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Evaluate the Versailles Settlement from the point of its relation to the world peace afterwards

After World War 1, the powers concluded six treaties --- The Treaty of Versailles (1919) with Germany, The Treaty of St.Germain (1919) with Austria, The Treaty of Neuilly (1919) with Bulgaria, The Treaty of Trianon (1920) with Hungary, The Treaty of Sevres (1920) and the Treaty of Lausanne (1932) with Turkey. All the settlements of these six treaties were called the Versailles Settlements.                              

Among the six treaties the most important and influential one was the Treaty of Versailles (1919) with Germany. It directly affected the world peace in the period between two world wars.                                         

     The treaty signed by the powers after World War 1—the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 was an important issue in accounting for the world peace afterwards. Britain, France and the United State with the defeat country----Germany, signed the Treaty. Being a defeated country, Germany was asked to pay the war reparation, to be demilitarized, to lose some territories (especially Alsace, Lorraine back to France) and to accept the ‘war-guilt’ clause. Moreover, in foreign relationship, Germany was not allowed to ally with Austria, because of the fear of an Austro-German ally appeared again.                                                                                                              

     Among several settlements in the Treaty of Versailles, the most unacceptable one was the acceptance of the ‘war—guilt clause’ by Germany. As the powers thought that World War 1 was mainly cause by Germany and the result of the war was that Germany was defeated, it was reasonable for Germany to take the ‘war-guilt clause’ as a punishment and a warning to Germany not to do the same thing again. However, it seemed that the punishment was too harsh and made Germany felt again about it. Having been a strong power in Europe after her unification in 1870, and having owned a strong navy and army, which could be compared with Britain and France respectively, Germany, naturally, felt dissatisfied with this clause. This paved the danger of Germany to try to recover herself and to raise her power status by setting up weapons and military preparation. Once Germany tried to do this, peace could hardly be maintained, as Germany would emerge out again.                                              

      Another important impact of the Treaty of Versailles was the term of war reparation upon Germany. After the war, economic condition in Germany was poor. She could hardly recover her economic loss from the war. Thus, the huge amount of reparations was beyond the capacity of Germany to pay. As a result, Germany had to borrow money from the United States. Owning to the reparation, Germany could not deal with the Great Depression in 1930s. Under this poor economic condition, it gave a good opportunity for Hitler to rise to defeat the weak Weimar Republic. Being a capable man and a born public speaker, Hitler could carry out totalitarian status of Germany led to an imbalance of power under which Germany would make chance to take a revenge and peace could not be made.                                                                                                   

      The poor economic condition was even poorer because Germany lost some of her territories and all her colonial possessions during the Treaty of Versailles. As these territories could provide raw materials and markets for her products, Germany found it difficult to recover the economy. Hitler made use of the poor economic condition, could rose to power and danger of war was inevitable.                                 

      To prevent Germany from rising power, the Treaty of Versailles stated that Germany had to be demilitarized. It seemed that Germany would not have the ability to rise again since she lost her military power and she was in poor economic condition. However, under Hitler’s rule, Germany economy was improved by carrying out economic project schemes. The improved economy also helped Germany in the development of military power. Hitler, together with Italy after the joint intervention of the Spanish civil war, formed the Berlin-Rome Axis in 1936. The favorable conditions, which gave, rise to Hitler after World War 1 set the difficulty to have a peace Europe.                                         

       Apart from the impacts of the Treaty of Versailles, which could not maintain peace afterwards, other settlements with Eastern Europe also, had problems and affected peace.                                                

        Many new created middle-size countries, e.g. Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Greece, Poland and the Baltic States suffered from the political instability and economic fragmentation. Many had to depend on France for survival. Yet France increasingly lacked the resources and would to be their protector by herself without Anglo-American assistance. In the end, these countries fell easy preys to the aggressors.                                                                                                 

        Besides, the treaties created a host of new national minorities in these countries. In many cases, the minorities were great and were minorities of former enemy nations. Peace could not be maintained in these countries.                                                                                   

        For fear of communism, a numbers of preventive steps were taken such as the Baltic States out of Russian territories (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) and the strengthening of Poland to encircle the Soviet Union. These arrangements were unwise for the Baltic States excluded Russia from the Baltic Sea, and it was inevitable that Soviet Union would sooner or later absorb these states.                                     

