French Revolution


French revolution started in the year 1789  ,was the result of a  series of events started by the middle class that shook the upper classes. 

The people revolted against the cruel monarchy regime. 

This revolution put forward the ideas of liberty, fraternity, and equality.


  • The revolution began on 14th July, 1789 with the storming of the fortress-prison, the Bastille.


The Bastille, the fortress prison ,was hated by all, because it stood for the despotic power of the king.

The fortress was demolished.


Causes of the French Revolution:


1.Social Cause


French Society

The term ‘Old Regime’ is usually used to describe the society and institutions of France before 1789.


The society was divided into three estates.

  1. 1st Estate consisting of Clergy (Group of persons involved in church matters)
  2. 2nd Estate consisting of Nobility (Persons who have high rank in state administration)


  1. The 3rd Estate consisted  of Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers, Peasants and artisans, landless labour, servants.

  • First two classes were exempted from paying taxes. 
  • They enjoyed privileges by birth. 
  • They also enjoyed feudal privileges.


  • The members of the third estate had to pay taxes to the state.

Direct tax called taille and also a number of indirect taxes which were charged on articles of everyday consumption like salt or tobacco.


  • A tax called Tithe was collected by the church from the peasants.


  • Clergy and Nobility were 10% of the population possessing 60% of lands whereas Third Estate was 90% of the population possessing 40% of the lands.


2.Economic Cause


Subsistence Crisis


  • The population of France rose from about 23 million in 1715 to 28 million in 1789.


  • This increased the demand for the food grains. However, production could not keep pace with the demand which ultimately increased the prices of the food grains.

  • Most workers work as labourers in the workshops and they didn’t see an increase in their wages.


  • Situation became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest.


  • This led to the scarcity of food grains or the Subsistence Crisis which started occurring frequently during the old regime.


3.Political Cause


  • Louis XVI came into power in 1774 and found empty treasury.


  • Long years of war had drained the financial resources of France.


  • Under Louis XVI, France helped the thirteen American colonies gain their independence from the common enemy, Britain, which added more than a billion lives to a debt that had already risen to more than 2 billion lives.


  • An extravagant court at the immense palace of Versailles also cost a lot.


  • To meet its regular expenses, such as the cost of maintaining an army, the court, running government offices or universities, the state was forced to increase taxes.


Growing Middle Class


  • The eighteenth century witnessed the emergence of social groups, termed the middle class, who earned their wealth through overseas trade, from manufacturing of goods and professions.


  • This class was educated and believed that no group in society should be privileged by birth.


  • They were inspired by the ideas put forward by the various philosophers and became a matter of talk intensively for these classes in salons and coffee-houses and spread among people through books and newspapers.


  • The American constitution and its guarantee of individual rights was an important example for political thinkers in France.


Philosophers and their contribution in revolution


  • John Locke wrote a book named ‘Two Treatises of Government’  in which he criticised the doctrine of the divine and the absolute right of the monarch.


  • Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote a book named ‘Social Contract’ in which he proposed a form of government based on a social contract between people and their representatives.


  • Montesquieu wrote a book named ‘The Spirit of the Laws’ in which he proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.


The Outbreak of the Revolution


  • Louis XVI called an assembly of the Estates General to pass his proposals to increase taxes on 5th May 1789.


  • The first and second estates sent 300 representatives each, who were seated in rows facing each other on two sides, while the 600 members of the third estate had to stand at the back.


  • The third estate was represented by its more prosperous and educated members only while peasants, artisans and women were denied entry to the assembly.


  • Voting in the Estates General in the past had been conducted according to the principle that each estate had one vote and the same practice was to be continued this time. But members of the third estate demanded individual voting rights, where each member would have one vote.


  • After rejection of this proposal by the king, members of the third estate walked out of the assembly in protest.


  • On 20th June, the representatives of the third estate assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of Versailles where they declared themselves a National Assembly and vowed to draft a constitution for France that would limit the powers of the monarch.


  • Mirabeau, a noble and Abbé Sieyès, a priest led the third estate.


  • While the National Assembly was busy at Versailles drafting a constitution, the rest of France was in trouble.


  • Severe winter destroyed the food crops which resulted in increase in the prices. The bakers also hoarded supplies of breads for making greater profit.


  • After spending hours in long queues at the bakery, crowds of angry women stormed into the shops.


