(Because this class has already studied communist China, that frees a few people to report on the Pacific regions.  Report on additional topics until your group runs out of people.  Don't worry about topics you don't get to.)


41.  Kerensky and Lenin: The Two Russian Revolutions                           D

42.  The Conservative Dictatorship of Stalin                                               D

43.  Beware the Bewhiskered Bolsheviks                                                   A

44.  Russian Satellites Try to Break Free                                                    C

47.  Vietnam--One Nation or Two?                                                               D

48.  Gorbachev and Yeltsin: End of the Experiment                                    D

Additional Topics

          54.  Japan Becomes a Western Power In a Hurry                             D

          56.  How a Religion is Born                                                                  A

          53.  Australian Aborigines: The Biggest Manhunt In History             A

          52.  The Eight Kings of Hawaii                                                             B




A  Additional information very hard to find

B  A moderate amount of additional information should be available

C  Plenty of stuff available--an easy job

D  Too much information available--this will require a lot of sorting




            Remember that Chinese people traditionally place their family name first, and personal name second.  Northern Vietnamese leaders tend to follow this custom, too.  The more Westernized South Vietnamese leaders did not.  The Japanese used to place the family name first; now many modern Japanese people do it the other way around.  Be alert.




            Nicholas II, Czar of Russia, was a good-hearted young man, but he lived so sheltered in the palace that he really did not know what his people's needs were.  In 1905, some peasants and priests marched to the palace to tell Nicholas how his officials mistreated them.  But he was not home, and the guards shot at the crowd.  Many labor unions went on strike against this police brutality.  Nicholas offered to let Russians elect their first parliament, and people went back to work.  Communist historians like to picture this 1905 incident as a great revolution crushed by the government.


            The inexperienced new parliament bungled along until the middle of World War I.  By then, they could not even organize the feeding of their soldiers--let alone win any battles.  Nicholas went to take command of the war, and left parliament to deal with the growing strikes over food shortages.  People grew more radical.  Nicholas decided that parliament should reflect the changing mood of the people, so he dissolved parliament in order to have new elections.  But the congressmen refused to give up their seats.


            One of the most liberal congressmen, Alexander Kerensky (ke-REN-skee), took bold control.  Parliament decided that Russia needed a new Czar.  Nicholas resigned in favor of his brother, but Kerensky talked the brother into turning down the job.  In this quiet way, Russia became a republic in March of 1917.  This was the first Russian Revolution.


            But the streets were not quiet.  While mobs howled and looted, parliament tried to find a way out of World War I without losing.  Indecision paralyzed the new government.  The inexperienced parliament could not run a country as large as Russia.  The experiment in democracy was obviously failing.


            Germany came up with a plan to get its enemy Russia out of the war.  The German government had captured a Russian Communist agitator who went by the code name "Lenin."  They locked him in a railroad car and sent him home to Russia.  By November of 1917, Lenin led a second Russian Revolution against the disorganized parliament.  Kerensky fled the country and outlived all of the Communist leaders.  Like the first revolution eight months before, the second revolution was also almost bloodless.


            The Communists took over just a couple of weeks before the scheduled elections.  In those elections, the Communists lost badly.  So when they could not control the new parliament, the Communist leaders closed it down.  Lenin probably could not have ruled long without popular support.  It came through a strange twist.


            Russia pulled out of World War I by surrendering much territory.  On their way back home, several disgusted Russian generals decided it was time to put the czar back on the throne.  They invaded Russia with help from England, Germany, and Japan.  The Russian people flocked behind Lenin to protect their motherland from foreign interests.  Meanwhile, Nicholas sat quietly in prison.  As a safety precaution, the Communists shot him, his wife, his young son, and four daughters.  After three bloody years, the "red" Communist army defeat the last "white" czarist army.  Russia lay in a shambles.


            Karl Marx had formed his theories of Communism for Western democracies where the middle classes controlled the main industries.  But Russia had almost no democracy, almost no middle class, and almost no industry.  It seemed one of the least likely places for Communism to succeed.


            During the Russian Civil War, Lenin tried a hodgepodge of Marx's ideas in nationalizing industry.  But the feeble Russian economy could not stand such an abrupt switch.  Food shortages developed.  For Russia was, after all, a nation of poor farmers with a few rich landlords.  During the revolution shortly before, farmers had grabbed control of the land their families had worked for generations.  When the government tried to take control, these people did not feel eager to give up their newly-won land.  So Lenin backed off from Marx's theory.


