What was the significance of the international situation to the unfolding of the ‘Great Terror’?

The 1930s were an increasingly precarious time internationally for the Soviet Union. Hostility towards the regime had been commonplace in the previous decade; but the rise of the Nazis in 1933, who were outwardly and aggressively hostile to the USSR both in its anti-communism and in its pursuit of Anschluss (expansion eastwards), intensified the uncertain […]

Did the ‘Great Terror’ reflect the ‘Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks’, as J. Arch Getty has asserted?

J. Arch Getty is one of the leading historians of the Great Terror. In The Road to Terror, published in 1999, one of his fundamental arguments is that the Terror was a part of the the Bolshevik Party’s own self-destruction. This is tied into Getty’s overarching ‘revisionist’ argument, in which he argues that the Soviet […]

An evaluation of the transition from European indentured servants to African slaves on the plantations of mainland America and the British West Indies.

Before the widespread use of slavery in mainland America and the British West Indies, the predominant form of labour was that of white indentured servitude. These were mostly unskilled workers who had emigrated from Britain and Ireland who entered into a contract usually lasting between 2 and 10 years of labouring in the colonies. First […]

In Defence of Hobsbawm’s ‘Primitive Rebels’ Thesis

To what extent has the historiography of anarchism in Spain advanced since Eric Hobsbawm advanced his thesis of ‘primitive rebels’? Anarchism made its first appearance in Spain between 1868 and 1873, during the country’s bourgeois revolutionary period ‘when pillars of the old semi-feudal regime finally collapsed’. This was concurrent with the arrival of the Italian Giuseppe Fanelli, […]

To what extent did Franco impose a ‘Fascist’ state and identity on Spain?

On 17 July 1936, leading generals of the Spanish military launched a rebellion against the newly elected Popular Front government of the Second Republic. It would fail as a coup d’état, but instead provoked civil war. The rebels were joined by the Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FE de las JONS), […]

Winston Churchill and the Rise of Bolshevism 1917–1927

Winston Churchill and the Rise of Bolshevism 1917–1927 The period 1917 to 1927 was one of significant social and political upheaval and revolution across the world, but nowhere so much as in Russia, when on 7 November 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution took place. Power was transferred to the soviets across the country, ousting the Provisional […]

Is Marxism too ‘eurocentric’? A critique of postcolonial IR theory

This is an essay originally written to discuss the charge of ‘western-centrism’ in international relations (IR) theory as a whole, though I have adapted it to address the charge against marxism in particular. I initially wrote this around October 2013. Postcolonialism is a post-positivist theory, or critique, meaning that it rejects the idea that knowledge is static and material, and […]