  • At the same time, the king ordered troops to move into Paris. On 14 July, the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed the Bastille.


  • In the countryside rumours spread from village to village that the lords of the manor were on their way to destroy the ripe crops through their hired gangs.


  • Due to fear, peasants in several districts attacked the castle of nobles, looted hoarded grain and burnt down documents containing records of manorial dues.


  • Large numbers of nobles fled from their homes and many migrated to neighbouring countries.


  • Louis XVI finally recognised the National Assembly and accepted the constitution. 


  • On 4th August, 1789, France passed the law for abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes.


  • The clergy were also forced to give up their privileges.


  • Tithes were abolished and lands owned by the Church were confiscated.

France Becomes a Constitutional Monarchy


  • The National Assembly completed the draft of the constitution in 1791 whose main object was to limit the powers of the monarch.


  • The powers were now separated and assigned to different institutions – the legislature, executive and judiciary which made France a constitutional monarchy.


  • The Constitution of 1791 gave the power of making laws in the hands of the National Assembly, which was indirectly elected.


  • The National Assembly was elected by a group of electors, which were chosen by active citizens.


  • Active Citizens comprised of only men above 25 years of age who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage.


  • The remaining men and all women were classed as passive citizens who had no voting rights.


France Constitution at that time


  • The Constitution began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. 


  • Rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law, were given to each human being by birth and could not be taken away.


  • It was the duty of the state to protect each citizen’s natural rights.


  • Various Political Symbols:

The broken chain: stands for the act of becoming free.

The bundle of rods or fasces: Show strength lies in unity.

The eye within a triangle radiating light: The all-seeing eye stands for knowledge.

Sceptre: Symbol of royal power.

Snake biting its tail to form a ring: Symbol of Eternity.

Red Phrygian cap: Cap worn by a slave upon becoming free.

Blue-white-red: The national colours of France.

The winged woman: Personification of the law.

The Law Tablet: The law is the same for all, and all are equal before it.


France Abolishes Monarchy and Becomes a Republic


  • Louis XVI had signed the Constitution, but he entered into secret negotiations with the King of Prussia.


  • Rulers of other neighbouring countries too were worried by the developments in France and made plans to send troops to stop the revolutionary events taking place.


  • Before this could happen, the National Assembly voted in April 1792 to declare war against Prussia and Austria.


  • Thousands of volunteers joined the army from the provinces to join the army.


  • People saw this war as a war of the people against kings and aristocracies all over Europe.


  • The patriotic song Marseillaise, composed by the poet Roget de L’Isle was sung for the first time by volunteers from Marseilles as they marched into Paris which is now the national anthem of France.


  • The revolutionary wars brought losses and economic difficulties to the people. 


  • The Constitution of 1791 gave political rights only to the richer sections of society.


  • Political clubs were established by the people who wished to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action.


  • The most successful of these clubs was that of the Jacobins.


  • The members of the Jacobin club belonged mainly to the less prosperous sections of society such as small shopkeepers, artisans as well as servants and daily-wage workers. Their leader was Maximilian Robespierre.


  • Jacobins started wearing long striped trousers and came to be known as the sans-culottes, literally meaning those without knee breeches.


  • In the summer of 1792 the Jacobins planned a revolt of a large number of the people of Paris who were angered by the short supplies and high prices of food.


  • On August 10, they stormed the Palace of the Tuileries, massacred the king’s guards and held the king himself hostage for several hours.


  • Later the Assembly voted in favour of  imprisoning the royal family. Elections were held. 


  • From then on all men of 21 years and above, regardless of wealth, got the right to vote.


  • The newly elected assembly was called the Convention. 


  • On 21st September 1792, it abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.


  • Louis XVI was sentenced to death by a court on the charge of treason. 


  • The queen Marie Antoinette met with the same fate shortly after.

The Reign of Terror


  • The period from 1793 to 1794 is referred to as the Reign of Terror as Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment.


  • All his enemies, Ex-nobles, clergy, members of other political parties, even members of his own party who did not agree with his methods were arrested, imprisoned and guillotined.


  • Robespierre’s government issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on wages and prices. 

Meat and bread were rationed. 

Peasants were forced to transport their grain to the cities and sell it at prices fixed by the government.

The use of more expensive white flour was forbidden and all citizens were required to eat the equal bread, a loaf made of whole wheat.


