"History is past politics, and politics present history." John Robert Seeley

"The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see." Winston Churchill

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." Aristotle


Dictatorship & Democracy, 1920 – 1945


The three case studies for this module are:

The Jarrow March, 1936 (Britain)

Nuremberg Rallies (Nazi Germany)

Stalin’s Show Trials (USSR)

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From the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and Lenin’s route to power in Russia, this module covers the extraordinary period of change & conflict in Europe right up to the end of World War II, culminating in the establishment of the United Nations (1945).

Russia: Lenin’s Route to Power 1917 – 1924


Lenin(1) 1905 – 1917: Lenin & the Bolsheviks’ route to power, including the February & October Revolutions of 1917.

Lenin(2) 1917 – 1924: Lenin & the Bolsheviks’ consolidation of power, including War Communism, Russian Civil War, New Economic Policy and the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

View Image Gallery for Lenin’s Russia:1917-1924


Stalin & the Soviet Union 1927 – 1945

(created by 5th Year Pupils 2011)

When Lenin died in 1924, a leadership vacuum was created at the very top of the Communist Party and the fledgling USSR.  Stalin’s Route to Power 1924 – 1936 was a journey of misdirection and careful planning. Initially using both Kamenev & Zinoviev to isolate and dis-credit Trotsky as the new leader of the USSR, Stalin eventually turned on them as well. With his position as Secretary of the Communist Party firmly established by 1928, Stalin set about re-inventing the USSR, economically & industrially. To do this, he had to first secure the source of food and food production – agriculture. Through the policy of ‘Collectivisation’ Stalin created large, state-run farms on an industrial scale – the ‘Kolkhozes’. The forced, systematic destruction of privately-owned farms resulted in the deaths of millions of Russians, through famine, repression and transportation to the Gulags.

Having established a programme for agricultural state control, Stalin established the state commission for economic and industrial planningGOSPLAN. Through this organisation, Stalin was able to centrally-plan hugely-ambitious industrial projects and targets.

The First Five -Year Plan (1928 – 1932) focused primarily on coal and steel production, while also building the logistical basis for industrialisation & communications i.e. new factories, towns and cities.

The Second Five -Year Plan (1933 – 1937) focused on

Stalin’s paranoia and lust for absolute dictatorial control of the USSR led him to pursue one of the most aggressive and highly-questionable internal security purges during the 1930’s. While on the surface it may have seemed excessive in the extreme, the level of discontent within the USSR at the methods of Collectivisation and forced land seizure would inevitably have required a level of fear and control to offset possible criticism and challenges to his authority. These Show Trials would be the hallmark of Stalin’s ‘Iron Rule’ of the USSR.

The 1st Show Trial set the tone for the rest of Stalin’s rule of the USSR. Known as the ‘Trial of the Sixteen’, Stalin set out to discredit potential rivals and opponents within the Communist Party and elsewhere.

The 2nd Moscow Show Trial 1937 known as the ‘Trial of the Seventeen’

The 3rd Moscow Show Trial known as the ‘Trial of the Twenty-One’

Stalin’s Purges of Soviet Institutions 1934 – 1939 such as the Red Army and GOSPLAN had a very de-stabilising effect on the USSR. Within a couple of years, the effects of Stalin’s Purges within the Red Army specifically would be near-catastrophic for the USSR ingeneral as Hitler’s armies ploughed through badly-organised Soviet defences. The effect on the Officer Corps within the Red Army was particularly negative. Many experienced, quality officers and generals were lost through the excesses of the Purges.

The Effects of the Show Trials (Internal & External) were almost self-evident. Stalin’s rule of fear, combined with the extraordinary claims of CultofPersonality led to a climate of almost self-regulating adherence and loyalty to Stalin himself, above that of the Politburo & the Communist Party.

Stalin’s Foreign Policy 1934 – 1945 revealed the extent to which the USSR had become isolated dangerously in a Europe where Aggressive, Expansionist Fascism was growing with the combined ingredients of Appeasement & Ultra-Nationalism. The stark reality of Germany, Italy & Japan signing the ‘Anti-Comintern Pact’ in 1937 left Stalin in no doubt about the intentions of all three countries, especially Nazi Germany. With this in mind, the USSR sought allies in the West, but only managed two ‘Pacts of Mutual Assistance’ – with France & Czechoslovakia. Knowing that there was significant sympathy for Germany in countries such as Britain, Stalin followed a very careful and sometimes cynical route in international affairs. The pinnacle of this ‘realism’ was reached in 1939 – The Nazi-Soviet Non – Aggression Pact, which crucially bought time for Stalin & the USSR to prepare their border regions and military for the inevitable conflict with Germany.


View Image Gallery for Stalin & USSR: 1927 – 1945


Weimar Germany 1919 – 1933

View Image Gallery for Weimar Germany: 1919 – 1933


Nazi Germany & Hitler’s Foreign Policy, 1933 – 1945

NSDAP: Ideology & Route to Power




Nazi Totalitarian State MEMOsheet

From the moment Hitler was elected Chancellor in 1933, every move he made was designed to increase his control on both the people and armed forces of Germany.  Through education & propaganda, Hitler’s chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels sought to indoctrinate the masses into National Socialism & anti-semitism. Hitler’s expansionist economic plans, secured by a single German Labour Front which controlled the workers. would pave the way for an aggressive foreign policy, while his control over the Catholic & Protestant Churches in Germany would further underline his ambitions to control the hearts & minds of German people.


Nuremberg Rallies 1927 – 1939

PowerPoint Presentation:


Hitler’s Foreign Policy 1933 – 1939

PowerPoint Presentation:Hitler’s Foreign Policy

Hitler’s Germany 1933-1939


View Image Gallery for Nazi Germany: 1933 – 1939


World War II


Phase I:

Phase II:

Phase III:

Blitzkrieg 1939 – 1941

Phoney War 1940

Battle of Britain 1940

Operation Barbarossa 1941

Pearl Harbour Dec. 1941

Afrika Korps 1941 – 1943

‘Battle of the Atlantic’

Liberation of Paris 1944

Fall of Berlin May 1945

US-Iwo Jima Feb. 1945

Hiroshima August 1945















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