthless because of hyperinflation. Thus, the German honour and economy received another blow. 
  • However, Stresemann's tenure saw a modest recovery backed by US loans and hopes of peace during the Locarno Honeymoon. But with the death of Stresemann and the crash ofWall Street, the economic revival was shattered and chaos reappeared.

Hitler based his propaganda on undoing the injustices meted out to Germany at Versailles. He advocated the unification of the entire German-speaking population, decried parliamentary democracy and Marxian Socialism and instead promoted National Socialism. 

From 1924 to 1932,the Nazi Party gradually went on to become the single largest party. However, Hindenburg was not in favour of handing over Chancellorship to Hitler and so the Nazi Party continued to wreck the proceedings of Reichstag until President Hindenburg was forced to appoint Hitler as the Chancellor. 

Towards the end of February 1933,a fire broke out in the Reichstag, which was blamed upon a communist plot to seize power. The Enabling Act (1933 March) was passed which gave the supreme control over legislation and government to Hitler. 

Following the death of President Hindenburg in 1934,Hitler combined the positions of Chancellor and President, which was approved by a Referendum, and thus was proclaimed the Fuhrer (Sole Leader) of Germany. 

Thus, light has been thrown upon the weaknesses and difficulties of the Weimar Republic and the way in which Hitler succeed in establishing his dictatorship.

Q21. Examine the causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and indicate its significance in world history. (2003) 

Ans. The Russian Revolution marked the culmination ofAnti-Tsarist unrest that was simmering since late the 19th century. 

The causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917 were: 

  • Russia was an autocratic State without efficiency. Failures in the Crimean War and Russo-Japanese Wars revealed its weaknesses. 
  • Despite the emancipation of serfs in 1861,they were still bound by redemption payments till 1911.Later, Stolypin'sland reforms tried to placate the peasantry but remained unsuccessful as population growth had led to increased dependence and pressure on land. 
  • Limited industrialisation had created the middle class (Bourgeoisie) as well as the industrial working class.Workers' conditions remained poor despite Stolypin's efforts. 
  • Western ideas penetrated Russia late but rapidly spread amongst the intelligentsia and elites. Several political trends ranging from Liberal Constitutional Monarchies to Radical Socialism began to gain roots in Russia. 
  • The 1905 Revolution had forcedTsar NicholsII to offer reforms, enshrined in his October Manifesto. However, he never allowed a truly democratically elected Duma to be formed and even unleashed repression against peasants, workers, intelligentsia and Jews, thereby flaming the anti-Tsarist sentiments. 
  • The Russian army and police were Tsar bulwark against a mass uprising. However, entry into World War I led to high casualties and a series of defeats exposed the weakness of the Tsarist State. Soldiers were further swayed by the pacifist propaganda of the Bolsheviks and thus Russian autocracy lost its last supporting pillar.
  • The Duma forced Tsar Nichols II to resign, paving the way for the formation of a Provisional Government, which later came to be controlled by the Mensheviks. In turn, the Bolsheviks later gained control over Petrograd Soviet and ultimately staged a coup to oust the Provisional Government.

The impact of the Russian Revolution on world history has been very significant.

It brought Marx's ideas to life by establishing the first workers' state i.e, Socialist State in the form of the USSR. 

The Bolsheviks after coming to power quickly ended the Russian participation in • World War I and signed the Treaty of Brest- Litovsk with the Germans. 

Socialist Russia refused to honour the public debts of the Tsar Regime. In addition, Comintern was established to promote world revolution and establish socialiststates across the globe. 

By renouncing Russia's colonial claims in Asia, Socialism was linked with AntiImperialism and Anti-Colonialism and thus became a major component of national movements in Asia and Africa. 

Thus, the Russian Revolution of 1917holds imperative significance in the history of the world.

Q22. 'The roots of the rise of Fascism lay in Peace Treaties.' Comment. (2003) 

Ans. The Peace Treaties after World War I contained several defects which made the peace hitherto achieved quite fickle and the products of these treaties unsustainable. 

Through the Treaty of' Versailles, Germany had to give up her colonial possessions, along with some parts ofSilesia to Poland, Alsace and Lorraine to France. Germany was disarmed while other nations made no such efforts, as promised in Wilson's Fourteen Points. Lastly, a War Guilt Clause was imposed and Germany was forced to pay war reparations, while the Anschluss (Union with Austria) was forbidden. 

The loss of German territory as well as the burden of reparations destroyed the credibility of the Weimar Republic, which was further aggravated with the Great Depression. 

Hitler, by championing the cause of resistance to the terms of the treaty, was able to reignite German Nationalism and developed propaganda of portraying himself as the reviver of German glory.

Italy too felt that it was cheated by the Allied Powers in the Peace Settlement. Her gains were not proportionate to the promises given to her in 1915 and thus it was considered an outrage to her national honour. 

