Why did Tasrism fall?

The shaking of the apple tree.  What does Pipes’ analogy remind you of?  What do you think of it?  The future is a mystery, the past is history…

Who is this man?  Google him.  What is his gig?  Tell us all you can about him (that is relevent) for your point.

Alternatively here are three quotes you might grapple with (or choose your own!)

Soviet and later (revisionist) Western history has seen the fall as inevitable, preordained, “driven by social conflicts”. (p.6)

 “…when the so called masses are discontented, they are inspired by specific grievances that are capable of  being satisfied within the existing system.  Only intellectuals have universal grievances…” (p.15)

The population was the object of state authority, a “mechanically rather than an organically structured state that denies the population any voice in government” (p.18)

Finally, what is his bit about the Nazis.  Do you buy it?  Do they see any anti-communism as pro-Nazism?

14 Responses to “Why did Tasrism fall?”

  1. Haley Davis says:

    According to Pipes, “…the question “Why?” is meant to address, are the most difficult aspect of the historian’s craft because they function on so many different levels” (9). Pipes uses the apples falling from a tree analogy to show that there are various types of explanations whether it be general or specific to determine why these human events occur. Pipes then elaborates that there are 3 distinct levels: the longue duree, the intermediate span and accidents. These distinct levels must all be taken into account when trying to dissect history, for there are many decisions, long processes or even mistakes that ultimately causes these human events to occur. One cannot simply accept one level to be the sole cause, for each level plays a prominent role in a ‘human event’.

    According to Wikipedia, “In 1976 he headed Team B, a team of analysts organized by the Central Intelligence Agency who analyzed the strategic capacities and goals of the Soviet military and political leadership.” This information may be relevant to the analogy because Pipes must be able to understand all the angles of the capacities and goals of the Soviet Union in order to benefit the United States.

  2. Monserrat says:

    Richard pipes was influenced by polish and germans, he led “Team B” which was founded by the CIA to understand the soviets militaristic strategies he was born in Poland during the Russian Revolution period, which makes his opinions and facts chosen to fit his experiences. Richard taught at Harvard and had an influential position in Stanford research, but was criticized for being in Team B. When I looked at this mans biography on Wikipedia it’s incredible he has all the right background to be giving lectures on Russian behaviors and history. He helped more than eighty of his students in getting a PHD. His writings are however thought of by some critics as the “polish view” on Russian revolution which made pipes appear bias.
    These 30 pages give great insight as two the differences that historians in the west and historian right in Russia had to face, as well as bring up the reasons and events that provoked the “coup d etat”. This idea of the collapse of Tsarism is wishy washy but what was clear is that in the 20th century Russia everyone educated or in high position thought it was their right to govern their people not the Crown’s.

  3. Samantha Ayala-Lucio says:

    As I was searching more information about Richard Pipes, I ran to this interesting video of an interview with Pipes, where the lady asked him, “What interested you in working with the Reagen team?” and he answered, “Well my ideas were very close the president’s, and I finally had a president who took a top stance towards the Soviet Union, so I thought I should help.” This interested me because I had recalled that Pipes mentioned him during the reading, “My contribution consisted of a reference to Marx’s dictum that, when there develops a significant disparity between the political form and the socio-economic content, the prospect is revolution. […] President Reagan inserted this thought into his speech, and the reaction in Moscow was one of uncontrolled fury: this, of course, was language they well understood an interpreted to mean a declaration of political warfare against the Communist Bloc” (20). Which, later in the last paragraph of the chapter, he basically sums up and says that the reason why tsarism fell was not due to social or economic failures, although they were part of it, the reason was mainly because of the political failure.

  4. Vivien Bautista says:

    Pipes grew up in Poland and lived in the aftermath of it’s revolution and as such, Pipes grew up with Polish and German influences. He also led “Team B” which was selected”to look at the evidence and to see if we could conclude that the actual Soviet strategy is different from ours, i.e. the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).”

    In the reading Pipes mentions many things, such as his visits to the Central Party Archive of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, and that he did not “find any startling revelation” (4) but he does explain that “the Soviet regime […] are revealed by its actions” (4) and one of those actions include the closing of the archives.

