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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions over the past few years have led to

  • suggestions that he may be trying to reinstate the former Soviet Union.

  • So how exactly did the Soviet Union rise to power to begin with?

  • Well, the history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics begins with the end of the Russian

  • czardom.

  • For hundreds of years, Russia was ruled by a series of monarchs, calledczars”,

  • who wielded absolute authority.

  • But in the early 20th century, Russia suffered a series of demoralizing military defeats,

  • both in the Russo-Japanese War and during World War One.

  • These failures were coupled with brutality from Czar Nicholas the Second, nicknamed Nichols

  • the Bloody.

  • This state of affairs eventually prompted a revolt from revolutionary groups, who rejected

  • rule by elites, instead encouraging rule by the working class.

  • The most notable of these were the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin.

  • In 1917, two back-to-back revolutions first ousted the Czar, then replaced the interim-government

  • with local groups of workers, known as soviets.

  • The following year the Czar and his entire family were summarily executed.

  • After a civil war between loyalists, known as The Whites, and revolutionaries, called

  • The Reds, the Reds won and unified under the communist ideology, creating the first socialist

  • state: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922.

  • Vladimir Lenin was instituted as the leader of the state, and the Bolsheviks were renamed

  • The Communist Party”.

  • Lenin nationalized the country’s industries, particularly manufacturing and banking, and

  • distributed land among its citizens.

  • Those who opposed him were either executed or imprisoned in concentration camps, in a

  • campaign known as the Red Terror.

  • Although Lenin died just two years after the formation of the USSR, his cult of personality

  • was used throughout its history to promote a political ideology known as Marxism-Leninism,

  • a derivation of Communism.

  • After Lenin’s death, another revolutionary Bolshevik, Joseph Stalin, gained power despite

  • serious opposition from Lenin in his final years.

  • This opposition was kept secret from the public, and Stalin effectively became a dictator in

  • the Soviet Union.

  • He focused on rapid industrialization and turning the country into a major world economic

  • power.

  • Although Stalin’s series of five-year-plans to transform the state were generally successful,

  • they came at a severe cost.

  • Millions were unjustly imprisoned in labor camps called Gulags.

  • An intentional famine killed millions more, in short because workers were unable to eat

  • their own grain, as it was considered state property under socialism.

  • In the 1930s, Stalin implemented a campaign known as the Great Purge, to execute or exile

  • anyone who was a potential threat to Communism, including intellectuals and politicians.

  • As the ruler during World War Two, Stalin made a peace pact with Nazi Germany.

  • When Germany broke the pact and attempted to invade in 1941, Stalin sent millions more

  • citizens to their deaths to defend the country, successfully pushing back the siege.

  • In the aftermath of World War Two, Stalin’s regime funded communist uprisings in other

  • countries, creating conditions for the Cold War against the Western and capitalist United

  • States.

  • Stalin died in 1953, and at the time was revered as a nationalist hero who’d fought back

  • the Nazis, and brought Russia into the industrial age, which is considered by some the peak

  • of the USSR’s power.

  • The following years brought efforts to de-Stalinize, and reverse the power of the dictatorship

  • and purges and gulags.

  • Still, within a decade, the country began slipping into decline, and despite efforts

  • to revitalize it while competing with the United States, the USSR eventually fell apart.

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  • During the onset of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was an economic and political superpower,

  • rivaled only by the United States.

  • So what led to its eventual decline?

  • Find out in the second part of this series: the Fall of the Soviet Union.

  • Although different theories have been proposed, one suggests that the Soviet Union was desperate

  • to outperform the United States in two major regions: military and space flight.

  • This led to excessive spending, with the Soviet Union establishing a self-contained military

  • complex.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive actions over the past few years have led to


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蘇聯的崛起 (The Rise Of The Soviet Union)

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