            The history of successful revolutions shows two types of leaders:  first the inspirer who can rouse others up to follow him, and second the organizer who can turn victory into a lasting government.  Lenin was one of those rare individuals who was good at both types of leadership.


            For the next two years after the civil war, he worked tirelessly reorganizing the government and the whole economy.  He set up his New Economic Plan, or N.E.P. The plan let the farmers keep their land, to farm however they wished.  It also encouraged shopkeepers and owners of small industries to develop their businesses.  But the government kept control of large industry.  Lenin explained that sometimes it was necessary to take one step backward in order to take two forward.  With this gradual plan, the economy began to recover--though it would take ten years to get back to the level of prosperity Russia enjoyed before the Communist revolution.


            Meanwhile, Lenin's health failed.  During his last two years, the Communist party took over the running of the country.  He died at the beginning of 1924, loved by the Russian people for his simple life, honest administration, and earnest efforts.




            In more than a thousand years of Russian history, the ordinary Russian people had a small voice in their government for less than twenty years--from the beginning of parliament in 1905, to Lenin's death in 1924.  After that, Russia returned to absolute control by one person--a person who nicknamed himself the "Man of Steel," or "Stalin."


            In his will, Lenin warned the Communist leaders to get rid of Stalin.  But they ignored the warning for Stalin was, after all, only the party secretary; he had never been a spokesman of Communist ideals.  Stalin controlled the party machine, and he used it to one-by-one eliminate the heroes of the revolution.  The glowing ideals of equality fell before Stalin's drive for personal power.  And the least qualified of the contenders took complete control,


            Stalin was an ignorant, suspicious man.  He built up the secret police to spy on all government officials and terrorize the people into obedience.  Instead of making friends with other governments, he sent spies to destroy their governments from within.  He jammed foreign radio broadcasts, to keep the Russian people in contented ignorance.  And in public places all over Russia, he raised up huge photographs of himself.


            In 1928, Stalin began the hard push to reshape the Russian economy.  The first step was to collectivize the land.  Russia simply had too many farmers puttering on inefficient little plots.  Yet these farmers had just begun to prosper a little after ten years of owning their hand.  They did not want to give up their little farms, and many killed their animals and destroyed their crops rather than give them to the government.  Ruthlessly, Stalin reorganized the land into huge collective farms, and farming became a large efficient industry.


            This freed millions of farmers for working in the factories.  Stalin issued a Five-Year Plan to triple industry.  The plan fell short of its goal, but industry did double in those five years--an accomplishment unmatched anywhere else in the world.  Then came a second and third Five-Year Plan for further economic growth.  In the first ten years, Russia became the third most industrial nation in the world.


            By the mid-1930s, the Russian government controlled almost the whole economy.  But here was the catch; Marx and Lenin had dreamed of the day when the people would control the economic forces in their lives--but they had assumed that the people and the government would be the same.  Instead, the government controlled the economy and also controlled the people.  Industry produced much for government--such as rockets--but fell behind in goods for people--such as housing and appliances.

            In the mid-1930s, an assassin struck down Stalin's assistant.  This frightened the dictator into getting rid of all leaders who might be able to replace him.  The Great Purge began.  Army officers, politicians, and revolutionary heroes went on trial.  All but a couple were declared guilty and shot.  The government sent hundreds of thousands of less powerful figures to prison camps in Siberia.  In four years, Stalin killed off practically every leader from the Russian Revolution.  He stood as the undisputed master of Russia.


            Yet Stalin worried about the coming World War II.  Hitler had risen to power in Germany as a violent anti-Communist.  But the two dictators actually ran their governments about the same.  They signed a peace treaty, and Stalin relaxed.  Suddenly, Hitler invaded Russia anyway.  In his growing conservatism, Stalin relied on the same "scorched earth" battle plan which had saved Russia from Napoleon in 1812.  He roused his people to patriotism by constantly reminding them of 1812.  The Germans raced across Russia until the Communists made a stubborn stand just outside Moscow.  Stalin, himself, refused to budge out of Moscow.  Eventually, winter drove the Germans back, and the Russian army recaptured its lost territory.  Afterwards, Stalin admitted that twenty million Russians died in the war.  Actually, the number was

much higher yet.