Benito Mussolini, through his popular claims, managed to secure a large following and led a March to Rome, which ended in his elevation as the Prime Minister by Victor Emmanuel III. Thus, the shortcomings of Peace Settlement created unrest which undermined the support and legitimacy of the democratic governments, further aggravated by the Great Depression and ultimately led to the rise of Fascism in Europe.

Q23. The Great Depression (1928 - 34) was attended by momentous consequences in the economic as well as in the political sphere. Comment. (2002)

Ans. The Great Depression has been termed as a long lasting depression in the trade cycle, which resulted in the failure of numerous banks, hyperinflation and depreciation in the value of currencies throughout the globe.

Economic consequences of the Great Depression: 

  • It led to a rethinking of ideas of Laissez-Faire propounded by Adam Smith and led to a consensus that some State intervention in the economic sphere is desirable as advocated by J.M Keynes. 
  • The Great Depression led to fall in demand, wage levels, depreciation of currencies and hyperinflation, especially in the Eastern Europe. 
  • It ultimately crippled the entire Capitalist Financial System. 

Political consequences: 

  • It led to the rise of Fascist ideology and provided conditions for its coming to power in Italy, Germany and other countries. 
  • The status of a Global Power began to be considered essential for economic stability. 
  • This created political tensions among nations as well, fuelling expansionist fascism, colonial ambitions, ending up in World War II. 

Thus, it could be said that the Great Depression (1928 " 34) was attended by momentous consequences in the economic as well as in the political sphere.

Q24. Examine the circumstances in China in the years 1945 " 49. What did the United States do to resolve the conflict between the Nationalists and the Communists there? (2002) 

Ans.  The Japanese invasion of China had forced Kuomintang and the Communists to ally together against Japan. The Communists however took the lead in fighting the Japanese while the Kuomintang forces retreated into the interior. 

During the course of the war, the Communists managed to gain popular support especially of the peasants, who benefitted from land redistribution. However, the dissension between the Communists and Kuomintang reappeared. The Kuomintang claimed primacy as the Nationalist Government while the Communists wanted an equal power sharing arrangement in a coalition government. America, eager to curtail the spread of Communism, supported attempts for a joined power sharing arrangement but the mistrust between the two sides was unassailable. America had occupied most of the Japanese held territory in China, except Manchuria which was controlled by Russia. 

After the defeat of Fascism, the western powers, especially the US, UK and France, acknowledged Communists as a threat to world peace. Thus, the Chinese Civil War turned international with the involvement of global powers. 

The US allowedKuomintang forces to move into territories held by it while Russia allowed the Communist forces to enter Manchuria. However, despite the US support, the Communists were able to get the support of the masses and prevail over the Nationalist Government. 

By 1948,the Communist armies had swelled up and thus abandoned their Guerrilla tactics and challenged the Kuomintang forces directly. By January 1949, Communists took over Beijing and later by year over entire China. The Kuomintang forces withdrew to Formosa (Taiwan) and were then protected by the American fleet.

Q25. With the proclamation in making of a Chinese Republic with Sun-Yat-Sen as the Presidentin 1911,"the old China wilted rapidly." Comment. (1999) 

Ans. The increasing domination of western powers in China, along with the exposed weakness of the Manchu State and its failure to modernise China transformed the Reform Movement into Anti- Manchu Movement. 

Endowed with western principles, Dr. Sun Yat Sen transformed the Anti- Manchu Movement into a Republican Movement. Soon, Nanking was captured by rebels and the Provisional Government of China was formed in 1911. 

The Manchu Government had largely relied on the support of regional warlords, who maintained de-facto control over large parts of the country. The Manchu Government in order to reign in the regional warlords and rebels gave the charge of the army to Yuan Shikai, who instead brought down the Monarchy and went on to become President of the Republic. 

Thus, with the proclamation of the Chinese Republic by Sun Yat Sen in Nanking, the old China wilted away.

Q26. "Stalinist Russia was a despotic regime." Critically examine this view. (1999) 

Ans. There was intense competition amongst Stalin, Trotsky, Zinoviev,Bukharin and others for power, after the death of Lenin. However, Stalin skillfully played one faction against another and filled important positions with his loyalists and by 1928 had firmly established his control over both:the Communist Party as well as the USSR. 

Stalin went ahead to crush all voices of dissent in the Great Purge or the Great. Terror of 1934-38.Political opponents,intellectuals and officials who were opposed to Stalin were declared enemies of the revolution and either were executed or sent to Gulags (labour camps) where most of them perished. 

Stalin enforced control over industries and agriculture by ending the NewEconomic Policy. Five Year Plans were imposed on industries, while peasants were forced under collectivization in order to m~dernise and increase production. Several independent farmers (Kulaks) who resisted were sent to Gulags. Thus, Stalin virtually waged war on the peasantry.

USSR comprised nearly 47% Non-Russian population, which by the end of World War I began to have nationalist aspirations. Stalin as the Commissar of Nationalities first reacquired these nations as a part of Russia and was subjected to strict control from Russia.

