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DSST History of the Soviet Union Study Guide

Updated: Feb 14



History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline


As you approach your DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam, feeling anxious is normal.


Our comprehensive study guide is designed to ease your worries and prepare you effectively.


From the basics to advanced concepts, our guide will provide you with the knowledge and confidence needed to ace your exam.


Good luck on your journey!



 


Table of Contents




 


1. Russia Under the Old Regime


Russian men stading in a line.
Russia Under the Old Regime – 10%

Governing Institutions


The autocratic nature of the government characterized decision-making without public input, fostering a disconnect that fueled the 1917 revolution.


 

Economics


Despite abundant natural resources, poor management and economic decisions resulted in widespread poverty and inequality, exacerbating societal tensions.


 

Culture and Society


Westernization policies introduced cultural exchanges, impacting arts, literature, and traditional lifestyles, leading to social upheaval.


 

Foreign Affairs


Expansionist policies led to conflicts, culminating in defeat during World War I and subsequent attempts to spread influence worldwide, triggering international crises like the Cuban Missile Crisis.


 

Revolutionary Movements


Diverse groups, from socialists to anarchists, advocated for change, culminating in the violent Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.


However, challenges persisted, leading to the collapse of the communist regime in 1991.


 


DSST History of the Soviet Union Trivia Question # 239




 


2. Russia in War and Revolutions, 1914-1928


Russian soilders marching.
Russia in War and Revolutions (1914-1928) - 12%

The First World War


Russia's involvement in the conflict led to its defeat and the downfall of the tsarist regime.


Post-war attempts to spread communist influence globally, as seen in the Cuban Missile Crisis, exacerbated tensions.


 

February Revolution


Petrograd protests sparked the revolution, resulting in the establishment of the Provisional Government.


However, it failed to address the nation's issues, paving the way for the Bolsheviks' rise in the October Revolution.


 

Provisional Government/Dual Power


Formed post-February Revolution, the Provisional Government aimed to govern until a new constitution.


Its inability to address challenges allowed the Bolsheviks to seize power.


 

October Revolution


The Bolsheviks' violent uprising led to the world's first communist regime.


Challenges at home and abroad contributed to its eventual collapse in 1991.


 

Civil War


Post-October Revolution, a civil war erupted between the Bolsheviks and various factions.


Despite the Bolshevik victory, the conflict devastated the nation.


 

New Economic Policy (NEP)


Introduced in 1921, the NEP allowed limited private ownership, fostering economic growth.


However, agricultural collectivization later replaced it, leading to decreased production.


 


3. Early Stalinism 1928-1939


Stalin giving a speech.
Early Stalinism (1928-1939) - 13%

Collectivization


Collectivization was introduced in 1928 and involved the forced collectivization of agriculture.


The policy led to declining agricultural production and mass famine in some areas of the country.


The collectivization of agriculture was eventually abandoned, but only after it had caused immense suffering.


 

Industrialization


Industrialization was introduced in 1928 and involved the country's rapid industrialization.


The policy led to a dramatic increase in output, but it also resulted in widespread poverty and hardship.


 

The Great Purges


The purges began in 1936 and involved the mass arrest and execution of people accused of being state enemies.


The purges decimated the country's intelligentsia and contributed to the Gulag system.


 

Culture


The culture was heavily censored under Stalin, and many artists and intellectuals were forced to conform to the party line.


The censored arts were often used as propaganda and played a role in the indoctrination of the population.


 

Nationalities


Stalin pursued a policy of forced assimilation, and many ethnic minorities were forcibly relocated.


This policy led to resentment and resistance, which was a significant factor in the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.


 


DSST History of the Soviet Union Trivia Question # 487




 


4. The Second World War


Soviet military men marching.
The Second World War - 14%

Prewar Foreign Relations


The Soviet Union had a series of alliances with other countries, and it also had several rivalries.


