The Rise And Rule Of Single Party States

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Single Party States

1. Lenin

Lenin’s long term aims:
Create a communist state w/ state control of industry & trade.
Nationalization of land
Ending of class barriers and the establishment of a republic of workers, peasants, and soldiers deputies with a gradual transition to socialism and the ‘withering away of the state’

He was willing to adapt these goals b/c:
Inside Russia the Bolsheviks had only minority support
Outside Russia revolution in advanced industrial states had not undergone revolution and the transition w/in Russia from revolution to socialism would therefore be hard and long.

The establishment of a single party rule:
Lenin dissolved the Constituent Assembly (which did not have a Bolshevik majority).
Dictatorial methods before this had included: suppression of newspapers, banning of the Cadet Party, setting up a secret police (Cheka).
The communist aimed to "suppress all attempts of the bourgeoisie to return to power: and this is what is meant by the dictatorship of the proletariat."
Lenin drew up a new constitution after dissolving the assembly.

Lenin’s Constitution:
Drawn up in 1918 but only accepted w/ adjustments in 1922 & 1924.
See notes for further info on basic rights, voting rights, etc.

The ending of the war:
Lenin wanted to obtain peace and signed in March 1918 the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk:

  • Russia lost Poland, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Ukraine, part of Belorussia and Transcaucasia. (1,3 million sq. miles of territory, a pop. of 62 million people, 1/3 of all her railways, _ of her coal and iron resources.)

Bolsheviks did not have to deal w/ discontented minorities.
Bolsheviks could concentrate on control of Russia itself
End of war meant Lenin could concentrate on internal difficulties.

2. Hitler

Reasons for the Rise of Fascism in Germany:

  • The economic collapse of Germany after 1929 (main reason)
  • The lack of democratic roots in Germany
  • Under the Weimar republic it was impossible to secure a majority in parliament (this depicted democracy as a weak Gov. system)
  • The president had the authority to declare a state of emergency (Hitler used Hindenburg’s ability to do this in order to establish his dictatorship)
  • The fear of communism (Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor as a result of such fears)
  • The Nazis exploited the weakness of the Weimar system and often used violence against their opponents
  • The Nazis made use of propaganda to shape public opinion
  • The Nazis used resentment against the Versaille Settlement to their ends.
  • Some other political parties did not support democracy and represented potential allies for Hitler

Characteristics of National Socialist Rule:

  • Germany became a one party state
  • Hitler was supreme within the party and he was taken as the personification of National Socialism.
  • Totalitarianism was introduced
  • Education was controlled
  • Strict censorship of the media
  • All non-Nazi youth movements were banned and replaced (ie: by movements such as Hitler Youth)
  • The churches were brought under Nazi control
  • Trade Unions & strikes were banned
  • The use of terror was made to crush all resistance
  • The army was brought under Nazi control
  • Officers swore loyalty to Hitler
  • Gradually Nazi officers filled army ranks
  • The non-Nazi commander and war minister were removed in scandals at least engineered by the Nazis
  • The S.S. was built up
  • The Nazis made great use of propaganda
  • The economy (see notes on inter-war period)
  • Racism / The Aryan Germans were declared to be the ‘Master Race’
  • Expansionism / Hitler claimed to reunite all Germans and Nazi interests centered on obtaining land in Europe
  • There was a close identity btw party and state
  • Centralization of power

An Evaluation of National Socialism:

  • Failed in the long run and brought disaster to Germany
  • Brought short term benefits (see notes on Economic Problems)
  • Drove to exile Germans who could have contributed greatly for Germany (ie: Einstein)
  • There was strict censorship of art, literature and academic life; which all did not flourish under the Nazis
  • Women’s rights suffered
  • Loss of civil liberty
  • Nazi extremism brought about Allied extremism and eventually events such as civilian bombings (ie: Dresden)
  • Some successes: construction of autobahns, establishment of enterprises like Volkswagen, and scientific advances in areas such as synthetics, and rocketry.

An Evaluation of Nazi Economic Policy:

  • Measures reducing U. marked w/ a * represented a manipulation of statistics
  • Increases in output were directed to the armed forces (this meant recession was inevitable except in the case of war)
  • Economic improvements were accompanied to loss of individual freedom
3. Cuba/ Castro-

Cuba stood under strong influence from the United States:
USA helped achieve Cuban independence from the Spanish in 1898.
Independent but stability sometimes achieved with American troops.

Claims that USA controlled Cuban economy:
USA held controlling stake in all Cuban industries

  • Half of the land
  • 3/5 of the railway system
  • The electricity production
  • The telephone system
  • USA was Cuba’s main market
  • Domination did not result in efficient country; therefore resentment in Cuba.

Cuba’s economy:

  • Prosperous
  • Too dependent on sugar
  • Wealth unevenly distributed


  • 8% in the five month of sugar harvest
  • 30% rest of year
  • Trade unions inactive; dominated by all year employed
  • Havana, rich and full of corrupt government officials was strong contrast to
  • High social tensions

There was no reliable democratic system in Cuba.