  • Instead of the traditional Monsieur (Sir) and Madame (Madam) all French men and women were addressed as Citoyen and Citoyenne (Citizen).


  • Churches were shut down and their buildings converted into barracks or offices.


  • Robespierre pursued his policies so harshly that even his supporters began to demand moderation. 


  • Finally, he was convicted by a court in July 1794, arrested and on the next day sent to the guillotine.

(The guillotine is a device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person is beheaded. It was named after Dr. Guillotin who invented it.)


A Directory Rules France


  • A new constitution was introduced which denied the vote to non-propertied sections of society.


  • It provided for two elected legislative councils which then appointed a Directory, an executive made up of five members.


  • The Directors often clashed with the legislative councils, who then sought to dismiss them. 


  • The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.


Women Revolution


  • From the very beginning women were active participants in revolution.


  • They hoped that their involvement would pressurise the revolutionary government to introduce measures to improve their lives.


  • Most women of the third estate had to work for a living as laundresses, sellers, domestic servants in the houses of prosperous people. 


  • Most women did not have access to education or job training. 


  • To discuss and voice their interests women started their own political clubs and newspapers.

The Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women was the most famous of them.


  • Women were disappointed that the Constitution of 1791 reduced them to passive citizens. 


  • They demanded the right to vote, to be elected to the Assembly and to hold political office.


  • The revolutionary government did introduce laws that helped improve the lives of women. 

By creation of state schools, schooling was made compulsory for all girls. 

Their fathers could no longer force them into marriage against their will.

Marriage was made into a contract entered into freely and registered under civil law. 

Divorce was made legal, and could be applied for by both women and men. 

Women could now train for jobs, could become artists or run small businesses.


  • During the Reign of Terror, the new government issued laws ordering closure of women’s clubs and banning their political activities. 

Many prominent women were arrested and a number of them executed.


  • It was finally in 1946 that women in France won the right to vote.

The Abolition of Slavery


  • The unwillingness of Europeans to go and work in the colonies in the Caribbean which were important suppliers of commodities such as tobacco, indigo, sugar and coffee created a shortage of labour on the plantations. 

Thus, the slave trade began in the seventeenth century.


French merchants sailed from their ports to the African coast, where they bought slaves from local chieftains.


Branded and shackled, the slaves were packed tightly into ships for the three-month long voyage across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.


  • There they were sold to plantation owners. The exploitation of slave labour made it possible to meet the growing demand in European markets for sugar, coffee, and indigo.


  • Port cities like Bordeaux and Nantes owed their economic prosperity to the flourishing slave trade.


  • The National Assembly held long debates about whether the rights of man should be extended to all French subjects including those in the colonies.


  • But it did not pass any laws, fearing opposition from businessmen whose incomes depended on the slave trade.


  • Jacobin regime in 1794, abolished slavery in the French colonies.


  • However, ten years later, Napoleon reintroduced slavery.


  • Slavery was finally abolished in French colonies in 1848.


The Revolution and Everyday Life


  • After the storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789 was the abolition of censorship.


  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaimed freedom of speech and expression to be a natural right. 


  • Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed pictures flooded the towns of France from where they travelled rapidly into the countryside and described and discussed the events and changes taking place in France.


  • Plays, songs and festive processions attracted large numbers of people which was one way they could grasp and identify with ideas such as liberty or justice.


Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte


  • After the end of the reign of terror, there was political instability.


  • In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France.


  • He conquered many neighbouring countries and placed members of his family on the crown


  • Napoleon saw his role as a moderniser of Europe. 


  • He introduced many laws such as the protection of private property and a uniform system of weights and measures provided by the decimal system.


  • Initially, many welcomed Napoleon as a liberator who would bring freedom for the people. But soon the Napoleonic armies came to be viewed everywhere as an invading force. 


  • He was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.


Legacy of the French Revolution


  • The ideas of liberty and democratic rights were the most important legacy of the French Revolution.


  • These spread from France to the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century, where feudal systems were abolished.


  • Later, these ideas were adopted by Indian revolutionary strugglers, Tipu Sultan and Rammohan Roy also.


Socialism in Europe and the Russian Revolution

The Age of Social Change


  • The French Revolution opened up the possibility of creating a dramatic change in the way in which society was structured. 


  • Not everyone in Europe, however, wanted a complete transformation. 


  • Some were ‘conservatives’, while others were ‘liberals’ or ‘radicals’.