        Austria, in her post-war state, could hardly survive. Therefore, many Austrians had to look to Germany for trade and survival. Yet the peace treaties forbade any type of union between the two countries. Many blamed this forbiddance a violation of the principle of self-determination.                             

        From the above analysis, we can conclude that the Versailles Settlements were in complete failure. The settlements only ended the First World War but in reality, it left many troubles that indirectly contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Discuss the merits and demerits of the Vienna Settlement

The need for collective action against Napoleon had united Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia. Their joint effort in defecting Napoleon made them realize the important value of co-operation when facing aggression. Thus, after the defeat of Napoleon, they called a meeting at Vienna, to discuss solution to be the problems brought by Napoleon. It came to be called the Congress of Vienna.                                   

     There were both merits and demerits through the Vienna Settlement and now let us discuss the merits first:                                                                              

     Although Napoleon had been defeated by the alliance, France was not treated as a defeated country. She was invited to take part in the Congress and was admitted as one of the Big Five. Furthermore, the penalties imposed on France were not very humiliating. Therefore, France was not resentful of the Vienna Settlement and she had no reason to take revenge.                                                                      

     Moreover, the ring of buffer states around France was very successful in checking the future aggression of France. For example, in the north Holland was made to unite with Belgium and Luxembourg to form the kingdom of United Netherlands and in the southeast, Switzerland was made a neutral to become a buffer of France. In the south, Piedmont was united Sardinia to form the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia.                                                                          

     Furthermore, the measures to maintain the balance of power were also successful. The ambition of Russia and Prussia were checked. For example, Polish-Saxon question, Britain, Austria and France rejected their demands. As a result, Russia was only allowed to get part of Poland and Prussia only got 2/5 of Saxony. In addition, the influence of the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs was balanced. Moreover, Austria and Prussia were both included in the German Confederation so that neither one could become too powerful. France was not weakened too much so that the other countries could not invade France so easily and therefore the balance of power in Europe could be maintained.                                                                    

     Besides, the Vienna Settlement laid the foundation for the German and Italian Unification. By the congress, Piedmont Sardinia was strengthened by giving Genoa and Savoy and so Sardinia was strengthened and powerful enough to play as the leader in the Italian Unification movement. Like Italy, giving 2/5 of Saxony and the Rhineland strengthened Prussia and so Prussia was strong enough to be the leader of the German Unification later.                                                         

      In addition, the Congress of Vienna gave Europe forty years of comparative peace. This peace of Europe was mainly due to the success of the congress in achieving a balance of power. The great powers of Europe were at peace with each until 1854 when the Crimean War broke out.                                                   

      Moreover, the Congress of Vienna gave rise to the idea of the concert of Europe – the statesman agreed to hold conferences from time to time to settle problems common to them. Although the Congress of Vienna broke up in 1815, the idea of co-operation still lived on, e.g. the Quadruple Alliance. According to the Quadruple Alliance, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia agreed to meet at fixed period to discuss common problems.                                                           

      However, the Vienna Settlement ignored the force of liberalism that is a belief that all men are free and equal by birth and that they are entitled to enjoy liberties such as freedom of speech, expression, etc. The statesmen restored the practice of absolute monarchy in which the people’s rights and freedoms were not protected. To the great states of Europe, particularly Austria, the spread of liberal ideas in Europe would produce unfavorable effects. First, it would lead to revolutions, which might upset law and order. It would also weaken the social and political order which most of them were following. It would lead to the loss of their power. To maintain their established interests, they therefore applied the principle of legitimacy and restoration.                 

      Furthermore, the Vienna Settlement also ignored the force of nationalism that is a belief that the loyalty of individual is to the state but not to the king and that everyone can have a rightful and lawful claim to self-government. However, European rulers were restored to rule over a foreign country where the people’s language and customs were very different from their own. The wishes of the inhabitants were disregarded. For example, Belgium, Norway, Finland and Poland were given away or partitioned. Germany and Italy were divided. Since the multi-racial Austrian Empire would break up if nationalism were made popular, the territorial ambition of the powers must of necessity disallow the spirit of nationality.                       

     The disregard of nationalism and liberalism created many unintended results. The troubles in Belgium, Italy, Poland and German are given as evidence to support the argument. Yet the revolt in Belgium in 1830 was mainly due to the mistake of the House of Orange in misruling its Belgian subjects. If the Dutch administrators had treated them on an equal footing, trouble would have been avoided.                                    