The Soviet Union's relations with the West were particularly strained, which was one factor that led to the outbreak of the Second World War.


 

During the War


The Soviet Union was one of the prominent participants in the war and suffered immense losses.


The war also led to the occupation of much of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union.


 

The Impact and Experience of The War


The war profoundly impacted the country and led to the development of several new weapons.


The war also had a significant impact on the economy, and it led to a period of postwar reconstruction.


 

Wartime Diplomacy and Conclusion of the War


Wartime diplomacy and the war's conclusion were significant events in the history of the Soviet Union.


The war led to several diplomatic initiatives and resulted in the signing of several treaties.


 


5. Postwar Stalinism


Soivet air strike.
Postwar Stalinism - 11%

Prewar Foreign Relations


The Soviet Union's alliances and rivalries with other nations, particularly strained relations with the West, contributed to the outbreak of World War II.


 

During the War


As a prominent participant, the Soviet Union suffered significant losses and occupied much of Eastern Europe.


 

Impact and Experience of the War


The war profoundly affected the nation, prompting the development of new weaponry and significant economic repercussions, followed by a postwar reconstruction period.


 

Wartime Diplomacy and Conclusion


Wartime diplomacy and the war's conclusion were pivotal, leading to diplomatic initiatives and the signing of important treaties.


 


DSST History of the Soviet Union Trivia Question # 655




 


6. The Khrushchev Years


President Regan and Khrushchev talking.
The Khrushchev Years - 12%

Succession Struggle


Khrushchev succeeded Stalin in 1953, and he began a process of de-Stalinization.


 

De-Stalinization


Khrushchev began a process of de-Stalinization after he came to power in 1953.


 

Relations with the U.S.


The Soviet Union and the United States were rivals during the Cold War, leading to several crises.


 

Rift with China


The Sino-Soviet split resulted from the rivalry between the Soviet Union and China.


 

The Arms Race and Proxy Wars


An arms race resulted from the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States.


The proxy wars resulted from the rivalry between the Soviet Union and China.


 


7. The Brezhnev Era


Brezhnev taking office.
The Brezhnev Era - 12%

Reforms and "Stagnation"


The reform era began in the 1960s, a period of economic and social change.


The "stagnation" era began in the 1970s, a period of political repression.


 

Ideological dissent


Dissidents were people who disagreed with the official ideology of the Soviet Union.


They were often persecuted, and their activities significantly affected the country's eventual collapse.


 

Détente


Détente was a period of improved relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.


This period led to several arms control agreements, which was a significant factor in the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union.


 

Proxy wars in the Third World


The proxy wars resulted from the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States.


 

War in Afghanistan


The war was a result of the Soviet Union's intervention in Afghanistan.


The war led to several uprisings, a significant factor in the country's eventual collapse.


 


8. Reform and Collapse Under Gorbachev


Regan and Gorbachev talking on a panel.
Reform and Collapse Under Gorbachev - 16%

Foreign Policy and External Pressures


The Soviet Union's relations with the United States and China significantly influenced the country's eventual collapse.


The Soviet Union's intervention in Afghanistan was also a significant factor in its collapse.


 

Perestroika and Glasnost


Perestroika was a period of economic reform, and Glasnost was a period of political openness.


 

The Re-emergence of the Nationalities Issue


The nationalities issue resulted from the rivalry between the Soviet Union and China.


 

End of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


The end of the USSR resulted from the country's internal problems and external pressures.


 


9. Conclusion


Russian letter from dictator.

DSST History of the Soviet Union


We trust that our guide has provided valuable insights into the topics you'll encounter on your DSST History of the Soviet Union exam.


Recognized as one of the more challenging exams, feeling apprehensive is natural.


However, with the comprehensive resources available in our online preparation course, you're well-equipped to excel in your final exam.


Should you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to contact us.


We're here to support you every step of the way.


Wishing you success on your exam – you've got this!


 


10. Student Resources


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