However, scholars often contest on the fact that Stalin’s role and powers have been overestimated as: 

  • The huge population of Russia and vast landmass meant that a totalitarian control could never be effective, even if imposed. 
  • The Communist Party itself was afraid of sabotages and thus the Purge is considered by some as an internal conflict rather than Stalin's despotism. 
  • The USSR comprised of Six Republics, which enjoyed far more autonomy than before in the Tsarist's Russia. Stalin allowed these nationalities to follow their own language rather than Russification of the Tsarist regime. 
  • The new Constitution of 1936 extended voting rights to the 'former people' (ex-nobles, priests, kulaks and white army officials) as well, even if the elections were a sham as only one candidate belonging to the Communist Party contested. 
  • Stalin initially was more eager to establish his control over the Communist Party and not the Government itself. He became the Premier only during World War II.

Thus, the Stalinist system was over centralised, disorganised, inefficient and corrupt. It tried to exert control over all spheres of life, but was also receptive to popular aspirations and tried to mould State policies as per it. 

Q27. In Russia, Lenin was "the father of Socialism, organiser of the revolution and the founder of the new Russian society." Examine the statement. (1998)

Ans. In the history of Soviet Russia and Socialism,Lenin occupies an important position. It was Lenin who brought the Socialist ideology of Marx to life by establishing the first Socialist country in the world. 

Though Marx predicted that a socialist revolution would be preceded by industrialisation in Russia, Lenin was able to bring about a revolution in a pre- industrialised society through a broad coalition of workers, soldiers and peasants. 

Although he was forced to make a tactical retreat from the Marxist Economy, by his New Economic Policy,the goals remained the same. 

The Russian Revolution had a complex character since it consisted of several strands like Bolsheviks,Mensheviks, SocialRevolutionaries and Constitutional Democrats (Kadets). 

Though Lenin himself was outside of Russia at the time of February Revolution, the Bolsheviks were an active, albeit minor constituent of the revolution who brought down the Tsar.

Lenin's arrival in Russia (July 1918) marked the rise of Revolutionary Socialism. His speech won the support of proletariat masses for the Bolsheviks, helping them to get a majority in the Soviets of Petrograd and Moscow and other cities. 

The actual seizure of power however was orchestrated byLeonTrotsky and Joseph Stalin. Yet, it was attributed to mass appeal and the charisma of Lenin that brought the October Revolution. 

The Bolsheviks led by Lenin only recognised one class, the Proletariat. Voting rights were given to all who earned their living from productive labour. Private property of landowners, Nobility and Clergy classes was confiscated and land was redistributed among the peasants. Workers were given the management of private industries. Hence, Lenin tried to form a new society by eliminating the non -productive classes like Capitalists, Aristocrats, Clergy, etc. However, the economic failure and shortages in the early 1920s forced them to abandon the Marxist Socialism and compromise with small scale capitalism, reflected in the New Economic Policy. It was Joseph Stalin who went on to establish a socialistic society based on the collectivization of agriculture and State controlled industries. Thus, while Socialismin Russia, the Russian Revolutionand NewRussian Society were an outcome of a long drawn process, Lenin brought the Socialist principles from the realm of ideologies into reality. 

Q28. The Corporate State was Mussolini's answer to the socio-political problems of his country. Elucidate. (1995) 

Ans. Post the First World War, there was growing discontent in Italy owing to comparatively small gains in the war. Also, there was disorder arising from the activities of the Socialists. On the other hand, economic growth could not pick up and neither did the condition of workers improve considerably. The 'Corporate State', one of the key elements of the Fascist system, was the answer to the prevailing socio-political problems.

  • The government claimed that it was designed to promote cooperation between the employers and workers and to end class warfare. Fascist-controlled unions had the sole right to negotiate for the workers, and both unions and employers' associations were organised into corporations, and were expected to work together to settle disputes over pay and working conditions.
  • Strikes and lockouts were not allowed. By 1934, there were 22 corporations, each dealing with a separate industry; each included a government official among its members, and there was a Minister of Corporations in charge of the whole system. Mussolini himself acted as the First Minister of Corporations from 1926 to 1929. 
  • It aimed at bringing all sectors together for increasing national production for the welfare of the state.

In this way,Mussolini hoped to control workers and direct production and economy. To compensate for their loss of freedom, workers were assured of such benefits as free Sundays, annual holidays with pay,social security, sports and theatre facilities, and cheap tours and holidays.

Q29. There was an element of system in Hitler's foreign policy. His outlook was continental. Comment. (1995) 

Ans. Hitler's foreign policy was largely limited to Continental Europe. It was guided by his political propaganda, wherein he sought to undo the injustices of Versailles but he never sought to reclaim the German colonies that had been handed over to the Allied Powers as Mandates. He knew the limitations of the German navy against the British maritime power and instead wished to capitalise on the army, against the Continental power, along with a strong air force to counter the British naval superiority. 