     It is obviously that the interest of smaller states was ignored as the Vienna Settlement was drawn up by the great power only. Thus, they only remapped the Europe to suit their convenience. The small states were scarified to achieve the aims of the Vienna Settlement.                                                                                 

      Owing to the divergent opinions, it is very difficult to arrive at a conclusion acceptable to all. However, since the statement at Vienna aimed mainly at the maintenance of peace and stability in Europe, so we can say that the Vienna Settlement was successful. Furthermore, for the next forty years, Europe was at peace.

Compare the factors, which enable Mussolini to secure power in Italy with those, which enable Hitler to secure power in Germany?

Totalitarianism was a one-party political system which began in Europe after WWⅠ, this party allowed for under this system imposed a dictatorial control over all aspects of social and political life. After

WWⅠ, Fascism and Nazism were appeared in Italy and Germany respectively as different forms of totalitarianism. Mussolini was the leader of latter one. Many people will think that the factors which enabled Mussolini and Hitler to secure power in their own country were very similar, such as the situation after WWⅠ, the social and economic problems that people faced, the mobility of their own government and their inherent charisma. However, the ways that they used for securing power were different. We also agree on the above statements

Both Italy and Germany had a bad effect on the WWⅠ and WWⅠmade their people discontent. For Germany, they are demonstrations in Berlin, demanding peace and political changes. The Germans angry of their original government and against the treaty of Versailles, they wanted to end to the old order and desired something new. Although Hitler was not raising his power in that time, this situation gave him a chance to desire his direction on his political life. At that time, the Weimar Government was set up, for Italy, although Italy need not to face a harsh treaty than Germany, Italian also did not get the territories that Allied had promised before. After 1914, government continued to be regarded with suspicion and distrust by the majority of the electorate. The WWⅠmarked a rapture in the course of Italian political government. All these events gave Mussolini an opportunity raising his power.

On the other hand, WWⅠ also gave both countries an increasing their national feeling. Germany had stronger feeling on nationalism than Italy. Because of both countries lost great in WWⅠ they need to face a disastrous effects from the war, it gave them a stronger sense to build up a strong country, therefore, their national feeling gave Hitler and Mussolini an excuse to set up their strong government.

One of the similarities of Hitler and Mussolini rose their power in Germany and Italy respectively was the situation after WWⅠ. Both countries faced on economic and social instability. For Germany, WWⅠ destroyed the country seriously. Because of the broke out of war, nearly all industries were come into a half and many industrialists were bankrupted. Millions of Germans could not find jobs, and this situation became worse when the soldiers came back to Germany. At that time, every German wanted to have a capable leader in order to give them food, job and so on. For Italy, the situation was similar to Germany. WWⅠ produce the threat of economic collapse and social disruption. The total cost of the war was 148000 million Liras, over twice the total expenditure of all Italian government between 1861 and 1913. The economic base was weakened by large budget deficits and by unbalanced trade and industrial production. Massive unemployment, like Germany was seriously. It prompted from 90000 in 1920 to over half of a million in 1921. Inflation pursed, cost of living in 1919 about 4 times that of 1913. What the Italians needed was a responsible government and a capable leader to solve all these problems and give them peace. Hitler and Mussolini, caught with this favorable situation, used their own skills in order to raise their power in their own country step by step.

On the other hand, the rise of their power was also due to the failure of the parliamentary government. After 1870, united of Italy, the parliamentary government was established. However, the government was not only weak and unable but also inefficient and corrupt. For example, at that time, parties were not clearly defined and government depended on a consensus reached between the different political groups a process known as transformismo. Nevertheless, it was different to reach consistent decision among numerous of parties. Thus, transformismo only gave the government ineffective to make decision. Therefore, it was difficult for the government to improve the Italians lives. Finally, Italians looked for a person to give them better lives. Moreover, corruption ran right through in Italian government. Italy was become the process of transformismo could be maintained through the corruption among different parties.

