Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25-27, 2015

History 12

March 25, 26 and 27, 2015

Thank you all for welcoming me back for a little teaching therapy in my retirement.  Please find all class material posted below.  

March 25.  

Today's class dealt with the transition from Lenin to Stalin.  Click here to see the introductory videos and music of the Soviet Union in the 1930s and 40s that was playing as you came to class this morning -- there is a little over 1 hour of music.

.Access the the Powerpoint for the day: From Lenin to Stalin, here.

March 26.

Once again (time permitting), you came into class with some Stalin era music playing.  Songs may have included the Red Army Choir's Polyushka Polye and KalinkaComrade Song, and Song About Stalin.

Today's PowerPoint is The Stalin Revolution, which deals with Collectivization and Industrialization under Stalin.

Be sure to watch the video Stalin and the Modernisation of Russia, from the BBC's 20th Century History series -- all these episodes are tailor made for History 12.  If today and Friday were not shortened blocks, we would be watching it in class.

March 27

More introductory music will include some or all of the following:  Bolshevik Leaves Home, Smuglyanka Moldavanka, Stalin our Father, and the anthem of the Bolshevik Party (1939 lyrics).

The Powerpoint today is The Great Purge -- examining Stalin's purge of all elements of Soviet society in the late 1930s.

If you have an hour and a half, be sure to watch the BBC 2 documentary Stalin; Inside the Terror.

Useful Online Material:
Here are some links to video material you might find interesting:  

Joseph Stalin; Man of Steel
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Documentary on the life of a Zek (prisoner) in the Soviet prison system based on the important novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn of the same name.
Stalin --1992 Movie staring Robert Duval1.

Excellent summary notes from his lectures on 20th century history -- The History Guide -- are provided online by professor Steven Kreis of Florida Atlantic University and Meredith College (Raleigh).  Of relevance to our study are the following:

A terrific source of resources on the USSR can be found at "The Soviet History Archive" page of The Marxist Internet Archive.

Yale university has a nice,short lecture by John Merriman (part of his European Civilization 1648-1945 course) online entitled Stalinism. New York University has posted a lecture, Stalin; Geopolitics, Ideas, Power.  You might also like to watch Daniel Bonevac's lecture, Stalin.

You might enjoy two short animated propaganda pieces from 1924 (5 minutes total).  Also Dziga Vertov's film, also from 1924, another example of Soviet animation. Vertov (real name David Abelevich Kaufman) was a Soviet film-making pioneer.  Film fanatics might enjoy his full-length movies,like Enthusiasm.

For those really interested in the development of film must see the work of Soviet film-maker Sergai Eisenstein, who influenced filming techniques everywhere -- he is still studied in film schools today.  Good Examples of his work include Strike -- about life in a factory during the reign of the Tsar.   The Battleship Potempkin is a classic about a mutiny during the 1905 rebellion.  October tells the story of the Bolshevik revolutionInterestingly, more damage was done to the Winter Palace during the filming of this movie than by the actual fighting itself. These are the films that directly relate to History 12, but film buffs would also be interested in other works, which can be easily found by gooling his name.

My old lecture notes, from when I first started teaching may still have some relevance.  The original notes are listed below:
Need some reading suggestions?  Try these literary works:

The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Russian Civil War rages as Red forces close in on the White enclave in the Ukraine.  The Turbin family faces this test with the full range of human emotion --- from great courage to despondency and even courage. An age comes to a close and the future looks bleak.
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The doctor is swept along by events in early 20th century Russia.  His life and loves play off against events such as the 1905 uprising, the First World War, the overthrow of the Tsar and the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War. This is a 20th century Russian novel that ranks alongside the great Russian literature of the previous century.
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
A former communist, Arthur Koestler sets out to explain how the great men of the Bolshevik Revolution could become the abject figures seen at thStalin's Show Trials of the 1930's -- admitting to any charges, no matter how ridiculous.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Orwell described it as a "fairy tale" but it is so much more.  While children read it as a simple tale of a barnyard revolution, it is really a satirical allegory of Soviet History.  Idealism is betrayed and cynical tyranny installed. Orwell insists that it is not Socialism that failed in the USSR, but the brutal regime of Stalin that destroyed all that was good in the original dream.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Devil visits Moscow during the 1930's, and with him come several assistants, including a gun-toting cat.  Bulgakov attacks the stifling repression of Stalin's Soviet Union and affirms that Soviet formalism destroys life.