Who were Conservatives?


  • They resisted change. 


  • After the revolution, they started accepting change provided it was slow and had links and respected the past.


Who were Liberals?


  • They wanted a nation which tolerated all religions. 


  • They argued for an elected parliamentary government, subject to laws interpreted by a well trained judiciary that was independent of rulers and officials. 


  • They were not Democrats.

Who were Radicals?


  • They wanted a  nation in which government was based on the majority of a  country’s population. 


  • They disliked concentration of property in the hands of a few, not the existence of private property.


Industrial Society and Social Change


  • This was the time of economic and social change. 


  • Men, women and children were pushed into factories for low wages. 


  • Most of the factory owners were often liberals and radicals and they felt that workers’ efforts must be encouraged.


The Coming of Socialism to Europe


  • Socialists were against private property. 


  • They had different visions of the future.  


  • Some believed in cooperatives.


  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels added that industrial society was capitalist.


Support for Socialism


  • By the 1870s, socialist ideas spread through Europe.

  • Workers in England and Germany began forming associations to fight for better living and working conditions.


The Russian Revolution


  • In 1914, Nicholas II ruled the Russian empire.


  • The Russian Empire included territory around Moscow, current-day Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, parts of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus.


Economy and Society during Russian Empire


  • About 85 percent of the Russian empire’s population earned their living from agriculture.


  • The industry was limited in number.


  • Workers were divided into groups but they did unite to strike work when they were dissatisfied. 


  • Peasants had no respect for nobility, very unlike the French peasant. 

  • Russian peasants were the only peasant community which pooled their land and their commune divided it.


Socialism in Russia


  • All political parties were illegal in Russia before 1914.


  • In 1900, the Russian Socialist Democratic Labour Party was formed. 


It struggled to give peasants their rights over land that belonged to nobles. 


As land was divided among peasants periodically and it was felt that peasants and not workers would be the main source of the revolution. 


  • But Lenin did not agree with this as he felt that peasants were not one social group. 

The party was divided into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.

 Lenin led Bolshevik group.


A Turbulent Time: The 1905 Revolution


  • Liberals wanted to end the autocracy of the Tsar.


  • They worked towards demanding a constitution during the Revolution of 1905.


Bloody Sunday


  • In 1904, Prices of essential goods rose so quickly that real wages declined by 20 percent.


  • When four members of the Putilov Iron Works were dismissed, there was a call for industrial action. 

  • Over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg went on strike demanding a  reduction in working hours and increase in wages. 

This procession was attacked by the police and Cossacks. 

Over 100 workers were killed. 

Strikes took place as a reaction. 

People demanded a constituent assembly.


  • The Tsar allowed the creation of an elected consultative Parliament or Duma. 

The Tsar dismissed the first Duma within 75 days and announced the election of a second Duma.

Tsar constituted the third Duma with conservative politicians.

The First World War and the Russian Empire

  • In Russia, the first world war was initially very popular but later the support grew thin. 


  • Anti-German sentiments ran high.


  • Russian armies lost badly in Germany and Austria. 


  • The war also affected the industry. 


  • There was a labour shortage.


  • By 1916, railway lines began to break down. 


  • The small workshops were closed down. 


  • There was a shortage of grain and hence of bread.


The February Revolution in Petrograd




  • In the winter of 1917, Petrograd was grim. 

There was a food shortage in the quarters of workers. 


  • On 22th February, a lockout took place at a factory. 


Workers of 50 other factories joined in sympathy. 

Women also led and participated in the strikes. This came to be called the International Women’s Day.


  • The government imposed a curfew.


  • On the 24th and 25th, the government called out the cavalry and police to keep an eye on them.


  • On 25th February, the government suspended the Duma and politicians spoke against this measure.


  • On 27th February, the police headquarters were ransacked.

Cavalry was called out again.

An officer was shot at the barracks of a regiment and other regiments mutinied, voting to join the striking workers gathered to form a Soviet or council. This was the Petrograd Soviet.


  • A delegation went to meet the Tsar, military commanders advised him to abdicate.


  • On 2nd March, the Tsar abdicated.


  • Soviet leaders and Duma leaders formed a Provisional Government to run the country.




  • Restrictions on public meetings and associations were removed.
  • Soviets were set up everywhere.


  • In individual areas, factory committees were formed which began questioning the way industrialists ran their factories.


Soldiers’ committees were formed in the army.