    Pipes continues to examine these actions and concludes that “history was a branch of propaganda” (5). This is explained, prior, when he states that “all Russian history […] was completely dominated by the party’s ideological organs” (5). This is propaganda because information is being manipulated by the people in order to achieve the specific goal of dictating what society thinks based on what Russia’s party found appropriate at the time.

  5. Sophie Mohammed, 3A says:

    “…when the so called masses are discontented, they are inspired by specific grievances that are capable of being satisfied within the existing system. Only intellectuals have universal grievances…” (p.15)

    The so-called masses make up the majority of the society, those who aren’t in political chairs. I believe the context of the quote was talking about how Russian workers weren’t demandind the tsar be overthrowen but just limited work days and other, labor related requests. The masses only acquire specific agrievances that can be possibly worked out within the exixting system because they are realistic. They want real solutions to their problems and are only concentrated on that. Whereas Intellectuals will overcomplicate the issue at hand…nothing can be done until everything is changed. They want to extend the issue to other matters. I also believe it relates to Pipes statement that young scholars rarely simply agree with elderly scholars just so they can make their mark…even if the elder scholar’s view is right. It shows that intellectuals don’t want simple answers they all want to interpret, have their view become the primary one.

  6. Ismaeel Orabi says:

    “The central issue on which the revisionist school challenged the orthodox version concerned the events of October 1917. The question was whether Bolshevik power seizure was a genuine revolution or an ordinary coup detat”

    The question of whether or not the seizure of power, as Pipes describes it, has a significant impact in the reading. In this topic, as well as others, he continually refers to the revisionists and their interpretation of events as well as their causes. He continues to state that western historians have adopted the Soviet point of view that October 1917 was indeed a popular revolution in which the Bolsheviks acted in response to pressure from the masses. His view on the other hand, is the exact opposite. Pipes believes that there was nothing preordained about the fall of tsarism or the Bolshevik power seizure, and that the power seizure was something of a fluke.

    When discussing his apple tree analogy, he states that in dealing with human events, we find similar levels of explanation, from the most specific to the most general, and it is next to impossible to ascertain which of them determines the outcome. I found that this corresponded to the earlier contradicting points of view. Both the viewpoints of Western Historians and Pipes are possible, however it is nearly impossible to distinguish which of them were responsible in determining the outcome.

  7. Sonia Asitimbay says:

    I think Pipes is referring to the peasants because only 1 percent of the population were industrial workers, when he says, “…when the so called masses are discontented, they are inspired by specific grievances that are capable of being satisfied within the existing system. Only intellectuals have universal grievances…” (p.15) Pipes goes on to say that the Tsar offered a compromise to the workers but the intelligentsia rejected the measures seeing it as a sign of weakness because they thought that it would prevent workers from participating in a revolution and getting rid of the Tsar. It seems that Pipes thinks that it wasn’t the peasants who wanted the revolution, but instead the intelligentsia. To me, this was interesting because when I think of the Russian Revolution, I always just assumed it was the the workers being discontent with the government.

  8. Victor Mohler says:

    I like the last quote that Mr. Stuessy posted on here, The population was the object of state authority, a “mechanically rather than an organically structured state that denies the population any voice in government” (p.18). I like this quote becuase it basically defines the way the comunist government would be run, the government tells you what your going to do and you’ll like it. No questions asked. That quote tells you everything you need to know about comunism in just a few words

  9. Olivia Sanchez says:

    Reading this section, I came across one of the terms, Revisionist School, and found it pretty interesting. Upon reading it, I noticed that the book merely talked about it’s influence on the United States, England and Germany, but not so much what is actually was. It did give little information, such as that they had less of a focus on politics, in stark contrast with the West, who put heavy emphasis on such ideas. The author also remarked on the idea that those belonging to the Revisionist School believed that “saying or doing something new is more richly rewarded than being right” (7), which to me seemed as though they were promoting outward thinking, rather than the conventional and standard thought processes they were accustomed to. Upon further investigation through the wonderful internet, I learned that they relied heavily on the “revolution from below”, meaning they had stronger beliefs in the workers and peasants, rather than Lenin and the government.

