The author analyzes modern Russian history from a new perspective. Due to the ideological heritage of the XIXth and XXth centuries, the social settings of the sociopolitical history of the USSR (1917–1945) have not been fully identified. Detailed examination of ideological and political concepts shows that the revolution of 1917 became not a middle class, proletarian movement, but rather a plebeian one. The misjudgment by the new power enabled growth but caused tremendous losses of human lives and material damages. Socialization of economy and strict centralization led to a new social structure and established terror as an instrument for social reorganization. WWII revealed the necessity of a correction of these developments, but the events of the Cold War circumvented any further considerations.
11. The USSR as the New World Superpower
World War II came to an end with the surrender of Nazi Germany in Berlin in the late hours of May 8 in the early hours of May 9, 1945� With its surrender, the Soviet Union was definitively positioned as one of the three superpowers that had created the basis for the victorious anti-Hitler coalition, a surprising result when one considers the initial European and internal Soviet political and military situ- ation as it had been in 1941� The Soviet Union was far from taking its new posi- tion for granted, but the decisive factors had been the country’s size, the number of people within it, its toughness, and its ability to handle difficult situations� The crucial role the USSR had played in the European war became clear only in 1943, and the Western Allies could do little but to adjust, something visible in the min- utes of the Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences and extensive correspond- ence involving Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill, dated 1941–45� In recent years, some journalists and historians have accused the USSR of pursuing expansionist goals during the war and counting on the creation of the extensive Soviet bloc that came into being after the war�369 But prior to World War II, the USSR was not a recognized European superpower� The country had undergone a ten year period of intense industrial development, but was far from up to the task of overcoming its inherent backwardness, the losses it had sus- tained in World War...
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