Communism and the Russian Revolution Lesson Plans

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Russia and China faced a number of internal struggles. Dissatisfaction with leadership and a large, unhappy peasant class created instability in both regions. A European ideology developed by Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto, offered a solution for both societies. According to Marx, communism was a political theory based on the sharing of resources “communally”. These activities offer an in-depth understanding of global communism for students. They are designed to help students understand the links between history and our world today.

Student Activities for Communism and the Russian Revolution

Essential Questions for Communism and the Russian Revolution

  1. How did communist states develop in The People's Republic of China and the USSR?
  2. What were the benefits provided by communist governments?
  3. What damage was done by the two major communist states in the 20th century?
  4. What was the nature of the revolutions in China and Russia?
  5. How did other nations decide to adopt communism? What successes and struggles did they face?
  6. What roles did individuals play in the development and implementation of communism in The People's Republic of China and the USSR?

A Brief Overview of Communism

Communism is a political theory based on the sharing of resources “communally”. All resources are shared among all of the people within the state and all people contribute to the welfare of the state. Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto famously laid out communism as an ideology in 1848. Marx and his co-writer Friedrich Engels theorized about the nature of government, society, and the problems and injustices of capitalism.

The great disparity between the classes in many societies during the Industrial Revolution left the lower classes feeling oppressed. Communism rose in Russia as the Bolsheviks, a revolutionary political group made up of the working class, toppled the Romanov Dynasty during World War I via the overall Russian Revolution. The Soviet Union later developed into a totalitarian state under Stalin, but the Bolshevik Revolution empowered the rise of Mao Ze Dong in China and the development of communist states in other regions.

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