He began by pulling Germany out of the League of Nations and deploying the military in Rhineland. His territorial claims were limited to Europe and German populated areas initially. Later, his policy ofLebensraum (living space) required the conquest of non-German areas as well. Thus, his annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938exhibited his interest in continental supremacy. However, the Anti- Comintern Pact with Japan and spread of war outside Europe by 1940,led to a gradual expansion of the foreign policy.

Q30. 'For a tired and timid generation Metternich was the necessary man.' Comment. (1993) 

Ans. Count Metternich, as the Chancellor ofAustria, led European Monarchies in the time of frequent crises and upsurges. He was instrumental in establishing the Concert of Europe in 1815 and setting up an institutional framework for intervention in the domestic affairs of a country to safeguard Monarchy. 

Europe had witnessed a surge in political violence largely due to the spread of ideas of the French Revolution by Napoleonic Armies throughout Continental Europe.

As such, the morale of Royalists was declining and in these times of uncertainty, Metternich was able to delay the fall of Absolutist Monarchies in Europe, if not prevent it altogether. Thus, the credit for leading the charge against Liberalism and Enlightenment goes to Metternich.

Q31. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a single revolution which developed two phases. Elucidate. (1992) 

And.The military defeats in World War I had exposed the weakness of Russian autocracy and brought the aggrieved classes on streets. This mass upsurge pushed the elites into action, forcing Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate and led to the formation of a Provisional Government.  

Meanwhile, the Petrograd Soviet of the soldiers and workers had seized control of Petrograd and several Soviets sprang up in other cities as well. 

Initially, the Provisional Government was controlled by Kadets (Constitutional Democrats) who were overthrown by the Mensheviks, while the Petrograd Soviet forced the Provisional Government to share power with it. 

The Mensheviks thus became the ruling party and aimed to achieve liberal socialism through Constitutional means. On the other hand, Bolsheviks retained the support of peasantry and workers and aimed to bring about a total social, economical and political transformation in Russia. 

The Provisional Government decided to continue Russia's war efforts while it delayed elections to the Parliament. It failed to fulfill the promise of land reforms while inflation was rampant due to shortages. These decisions made the Provisional Government unpopular. 

Meanwhile, Lenin's return bolstered the popular support for Bolsheviks who went on to get a majority in the Soviets of Petrograd and Moscow and other big cities by October. 

While the February Revolution had led to the abdication of the Tsar and establishment of the Provisional Government, it failed to meet the demands for socio-economic transformation of Russia as well as to end the war. 

The Bolsheviks capitalised on popular unrest and backed by Soviets, seized the . control of the Provisional Government and major cities in October 1919, thus affecting a bloodless coup known as the October Revolution. Hence, though in the beginning, all sections cooperated to bring about the overthrow of Tsar, the differences in the course and pace towards Socialism led to the second phase of the revolution. 

Q32. 'Comparison of the fascist regime in Italy with the National Socialist regime of Germany is almost inevitable. The similarities are obvious, but there is one point of difference which is worth mentioning.' Comment. (1991) 

Ans.  Fascism as a political ideology gained ground in Italy first and later in Germany and led to the establishment of Fascist governments in both the States. These two Fascist States shared several similarities like:

  • Both of the Fascist States established authoritarian governments and fuelled extreme nationalism. 
  • Economic self - sufficiency was a key policy and which in turn fuelled an aggressive foreign policy. 
  • Violence and propaganda were the instruments to garner public support and quell dissidence.

Despite these similarities, the only key difference was that Italy was not as totalitarian and authoritarian as Germany.

Hitler had merged the office of Chancellor and President, thus establishing himself as the sole leader. Italy on the other hand continued to be ruled in the name of King Victor Emmanuel III. It also had a Pope who became the fulcrum of popular opposition when Mussolini began to persecute Jews in the late 1930s. 

It was because of this important difference that: 

  • Racial violence in Italy did not reach the proportion of Genocide, as it did in Germany. 
  • When the popular opinion turned against Mussolini, the King being the Head of the State could dismiss Mussolini, whereas there was no one to stop Hitler since he had merged Presidency with Chancellorship and had become the Fuhrer (supreme leader). Hence, with the similarities in two Fascist States, the imperative difference lies quite significant. 

Q33. Extreme nationalism of the Fascist variety has various faces in various countries,but it has everywhere certain common characteristics.'Comment. (1989) 

Ans. The ideology of Fascism believes in the formofUltra-Nationalism and had emerged first in Europe after the end of the First World War (1914-1918) and dominated the whole ofEurope for two decades. 

The Fascist variety has some similarities but also encompasses certain different features in different countries. 

Similar or common characteristics of Fascism are: 

(i) Exaltation of State where the State should be the sole authority and usurp all power in its hands, thereby leading the way towards a Totalitarian State. 

(ii) Protection of private property. 