            When Stalin died in 1953, the power shuffle started over again.  Of the many contenders for power, the party secretary again pushed all others out.  He was a fat little country-bumpkin named Nikita Khruschev.  In 1956, Khruschev

felt bold enough to denounce Stalin as a cruel dictator.  The pictures and statues came down; Stalin's embalmed body was buried.  Loyal party members feared Khruschev's personal and colorful style of rule.  So in 1964 they swiftly and quietly stripped him of his titles.  Russia had had enough of one-man rule.




            Karl Marx organized the First Communist International, a gathering of social reformers from all over Europe.  They met to discuss ways of improving labor conditions.  Such groups continued to meet until after the Russian Revolution.  The international Communists hoped to see all of Europe pulling together.  They urged people not to participate in World War I.


            Lenin and his friends believed strongly in internationalism.  They expected Russia to become one of the less significant Communist nations of Europe.  But the next two Communist takeovers got crushed so swiftly that no one else tried.  Both attempts came in 1919.  The large state of Bavaria broke off from Germany and set up a Communist government.  In less than a month, Germany recaptured the rebel state.  Meanwhile, Communists gained control in Hungary.


            The Hungarians felt mistreated in the peace settlement after World War I. As a protest, they turned their government over to Bela Kun (BAY-la KOON), a Jewish Communist and close friend of Lenin.  He nationalized all property, allowing each man to keep 2 suits, 4 shirts, 2 pairs of boots, and 4 stockings, He threw all bathrooms open to the public each Saturday night.  And he denied the vote to priests, the insane, criminals, and shopkeepers who kept paid assistants.  Four months later, the Rumanian army marched into Hungary.  Kun fled to Austria, where his enemies clapped him in a lunatic asylum and tried to feed him poisoned Easter eggs.  Being Jewish, he did not eat them.  Kun lived on, but Communism outside Russia was a dead dream.


            When Lenin realized that Russia would be the only Communist nation, he demanded that all Communists take orders from Russia.  Many refused, and broke off to form Socialist parties in their own countries.  Gradually, a majority of northern Europeans have decided that Socialism is a workable compromise between the worst evils of Capitalism and the worst evils of Communism.  With unregulated Capitalism, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, until they finally explode in revolution.  To keep things stable, one of the important jobs of government is to redistribute wealth (in the form of taxes) to help the poor.  The tricky part lies in getting just the right amount of balance: enough Socialism to keep the peace, but not so much that it kills individual initiative.   Communist parties did not grow much in Socialistic countries--partly because Stalin kept the parties so full of Russian spies that no one could trust them.


            In Russia, the leading internationalist was Leon Trotsky.  He had agitated for revolution before Lenin arrived.  Then he organized the Red army and led it to victory.  People assumed that Trotsky would take over when Lenin died.  But Stalin pushed Trotsky out of his way.  And a few years later, Stalin threw him out of the country.  Trotsky eventually went to live in Mexico.  When the Great Depression hit, people saw that the Capitalist system of stock investment had temporarily failed very badly.  At the same time, Russia moved confidently into its Five-Year Plan of economic expansion.  Could it be that the Communists had some of the answers after all?  Millions all over the world began to wonder.  For those who did not like Stalin's dictatorship, Trotsky seemed closer to the ideas of Marx and Lenin.  International Communism reached its peak membership,


            But Stalin grew jealous of all other Communist leaders.  In the late 1930s he killed off all possible rivals in Russia. then he sent an assassin to shoot Trotsky.  Millions who had joined the Communist party during the depression, dropped out after this brutality.


            Stalin coöperated with the Western democracies during the war, but he stayed so suspicious of other political leaders that they could reach no peace settlement.  Instead, they divided the conquered territories between the victors.  Russia sealed itself off from further friendly doings with foreign governments.  Winston Churchill said it was as though an 'Iron Curtain" had descended across Europe.


            Two waves of anti-Communist frenzy swept across the United States--once in the 1920s, and again in the 1950s.  Both times, the anti-Communists used the same undemocratic purge methods that Stalin used.  And both times, their victims were mostly idealists who had long since given up any connection with Communism.  In Germany, Hitler rose to power by stirring up fears against Communism.


            After Stalin, Communism grew in many undeveloped countries.  Communist governments even seized control for a few years in such out-of-the-way places as Yemen, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan.  But the Communist revolution never came to the more prosperous nations where Marx had predicted.




