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This became a reality with the killing of the tsar in 1918. The death of the tsar was the visible reaction to a series of underlining causes that would eventually encourage the raise to power of a political ideology that addressed these issues and offered political and propagandistic solutions.
The social situation of the populations was rather grim during the tsar's regime. Russia had been engaged in the First World War effort and the condition of the soldiers was disastrous. Similarly, the peasants often were subjected to oppressive taxes in order for the regime to be able to financially support the war effort.
Aside from the social causes of the revolution, there were also political aspects that determined the fall of the tsar and the subsequent establishment of the communist regime. Thus, the authoritarian imperial rule opposed the visions of politicians such as the Bolshevik leader Trotsky. He was seen as the leader of those revolting against the oppressive rule of the bourgeoisies who was enjoying a wide range of privileges while the rest of the population was on the limit of starvation.
The success of the revolution and of the establishment of a new political rule depended on the way in which its leaders managed to rally popular support in favor of their cause. Thus, it was Lenin that exploited the idea of class differentiation and the need of the proletariat to fight the capitalists. Workers were called to unite in an international workers' organization that would promote solidarity among the members of the working class. In their turn, peasants were stimulated to support the socialist cause through different propagandistic slogans such as those related to land and support for agricultural activities. Indeed, the communist doctrine, in terms of political initiatives, was based on the idea of a powerful financial and public assistance for the population. Therefore, both workers and farmers expected financial help from the state, once the rule of the oligarchy would be ended with the revolution.
Lenin and the other leaders of the revolution applied different techniques for attracting the support of the masses. These included propaganda and slogans such as "Bread, Land, Peace and All Power to the Soviets" thus addressing exactly the essential worries of the people: the need for food, for property of land, for an end to the war and for total political control in the hands of the people.
Overall, the Russian revolution was a turning point in the history of the European continent and of the world as a whole. It represented the emergence of a new perspective on the political and social organization of the state. At the same time, it offered the theoretical and propagandistic solution for a society marked by years of war, financial misery, and oppressive rule. The establishment of the U.S.S.R. In 1921 can be seen, from this perspective, as the natural outcome of the revolution.
THE NEW DEAL
The New Deal program gave birth to a lot of controversy when it was first presented on March 4, 1933, in Washington. This was largely due to the complex measures it envisaged for the recovery of the American economy that had just suffered the most dramatic economic clash in its history in 1929. The measures undertaken by President Roosevelt were the subject of heated debate because they marked the acceptance of the fact that economic liberalism in its purest form was no longer available for the society of the time and, on the other hand, it opened the door for the evolution of a more protectionist state authority.
The term of New Deal describes the period in American history from 1933 up to 1938. It comprised the set of policies promoted by the Democrats in order to redress the economic situation in America following the 1929 crach. According to most authors, there are two distinctive periods generally subscribed to the term. (Rauch, 1963, xii) the First New Deal ended in 1934, when President Roosevelt put a stop to the experimental method applied in areas such as aviation, public utilities, and banks. The second phase of the New Deal focused more on a reorientation of policies towards increased involvement in the "broad fields of agricultural, industrial labor, tariffs, money, and unemployment relief legislation." (Rauch, 1963, xiii)
The two distinctive periods of the New Deal targeted two different aims. While the first period focused on a recovery plan, one that would ensure the recovery of the American economy, the second period followed a reform plan, which focused on a strategy of economic development. The overall pan however was conceived as having complementary results. Thus, "higher prices for industry and agriculture were the immediate objective during the first period; increased purchasing power and social security for the population as a whole were the immediate objectives during the second period." (Rauch, 1963, xiii) This strategy could be explained by the economic philosophy behind the entire recovery and reform plan. Thus, in the first phase, it was important to ensure the restart of the production system, which had collapsed during the crisis years. In order to achieve this, the fiscal policy took the form of economic protectionism; this process thus created the opportunities for the national producers to recover their businesses. The second phase, on the other hand had as precondition exactly the existence of goods and therefore the strategy had to target the increase of the power of consumption. Thus, "the policies of the first period were expressions of the philosophy of economic nationalism and scarcity, while those in the second illustrated the philosophy of international economic cooperation and economic abundance." (Rauch, 1963, xiii)
The major characteristic of the period was the increased federal intervention. Up to that point, the laissez-faire liberalism had governed economic relations. Afterwards, the government considered the most efficient means of overcoming the economic crisis through a series of interventionist measures. Thus, it operated legislative modifications in the banking system, pressuring the Congress to approve laws that would guarantee the savings of the population. In addition, in addressing unemployment, the Federal Relief Administration ensured those unemployed a minimum subsistence income. The agriculture sector, as well as the housing policy became dominated by rather protectionist measures, which made some of Roosevelt's adversaries accuse him of being a communist. One such measure involved the Agricultural Adjustment Administration which in intervened on the market to influence the prices of different crops and goods. This was considered to be an attack to the system that had up until then created prices according to the offer and demand ratio.
Overall, despite controversies, the New Deal program was an important step in the recovery and reform of the American economy and society following the 1929 crash.
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Fairbank, J.K. (1986). The great Chinese Revolution: 1800- 1985. London: Pan Books.
Jenkins, P. (1997). A history of the United States. New York: Palgrave.
Rauch, Basil. (1963). The history of the New Deal. New York: Capricorn Books.
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