(iii) An aggressive foreign policy which can even be accompanied with the use of military warfare whenever required.

These characteristics of Fascism were common in countries like Italy, Germany, Japan and Spain though there were some differences also, as: 

(i) Italy: 

  • Italy come under the FascistRegimeunder the leadershipofBenitoMussolini. 
  • It was the outcome of Orlando's''indirect defeat in the Paris PeaceConference. 
  • Mussolini showcased himself as a Socialist and brought in the policy of 'Syndicates' thereby making way for the Capitalists for profit making. 
  • Also,he made a pact with the legitimize his usurpation of power and acceptability of his decisions, which was unique. 
  • He even waged wars against two African nations - Albania and Abyssinia. 

(ii) Germany:

  • Fascism in Germany came to be known as Nazism after the name of a party propounded by Hitler. 
  • Apart from the similar characteristics of Fascism, his policy was different and unique in two ways: 

(a) Anti - Semitism - It believed in hatred against the Jews which according to Hitler were the main reason behind Germany's defeat in the First World War. 

(b) Lebensraum - According to it, Hitler advocated the Theory of Superior Race i.e. 'NordicRace' wanted to bring in all the 'Aryans' together under the ambit of Germany from Austria, Poland and Sudetenland and hence started fighting wars with these countries.


(iii) Japan: 

  •  Japan was the first country outside of Europe to have this philosophy or ideology. 
  • Japan undertook Fascism for its military superiority and tried to control the sea locations, located near to it. 
  • Also,it wanted to dominate China and thus waged military development on a war footing in their country. 


(iv) Spain: 

Even Spain's leader, Franco was associated with the Fascist countries like Italy and Germany which helped him in usurping power. 

So,it cannot be denied that extreme nationalism of the Fascist variety had various faces with some common characteristics which became one of the major reasons for the outbreak of the Second World War

Q34. Analyse the causes of the Russian Revolutions of 1917.Why was the second Revolution significant in more than one way? (1985) 

Ans. The Russia Revolutions were an outcome of various underlying grievances, highlighting the fact that the Russian Government was autocratic without being efficient. Its causes were: 

  • In response to the 1905 Rebellion, Tsar Nicholas II had promised reforms, collectively called the 'October Manifesto'. However, he later refused to tolerate any democratically elected Duma and initiated token political reforms only. 
  • Meanwhile, Stolypin's reforms failed to produce the desired effect. Rapid population growth meant that land remained scarce while conditions of workers remained deplorable, giving rise to a wave of industrial strikes between 1912- 1914. 
  • Government repression against the Jews, students, peasants and industrial workers as well as intelligentsia, further strengthened the Anti -Tsarist sentiments. 
  • The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks had revived their activities since 1912,fueling discontent and mobilising the peasantry and workers.
  • Russia's entry into World War I marked the final blow to Tsarist Russia. Military defeats and supply shortages of essentials exposed the weakness of the State. Soldiers were further influenced by the pacifist propaganda of the Bolsheviks. 
  • Tsar's decision to take control of war efforts followed by a series of military defeats discredited autocracy totally and led to his abdication in February 1917 (Julian) and the formation of a Provisional Government.

However, in October the ProvisionalGovernment was overthrown by the Bolsheviks and the October Revolution became significant because: 

  • The Provisional Government was controlled by Constitutional Democrats (Kadets) and later by Mensheviks, who aimed to achieve Socialism through gradual means. The OctoberRevolution brought radical Bolsheviksto power,reflecting a shift of power from upper and middle classes to the lower class. 
  • A strong aversion ofBolsheviksto the war brought about a hasty peace through the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, thus ending Russia's participation in WorldWar I. 
  • Bolsheviks recognised only the working class and thus went on to confiscate private properties of landlords, businessmen and clergymen, and abolished their special privileges, thus marking the extinction of the old order. 

Thus, while the February Revolution was a coup by the Duma and elites, the October Revolution was a seizure of power by soldiers and workers. So,the Second Revolution was more significant than the first one.

Q35. The turn of the tide against the Kuomintang, was due as much to its weakness as to communist strength. Comment. (1985) 

Ans. China saw the reign of warlords till the end of the 19th century, and China was a mere geographical entity without any sense of nationalism. This led China to act as a watermelon in the hands of the imperialist powers. To end this lacuna, came Dr. Sun Yat Sen who established the Kuomintang Party. 

The Kuomintang Party (till 1925): 

The KMTParty or the Nationalist Party ofChina was established by Dr. Sun Yat Sen for achieving the political unification of China during the beginning of the 20th century. 

He was further joined by the "Communist Party ofChina" under the leadership of" Mao Zedong. Though both had different approaches but shared the same aim of the political unification of China. So, they came together and thought for the betterment of China. But after the death of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the philosophy or the ideology of the KMTParty got diluted with the usurpation of leadership by a military dictator - Chiang Kai Shek. 

