Key Questions

Framing Questions for the 1st and 2nd Midterms and Final Reflection

First Midterm Framing Questions:

  1. What was the nature of the political order established by the October Manifesto? Did this “Constitutional Experiment” set Russia on the course for progressive political reform and economic modernization (disrupted by World War I) or was the new order so flawed and the pressures on Imperial society so great that a more radical restructuring of politics was inevitable?
  2. Was World War I a deterrent or proximate cause of 1917?
  3. What was the relative importance of immediate events, long-term social and economic developments, the crisis in political authority, and the stresses of the war to the revolutions of February and October, 1917?
  4. How did the Bolsheviks prevail in the Civil War?
  5. How did the Bolsheviks negotiate the transition from being revolutionaries to being rulers?
  6. What role did nationality and religion play in the formation of the Soviet State?
  7. How were politics and economics connected in this period (1917-24)?

Second Midterm Framing Questions:

  1. What were the main contours of “Socialist Construction” in the 1930s?
  2. How did the transformation of the built environment complement or contradict changing sensibilities about physical fitness, sport, gender roles, and the family?
  3. In what ways did the thirties signal a “Great Retreat” away from the revolutionary values of earlier periods?
  4. Why was Stalin’s Soviet Union so ill-prepared for the war?
  5. How did the Soviets nonetheless manage to prevail in World War II?
  6. How did Soviet society change in the aftermath of Stalin’s death?
  7. What were the main contours of “de-Stalinization”?
  8. How were economic, cultural and political reform connected in the Khrushchev era?
  9. How do you assess the “perils” vs. the “promises” of reform after Stalin?