  • The provisional government saw its power declining and Bolshevik influence grow.

  • Therefore, it decided to take stern measures against the spreading discontent.
  • It resisted attempts by workers to run factories and arrested leaders.
  • Peasants and the socialist revolutionary leaders pressed for a redistribution of land.

Land committees were formed and peasants seized land between July and September 1917.


The Revolution of October 1917




  • On 16th October 1917, Lenin persuaded the Petrograd Soviet and Bolshevik Party to agree to a socialist seizure of power.
    A Military Revolutionary Committee was appointed by the Soviet to organise the seizure.
  • Uprising began on 24th October.
    Prime Minister Kerenskii left the city to summon troops.
    Pro-government troops were sent to take over telephone and telegraph offices and protect the Winter Palace.
  • In response, the Military Revolutionary Committee ordered to seize government offices and arrest the ministers.
    The ‘Aurora’ ship shelled the Winter Palace.
    Other ships took over strategic points.
    By night the city had been taken over and ministers had surrendered.
  • All Russian Congress of Soviets in Petrograd approved the Bolshevik action.
  • By December, the Bolsheviks controlled the Moscow – Petrograd area.


  • Most industry and banks were nationalised in November 1917.
  • The land was declared social property and peasants were allowed to seize the land of the nobility.
  • Use of old titles was banned.
    • New uniforms were designed for the army and officials.
  • Russia became a one-party state.
  • Trade unions were kept under party control.

The Civil War

  • When the Bolsheviks ordered land redistribution, the Russian army began to break up.
  • Non-Bolshevik socialists, liberals and supporters of autocracy condemned the Bolshevik uprising. They were supported by French, American, British and Japanese troops.
    All these fought a war with the Bolsheviks.

Making a Socialist Society

  • The Bolsheviks kept industries and banks nationalised during the civil war.
  • Rapid construction and industrialisation started.
  • An extended schooling system developed.

Stalin and Collective Farming

  • Stalin believed that rich peasants and traders stocked supplies to create shortage of grains. Hence, collectivisation was the need of the hour.
  • Those farmers who resisted collectivisation were punished, deported or exiled.

Global Influence

  • In many countries, communist parties were formed.
  • By the time of the outbreak of the Second World War, the USSR had given socialism a global face and world stature.
  • By the end of the twentieth century, the international reputation of the USSR as a socialist country had declined.



Nazism and the Rise of Hitler


Birth of the Weimar Republic


First World War


  • Germany was defeated in the First World war.


  • After the war was over, the monarchy in Germany quit.


The Weimar Republic


A National Assembly met at Weimar to write a constitution.




  • Deputies were elected to the German Parliament or Reichstag.




  • Democratic constitution with a federal structure. Universal Adult Franchise (all adults have the right to vote including women).




  • Proportional representation: Made achieving a majority by any one party a near impossible task, which led to a rule by coalitions.


  • Article 48:  Gave the President the powers to impose emergency, suspend civil rights and rule by decree.


  • The republic was not received well by its own people largely because of it had to accept the peace treaty of Versailles after Germany’s defeat at the end of the First World War.


Treaty of Versailles


Germany lost its overseas colonies.

13 percent of its territories.

75 percent of its iron.

26 percent of its coal.

Allied Powers demilitarised Germany.

Pay compensation of £6 billion.

 Lost resource-rich Rhineland.


  • Many Germans held the new Weimar Republic responsible for not only the defeat in the war but the disgrace at Versailles.


The Effects of the War


  • The war had a  devastating impact on Europe both psychologically and financially. 


  • From being a creditor, Europe became a debtor. 


  • The supporters of the Weimar Republic were criticised and became easy targets of attack in the conservative nationalist circles. 


  • Soldiers came to be placed above civilians. 


  • Aggressive war propaganda and national honour became important.


Political Radicalism and Economic Crisis


  • The Spartacist League was established in the pattern of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. 


  • The Spartacists founded the Communist Party of Germany.


  • The Weimar Republic crushed the uprising with the help of a war veterans organisation called Free



  • In 1923, Germany refused to pay the war compensations so France occupied its leading industrial area, Ruhr. 


  • To counter this, Germany started printing paper currency recklessly. 

The value of the mark collapsed and the prices of goods rose. There was hyperinflation.


The Years of Depression


  • The Wall Street Exchange crashed in 1929.


