In October 1917, VLADIMIR LENIN and Leon Trotsky led the Bolshevik party in a bloody revolution against the Russian monarch, Czar Nicholas II. Lenin relied on violence and persistent aggression during his time as a Russian leader. Although he professed to being in the process of modernizing Marxist theory, Lenin stalled Marx's communism at its transitional phase and kept the proletariat dictatorship to himself.
Lenin's communist philosophy was designated by followers as Marxist-Leninist theory in 1928. Marxism-Leninism was characterized by the refusal to cooperate and compromise with capitalist countries. It also insisted upon severe restrictions on HUMAN RIGHTS and the extermination of actual and supposed political opponents. In these respects, Marxist-Leninist theory was unrecognizable to democratic socialists and other followers of Marxist doctrine, and the 1920s saw a gradual split between Russian communists and other European proponents of Marxian theory. The Bolshevik party, with Lenin at the helm, renamed itself the All-Russian Communist party, and Lenin presided over a totalitarian state until his death in 1924.
JOSEPH STALIN succeeded Lenin as the Communist party ruler. In 1924, Stalin established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) by colonizing land surrounding Russia and placing the territories within the purview of the Soviet Union. The All-Russian Communist party became the All-Union Communist party, and Stalin sought to position the Soviet Union as the home base of a world revolution. In his quest for worldwide communism, Stalin sent political opponents such as Trotsky into exile, had thousands of political dissidents tortured and murdered, and imprisoned millions more.
Stalin saw the Soviet Union through WORLD WAR II. Although it joined with the United States and other democratic countries in the fight against Nazism, the Soviet Union remained strongly opposed to capitalist principles. In the scramble for control of Europe after World War II, the Soviet Union gained power over several Eastern European countries it had helped liberate and placed them under communist rule. Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, Poland, and Romania were forced to comply with the totalitarianism of Stalin's rule. North Korea was also supported and influenced by the Soviet Union. More independent communist governments emerged in Yugoslavia and Albania after World War II.
For nearly 50 years after the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States engaged in a "cold war." So named for the absence of direct fighting between the two superpowers, the COLD WAR was, in reality, a bloody one. The Soviet Union and the United States fought each other through other countries in an effort to control the expansion of each other's influence.
When a country was thrown into civil war, the Soviet Union and the United States aligned themselves with the competing factions by providing
financial and military support. They sometimes even supplied their own troops. The United States and Soviet Union engaged in warby-proxy in many countries, including Korea, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Angola.
Cuba officially adopted communism in 1965 after Fidel Castro led a band of rebels in an insurrection against the Cuban government in 1959. Despite intense opposition by the United States to communism in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba became communist with the help of the Soviet Union.
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