- Russia made substantial economic, social, and political progress between 1861 and 1914. Why, then, did the tsarist government collapse so suddenly in February/March* 1917 and be replaced by a Provisional (temporary) Government? Why were the Bolsheviks (soon to call themselves Communists) under Lenin able to overthrow the Provisional Government in October/November of that year, and why did they win the subsequent Russian Civil War (1918-1921)? What kind of leader was Stalin, and how did he change Lenin’s policies?
*Remember: the Russian used the old Julian calendar until February 1918, when the Communists adopted the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar was thirteen days behind the Gregorian calendar in the 20th century.
- What is imperialism? Explain four reasons for the unprecedented European expansion into Africa and Asia during the period 1870-1914. What effects did imperialism have, first, for Europeans and second, for native populations in Africa and Asia? How did people in China and India eventually respond to European imperialism?
- Discuss the causes of the Great War (World War I) and the reasons for the Allies’ victory. Was any one nation more responsible than others for the war? Why was France so determined to punish Germany after the war? Was the punishment just?
- What circumstances were conducive to the rise of dictatorships and the decline of democracies between 1918 and 1939, particularly in Italy and Germany? What made German Nazism and Italian Fascism such aggressive ideologies?
- Various writers have suggested that the twentieth century’s World Wars in their European contexts were in fact civil wars between competing ideologies, one representing progressive ideas and values that originated in the Enlightenment, and the other, the antithesis of progressive ideas and values. Discuss.