Revolution and Counter-Revolution (2013-2023)” brings forth a treasure trove of insights into a crucial segment of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination. For aspirants pursuing history as their optional subject, this blog will serve as an indispensable resource. Over the past decade, questions related to revolution and counter-revolution have played a significant role in shaping the history paper in the UPSC Mains, reflecting the examiners’ interest in understanding socio-political transformations that have left a profound impact on our world. In this blog, we delve into the historical nuances and intricacies of these questions, providing a comprehensive overview of the topics, trends, and key insights that can aid UPSC aspirants in their preparation journey.
From the Russian Revolution to the Indian struggle for independence, the concept of revolution and counter-revolution is central to understanding the evolution of societies and political systems across the globe. As we navigate through previous year questions spanning a decade, we will dissect these historical events, their ideological underpinnings, and their consequences. The blog will not only provide a curated selection of questions but also offer valuable perspectives and strategies to tackle them effectively. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or an aspirant gearing up for the UPSC Mains, this blog will be your guiding light through the maze of revolutions and counter-revolutions that have shaped our world.
Revolution and Counter-Revolution History – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains History Optional)
Revolution and Counter-Revolution: 19th Century European revolutions, The Russian Revolution of 1917-1921, Fascist Counter-Revolution, Italy and Germany; The Chinese Revolution of 1949
1. “The turn of the tide against the Kuomintang, consequently, was due as much to its weakness as to Communist strength.” Comment in about 200 words. (1985)
2. Analyse the causes of the Russian Revolutions of 1917. Why was the second Revolution significant in more than one way? (1985)
3. ‘Extreme nationalism of the Fascist Variety has various faces in various countries, but it has everywhere certain common characteristics.’ Comment in about 200 words. (1989)
4. ‘Comparison of the fascist regime in Italy with the National Socialist regime of Germany is almost inevitable. The similarities are obvious, but there is one point of difference which is worth mentioning.’ Comment. (1991)
5. The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a single revolution which developed two phases. Elucidate. (1992)
6. ‘For a tired and timid generation Metternich was the necessary man.’ Comment. (1993)
7. “There was an element of system in Hitler’s foreign poicy… His outlook was continental.” Comment. (1995)
8. ‘‘Corporate State” was Mussolini’s answer to the socio – political problems of his country. Elucidate. (1995)
9. In Russia, Lenin was ‘‘the father of socialism, organiser of the revolution and the founder of the new Russian society.” Examine the statement. (1998)
10. “Stalinist Russia was a despotic regime.” Critically examine the view. (1999)
11. With the proclamation in Nanking of a Chinese Republic with Sun-Yat-Sen as the President in 1911, “the old China wilted rapidly.” Comment. (1999)
12. Examine the circumstances in China in the years 1945-49. What did the United States do to resolve the conflict between the Nationalists and the Communists there? (2002)
13. ‘The roots of the rise of Fascism lay in Peace Treaties.’ (2003)
14. Examine the causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and indicate its significance in world history. (2003)
15. What were the weaknesses and difficulties of the Weimer Republic? How did Hitler succeed in establishing his dictatorship? (2004)
16. ‘The Russian Revolution (1917) was an economic explosion hastened by the stupidities of the autocratic Government.’ Comment. (2005)
17. Discuss the circumstances leading to the Chinese Revolution of 1949 and analyse its significance. (2005)
18. Critically analyse the causes and results of the Chinese Revolution of 1949. (2006)
19. Discuss the main characteristics of Fascism. (2007)
20. “Most of the European Revolutions of 1848 were nationalist as well as popular insurrections against foreign rule and repressive policy of Metternich”. Comment. (2008)
21. “Hitler did not really want a world war. His intention was only a short war with Poland.” (A. J. P. Taylor). Comment. (2009)
22. Account for the overthrow of the Tsarist regime in Russia. (2009)
23. Critically evaluate: “All long marches begin with small steps.” (2010)
24. “The announcement of the creation of the Peoples’ Republic of China on October 1, 1949 by Mao Zedong ended the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party (KMT).” – Elaborate. (2012)
25. “The impact of the French Revolution (1789) was initially confined to Europe, but, that of the Russian Revolution (1917) was global.”- Critically review. (2012)
26. “If the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (that resulted in the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Union) inaugurated an international competition for the hearts and minds of people all over the globe, the Chinese Revolution raised the stakes of that struggle.” Critically examine in 150 words. (2013)
27. Critically examine: “The whole episode that is known as the July Revolution (1830) was fought and won not for the establishment of an extreme democracy but to get rid of the aristocratic and clericalist attitude of the restored Bourbons.” (2015)
28. “The failure of Kuomintang against the communist onslaught was unimaginable and it was Mao Tse-tung whose tenacity and innovative approach had accomplished the unthinkable.” Discuss. (2015)
29. What is Metternich system? Assess its impact on Europe. (2016)
30. How did Lenin achieve an abrupt transition from a Monarchical autocratic to a Socialist State? (2016)
31. Discuss how agrarian crisis accompanied by severe industrial depression triggered the Revolutions of 1848. (2017)
32. Examine the statement that “the danger of ‘Bolshevism’ dominated not only the history of the years immediately following the Russian Revolution of 1917 but the entire history of the world since that date.” (2017)
33. Examine the circumstances which led to the overthrow of democracy and the establishment of Fascist dictatorship in Italy. (2017)
34. In the Chinese Revolution of 1949, the elements of communism and nationalism were discernible. Explain the statement in the light of Mao’s strategy which was different from that of Lenin. (2018)
35. “The 1848 revolutions frightened the crowned heads of Europe and caused several to abdicate. Those who remained were cognizant of the threats posed by liberalism, nationalism and socialism.” Comment. (2020)
36. How did Stalin build on Lenin’s legacy of Bolshevik Revolution and introduce new elements of totalitarianism to transform USSR as a superpower? (2020)
37. What were the causes and consequences of the revolutionary upsurge of the 1840s in Europe? (2021)
38. Revolutions, whether in Russia (1917) or in China (1949), are a disastrous way of transforming a country. Comment. (2021)
39. Europe was at war with itself in the first half of the twentieth century with a long ceasefire. Comment. (2021)
FAQs on Revolution and Counter-Revolution
Q: What is the difference between a “Revolution” and “Revolution Plus”?
Answer: “Revolution” typically refers to a fundamental and often abrupt change in a society or system. “Revolution Plus” suggests a more nuanced approach, implying that the change is not only substantial but also includes additional factors, reforms, or improvements in the existing system.
Q: How have revolutions throughout history influenced contemporary societies?
Answer: Revolutions throughout history have had a profound impact on contemporary societies by shaping political ideologies, social structures, and governance systems. They often serve as important reference points for understanding modern political and social dynamics.
Q: Can you provide examples of successful revolutions that led to positive societal changes?
Answer: Some examples of revolutions that resulted in positive societal changes include the American Revolution, which led to the birth of the United States, and the Industrial Revolution, which brought about significant technological advancements and economic growth.
Q: What are the key factors that contribute to the success or failure of revolutions?
Answer: The success or failure of revolutions is influenced by factors such as popular support, effective leadership, external influences, the existing political and social structures, and the ability to maintain stability during and after the revolution.
Q: How do contemporary movements compare to historical revolutions, and what can we learn from them?
Answer: Contemporary movements, such as the Arab Spring or the Black Lives Matter movement, share some similarities with historical revolutions in terms of their goals for social change. Analyzing these movements can provide valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of protest, advocacy, and revolution in the modern world.
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