  • Fulgencio Batista seized power illegally in 1952 and ruled as dictator.
  • Did not introduce reforms; his regime was corrupt and brutal.
  • Batista had been at the forefront of politics since 1933

No peaceful revolution seemed possible:

  • Middle-Class Fidel Castro, a trained lawyer, was leading exponent of this view.
  • Before he came to power he was more of an liberal nationalist than a communist
  • Wanted to end corruption and Batista regime
  • Prepared to introduce limited land reforms for every peasant to receive land.
  • Unsuccessful coup attempt in 1953 — ended with two years of prison
  • Switch to guerrilla tactics:
    • Campaign of guerrilla warfare and sabotage in the cities
    • Popular with population due to the implementation of Castro’s land reforms.
    • Success: Rebels soon controlled mountain areas to the north and east.

Brutal reaction of Batista:

  • Played into Castro’s hands:
    • Popularised the struggle
    • Even the middle-class saw Castro as an alternative to brutal Batista.
    • Morale of Batista’s army crumbled after an unsuccessful attempt made against Castro’s forces in the summer of 1958.
    • The USA, embarrassed, withdrew all arms supplies.
    • Che Guevara, an Argentinean supporter of Castro, gained control of the island’s main road.
    • Prepared to move to Santa Clara
    • Fulgencio Batista fled from Cuba on January 1st, 1959; a new, liberal government was set up under Fidel Castro.

Cuban relations with the USA:
No quick deterioration of the American-Cuban relations.
Castro was thought to be a social democrat, not a nationalist.
He outraged the USA by nationalising American-owned estates and factories.
President Eisenhower reacted by threatening to stop importing Cubas goods.
Forced Cuba to sign a trade agreement with Russia.

  • July 1960:
    • USA stopped import of Cuban goods
    • USSR promised to buy Cuban sugar
    • Cuba confiscated all remaining American property
    • Relations between USA and Cuba worsened, but USSR relations with Cuba improved.
    • USA broke off diplomatic relations with the two countries.
    • Russia, at that point in time, was already supplying economic aid to Cuba
  • The USA, President J.F. Kennedy even approved a plan to invade Cuba:
    • The ‘Bay of Pigs’ happened on April 1961
    • Proposed by Batista supporters.
    • To be executed from American bases in Guatemala.
    • The CIA was deeply involved.
    • Badly planned and excecuted
    • Castro’s forces and its 2 planes therefore easily crushed it.

Missile Crisis (1962):
Brought the already torn world to the brink of nuclear war
In the summer the USSR supplied arms to Cuba, who directed them at the USA.
On October 22nd Kennedy announced that U-2 spy planes had detected Russian missile bases were being built in Cuba.
He alerted the army & blockaded Cuba to stop further arms
Demanded the missiles to be taken down again (ultimatum)
Khrushchev agreed to removed offending missiles in return for Kennedy’s promise not to invade Cuba
Cuba was expelled from the OAS (Organisation of American States) by suspicious Latin American states. This made the Cuba even more dependent on Russia.
The cold war relaxed but American-Cuban relations stayed cool.

Castro’s greatest problem specific to Cuba:

  • How would the other American states react to a new socialist threat at their doorstep?
    • Cuba’s economy was far too reliant on sugar and the price fluctuations of the world sugar market.
    • The administration and the government was riddled with corruption
    • There was serious unemployment and poverty
  • Ernsto ‘Che’ Guevara:
    • Ernsto ‘Che’ Guevara, who had played an important role in the revolution, took a position in Castro’s government.
    • He wrote a book on the guerrilla warfare, which had big impact on Latin America.
    • By 1965 he became frustrated with government.
    • Left Cuba to organise revolutions. And was killed by Bolivian troops 1967.

The new government however was enthusiastic and dedicated:

  • During his first ten years Castro totally reformed Cuba:
    • Collective farms were introduced.
    • Factories and businesses were nationalised
    • Attempts were made to modernise sugar production and increase output
    • New industries were introduced to relieve heavy reliance on sugar.
  • Social reforms
    • Included attempts to improve:
      • Education
      • Housing
      • Health
      • Medical facilities
      • Communication
      • Achieved equality for Negro’s and more rights for women
      • Opened touring cinemas, theatres, concerts and art expeditions
      • Castro kept on touring the country, giving speeches urging for greater efforts.
  • Governments success:
    • Especially in sphere of social reforms:
      • All children were getting some sort of education (only 50% before 1959)
      • Sanitation and hygiene improved.
      • Greater sense of equality and stability that ever before
      • After the first decade the government seemed to be popular with the vast majority of people.
  • Governments failures:
    • The inability to diversify the industries and the agricultural output was the most serious failure. This made Cuba more dependent:
    • 1970’s the harvest fell, worsened by a fungus infections (1980’s)
    • This plunged the country into a economic crisis:
      • Unemployment rose
      • Increased immigration to the USA
      • Food was rationed
      • Economy heavily subsidised by USSR
      • After a promising start the progress was faltering.
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