In Germany, Hitler gained his power also due to the failure of the parliamentary government, the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic

Was born of military defect and revolutionary at the end of WWⅠ. Since, the Weimar Republic signed such ahumiliating treaty, the Germans believed that the Weimar Republic betrayed them. Thus, discontent was increasing among the Germans and they looked for a person to revive the greatness of Germany. Now, Hitler could fulfill the Germans hope through his promising of revival of greatness of Germany by denouncing the treaty. Besides, political instability in the early post-war years also discredited the new government. At that time, the Weimar Republic was challenged by different right-and-left wing groups, which attempted to seize power. For example, the Kapp Putsch! Although Kapp’s putsch ended in failure, it would weaken the Weimar Republic. Another example was political violence which taken up by the right-wing extreme nationalist groups known as the Free Corps. The Free Crops attacked and murdered anyone who supports the Republic. The Republic could not do much to check their extreme and illegal actions, which appealed to the patriotism of the Germans. The failure of the republic to suppress these anti-government activities brought more discontent. As a result, Hitler could easily gain this power through his promising of restoring law and order.

   Besides these, both Hitler and Mussolini were the able leaders, which enable them to ensure their power to secure their power. Their characters were similar. Firstly, they had inherent charisma; they were the very emotional and effective speaker. Thus, mass support was now through their powerful speeches. Secondly, their abilities were shown by the propaganda, they used propaganda as a total to discredit the existing government and also to secure their powers. Since, Hitler argued, “ The function of propaganda is to attract supports”. Moreover, they were well organizers. In 1921, Mussolini set up a political party and in 1920 Hitler formed the Nazi Party. These organization were vital for uniting, rallying the public. Next, they also had the clear and definite ideologies. Mussolini followed Fascism while Hitler used Nazism. These ideologies acted as the guidelines for their national movement, which helped them to use their powers. Furthermore, they gave confidence to the mass by promising their mass to set up a new government with greater strengthen and more stability.

   On the other hand, their ways of gaining power in the government were different. Mussolini was more moderate that Hitler. By using their policy of co-operations. He gained the support from the king, Victor Emmanuel Ⅱ and also the Papacy. While Hitler, step by step, eliminated all his enemies such as Jews, Catholic and Communists. Regardless of the different ways, they also enable to secure their power and military achieved the one party rule.

   As a whole, we can conclude that the over-mentioned factors in fact were very similar for both people to secure power in their own country. They caught all opportunities for securing their power. Regardless of how long their power lasting in their own country, Mussolini and Hitler still were succeeding in securing power.

Discuss the impact of Germany's foreign policy on the period in Europe in the period 1870 - 1945.

Germany didn't exist before the complete of Germany unification in 1871. Then, the new state became the most powerful state in Europe owing to its location, population, military and economic power .The German foreign policy could be divided into 4 stages. They were   Bismarck era (1870-1890), William second era (1914-1933) and Hitler   era (1933-1945). Different aims of different stages caused different   impact on the balance of power in 1870-1945.

   During the Bismarck era (1870-1890), the German foreign policy   aimed at isolating France to prevent possible revenge. After the unification of Germany and Italy, there were 6 powers on Europe including Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Germany and Italy. Although Germany could defeat France in Franco - Prussian War, she was a new state and needed time to develop her power. He tried to keep friend relationship with Austria and Russia. In 1872, the three emperor formed Dreikaiserbund. The disputes of Russia and Austria over Balkans issues led to the break down of Dreikaiserbund. During the congress of Berlin in 1878, Bismarck chose Austria a reliable alliance and support Austria more than Russia. Russia withdrew the alliance and Bismarck found it was impossible to coordinate the conflicts between Russia and Austria.  At the end, she chose Italy to form Triple Alliance with Austria and Germany in 1882. And he also signed Reinsurance Treaty with Russia in 1887. In Bismarck era (1870-1890), the alliance system still could work well because of Bismarck's skillful diplomacy, which aimed at preserving a peaceful environment. At that time, France was isolation and was the most powerful maritime power. The balance of power was imbalance as it on the German side.

