Login

The Rise of Communism & Vladimir Lenin

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The Soviet Union Under Stalin: Five-Year Plans, Purges & Policies

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:07 Who Was Vladimir Lenin?
  • 1:00 Marx and Lenin
  • 2:08 Russian Revolution & Communism
  • 4:56 The Impact of Vladimir Lenin
  • 5:39 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nate Sullivan

Nate Sullivan holds a M.A. in History and a M.Ed. He is an adjunct history professor, former middle school history teacher, and freelance writer.

In this lesson, we will examine the role Vladimir Lenin played as a leading architect of the communist system. We will explore his involvement in the Russian Revolution and the establishment of Soviet Russia.

Who Was Vladimir Lenin?

Who was Vladimir Lenin, and why is he important? That is what we will be discussing in this lesson. Vladimir Lenin was a communist revolutionary who helped orchestrate the Russian Revolution and emerged as the first Premier of the Soviet Union. Lenin played a senior role in a number of revolutions, leading up to the overthrow of Russia's Tsar Nicholas II in 1917.

He formed the world's first communist state, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1917, which a few years later, would be the basis for the greater Soviet Union. He was also instrumental in getting Russia out of World War I (don't worry; we'll talk about some of this in more detail later on).

Marx and Lenin

Lenin was heavily influenced by another figure: Karl Marx. Marx was a German philosopher who set the theoretical foundation for modern communism. He also had a pretty epic beard. He was essentially the 'father of communism.' Marx, along with another intellectual named Friedrich Engels, authored The Communist Manifesto in 1848. Marx is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers in modern history. His ideas affected a host of disciplines, including philosophy, history, politics and economics.

But this lesson is more about Lenin than it is about Marx. So, where does Lenin come in? Well, Lenin basically took the theories of Marx and implemented them in a practical form. Because of this, Marx and Lenin are considered the 'founding fathers' of the communist system. In fact, the political theory behind communism is often called 'Marxism-Leninism.'

The Russian Revolution and the Rise of Communism

Tsar Nicholas II came to power in Russia in 1894. He proved to be unpopular with the Russian people. Many saw him as haughty and aloof. By the early 1900s, discontentment with the monarchy swelled to the point of revolution. During the Revolution of 1905, the Tsar's Imperial Guard opened fire on a crowd of protestors, killing hundreds, possibly thousands. This event, known as 'Bloody Sunday,' further fanned the flames of radical revolution.

In the early 1900s, Lenin emerged as the leader of a radical political group called the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were composed primarily of working class citizens and were committed to Lenin's brand of communist ideology. Bolsheviks differed from their more moderate counterpart, the Mensheviks. Lenin's radicalism got him in trouble with the monarchy. At various times throughout the early 1900s, he was imprisoned, exiled to Siberia and forced to live abroad.

When World War I broke out, Lenin hoped to transform the war into a worldwide war against capitalism. Of course, the war didn't quite take the turn he had hoped. With World War I still going on, revolution broke out in 1917. The February Revolution, as it has been called, resulted in the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II and the installation of a new, leftist provisional government. The new provisional government was divided between various factions, including Lenin's Bolsheviks and the moderate Mensheviks.

During the October Revolution (of 1917, of course), the Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government and formed a communist government. Lenin then moved quickly to withdraw Russia from World War I.

In March 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed. It ended Russian participation in the First World War. Following the Bolshevik seizure of power, civil war broke out between the conservative 'Whites' and the communist 'Reds.' The 'Reds' won the war in 1922, at which point the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formally established. Lenin served as the Premier of the Soviet Union until his death in 1924. He was succeeded by Joseph Stalin.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support