            On the fringe between the Soviet Union and Europe lay seven nations: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Albania.  These were young countries; most of them had sprung up after World War I. Czechoslovakia prospered as an industrial democracy.  The others remained nations of poor farmers, ruled mostly by conservative little kings.  In World War II, Germany easily overran these countries and forced the weak leaders to help Germany.  Then the Soviet army drove the Germans out.  But the U.S.S.R. kept control.  The people of these small nations had only changed masters.  Six of these countries became Communist states taking orders from the U.S.S.R.


            Yugoslavia was different.  The Yugoslavs had freed themselves from Germany, led by a factory worker who called himself "Tito."  Tito was a Communist, and set up a Communistic economy.  But he refused to surrender his hard-fought victory to the Soviets, and he refused to take orders from them.  The Soviets threw him out of the Communist party, but Tito continued to lead Yugoslavia into its own type of independent Communism.  His country split apart after he died.


            Italy (rather than Germany) had invaded Albania during World War II, and Yugoslavia (rather than the Soviet Union) drove them out and took over.  Albania was too weak to resist, but its leaders shrewdly kept switching masters--always searching for one farther from home.  They wiggled out from Yugoslav control by declaring themselves a Soviet satellite, and then got out of that mess by declaring their allegiance to Communist China.


            Other satellite nations began to wonder if they could win the kind of independence Yugoslavia enjoyed.  In 1956, Hungarians began protesting for more control.  When the secret police shot them down, Hungary exploded into revolution.  Premier Imre Nagy (IM-ray NAHZH) tried to lead his people to independence.  As they grew bolder, people also clamored for more personal freedoms from their local government.  After just ten days, the U.S.S.R. invaded Hungary with tanks and mowed down anyone who resisted.  Homemade bombs could not match tanks, and the revolution failed.  Nagy was executed two years later.


            In 1968, a spirit of reform swept across Czechoslovakia.  Party leader Alexander Dubcek (DOOB-chek) led his people toward democratic Communism.  He achieved many personal freedoms, but tried to not anger the Soviet Union.  After seven months of this experimentation, the Soviet army invaded anyway.  Again, the people resisted, and again they lost.  The U.S.S.R. took firm control of the Government once more, and wiped out the reforms.  Dubcek had to take a job as a mechanic.  Twenty years later, when the Czechoslovakian people finally threw off Communist control, they elected Dubcek as head of their new parliament.


            It is important to distinguish three possible motives for satellite rebellions:

            1.  National independence from Soviet Russia.

            2.  Personal freedom from dictatorship.

            3.  Switch away from Communist economics.

The Hungarian and Czechoslovakian revolutions contained both of the first two motives.  The third was not suggested.  If the satellites had won their revolutions, they probably would have become independent Communist nations much like Yugoslavia.


            But all through the 1980s, a Polish labor union agitated for all three goals.  Because The Communist Manifesto had urged workers of the world to unite and throw off their chains, the Communist rulers did not know quite how to deal with a labor union.  Also, the Catholic church had chosen a pope from Poland who spoke up for the workers.  The puppet rulers of Poland threw union leader Lech Walesa (lek va-LEN-sa) in prison, but later agreed to consult with the union before making major decisions.


            In 1989, the Soviet Union decided to grant all of the satellite nations their independence. (See chapter 48.) Before the year ended, people in every one of those countries threw out their puppet Communist officials.  In Poland, they chose the humble electrician, Lech Walesa as their new leader.




            At the beginning of the twentieth century, the foreign emperors from Manchuria still tried to hold onto their control of China.  England, Germany, France, Portugal, Russia, Japan, and the United States all tried to control areas along the coast.  The Chinese people hated all of these foreigners.


            Dr. Sun Yat-sen (soon yaht-sen) traveled over much of the world preaching revolution for China.  The revolution came unexpectedly in 1911, while he agitated in England.  He hurried home to become the first president of the Chinese republic.  Dr. Sun was no organizer, and he knew it.  So he turned the government over to the head of the army.  That was a mistake.  For the military man made himself emperor.  This man died a few months later.  But he had given others the idea that they might be able to seize control.  For the next ten years, China swirled in confusion as petty war-lords fought each other for the chance to pillage the people.


            Sun Yat-sen and the original revolutionaries gained control of one state in southern China.  There they bungled along--mainly with Russian help and organization.  Sun died in 1925.  Suddenly, people thought of him as a hero.  They began to believe in his three slogans: Nationalism, Democracy, Socialism.  General Chiang Kai-shek (jyahng k§-shek) took control of the nationalist army and swept through China, putting down all of the war-lords.


