About this day
For A-level and IB students
This illuminating and highly informative day will feature a stimulating series of talks delivered by world-class historians. Guaranteed to inform and enthuse, the presentations will focus on the period 1894 – 1964 and will cover the end of Romanov rule and the Revolutions to communist government under Lenin through to the Stalin era.
An examination session providing first-hand guidance and insights to help boost students’ confidence and grades will be delivered by Dr Robin Bunce of Homerton College, University of Cambridge, who will also chair the day.
Programme & speakers
Stalin: his dictatorship and legacy Martin McCauley, Historian
In this talk, Martin McCauley will explore Stalin’s rise to power and the effect that his dictatorship had on politics, society, security and the economy, including the many lasting legacies left from his years in power. Was Stalin a psychopath? Why did he become the dominant lead by 1928? How did he keep control in the 1930s? When was he at his most dangerous?
About Dr Martin McCauley
Martin is a historian and former senior lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, at UCL. He is a regular commentator in the media on Russian affairs. He has published widely, including on the Soviet Union and Stalin.
Vladimir Lenin, Shaper of the Revolution Catherine Merridale, Institute of Historical Research
Why was it possible for Lenin to make such an impact on historical events? The famous revolutionary was a powerless exile at the start of 1917. This lecture will explore his return to Russia and analyse war-torn Europe’s maladroit response to the events that propelled him to the Kremlin.
About Professor Catherine Merridale
Catherine Merridale is a freelance writer, historian and Fellow of the British Academy. Her books explore the history of Russia and the Soviet Union from 1156 to the present day. She is also a pioneer of oral history in the former USSR.
Utopia Postponed: Why Nikita Khrushchev Didn’t Build Communism Simon Huxtable, Birkbeck, University of London
In 1961, Nikita Khrushchev claimed that the Soviet Union would build communism by 1980. This talk examines the domestic and international factors that led Khrushchev to make his fateful promise, and the reasons that he was unable to keep it.
About Dr Simon Huxtable
Dr Simon Huxtable is Lecturer in Modern European History at Birkbeck, University of London, specialising in the history of the Soviet Union. He is the author of a number of articles and book chapters and his latest book is News from Moscow: Soviet Journalism and the Limits of Postwar Reform.
Revolution, civil war and the rise of communism Robert Service, University of Oxford
Revolution in Russia in 1917 changed the course of 20th-century history. Robert will explore this revolutionary period, addressing a range of important questions. Why did the Bolsheviks seize power? How much did their ideas contribute to their use of terror? What part did the Western powers play in enabling the Bolsheviks to survive? Were the Bolsheviks simply another variant of Russian autocracy? What was the importance of individuals such as Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin?
About Professor Robert Service
Robert Service is Emeritus Professor of Russian History at the University of Oxford. His research interests cover Russian history from the late 19th century, with a focus on the period from the October Revolution to Stalin’s death. He has published widely, including biographies of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky.
The Collapse of the Romanov Dynasty: The Russian Empire in the Reign of Nicholas II Daniel Beer, Royal Holloway, University of London
In this talk, Daniel Beer will examine the autocracy’s failure to meet the challenges of modernisation and to adapt to the rise of mass politics. He will show how the revolutionary movement in 1905 was only contained but never defeated. Daniel will also explore how the First World War sealed the fate of the Tsarist regime.
About Professor Daniel Beer
Daniel is Professor of Modern European History at Royal Holloway and a specialist on Russia. His most recent book, The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars, won the 2017 Cundill History Prize and was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize. He has written for The Guardian, History Today, BBC History, The Times Literary Supplement, Literary Review, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.