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The emergence of communist techniques of control, 1917 - 1923

Date

1956

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Masters

Abstract

This thesis does not profess to relate in full, or in outline, the history of the Bolshevik Revolution from 1917 to 1923. While the course of events in this struggle was necessarily part of the writer's field of investigation, this study is limited to one particular aspect of the Russian experiment. When the Bolsheviks first annexed power during the November Revolution of 1917, Lenin himself admitted that the new regime could not expect to retain its position unless the proletariat elsewhere in Europe followed the Russian lead.l How then was it that a party which, by its own count, numbered only 240,000 in Russia in 19172 was able, not only to hold its own, but to extend its control beyond the borders of Tsarist Russia? This is the question to which the writer has devoted his attention and of which this thesis will attempt at least a partial solution. The Bolsheviks demonstrated an amazing ability to improvise methods to suit the situations with which they were faced. From these improvis­ations, based partially on Tsarist autocratic practices and partially on the theories of Marxism molded to fit their particular problems, there developed a pattern of techniques which proved successful in retaining Bolshevik predominance. Although the Communist party has added to and refined the original techniques of control, it is the intention of the writer to deal only with the major aspects of the Bolshevik methods as they evolved from 1917 to 1923. 1. Lenin, V.I. Selected works. 6:288. International Publishers, New York. 1943. A critical note on the character and value of this and other source material may be found in the bibliography. 2. A Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, p.196. International Publishers, New York. 1939. The total Pop­ulation of the former Russian Empire was approximately 150,000,000. In elections to the Constituent Assembly, November 1917, the Bol­sheviks elected only 183 deputies, compared to 412 for the Socialist ­Revolutionaries. Radkey, O.H. The election of the Russian Constit­uent Assembly. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. 1950.

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Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

History

Program

History

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