  10. Stephen Hager says:

    I think that the secong quote brings up a good point. Many social grievances could have been solved by the Tsar. The same can be observed today, right here in the U.S. People want lower tax rates, for example. But it isn’t necessary to overthrow our entire goverment to accomplisht that. The current goverment is easibly capable of doing so.
    As for anti-communism being pro-nazism, I found this claim to be very excessive. One must keep in mind that Communism is essentially the farthest left on the political spectrum and Nazism is basically the farthest right. One doesn’t have to be a right wing extremist to be opposed to the ideals of communism. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of people who have a decent understanding of communism agree that communism isn’t good in theory or practice, regardless of their political beliefs.

  11. Emily Perlman says:

    I think Pipes’ background as a Polish-German during World War II is very interesting to consider. I read something that said that while he was growing up, the Soviet Union didn’t influence him at all when he was a child- it was all Polish and German nations that concerned him. So I wonder why he decided to devote his entire career to Russia? I mean, obviously, Russia was an important power at the time and definitely in years after World War II. But even with that, why did he decide to focus on Russia instead of his homeland? That stuck out to me.
    Something else that really stuck out to me was when Pipes was talking about how when “a trade union would call for shorter working hours or higher wages, the intellectuals in the Union of Unions would assure it that such limited objectives could not be attained unless the country’s entire political system were demolished, and the absolute monarchy replaced with a parliamentary democracy and constitution”(16). I thought that was really interesting. Unions are supposed to represent the people, but even the leaders of the unions were not willing to give the people a voice. The fact that the people didn’t want a revolution is something to note. The people really just wanted better living conditions, and that’s true for the peasants as well. They were okay with the rulers of Russia. But the people that had power took advantage and didn’t allow people a voice.

  12. Franny Suarez says:

    To be honest, this reading was particularly difficult for me for many reasons. Throughout the text there are loaded phrases and claims that make me wary, even flinch at their obstrusive and demanding tone. One such claim is the very first sentence itself: “My subject is the Russian Revolution, arguably the most important event of the twentieth century.” Fact, or fiction? Can I ever find out? Yes, I guess, but that requires so much more effort. In terms of information, Pipes is THE guy for the Russian Revolution. He knows more about this stuff that I’ll ever know. So it’s safe to say that the Kissinger-like quotes are most likely truthful, it just may be the way the subject matter is presented. With such a dynamic and multi-faceted issue as the revolution, it strikes me as almost impossible to pin the cause of it on one concrete and tangible thing; it seems that it would take a lot more that a chapter at the very least. But Pipes gets rigt to the point and doesn’t mince words, as if ever word he’s written is deliberate and incensing. I guess that’s why I don’t understand the purpose of his rushed-and-out-of-breath commentary, but this is coming from a student who really needs to brush up on her facts

  13. Elizabeth Kenyon says:

    Richard Pipes mentioned that he lived in Poland was born shortly after the Revolution began, therefore, he should have a pretty good idea of what actually happened as he had experienced living in the Russian Revolution first-hand. I decided to Google this man Richard Pipes an d I was surprised to discover the new information. Mr. Pipes had been the head of Team B, a team of analysts organized by the CIA to analyze the strategic capacities an goals of the soviet military and political leadership. Team B was created as an antagonist force to the Team A, which was also a CIA group. That Team B was highly controversial and in opposition to Realpolitikers such as Henry Kissinger. That really interested me because our main “textbook” for this course is Henry Kissinger. So for this unit, we are reading a text that has an opposing view to our beloved Kissinger Diplomacy which shall be interesting. In comparison to reading Pipes rather than Kissinger, so far, I am far less interested in what Pipes has to say. Perhaps Pipes has not really gone into depth about the Russian Revolution and the reading will be more interesting in the next two chapters.

  14. Sid Cunniff says:

    “When you shake an apple tree and apples come cascading down, what causes them to fall?” According to pipes, “it is next to impossible to ascertain which of them determines the outcome.” Three different cases could be the cause and pipes refers these to three distinct levels: the longue duree, the intermediate span, and the short term. I find this interesting as pipes defines longue duree to trends over which neither individuals nor groups exert control. “They are processes rather than events and move glacially on their own” (9).

    The term muzhik refers to peasant or serf. Its interesting to find a student writing that the muzhik “could no more conceive of a change of regimes than of a change of climate: to him, the tsar and everything that went with were a given”. Peasants wanted shorter working hours and higher wages, yet they didn’t care about parliament or constitution. That’s funny yet believable because they possibly didn’t have the education.

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