Communist strength: 

The biggest problem that was faced in China was the overburdening control of warlords over the rural class. Mao started acting against the warlords and mobilized the rural masses to take up arms to achieve their independence. Mao brought his philosophy "Power Flows From the Barrel of Guns". 

People started following Maoin the 'Great March' and after settling in the NorthEastern part of China, revolted against the atrocities done by Chiang Kai Shek. Since there was a large number of rural population in China, hence Mao and his philosophy became very famous and was accepted by everyone.

The weakness of KMT:

The KMT Party under their new leader Chiang Kai Shek, reflected from their aim, the political unification ofChina and started acting against the Communists. Their major goal became to end the Communist inclination of China. They started waging war against them which led to the "Chinese Civil War". Japan, on the other hand, seeing the situation attacked China twice. Finally, the military people of Wham poa themselves forced Chiang to go with the Communists for the unification of China. Though this ended the Civil war but after the World War, it started again. 

The major population ofChina stood against the KMT and finally, Mao defeated them with the help of the USSR and they were confined to the small area of Taiwan. Therefore, it cannot be denied that though KMTbrought the dawn of nationalism and political unification of China policy but ended with dusk and change in its party leadership that showed its weakness.

Thus, it can be safely accepted that the turn of the tide against KMT was due to its own weakness.

Q36. Hitler was 'a creature flung to the top by the tides of revolutionary change, or the embodiment of the collective unconsciousness of a people obsessed with violence and death.' Comment. (1984) 

Ans. Hitler's rise to power still remains a controversial topic, debated vigorously by the historians. 

The notion that the Weimer Republicwas often blamed for the Treaty of Versailles which reduced its prestige, is accepted, but it also created a desire among the populace to regain the lost glory. 

The economic crisis in 1923 and in the Great Depression, are also viewed by many as the primary cause for Hitler's rise. 

In times of rampant unemployment and despair, it was Hitler who offered a ray of hope for a better future. 

These views tend to shift the blame for Hitler's rise to prevalent conditions and absolve the German population at large. However, it is observed that most of these issues had been resolved before Hitler's rise to power. 

The economy was on resurgence during 1932-33 and the issue of occupation of Rhineland had been resolved. The war reparation burden was reduced to 2000 million pounds by the Young Plan (1929) and largely exempted in 1932. 

Therefore, these transient conditions cannot be the sole cause of Hitler's rise. 

The trend ofPrussian Militarism seems to have persisted beyond the First World War. Hitler and the Nazi Party couldwoothe industrialists, aristocrats and military leaders over their side in response to the emerging socialist trend. 

The influence of Social Darwinism was also a clear element, propagated since the day ofImperial Germany which consistently acquired anti-semitic proportion and was accepted to a large section. Hitler consistently blamed Jews as the cause of defeat in the First World War and Marxist unrest. 

The fact that even under proportional representation, Hitler was able to secure almost a majority shows that he certainly had the popular support. Thus, it can be said that Hitler was neither an abomination of revolutionary change, nor a result of unconscious choice of Germans, but a bit of both. Hitler's success lay in his ability to mislead the Germans by linking socio-economic problems with antisemitism. The Germans also hoped to achieve former glory and stability by supporting Hitler, though they failed to comprehend the extent to which Hitler was willing to go, and certainly did not expect a Genocide. Therefore, Hitler's rise can-best be explained as a result of traditional German desire for glory, sharpened by the socio-economic conditions.

Q37. 'The Treaty of Nanking is the basic act in the imposing but unstable structure of international relations which governed China for a hundred years.' Comment. (1984) 

Ans. China had remained closed to the outside world till the mid _19thcentury. However, defeat in the First Opium War (1839-42) followed by the Treaty of Nanking forced China to accept the western presence. The treaty gave trading rights to the British through 5 ports and soon other European nations were able to obtain these concessions. 

Further, the defeat in the Second Opium War, followed by the Treaty ofTientsin, extended these trade privileges to 11 more ports, while promising protection to Christian Missionaries as well as extra-territories rights to foreigners.Later, Britain unilaterally imposed ChefooAgreement on China, extending its privileges. 

Defeats in the opium wars made China acknowledge the need for modernisation on western lines. In 1861, an Imperial Officefor managing foreign relations was established. The Self- Strengthening Movement began in 1861 that led to the growth of State sponsored modern industries driven by imports of western technology and investments. 

Foreign powers, in turn, went on to acquire China's outlying provinces and dependencies and later carved China into their respective spheres of influence to maintain the balance of power. Thus, the Treaty of Nanking marked the beginning of subordination of China to the foreign interests.

Q38. 'The bold knight, Lenin, having rescued the fair maiden of the Revolution from the evil sorcerer, Kerensky, everyone lived happily hereafter.' Comment. (1983) 

Ans. The Soviet historians often portray the February (March) Revolution as a partial success because the Provisional Government usurped the power after Bolsheviks led the Revolution. Thus, they portray the November Revolution as a natural response to restore. the rightful leaders of the Revolution. 