During William second era (1890-1918), Germany aimed at expanding overseas. German foreign expansion showed its colonial disputes with France and Britain. The rapid rise of Germany in Europe    alarmed Britain. William second didn't sign the Reinsurance Treaty with     Russia and in 1894 there was Franco-Russian Alliance. In 190, Triple   Entente was formed with member of Britain, France and Russia. Although Triple Entente and Triple Alliance had three powers, Triple Alliance was more danger as it's member ----- Italy was not reliable. Italy joined the Allied power in 1915 proved the agreement. The navy race between Britain and Germany over the build of destroyers and the pass of conscription law in both powers like France and Germany. And German ambition in Morocco crisis (1905-1911) led to German isolation. In 1914, on Austria became her reliable alliance. But the balance of power still can keep, as Germany was strong enough to be against the Allied power on both sides until 1918. However, the German attempts to involve Mexico in an invasion of the USA (the Zimmermann Telegram) provoked US joined the Allied sides. The balance of power was collapse and Germany become an isolated one and communist Russia also isolated. As a result, Germany was a new balance of power.

   During the Weimar Republic era (1918-1933), Germany aimed at

Re-build German prestige and keep good relationship with other countries. In the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to accept war guilty, reparation and ceded lands. In that time, the European affair was   lead by Britain and France while USA introduced its isolation policy in 1919. France signed military treaties with ' Little Entente' to isolate   Germany, Britain, to keep balance of power, didn't sign any new mutual   assistance treaty with France. In 1919, France tried her best to keep peace and weaken Germany. Germany was the most powerful states facing the newly established states like Austria, Hungary, Poland, Baltic states and so on. Germany successfully in got US aid in Dawes Plan in 1924 to solve the reparation problem. In 1925, Germany signed the Locarno Treaty to recognize its western frontier with France and Belgium. In 1928, Germany signed Briand - Kellog Pact to denounce war as a method to solve disputes. Germany rejoin the international affair balanced the Russia was isolated as the democratic power didn't trust her. Italy was a little power but couldn't be against France face by face. Thus, the new balance of power in Europe was Germany face France at that time.

In Hitler era (1933-1945), German foreign policy was expansion. The rearmament of Germany after 1933 destroys the balance of power. Hitler tried to pacify the fear of France and Britain. In 1935, he signed Anglo-German naval agreement limited German naval fleet to 35% of the British tonnage. Hitler's friendship gesture towards Britain caused France could not be against Germany solely. Eventually, Britain and France gave free hand for Hitler invaded Europe through appeasement policy. As a result, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland were invaded from 1938 to 1939. The signing of Pact of steel with Italy and Nazi-Soviet Non Aggression Pact with Russia gave Hitler freed hand to attach France and Britain on Western Europe. In Wartime (1939-1945), Germany dominated   the whole Europe. The balance of power left Soviet Russia and Britain to be against Nazi Germany in Central Europe. France was defeated in 1940.

 In Hitler era, Soviet really benefit from Nazi invasion. The signing of Nazi-Soviet Non Aggression Pact led to Russian Expansion in East Europe to occupied Baltic States and Poland. After the Second World War, Soviet Russia became the super power and US also a super power. The fall of Britain, France, Germany and Italy led to Europe was dominated US and Russia in 1945.

In conclusion, Germany really an important power in the period 1870-1945. Each stage Germany foreign policy had special aim and each time   it change the balance of power. The hostility and friendship toward other states changed the foreign policy of other countries. The balance of power from Six Europe powers including Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Germany and Italy to two super power including US and Soviet Union was the impact of German foreign policy.

Evaluate Stalin as leader of the Soviet Union

Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) was a single-minded and ruthless dictator who led the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953. He was a Sectary-general of the Central Committee of the Communist Party since 1922 and gradually built up his own power by appointing his supporters to Key Party posts and allying with other leaders. After seizing power, Stalin began to lead the Soviet Union under the phrase “Socialism I one country”. From 1928, he carried out a number of political and economic reforms which concentrated on domestic affairs with full state control. In some ways, the policies did give way to a modernized society in the USSR, especially in the improvement on industrialization and production. There were higher morale among the Russians. Stalin leaded the Soviet Union into the WWII also increased her international status as well. But on the other hand, Stalin built up harsh totalitarian centralized political system, he used ruthless methods in driving away all of his opponents. Also, he leaded a strict control over all Russian. Under Stalin dictatorship, most Russians still leaded poor lives. As a result, all policies he practiced were aiming at seizing all powers and controlling the country by him. Therefore, we can only sat that Stalin was a single-minded by ruthless leader.

