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The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin

Delve into a political and economic philosophy that changed the world forever with an award-winning historian.
The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 57.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Interesting Course I found this course to be very interesting and I plan to watch the next ones in the "series." I have watched a couple other courses by Professor Liulevicius and I appreciate his pleasant, logical, and organized delivery. It doesn't really detract from the course, but the newer static positioning of the speaker in front of what I found to be a "busy" and distracting background is less pleasing to me than the podium or open space setting.
Date published: 2022-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very timely EVERBODY should take this course right now to have better understanding about current events
Date published: 2022-04-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course! Professor Liulevicius did a great work in describing how communism evolved over the course of the 19th and 20th century, who were the great figures and how this changed society. He is a great speaker, knowledgeable and entertaining!
Date published: 2022-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Logical, clear, and engaging. This course helped me understand the progression of this ideology and the actors who were part of it. Excellent!
Date published: 2022-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and Unbiased Overview I have a fairly good background in this subject from reading history books of the period and biographies of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, etc. by the best and most respected authors. I found the treatment of this subject by Prof. Liulevicius to be dispassionate and even-handed. When he was talking about the same issues as the books I have read, they lined up very well. Thus, please do not take seriously the “Most Critical Helpful Review” that, as of this writing, is prominently displayed on the web page, titled “Biased Lecturer”. This reviewer gave him or herself away by saying they expected an “unbiased appreciation” of Marxism / Leninism. How can an appreciation be unbiased? If you want unbiased, purchase the course and watch it. As others have noted, it is a lot of material to pack into 12 lectures, but Prof. Liulevicius does a fine job of hitting the important points, tying them together, and providing a solid picture of the “forest”. It is never confusing, however, since it is so dense with important material, that I would very much recommend, especially if you are new to this subject, you watch the course at least twice. This will give you a good grounding and base for additional study, but even by itself if you absorb all this material you should have informed opinions and be able to discuss the subject intelligently at a general level.
Date published: 2022-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fairly short, factual, a without the "romance". This relatively short lecture series attempts to present the introduction of communism to the "modern" world based on the factual record, and sans the "romantic" angle that all-to-often accompanies discussions around this topic. It does not attempt to drive a one-sided understanding but, inevitably, some will draw conclusions based on documented facts that are frequently discomforting. The presenter's understanding of the topic is readily apparent and, as with other courses of study presented in the past, impressive. The mastery of the foreign languages involved (e.g. Russian, German, Polish, etc.) serves to further enhance the quality of the program.
Date published: 2022-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview -- wish it had been longer Very good overview of the subject, wish it had been longer and more detailed. Excellent professor -- deeply knowledgeable, very nice delivery, overall very good company. Looking forward to Professor Liulevicius's other courses. One question, though: He mentions two follow-on courses but I'm only seeing one. Hope the other one becomes available. All-in-all, an excellent course.
Date published: 2022-01-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Excellent course, crazy production Dr. Liulevicius does an excellent job in this survey of the history of communism. His lectures are entertaining and educational. I've detracted two stars from what would otherwise be a five-star rating because of the goofy filming techniques that have marred lots of recent Great Courses offerings. Someone evidently told the producers about the "cool new technique" of shifting the focus of the camera to profile and half-profile shots, which is a horrible distraction to anyone watching such nonsense. Do the film-makers imagine that a subject's profile is going to be so interesting to the audience that it needs to be on-camera half of the time (with the subject looking away from the audience)? Do any in-person lecturers do something similar? I wish The Great Courses offered a free class for each of their offerings, so viewers could see if this goofball technique was used in the filming. I'd definitely avoid such courses.
Date published: 2021-12-29
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Overview

According to award-winning historian Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, to understand the inner dynamics of communist thought and rule (and why they linger in Cuba, North Korea, and China), you have to go back to the beginnings of communism.

About

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

To study the deepest impulses in human nature, we see the lure of wealth and conquest, the deep-seated urge for fame and glory, the quest for higher ends, a basic human determination.

INSTITUTION

University of Tennessee

Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Professor Liulevicius has won many awards and honors, including the University of Tennessee's Excellence in Teaching Award and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. At the university he teaches courses on modern German history, Western civilization, European diplomatic history, Nazi Germany, World War I, war and culture, 20th-century Europe, nationalism, and utopian thought. Dr. Liulevicius has published numerous articles and two books: War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and German Occupation in World War I and The German Myth of the East, 1800 to the Present.