            Just when it looked like China might become unified, Chiang split his support in two by driving out its Communist members.  Sun Yat-sen had joined the Communist party.  His widow joined the fleeing Communists now, and years later became a high official in the Chinese Communist government.  Her sister married Chiang Kai-shek and helped direct the army against the Communists.  The civil war lasted ten years from 1926 to 1936, when both sides took time out to fight against invading Japan in World War II.  After nine years of coöperation against Japan, the Chinese took up their civil war again in 1945.  But this time the Communists marched to swift victory in four years.


            Why?  Chiang Kai-shek had lost the support of the people.  He had grown more conservative and dictatorial.  He supported the interests of wealthy landlords and bankers.  Corruption flourished high in his government.  The Communists worked with the simple farmers, and earned the trust of the masses.  Moreover, the civil war had taught the Communists how to fight guerilla-style, so they made a far better showing against the Japanese than Chiang Kai-shek's aging generals did.  People began to feel that the Communists served them better than their present government did.


            In 1949, Chiang lost all of China, and fled to the island of Formosa.  There he pretended to be the real government of China.  Most of the world went along with this pretense for the next twenty years.  But by the 1970s, all of the big powers had decided to deal with the real government--the Chinese Communists.




            If a wheel makes a total revolution, the same part ends back on top.  To turn things upside-down, a wheel must make a half-revolution.  The same is unfortunately true in politics.  Through history, revolution has followed revolution, but the same types of people usually end up on top.  They start with fresh intentions, but once they gain power the revolution grows old and they tend to resemble more and more those who have always held power.  George Orwell wrote a fairy tale on revolution, called Animal Farm, which focuses on this problem in something similar to the Russian Revolution.


            Mao Tse-tung (moww tsuh-doong) of China was aware of this problem.  When he saw his own revolution coming full-circle, he started an additional half-revolution to keep the movement young.  Here is his story:


            Mao Tse-tung grew up in the classical Confucian tradition.  He became a librarian and a highly-respected poet.  He helped found the Chinese Communist party and quickly rose to become its leader.  When the government of Chiang Kai-shek tried to exterminate all Communists, Mao led his people on a six-thousand-mile march to the northwest corner of China.  There he led a guerilla war against the Chinese government, then against the Japanese invaders during World War II.  After the war, Mao led the Communists to victory all across China.  In 1949 he became head of the People's Republic of China.


            The new government's first big problem was the Korean War.  The United States and Russia had split Korea in half, with a Communist dictatorship in the north and a Capitalist dictatorship in the south.  The Communists invaded the south in an effort to reunify their country.  The United States and some members of the United Nations drove the North Korean army all the way back to the Chinese border--and showed no sign of stopping there.  China sent volunteers to help the North Koreans.  Together, they pushed the United States back to the dividing line between North and South Korea.  Neither side gained from the war.  Both sides lost hundreds of thousands of young men.  But the Chinese took pride that they had pushed back the most powerful country on earth.  It began to look like the new China could do anything.


            In all his struggles against Chiang Kai-shek, the Japanese, and the Americans, Mao had received almost no help from Russia.  Now he saw no need to make China another Russian satellite--which the Russian government expected him to do.  Instead, Mao criticized Russia for having grown conservative, and fallen far short of Marxist-Leninist goals.  Mao appealed to underdeveloped nations as a third alternative between the American and Russian superpowers.  In southeast Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, young people took new inspiration from the fresh revolutionary vigor of Mao Tse-tung.


            Mao represented the spirit of Chinese Communism.  His well-traveled friend, Chou En-lai (jo en-l§) looked after the details of government.  But after twenty years in power, Mao saw his officials growing more conservative.  Bureaucracy began to strangle the revolutionary ideals.  So in 1968, Mao appealed to students to launch a new "Cultural Revolution."  Bands of students rampaged through the countryside, frightening the bureaucrats and reminding people again that the purpose of the Communist state was to help the common people.  Everywhere, people drew inspiration from the "little red book" of quotations by Chairman Mao.  He had become the new Confucius.  When things had been turned pretty much upside-down, Chou En-lai told the students to go home.  And they did.


