In the nineteenth century, Karl Marx wrote that “a specter is haunting Europe-the specter of Communism.” While the sort of Communism that Marx envisioned was in fact less powerful in the nineteenth century than Marx believed was the case, Communism was a potent force in the twentieth century. Indeed, by the middle of the twentieth century, much of the world’s population lived under a Communist regime. The rise and fall of Communism in the twentieth century was closely connected to important events such as the world wars, the Great Depression, and the Cold War.


In the twentieth century, two of the world’s most important nations-namely Russia and China-came to have Communist regimes. Drawing on materials from Unit 7, answer all of the following questions:

  • What circumstances contributed to the Bolsheviks seizing power in Russia in 1917? What policies did they implement in the 1920s and 1930s under Stalin with respect to economic development and political repression? What impact did those policies have?
  • What circumstances contributed to the Communists taking power in China in 1949? What policies did they implement in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s under Mao with respect to economic development and political repression? What impact did those policies have?

Expectations and Criteria for Success:

  • Your discussion post should answer all the questions above. Successful posts will answer each question with specific examples and details from the assigned sources. Posts should be a minimum of 250 words and a maximum of 350 words.
  • Please note that you will not be able to access your classmates’ posts until you yourself have posted. Once you have made your initial post, you will then be able to read and respond to your classmates’ posts. After your initial post, you should respond to at least two classmates’ posts. Successful replies will reference course materials and contribute to new points of discussion. Each reply should be between 2-4 sentences.
  • Your discussion post should be based only on the assigned unit materials. After reading your post, others should have the impression that you read and/or watched the Unit materials for the purpose of the discussion instead of something you found on your own on the internet. Please do not use any outside resources.


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