     Since Stalin gained dictatorship of the Soviet Union, his communist party had grown in any case in size from 23000 members to three and a half million in 1933. As Stalin disliked any broadening of the party along democratic lines, he used purges from 1928 as a means of routing out potential opponents and by 1935 nearly forty percent of the members had been expelled for failure to do their duties. Even workers or managers who failed to perform their duties properly might be caballed “enemies of the state” and also sent to a forced labour camp run by the secret police formed NKVD. Through these practices, Stalin could gain one    dictatorship and ruled the Soviet Union on his own. In this way, the policies run by Stalin could be more efficient since there were no longer any oppositions against the government. Therefore, the steps to purge all opponents in a way could be good to the dictator, Stalin, in order to run the government in a efficient way and maximized his power.

    However, starting from 1930 there was growing opposition in the Party. On December, a Politburo member, Sergei Kirov, was murdered, possibly on Stalin’s orders. Other party officials, senior army chiefs and even the NKVD police, were shotted as well. By 1930, the worst of the terror was over, one-third of the Soviet officer corps having been purged together with most of the “Old Bolsheviks” such as Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin. Some highest-ranking generals in the Red Army were purged as you. The Great Purges killed many people killed ruthlessly, and without any reasons. Under Stalin’s suppression most Russian were now afraid of the ruthlessness and people no longer opposite the government. In fact, all Russians could not lead any peaceful lives because they were always be checked by the secret police from the government in making sure that they would not do anything against Stalin. People now lived worryingly under Stalin’s rule. Hence, we can say that Stalin did not rule the USSR well as a good leader’s job as to lead his countryman to live his contentedly but not worryingly.

    Stalin had another political aspect. In 1936, he adopted a new constitution. It defined the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a “Socialist Republic”. It was claimed that everything in Russia was state property. Stalin tried to control the society by putting state control on all Russians. In addition, the Soviet citizens were given rights to steady employment, rest, leisure, economic security, and a comfortable old age. All forms of racism were condemned as well. It also claimed that the highest organ of power was the Supreme Soviet. A federal parliament was formed. It consists of 2 chambers, one was the Soviet of the Union and the other was the Soviet of Nationalities. The constitution also consisted of the highest executive organ, which preside, or various departments such as war, railways, etc. By the 1936 Constitution, Stalin leaded the Soviet in good order. Since there was a well-arranged government, Stalin could control the country with great efficiency.

    On the other hand, in the constitution, it was claimed that “basic rights” of citizens included “freedom of religion”, “freedom of speech”, “freedom of press” etc, and citizens had “basic duties” include obligation to work, respect for the rules of the Socialists and military service. It seemed that Stalin did give rights to the citizens; however, most of the rights’ were censored. For instance, propaganda, press were nationalized and censored: that means actual rights, which were given to citizens, were limited indeed. There were a “Declaration of the Rights of Man”, but people could not enjoy exact rights at all. Even the church were closed, clergies were executed. Under Stalin’s constitution, Russians could enjoy any freedoms at all. Without freedoms and rights, citizens could hardly lead a good life but a hard one. Hence, we can say that Stalin did not rule the Soviet Union well enough as he did not give actual rights to the citizens that is so important in every countries. Although he had organized an orderly government, all he did was only for himself but not for Russians.

    Economically, Stalin had marked a turning point of the USSR by 1828. He had the Five-Year Plan that marked the beginning of forced industrialization and forced collectivization that were to transform, for better or for worse, the life of every inhabitant. At first, started by 1828, Stalin adopted the policy of rapid industrialization. By the plans, there were rapid improvement and increase in industries. In the First plan, its main emphasis was on the production of energy and of construction material like coal, oil, electricity, steel, etc. Tractors also had high priority. The second plan paid more attention to productivity and quality of output. Consumer goods production was production was minimized, heavy industry was fostered and some reluctant measures were taken to improve the railways. From 1938 the Third Plan focused on war materials. By the plans, there was a rapid growth of industries and economic. Industrial production rose in many areas! In 1938 the USSR produced more than five times the amount of coal production in 1913 and six times the amount of steel. Also, a remarkable progress was made in expanding education, academic, job-training and medical facilities. Indeed, the Plans converted the USSR from a backward country into a modern industrial state. Stalin did a good job in strengthening the USSR. He had done a lot in improving the economy of USSR. In this way, we can say that Stalin did well with USSR’ economics. His future victory over Germany in the Second World War proved that USSR has a modernized economy under Stalin’s rule, since good economic is important in carrying out other strength such as military. As long as the USSR had good economic condition, she would not had done anything successfully, not even won a war. Hence, Stalin did help the USSR to lead a good economic and higher citizens’ morale. It did constitute a great leap forward in the transformation of Russia from an agricultural to an industrial nation and at times inspire a real patriotic.  