            For twenty years, western powers had tried to ignore China.  When they began visiting again in the 1970s they were surprised to discover that crime had disappeared, poverty had disappeared, unemployment had disappeared, the worst diseases had disappeared, illiteracy had mostly disappeared.  Of course all of this came at a price: individual thought and creativity had also disappeared.  But never had the Chinese people lived so free from physical suffering.  For the first time in China's history, its leaders felt close to the land.  Farmwork formed an important part of the educational system.  Mao Tse-tung had kept his revolution young for another generation.





            In the late 1800s, France conquered the kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia, and the empire of Vietnam.  These three nations became the colony of French Indo-China.  In World War II, Japan drove the French out.


            In Vietnam, the Emperor Bao Dai (bow die) had served as the French puppet ruler.  Now he became the Japanese puppet ruler.  But the people of Vietnam rose up to free their country from all foreign control.  The leader of this struggle was a mild man named Ho Chi-minh (ho-chee-min), He was a Communist.  The Vietnamese people threw the emperor out of office, and declared their country an independent republic.


            After the war, France agreed to recognize the independence of Vietnam--only if it returned to an empire--not if it stayed a republic.  The French army tried to prop the emperor back up on his throne, but the Vietnamese defeated them soundly.


            At the peace conference in 1954, Cambodia and Laos gained their independence without a struggle.  Vietnam was to be split in half for two years--with Ho Chi-minh ruling the northern half, and Emperor Bao Dai ruling the southern half.  After two years, the Vietnamese people would vote on which government they wanted for their whole country.  The United States offered to protect Bao Dai, so France pulled out.


            As election time approached, it became obvious that the unpopular emperor would lose.  So a political strongman named Diem (dee-EM) seized control of southern Vietnam and declared it a republic.  Diem insisted that there were now two Vietnams, and refused to allow the election for reunification.  The idea of two Vietnams pleased the American leaders, for it meant that the Communists only got half as much.  Then other military strongmen tried for power.  Revolution followed revolution.


            As the generals struggled for power at the top, the Communists of South Vietnam launched a new civil war against their military government.  The United States aided the government, and North Vietnam aided the Communists.  Then American soldiers began fighting for the government.  North Vietnamese soldiers joined the Communists.  China and Russia sent money and equipment but the United States spent thirty-three times as much as China and Russia combined.  So far all of the fighting had happened inside South Vietnam.  Then the United States began bombing North Vietnam, and invaded neutral Cambodia.


            Public opinion around the world and in the United States rose up against the war.  People realized that if the most powerful army in the world could not defeat some rag-tag guerillas, it meant that the local people were hiding and supporting the guerillas.  U.S. President Johnson won election with a campaign for peace.  When he escalated the war instead, he did not dare to run for re-election.  President Nixon then won election by promising peace.  But he let the war drag on four more years, and used the promise of peace to win election again.  Finally the United States backed out of Vietnam after more than thirteen years--the longest war in American history.


            But there was no peace.  And there was no real change.  North Vietnam remained Communist, and South Vietnam remained entangled in its own civil war.  Soon the northern army swept through the south, and all opposition melted away.  The two Vietnams had become one again.  And that one nation was Communistic.




            Mikhail Gorbachev (MIK-hail GOR-ba-chev) ruled the Soviet Union for less than seven years.  Yet during that time, he changed the world.


            He saw that the Soviet economy still was not working after seventy years--mainly because 70% of all manufactured goods want to the military.  He decided to make three big changes;

1.  Save money by getting out of the empire business.

2.  Bring democracy to the Soviet Union.

                        3.  Slowly bring a mixture of Capitalism and Communism to the Soviet economy,


            Gorbachev pulled the Soviet army out of Afghanistan, where they had gotten bogged down in a never-ending civil war.  He ended the forty-year "cold war" with the United States.  (Neither side won the "cold war."  Each side bankrupted itself on military expenses.)  Gorbachev gave the satellite nations of eastern Europe their freedom.  (See chapter 44.)  He then guaranteed a free press and free elections in the Soviet Union, and gave the new parliament real powers.  He picked Boris Yeltsin (YEL-tsin) to reform the economy, but Yeltsin wanted to go much faster, and eventually quit the job in anger.


            In the 1800s, the Russian czars had captured many small nations around them.  The Communists pretended that the Soviet Union was a willing group of fifteen free and equal republics, though everybody knew it was a dictatorship controlled by Russia.  When the satellite nations outside the Soviet Union got their freedom, many of the so-called republics inside the union also wanted their freedom.  Gorbachev let them elect their own leaders, but would not break up the union.  The giant Russian republic elected Yeltsin, and the two men quarreled more and more.


