top of page
  • DTP Success Team

DSST History of the Soviet Union Study Guide

Updated: Aug 18



Your final moments before your DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam is looming, and you're starting to feel slightly anxious.

Our DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam study guide is here to help.

This guide will introduce you to the basics you'll need to pass your exam, and it will be easy to follow.

Good luck!


Table of Contents

  1. Russia Under the Old Regime

  2. Russia in War and Revolutions, 1914-1928

  3. Early Stalinism 1928-1939

  4. The Second World War

  5. Postwar Stalinism

  6. The Khrushchev Years

  7. The Brezhnev Era

  8. Reform and Collapse Under Gorbachev

  9. Conclusion

  10. Student Resources

  11. References


1. Russia Under the Old Regime


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. Russia Under the Old Regime – 10%.
Russia Under the Old Regime – 10%

Russia under the Old Regime was a complex and fascinating period.


Various factors - governing institutions, economics, culture and society, foreign affairs, and revolutionary movements - contributed to the immense changes during this era.


Each of these areas will be explored in greater detail below.


Governing institutions played a significant role in shaping Russia during the Old Regime.


The autocratic nature of the government meant that decisions were made without input from the people.


This led to a disconnect between the government and the people, which helped contribute to the outbreak of the revolution in 1917.


Economics also played a significant role during this period.


Russia's vast natural resources meant that it had the potential to be a wealthy nation.


However, poor stewardship of those resources and bad economic decisions led to widespread poverty and inequality.


This was another factor that contributed to the ultimately successful revolution.


The introduction of Westernization policies led to increased contact with other cultures.


This had a profound impact on Russian arts and literature. It also led to social changes as traditional ways of life began to break down.


Foreign affairs were also an important factor during this time. Russia's expansionist policies led to conflict with its neighbors, ultimately leading to its defeat in World War I.


Finally, revolutionary movements were a significant force during the Old Regime. Various groups - from socialists to anarchists - were fighting for change.


These movements ultimately came to a head in 1917 when the Bolsheviks seized power in a violent revolution.


Foreign Affairs


The country's expansionist policies led to conflict with its neighbors, ultimately leading to its defeat in World War I.


After the war, the Soviet Union attempted to spread its influence worldwide, including establishing communist regimes in other countries.


This led to a series of international crises, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world to nuclear war.


Ultimately, the Soviet Union's aggressive foreign policy contributed to its downfall, as the country became increasingly isolated from the rest of the world.


Revolutionary Movements


Various groups - from socialists to anarchists - were fighting for change.


These movements ultimately came to a head in 1917 when the Bolsheviks seized power in a violent revolution.


However, the Bolshevik Revolution was just the beginning, as the new communist regime faced various challenges at home and abroad.


Ultimately, the Soviet Union could not overcome these challenges, and the communist regime collapsed in 1991.



DSST History of the Soviet Union Trivia Question #239



2. Russia in War and Revolutions, 1914-1928


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. Russia in War and Revolutions, 1914-1928 - 12%.
Russia in War and Revolutions (1914-1928) - 12%

The First World War


The country's involvement in the conflict led to its defeat and the collapse of the tsarist regime.


After the war, the Soviet Union attempted to spread its influence worldwide, including establishing communist regimes in other countries.


This led to international crises, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Ultimately, the Soviet Union's aggressive foreign policy contributed to its downfall, as the country became increasingly isolated from the rest of the world.


February Revolution


The revolution began with protests in Petrograd, which quickly spread to other parts of the country.


The Tsarist regime could not quell the unrest, and the Provisional Government was soon established.


The Provisional Government could not solve the country's problems, and the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution.


Provisional Government/Dual Power


The Provisional Government was established after the February Revolution and was tasked with governing the country until a new constitution could be drafted.


However, the Provisional Government could not solve the country's problems, and the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution.


October Revolution


The Bolsheviks seized power in a violent uprising and soon established the world's first communist regime.


The new regime faced a series of challenges, both at home and abroad, and ultimately collapsed in 1991.


Civil War


The civil war began soon after the October Revolution, pitting the Bolsheviks against various groups.


The Bolsheviks ultimately emerged victorious but at a high cost. The civil war devastated the country and would take years to recover.


New Economic Policy (NEP)


The NEP was introduced in 1921 and marked a shift in the Soviet Union's economic policy.


The NEP allowed for a certain degree of private ownership and entrepreneurship and helped spur economic growth.


The NEP was eventually replaced by the collectivization of agriculture, which led to a decline in agricultural production.


3. Early Stalinism 1928-1939


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. Early Stalinism 1928-1939 - 13%.
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 country areas.


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


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. The Second World War - 14%.
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


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. Postwar Stalinism - 11%.
Postwar Stalinism - 11%

Reconstruction


Reconstruction involved rebuilding the country after the devastation of the Second World War.


The process of reconstruction was slow and complex, and it led to some problems.


Origin of the Cold War


The Cold War began in 1945, resulting from the rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States.


Reconsolidation


Stalin consolidated his power after the war and began a new wave of repression.


Foreign Relations


The Soviet Union had several alliances, and it also had some rivalries.


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



DSST History of the Soviet Union Trivia Question #655



6. The Khrushchev Years


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. The Khrushchev Years - 12%.
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.


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


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. The Brezhnev Era - 12%.
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


DSST History of the Soviet Union Exam Outline. Reform and Collapse Under Gorbachev - 16%.
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: DSST History of the Soviet Union


We hope our guide has helped you better understand the topics covered in your exam.


DSST History of the Soviet Union is one of the most challenging exams.


But don't worry, you should do fine on your final exam with our online preparation course.


If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us anytime.


Happy testing, and good luck with your exam!


10. Student Resources


11. References


DSST History of the Soviet Union Fact Sheet

DSST History of the Soviet Union Fact Sheet
.pdf
Download PDF • 93KB

bottom of page