    Although the Five-Year Plan had improved production and lowered cost of production with better means, there still were some draw-ba-oks behind. Stalin tried to fulfill his idea ‘Socialism in one country’ by state- control of industries and collectivization. All farmlands were under state control and farmers could receive equal areas of land. It seemed that every aspects were correct, however, the plans were often poorly planed and wastefully executed, in terms of human life as well as of resources. Also, the government paid too much attention on making use of resources; the quality of production did not have much improvement. Living standard of workers and farmers was still low. As the government did not understand local conditions, extreme plans were made mistakenly. Even though there was no improvement in living standard, as a whole, Stalin imposed an effective economic policy and eventually highered Russians’ national feelings by her victory in war. Stalin also tried to influence Russians’ thinking by economics means, so as to either pacify or control Russian.

    Besides economy, there were also improvements in the society. Russian citizens were given little rights. For instance, there still existed several different classes. People were allowed to own small enterprises or factories. After the constitution and the Five-Year-Plans had carried out, citizens had some improvement in domestic facilities and education. People now could enjoy free medical service, shorter working day and better welfare. There were guarantee and maintenance in old age. Under Stalin’s rule, Russians did have a great advance in human welfare.

    It seemed that Russians could enjoyed many rights under Stalin dictatorship. However, we can only say that this was halfly correct. Since most Russians’ lives were supervised under secret police (the NKVY), churches and education were actually under state control. People had no freedom of speech, press and religion. Stalin also tried to rule USSR with economy by forbidding common people to use any property. In fact, all citizens were strict ruled of Stalin. People could hardly gain any freedom and basic rights. We can say that Stalin was not a good leader since he did not give any liberty to Russians. He was just trying control people’s mind by imposing forces behind them. Without any property, people could not against the government, but to lead poor lives. Stalin, as a whole, did not lead the Soviet Union in a comprehensive way, but an ‘autocratic’ way. Therefore, we can say that Stalin only ruled the USSR ruthlessly.

    Diplomatically, Stalin started to adopt a policy of isolation by 1928. Stalin at first believed in an isolation policy from the outside world and non-intervention abroad. The Allies also tried to isolate the new Soviet Republic. The USSR was excluded from the League of Nations and was not recognized by the USA until 1933. At this time, the international status of the USSR was low and Russians’ national feeling was low as well.

    In April 1922 the Russians signed the Treaty of Rapallo with Germany, which re-established diplomatic relations between these countries. From 1933 Stalin began to fear the growing treat of Nazism. Stalin changed his policy from non-cooperation with the west to the reverse. Stalin began to be active in diplomatic affairs. For example, in 1934 the USSR joined the League of Nations and in 1935 formed on alliance with France and Czechoslovakia. Even Communists abroad were to form ‘popular front’ alliance with socialists and liberals. In 1939, Stalin signed a treaty with Hitler and later, he participated in the WWII. With the help of her own economic resources and military weapons, Russia won the war and finally, her international status had heightened rapidly that the Soviet Union became a great power. Under Stalin’s leadership, Soviet did improve a lot among western countries. He led his country in their victory over Germany and her allies in WWII and established it as a world power. Diplomatically, we can say that Stalin had done much to improve the USSR international condition. Stalin really had put much effort in helping the USSR in a way.

    Under Stalin’s leadership, the Soviet Union became an economically and military powerful. From 1928, Stalin tried to put effort on strengthening his country, especially in economics. Through the Five-Year Plan, economic had much strengthened. Also, by the constitution in 1936, citizens had gained more welfares than before. In some ways, Stalin could be a good leader. Nevertheless, since Stalin was a strict and ruthless leader, he ruled the country with harsh policies such as the Great Purges; people under his control would not lead a good life, without any freedom. Therefore, Stalin did not rule the Soviet Union well. In case he improved the economic condition and status, he only aimed at seizing his own power but not for the country as a whole.