            Suddenly in 1991, some bumbling old Communists made Gorbachev a prisoner and tried to take over the government.  All of the republics refused to obey the Communists, and declared their independence.  Boris Yeltsin jumped on top of a tank and spoke bravely for freedom and for Gorbachev.  The Russian people rallied around Yeltsin, and the takeover failed.  Gorbachev returned looking like a victim, while Yeltsin looked a like a hero.  And Gorbachev was leader of an empire that no longer existed.  He dissolved the Soviet Union and resigned--warning Yeltsin not to go too fast on economic changes.


            Instead, Yeltsin switched immediately to a Capitalistic system.  Many people found themselves hungry and unemployed for the first time.  Others fell victim to crooked businessmen--something they had never had to deal with before.  When the Russian parliament tried to slow down the changes, Yeltsin ordered them to disband, and sent the army to fire on the parliament building.  The world watched in puzzlement as Yeltsin took dictatorial power to protect freedom.


            A few people became rich, but most grew poorer than they had ever been before.  Unlike Western countries, Russia had not spent a century building up protections against the worst business practices.  Unregulated Capitalism nearly destroyed a recently powerful nation.  Yeltsin's popularity fell, and he had to resign.






            In 1871, France had just lost a war with Germany.  The middle-class empire of Napoleon III was being replaced by a middle-class republic.  The workers of Paris had suffered heavily during the war.  They had lost all patience with bungling middle-class leaders.  So they revolted against the new republic and set up their own government--the Paris Commune.  The Commune leaders felt dissatisfied--but all for different reasons: some wanted to fight another war against Germany; some wanted the emperor again; some wanted a king; some wanted socialism; some wanted Communism.  So their program was a hodgepodge of outlawing religion, restoring the revolutionary calendar of 1792, establishing a ten-hour work day, and releasing the bakers from night work.  After three months, the Paris Commune fell in bloody battle to the army of the French Republic.  Communists hail the Paris Commune as the first attempt by workers to set up a Communistic government.





            The son of Russian Czar Nicholas II suffered from hemophilia (failure of the blood to clot).  Several times the boy almost bled to death from a tiny scratch of bruise.  His mother tried everything--including a wild monk who claimed to have mystic and miraculous powers.  The monk called himself "Rasputin" (rus-POO-tyin).  Under the strange power of Rasputin, the boy's health actually improved.  The grateful parents took Rasputin's advice more and more.  Soon he controlled the whole government.  Rasputin preached that salvation comes only through forgiveness--therefore, the more a person sins, the more he can be forgiven.  He conducted drunken orgies at the palace.  Besides, he made ignorant decisions on foreign policy during World War I. The Russian people grew angry and rumbled of revolution.  Some princes decided to save the government by assassinating Rasputin.  It took much poison and many bullets before the strong man fell.  But the assassination came too late to save the royal family; the hatreds which Rasputin had kindled burst into flaming revolution just two months after his death .





            Rosa Luxemburg (LOOK-sem-boorg) agitated for socialist reform in Poland.  She participated in the Russian protests of 1905.  She wrote for a German socialist newspaper until the German government imprisoned her for advocating peace during World War I. After the Russian Revolution, she started a German Communist newspaper.  When the Communists planned to revolt in Germany in 1919, she argued that they were not strong enough.  She was right; the revolution attempt failed, But one of the first things the German government did was arrest Rosa Luxemburg.  On the way to jail, army officers beat her up, and she died of the wounds.





            Pu-yi (poo-yi) became the last Manchurian emperor of China at age two, A few days before his seventh birthday, revolution turned China into a republic.  But the young ex-emperor remained at the palace, and the leaders of the republic continued to bow before him.  As a citizen, he took the name of Henry--after his hero, Henry VIII of England.  At age eleven, a new revolution placed him back on the throne for a couple of weeks.  After that, he quietly tended his flower gardens until Japan captured Manchuria in World War II.  Then the Japanese invited him to ascend the throne of his ancestors as emperor of Manchuria.  Pu-yi knew he was being set up as a Japanese puppet, but he refused to take office in a Japanese officer's uniform--only in the robes of the rightful emperor.  After the war, Manchuria again became part of China, and Henry Pu-yi went to live in Russia.  He returned to China after the Communists took over.  At first they imprisoned him for coöperating with the Japanese.  But soon they freed him, and the former emperor became the Manchurian representative in the Chinese Communist congress.



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