Moreover, they portray Kerensky as someone one who managed to usurp the power and it was Lenin and Bolsheviks who were the actual leaders of the Revolution, since ultimately they were the ones in control of the Petrograd Soviet, a body of workers and soldiers' representatives. However, this version is after contested as sycophancy and denied by other historians. Their narrative is that the first revolution was a spontaneous affair, a popular upsurge without any distinct ideological orientation and aimed primarily at the overthrow ofTsardom, in response to the horrors ofWorld War I and economic deprivation that was faced by the masses. 

The Provisional Government itself, however, grew unpopular due to its controversial decisions like delaying elections, continuing the war, economic chaos and attempts to dislodge Petrograd Soviets. 

Thus, as a cumulative result of all these factors, popular unrest resurfaced in mid October which was fanned and guided by Bolshevik led Soviets in Moscow and other provincial cities that ultimately led to the overthrow ofProvisional Government with the Bolsheviks coming to power.

Q39. Review the political circumstances in China in the years 1945 " 49 leading to the establishment of the Communist rule in the land. How did the United States seek to resolve the conflict between the Nationalists and the Communists in the period? (1983) 

Ans. China was embroiled in a political turmoil since the 1911 Revolution, which accentuated after the defeat of Yuan Shikai. 

During the late 1920s, the Chinese Civil War began between the Kuomintang (KMT) Party or the Nationalists led by Chiang Kaishek and the Communists led by Mao Zedong. The two groups, after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, however, decided to lead a joint front against the invasion and with the defeat of Japan after 1945, the conflicts re-erupted. 

The Nationalists were a pro -landlord and pro- business faction, in contrast to the Communists who were popular among the lower economic sections. Thus, in effect, the Chinese Civil War reflected the first conflict between Capitalism and Communism and a prelude to the Civil War. As the British Prime Minister Churchill had said, that with the defeat of Axis Powers, now Communism is the next threat. Therefore, the two former allies, the USSR and the USA supported Communists and Nationalists respectively. The US helped Nationalists gain all territories formerly occupied by Japan, except Manchuria which was taken by the Russians. However, it was during this period that Communist armies began to. grow and abandon guerilla tactics altogether. This increase in popularity was due to a restrained land redistribution policy and rent remission, coupled with effective Communist propaganda highlighting corruption and atrocities of the Nationalist armies. 

Thus, by 1949, the Communists had taken over Beijing and most of the countries, while the Nationalists were forced to retreat to the Island of Formosa, now called Taiwan. 

Hence, China emerged as a Communist country after World War II, under Chairman Mao's leadership, contrary to what was expected by the Western powers including the USA.

Q40. How did the Treaty Port System in China develop between 1840and 1860? What was its influence on Chinese attitude to foreigners? (1982) 

Ans. China had remained closed to the outside world till the mid- 19th century, however, the ever rising detrimental impact of opium ultimately led to war with Britain, as: 

  • Britain emerged victorious in the First Opium War (1839-42) and imposed the Treaty of Nanking, which opened 5 ports for British trade. 
  • Other European nations were quick to catch-up and received similar privileges. 
  • Alleged Chinese provocations led to the Second Opium War (1856~58),where French and British emerged victorious. The Treaty ofTientsin extended foreign trading privileges to 11more ports, thus furthering western colonial interest. 
  • Later, on the pretext of the murder of a British Consul in China, Britain unilaterally imposed the Chefoo Agreement, whereby the British trading privileges were further extended to several other Chinese ports. 

Till the mid-19th century, China used to despise westerners as barbarians. However, subsequent defeats in the opium wars led to changes in opinion. The Chinese were forced to accept the western presence as per the terms of the Treaty of Nanking and further offer protection to the Christian missionaries and extra- territorial rights to foreigners. 

Most importantly, the success offoreign powers in China exposed the weakness of the Chinese traditional system. It gave birth to the Self- Strengthening Movement, which was aimed at modernising China on the western lines. In 1861, an Imperial Officeto manage foreign relations was opened. The Self- Strengthening Movement further led to the expansion of State sponsored modern industries, driven by western technology and investments. 

Thus, the imposition of the Treaty Port System made the Chinese acknowledge the advancement of western Civilisation as well as fuelled the desire for Modernisation.

Q41. Critically examine the main features of the foreign policy of Nazi Germany. (1982) 

Ans. The Nazi foreign policy was guided by Nazi propaganda and can be summed up in Hitler's words, 'Germany will either be a world power or will not be at all'. The Nazi foreign policy thus viewed international relations as a zero- sum game and believed that a nation could further its policy only at the cost ofothers. Such a policy was bound to lead to confrontations and conflicts and ultimately led to World War II. 

