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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 47.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This is the first of a trilogy by Dr. Liulevicius on the history of Communism. I commend this trilogy to anybody interested in modern history or politics. The course starts with the social issues that concerned Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and how that developed the theoretical underpinnings of socialism and ultimately Communism. He addresses the challenges and crises of Communism: Why didn’t the revolution start in Germany? Why did nationalism prevail over internationalism in World War I? Why did Communism end up with a strong central government instead of something more democratic – the rise of the workers? Why did Communism not naturally spread after the Russian Revolution, which was viewed as the spark? The course ends with the death of Vladimir Lenin. As always, Dr. Liulevisius is an excellent lecturer and extremely knowledgeable on a range of subjects including languages, national history, political theory, and intelligence. His jokes are always poignant and instructive. I used the video. However, there is little benefit from visual aids. This course can easily be taken while exercising or driving a car.
Date published: 2021-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous I first encountered Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius's work in his series on World War I and it instantly became one of my favorites (and I have listened to probably 60+ sets). He is able to explain complex ideas in simple and understandable ways. He also uses memorable illustrations (like the locomotive of history in lecture 1 of this set) that cement understanding. In addition to being an expert on the subject matter, he is a master communicator. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2021-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Communism is the world's greatest threat and I was I interested on how this dangerous philosophy survived. I noted that communism is being supported by too many people that in the end will be destroyed by it. I also found that some of the transcribing is funny due to the stenographer misinterpreted what was being said.
Date published: 2021-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great lectures Great lectures. I learnt a lot. Gives me more understaning on how the current political world is formed.
Date published: 2021-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Makes More Sense Now My adult son and I watched this course together. It has allowed me to see connections between events and ideas which I previously did not know or had only loosely put together. Since Communism played a major part in my early life in the sense that my western world view was always pitted against the enemy on the other side of the curtain, it is wonderful to have it all make more sense. For my son, born shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it opened up a whole new world - the world of the recent past. Although the course only deals with the beginnings of Communism and does not go through to the 1990's, the Soviet Union and Communist movements of my youth came out of what is described in these lectures. We enjoyed them very much.
Date published: 2021-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Professor! I just finished this 6 hour course. The professor is clearly passionate about the subject and the material is very interesting! Get this.. you won't be disappointed.
Date published: 2021-10-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good introduction to Communism. This was a good introduction to the early history of Marx, Communism, and Lenin. The lecturer does a very good job of simplifying the myriad machinations of the early Communists.
Date published: 2021-09-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and Relevant I wanted to take this course to understand how the Bolsheviks, a tiny group, were able to put Russia under their domination for two generations. This is clearly relevant to our situation in America today, where a small number of vocal radicals are dominating the conversation on the agenda for our future. The course did address this, and much more. I had not understood just how crucial the hard-working Lenin was for their project, nor did I really know the story of Rosa Luxembourg (though when I went to college, there was a student group named after her!).
Date published: 2021-08-11
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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
Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

Modernity is a notoriously slippery concept, because, obviously, what is modern now will soon become the past, as time marches relentlessly forward.

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

By This Professor

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The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin
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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