The world has experienced economic, social, and political problems in the past. There have been wars, notable among them being the Cold War, the First World War, and the Second World War. There have been other wars as well, but these ones are the major ones, the wars that changed economic, social, and political systems in the world. These wars saw revolutions. There was the Russian Revolution, the French Revolution, and other smaller revolutions. This paper looks at events, people, and important historical dates that redefined history and shaded a new light in civilization, namely Western civilization.
She goes down in history as the only woman who fought for the rights and liberation of women in Russia. This was the time of Joseph Stalin, the Man who ruled Russia with an iron fist. He had placed so much power on men. Women were mere puppets during his regime. Kollontai championed for economic liberation of Russian women. She advocated for welfare benefits of these women. She particular demanded that mothers be allowed the privileges to vote and to make decisions about their love life. Prior to this, women had not been allowed to vote. They were thus excluded from important decisions such as voting or making contributions in parliament.
There were moments when she was at loggerheads with the Communist Party Leadership, the party in leadership then. She believed that a full transformation in Russia could only occur if everyone was involved, both men and women. So selfless was Alexander Kollontai that she left her husband and son to study politics in a bid to gain skills in matters political. She was later to be appointed to the cabinet of Joseph Stalin. She openly disagreed with the administration for what she believed were excesses by the government.
The economic system in Russia around this time was socialist. She was later to given a post in Moscow in what political analysts believe was a strategic move to silence her, but she continued to lobby for women empowerment, not just in Russia but all over the world. Her works would bear fruits later in history when more groups of women sprang up in protest of women suffrage. Later in history, women would be economically liberated, having been inspired by Alexander Kollontai.
A popular prime minister of Britain during the Cold War, Churchill championed for the unity, even in war, of America and Western Europe against the USSR. The USSR supported communism while the western Forces supported capitalism. These were the tensions that culminated into the Cold War. The Cold War was not good for economic growth as nations looked at each other with increasing suspicion. If the Soviet Union and its allies were not stopped, there was likely to be an outbreak of war. Churchill championed for dialogue among these nations. Although he failed, was very instrumental, through the numerous letters he wrote and his powerful and oratory speeches; he challenged the Soviet Union to stop communist and extremist activities.
The Soviet Union posed a threat to future security. Churchill did not start the Cold war; neither did he end it. But he had seen it forthcoming. He would define the central problems to the causes of the war. Churchill would try to talk to leaders such as Joseph Stalin on several occasions, about the consequences of Cold War. He foresaw the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the great economic depression. In his own little way, he contributed to the end of the cold war, even if he did not witness its end. Political analysts and historians have always believed that he was instrumental in challenging America and Western Europe to unite against the USSR and bring to an end the communist regime, and to pave way for a more liberal world economy. In my view, he triumphed and contributed to the end of Cold War.
The French Revolution
The French revolution was fought by Aristocrats, professionals, civil servants, merchants, peasants and urban workers. They united against the government of the day. Then, French was ruled by monarchies, notable among them being the Napoleon Regime. During this time, France was riddled in poverty. Much of the wealth of the country was controlled by the dictatorial leadership and cliques of people close to the monarchy- often their relatives and people close to them. The people wallowed in abject poverty.
The revolution sought to oust the regime. The government had tried to sabotage the revolution. The revolution demanded that the government look at the welfare of the soldiers, people who had fought during the World Wars. It lobbied for pension programs for the aged, hospitals for the needy, and future of the workers. The revolution was a success. After several years of their lobbying, the monarchy system in France was finally thrown out and an elected leadership came to power. Once again, France was on the road to recovery. The monarchy was dismantled. The French people fought for equality in life. The war took ten years, but it did see the end of the Monarchy that had suppressed the rights of workers, had seen the abuse of rights of women, and had thrown the country in total chaos.
The lower class was protected and there were no privileges associated with the caste system in the French society. Finally, there was democracy. A story is told of a wife of Napoleon Bonaparte who challenged the masses who had camped at the palace, hunger-stricken and demanding for food, that “if they did not have bread, then they should consider eating cakes”. Such was the gap in class, between the super-rich monarchy and the impoverished masses. Of course, the revolution saw the end of this.
Otto Von Bismarck
Otto Von Bismarck was a statesman who believed in war as a way of solving problems. He united Germany and was very instrumental in the creation of the German empire in the 1871. His ideals would later alter the European State System. He advocated against foreign monarchies. He advocated for the open ballot system. A staunch believer in moral conscience, Otto Von Bismarck was a Prussian statesman who dominated European and German affairs due to his conservative policies. After stints of victorious wars, Otto unified most German states to form a powerful German empire. He was able to create a balance of power that saw political stability and peace in Europe from 1971 to the start of the start of the First World War.
He believed in diplomacy- a balance-of-power diplomacy-that saw Europe remain peaceful between the 1870s and the 1880s. He loathed colonialism, arguing that it undermined the sovereignty of the colonized states. He believed in bureaucracy. He had a strong and aggressive personality; had national and international visions. Many historians have popularly referred to his conservatism as “revolutionary conservatism”. He was a statesman, a moderator who maintained a balance of peace in entire Europe.
Joseph Stalin was a leader who did not believe in capitalism. Under capitalism, most of the wealth is controlled by private organizations. The workers are left with little or no option but to comply with the demands of their bosses. Sometimes, they get meager salaries or undergo faced labor. The capitalist system saw the collapse of the Argentine economy. In a bid to have state-controlled economy, Stalin got too ambitious. He replaced the capitalist system with the socialism system. He formed a one-party system. This amounted to dictatorship. Russia became a socialist nation. Private property was confiscated by the government. Stalin sought to change the economy from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy.
In order to discourage peasant farmers from continuing with agriculture, he confiscated their produce. Instead, he advocated for collective agricultural production. He formed a 5-year transformation plan that never worked. Industries could not be functional in five years. This was being too ambitious of him, financial analysts would later argue. Because he suppressed agriculture, many Russians died of hunger in the famous Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. He held power in his hands. He expelled the Trotskyites; he expelled Lev Trotsky. He spurred up ethnic wars within the Soviet Union. He gave his political opponents room to attack him through these fatal, almost suicidal mistakes.
In the end, the Soviet Union reverted to capitalism. He destroyed the workers democracy. There was no freedom of opinion in the Russian Party. Stalin may have meant well for Russia, but his ambitious programs achieved the contrary- failed economy and death of many Russian citizens due to famine and starvation.
Similarities in the stories investigated
The most outstanding similarity is that they involved people, the masses, who wanted change; change in the political system; in their lives and the future of their countries. The people were fighting for equality, freedom of expression, better social, economic and political systems, and abuse of rights of children, the aged and women. They represented the second liberation. Overall, they triumphed and changed the very social, economic, and political systems enjoyed in the West today.