The main features of the foreign policy: 

  • Hitler's foreign policy goals were largely based on undoing the injustices of Versailles. He pulled Germany out of the League ofNations, raised troops to 800000, reintroduced conscription a~d redeployed troops in Rhineland. However, the two major issues, of war reparation payments and inclusion of Saar in Germany had already been resolved by 1935. 
  • From 1936,Hitler began to realise his plan for the union of all German people within a single Reich. Anschluss (union) with Austria, which had been prohibited by the Treaty ofVersailles, was achieved despite opposition from the Austrian Government. 
  • Britain followed a policy of appeasement towards Hitler until 1939,asit believed that an economically strong Germany would be useful for both, the British industries as well as peace of Europe. France, due to indecisiveness and lack of military support, went along with appeasement which further strengthened Hitler's resolve to unite all German population under a single Reich. 
  • Hitler pressed his claim for Sudetenland and held a conference in Munich, which led to the famous Munich Agreement. However, within a year, Hitler broke the agreement and divided Czechoslovakia between Germany and Hungary and Slovakia declared independence.
  • This betrayal marked the end of appeasement policy and when Hitler claimed a passage to link East Prussia with Germany, Britain and France decided to put their weight behind Poland and declared war on Germany, soon after the invasion of Poland. 
  • Hitler's contempt for Jews and Communism meant that peace could not be maintained with Russia for long. Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941 and ended in a humiliating defeat for Germany. 

Thus, the success of Hitler's foreign policy was largely based upon the policy of appeasement and once the Allies decided to resist his aggression, World War II became inevitable.

Q42. Lenin's role in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Short Note. (1981) 

Ans. Lenin was one of the strongest proponents of Socialism in Russia. After a split in the Social Democratic Party (1903), Lenin became the leader ofBolsheviks while the other section became Mensheviks. 

Mensheviks believed that a socialist revolution had to be preceded by an industrial revolution, and thus opposed plans for a socialist uprising in Russia and advocated Constitutional methods to achieve the socialist goals. Bolsheviks, on the other hand, advocated a revolution backed by both: peasants and workers. 

The February Revolution saw cooperation between various political trends to secure the ouster of Tsar Nicholas II. 

The Provisional Government initially was controlled by the Constitutional Democrats, but later came to be controlled by the Mensheviks. During this time, Lenin's return from exile allowed the Bolsheviksto gain mass support. His speeches encouraged the masses of peasantry and working class towards a socialist revolution. 

By October 1918, the Bolsheviks had secured majorities in the Soviets of Petrograd, Moscow and other cities and thus were also to stage a,coup and seize power from the Provisional Government. 

Lenin, thus, was successful in establishing the first Socialist State in the world. The private property of elites was confiscated and land was redistributed among the peasantry while the workers were given management of the factories. 

Q43. What were the causes of the success of BolshevikRevolutionof 1917? Discuss Its significance in the history of the world. (1980) 

Ans. The Bolshevik Revolution marked the end of the final phase of the greatest ideological revolution i.e. the Russian Revolution in 1917.According to the Julian Calendar, this revolution took place in the month of October, 1917. 

The causes for the success of Bolshevik Revolution were as follows:

(i) Inefficiency of Mensheviks: The Menshevik leaders usurped the control of Russia during the second decade of the 20th century but were unable to control the government and fulfill the need of the masses. 

(ii) Nihilist Pressure: The Nihilist group which was known for its revolutionary tendencies put a lot of pressure on the government. 

(iii) Role of Philosophers : The philosophers like Tolstoy fused in the masses the seeds of fighting for their rights. 

(iv)Financial Crisis: In the wake of the Russian participation in the First World War, the financial status ofRussia declined rapidly and a major effect was seen on the common masses. (v) Role of Lenin: Lenin, who had returned from an exile, tried to mobilize the masses to wage a struggle against the Alexander Kerensky led government, as he said that the motive of the long struggle was yet to be achieved, hence, he gave the famous speech at Petrograd about Land ,Bread and Peace. 

Bread symbolized self-sufficiency in food production and distribution. Land symbolized proper distribution of land and Peace symbolized attainment of long term peace. 

All these factors led to a mass protest which in turn marked the successfulBolshevik Revolution to achieve socio-economic rights along with political rights.

(i) Concept of War Communism : Lenin after becoming the Head, brought in socialist measures on a war footing which included-

  • Protection of Public Sector Enterprises. 
  • Controlled economy. 
  • Urban development and growth. But this led to a big problem or hindrance in overall development. Hence, he did changes in it. 

(ii) Concept of New Economic Policy: 

  • The concept ofNEP was based on a hybrid approach with the assimilation of both, Public Sector and Private Sector.
  • It was termed as "Mixed Economy". 
  • Economy now ensured cash flow. 
  • Focus on both rural and urban development. 

(iii) Five - Years Plan: After Lenin, Stalin came to power and introduced the concept of Five Years Plan which focused on a specific sector that needed attention.

Thus, all these developments not only helped Russia come out of the crisis, but also inspired countries like India to adopt the same policy. It saved Russia from the Great Economic Depression of 1929and led to the establishment of the USSR.