Russia,1881-1945: Nationalism, Revolution and War - HIST5055

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module, which is a combination of political and intellectual history, explores Russia in a period of great social change. It charts Russia's evolution from the assassination of Alexander II, including its failed attempts at reform, prior to the revolution of 1917. The reigns of Alexander III and Nicholas II will be covered, and the different ideologies of the revolutionary intelligentsia examined. The revolutions of 1905 and 1917 will receive detailed attention. The building of the Soviet state under Lenin and Stalin, including the policies of collectivisation and industrialisation, will be explored, as well the period of the Second World War and the nationalism of the Stalin era. Throughout the module, current historiography will be explored.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 40
Private study hours: 260
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Assignment A (Essay, 2,000 words) (12%)
Assignment B (Essay, 3,000 words) (20%)
Presentation & Seminar Performance (8%)
Examination (2 hours) (60%)

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading list:

Ascher, A. (2004) The Revolution of 1905: A Short History. Stanford: Stanford University Press
Harris, J. (ed.) (2013) The Anatomy of Terror: Political Violence under Stalin. Oxford University Press
Hosking, G. (2001) Russia and the Russians. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Malia, M. (1995) The Soviet Tragedy. New York: Free Press
Mawdsley, E. (2015) Thunder in the East: The Nazi-Soviet War 1941-45. London: Bloomsbury
Pipes, R. (1995) Russia under the Old Regime. London: Penguin
Smith, S. (2017) Russia in Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Suny, R. (ed.) (2006), Cambridge History of Russia (v. 3) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Wade, R. (2017) The Russian Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the Level 5 module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the growing weakness of tsarism prior to the revolution, the growth of the revolutionary movement and debates surrounding the problem of reform, and the building of the Soviet state under Lenin and Stalin.
2 Demonstrate a critical knowledge of some of the historiographical debates surrounding the subject and be well positioned to judge between competing interpretations of this era.
3 Formulate their own opinions on a variety of historiographical approaches, develop their communication skills and present a clear historical argument supported with relevant evidence.
4 Critically engage with a range of secondary source materials including articles and monographs and practice selecting and deploying historical information.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the Level 5 module students will be able to:

1 Express complex ideas and arguments effectively using a variety of methods, which can be transferred to other areas of study and employment.
2 Demonstrate communication skills, presentational skills and information technology skills.
3 Work both independently – for example in preparing for seminars and research and information-gathering for essays – and within groups.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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