Professor Liulevicius participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about diplomacy and war

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The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin

Trailer

The Locomotive of History

01: The Locomotive of History

Come to see Lenin’s arrival at Petrograd’s Finland Station in April 1917 as one of the most important turning points in modern history: the establishment of a communist regime after decades of theory. Also, preview the themes you’ll explore in these lectures, and get solid definitions of terms such as communism and socialism.

24 min
Marx and Engels: An Intellectual Partnership

02: Marx and Engels: An Intellectual Partnership

The revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would rock society—and soon affect the lives of millions of people. Here, explore their body of theory (known as “dialectical materialism”) and learn how Marxism offered something different: a tableau of history with starring roles played by the toiling masses and economic forces.

30 min
The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital

03: The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital

First, unpack the meaning of the revolutionary messages in The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. Then, use a basic vocabulary of Marxist concepts to better understand Marx’s model of history and economics. Last, examine how the revolutionary lives of Marx and Engels sought to unify theory with practice.

27 min
The 1871 Paris Commune as a Model of Revolt

04: The 1871 Paris Commune as a Model of Revolt

Investigate the violent upheaval of the Paris Commune in 1871: a political experiment that lasted a mere 10 weeks. The Paris Commune would make Marx one of the most feared and hated men in the world; although it failed, Marx considered it a living example of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

25 min
Marxism after Marx

05: Marxism after Marx

In the decades following the death of Marx in 1883, the socialist movement grew—but also became highly factional over arguments about theory and organizational tactics. In this lecture, learn about the rise of political parties in Germany and America, the establishment of the Second International, and the struggle over “revisionism.”

30 min
Revolutionary Russias

06: Revolutionary Russias

Why did a Marxist regime come to power in Russia of all places—especially when Marx considered it an unpromising place for a proletarian revolution? Professor Liulevicius tackles this question and also probes Russia’s revolutionary tradition and the ideas of Georgi Plekhanov, the figure who did the most to bring Marx’s teachings to Russia.

27 min
The Making of Lenin

07: The Making of Lenin

Take a detailed look at the life of Lenin, whose ideas and actions propelled him to become the first man to bring communist theory into power in 1917. Here, focus on Lenin’s hardness in the face of the 1891¬¬-1892 famine, his manifesto What Is to Be Done?, and the Bolshevik and Menshevik factions.

25 min
World War I as a Revolutionary Opportunity

08: World War I as a Revolutionary Opportunity

With the outbreak of the First World War, Lenin—who called war an “accelerator of history”—had the world crisis he could turn to his advantage. Topics here include Marxist debates over the philosophies of defensism vs. defeatism, the arrival of Leon Trotsky and his theory of “permanent revolution,” and the widening rift between socialists and communists.

26 min
Red October: How the Bolsheviks Seized Power

09: Red October: How the Bolsheviks Seized Power

The Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917, a moment that would be celebrated afterward as Red October, or the Great October Socialist Revolution. Here, examine the formula for success behind the Bolshevik takeover, the mythologizing of Red October in film and music, and the dawn of a new secret police force: the Cheka.

29 min
Rosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary Martyr

10: Rosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary Martyr

Spend time with one of the most famous women radicals in history: the Polish-German socialist Rosa Luxemburg. Follow her revolutionary activities throughout Switzerland, Poland, and Germany; her support of spontaneous revolt over centralized conspiracy; her struggles with the ambiguities of revolutionary devotion; and her ultimate martyrdom.

29 min
The Red Bridge to World Revolution

11: The Red Bridge to World Revolution

How does a revolutionary regime build a bridge to world revolution? After a look at the Third International, or “Comintern,” created in 1919 to spread the message of global revolution, explore failed attempts at sovietizing Hungary and Bavaria and the Soviet-Polish War of 1920, which dashed remaining hopes for linking up with Germany.

30 min
Toward a New Communist Civilization

12: Toward a New Communist Civilization

Follow the trajectory of Bolshevik social experiments to inaugurate a new civilization up through the death of Lenin in 1924. You’ll learn about Lenin’s “monumental propaganda” plan, which changed the appearance of Russia; the nationalist program of “putting down roots”; party recruitment drives and purges; and even the mummification of Lenin’s body.

33 min