 

References:

1) Russia since 1917, J. Ni Westwood

2) World History 1900 to Present Day, Leeds

Discuss the merits and defect of the Vienna Settlement

The need for collective action against Napoleon had united Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia. Their joint effort in defeating Napoleon made them realize the important value of co-operation when facing aggression. Thus, after the defeat of Napoleon, they call a meeting at Vienna to discuss solution to the problems brought by Napoleon. It came to be called the congress of Vienna.

There were both merits and defect through the Vienna Settlement and now let us discuss the merits first:

Although Napoleon had been defeated by the alliance, France was not treated as a defeated country. She was invited to take part in the congress and admitted as one of the Big Five. Furthermore, the penalty imposed on France was not very humiliating. Therefore, France was not resentful of the Vienna Settlement and she had no reason to take revenge.

Moreover, the ring of buffer states around France was very successful in checking further aggression of France. For example, in the north, Holland was united with Belgium and Luxembourg and formed the kingdom of United Netherlands. In south–east, Switzerland was made a neutral to become a buffer state to against France. In the south, Piedmont was united with Sardinia and forms the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia.

Furthermore, the measures to maintain the balance of power were also successful. The ambition of Russia and Prussia were checked. For example, Polish-Saxon question, Britain and France rejected their demands. As a result, Russia was only allowed to get part of Poland and Prussia only got 2/5 of Saxony. In addition, the influence of Bourbons and Hapsburgs was balanced. Moreover, Austria and Prussia were both included in the German Confederation, so that neither one could become too powerful. France was not weakened too much, so that the other countries could not invade France so easily and therefore, the balance of power in Europe could be maintained.

Besides, the Vienna Settlement laid the foundation for the German and Italian unification. By the congress, Piedmont Sardinia was strengthened and powerful enough to play as the leader in the Italian unification movement. Like Italy, Prussia was strengthened cause by giving 2/5 of Saxony and the Rhineland and so Prussia was strong enough to be the leader of the German unification on later.

In addition, the congress of Vienna gave Europe was mainly due to the success of the congress in achieving a balance of power. The great powers of Europe were at peace with each other until 1854 when the Crimean War broken out.

Moreover, the congress of Vienna gave rise to the idea of the concert of Europe---the statesmen agreed to hold conferences from time to time to settle problems common to them. Although the congress of Vienna carried out in 1815, the idea of co-operation was still live on, for example the Quadruple Alliance. According to the Quadruple Alliance, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia agreed to meet at fixed period to discuss common problems.

However, the Vienna Settlement ignored the force of liberalism that is belief that all men are free and equal by birth and that they are entitled to enjoyed liberties, such as freedom of speech and expression. The statesmen restored the practice of absolute monarchy in which the people’s rights and freedoms were not protected. To the great states of Europe, particularly Austria, the spread of liberal ideals in Europe would produce unfavorable effects. First, it would lead to revolutions what might upset law and order which most of them were following. It also would cause to decline of their power. To maintain their established interests, therefore, they applied the principle of legitimacy and restoration.

Furthermore, the Vienna Settlement also ignored the force of nationalism, which is a belief that the loyalty of individual is to the state but not to the king and that everyone can have a rightful and lawful claim to self-government. However, European rulers were restored to rule over a foreign country where the people’s language and customs were different to them very much. The wishes of the inhabitants were disregarded, for example, Belgium, Finland and Poland ere given away or partitioned. Germany and Italy were divided. Since the multi-racial Austrian Empire

Would downfall if nationalism was spread, the territorial ambition of the powers must of necessity disallow the spirit of nationality.

The disregard of nationalism and liberalism created many unintended results. The troubles in Belgium, Italy, Poland and German are given as evidence to support the argument. Yet the revolt in Belgians in 1830 was mainly due to the mistake of the House of Orange in misruling its Belgians subjects. If the Dutch administrators had treated them on an equal footing trouble would have been avoided.

It is obviously that the interesting of smaller states was ignored as the Vienna Settlement was drawn up by the great powers only. Thus, they only re-mapped the Europe to suit their convenience. The small states were sacrificed to achieve the aims of the Vienna Settlement.

Owing to the divergent opinions, it is very difficult to achieve at a conclusion acceptable to all. However, since the statesmen at Vienna aimed mainly at the maintenance of peace and stability in Europe, so we can say that the Vienna Settlement was successful. Furthermore, for the next forty years, Europe was at peace.

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