  • Between 1929 and 1932, the national income of the USA fell by half.


  • The effects of this recession in the US economy were felt worldwide.


Effects on Germany


  • Germany received short-term loans largely from the US.


  • Industrial production reduced. 


  • Workers lost their jobs.


  • Youth took to criminal activities.


  • Small businessmen and self-employed people suffered as their businesses got ruined.


  • People lost confidence in the democratic parliamentary system, which seemed to offer no solutions.


Hitler’s Rise to Power


  • Hitler was born in Austria in 1889. 


  • He acted as a messenger, corporal in the First World War. 


  • He joined the German Workers Party and renamed it National Socialist German Workers’ Party. 

This later came to be known as the Nazi Party.

 By 1932, it had become the largest party with 37 percent votes.

  • Nazism became a mass movement only during the Great Depression.


  • By 1932, it had become the largest party with 37 percent votes.


The Destruction of  Democracy 


  • On 30 January 1933, Hitler achieved the highest position in the cabinet of ministries. 


  • Hitler now set out to dismantle the structures of democratic rule. 


  • The Fire Decree of 28 February 1933 suspended civic rights like freedom of speech, press and assembly. 


  • Communists were hurriedly packed off to newly established concentration camps. 


  • All political parties were banned. 


  • Special surveillance and security forces were created to control the people and rule with impunity.




  • Hjalmar Schacht took over the responsibility of economic recovery.


  • The state funded project produced the famous German superhighways and the people’s car, the Volkswagen.


  • Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland in 1936.


  • He integrated Austria and Germany in 1938.


  • Acquired German-speaking Sudetenland.


  • Hitler chose war to recover from the economic crisis.


World War II


  • On September 1939, Germany invaded Poland 


  • Started a war with France and England.


  • In September 1940, a Tripartite Pact was signed between Germany, Italy and Japan.


  • In June 1941, Germany attacked Soviet Union.


  • Germany was exposed through both sides.

From the western front – to Britishers.

From the eastern front – to Soviet Armies.


  • Soviet Army defeated Germany at Stalingrad.


  • Japan bombed the US base at Pearl Harbor.


  • The US entered the war.


  • The US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.


  • The war ended in May 1945 with Hitler’s defeat.


The Nazi World View


  • According to Nazi ideology there was no equality between people, but only racial hierarchy.

 Nordic German Aryans were at the top, while Jews were at the lowest while all other races are between them.

  • New territories had to be acquired for settlement of Nordic German Aryans race.

The Racial Utopia


  • Hitler divided and occupied north-western Poland.


  • Poles were forced to leave their homes.


  • Educated Polish classes were murdered.


Youth in Nazi Germany


  • All schools were cleansed and purified, meaning Jews teachers were dismissed.


  • Jews, the physically handicapped and Gypsies were thrown out of schools and later sent to the gas chambers.


  • A prolonged period of ideological training for good German students.


  • School textbooks were rewritten. 


  • Racial science was introduced to justify Nazi ideas of race.


  • Children were taught to be loyal and submissive, hate Jews, and worship Hitler.


  • Ten-year-olds had to enter Jungvolk. 


  • At 14, all boys had to join the Nazi youth organisation – Hitler Youth.


  • They joined the Labour Service at 18.


The Nazi Cult of Motherhood


  • Boys were taught to be aggressive, masculine and steel hearted. 


  • Girls had to become good mothers and rear pure-blooded Aryan children.


  • All mothers were not treated equally.


  • Women who bore racially undesirable children were punished. 


  • Women who produced racially desirable children were awarded.


  • Honour Crosses were awarded to encourage women to produce many children.


  • Women who didn’t follow prescribed code of conduct were publicly condemned, and severely punished.


The Art of Propaganda


  • Mass killings were termed special treatment, final solution, euthanasia, selection and disinfection.


  • Nazi ideas were spread through visual images, films, radio, posters, catchy slogans and leaflets.


  • In posters, enemies of Germans such as Jews were shown as evil.


Crimes against Humanity


  • Many people were influence by the idea of Nazi.


  • They believed Nazism would bring prosperity and improve general well-being.


  • Every German was not a Nazi.


  • Large majority of Germans were passive onlookers.


The Holocaust


  • Jews collected and preserved documents wrote diaries, kept notebooks, and created archives which 

are called the Holocaust.


  • Jews wanted the world to remember the atrocities and sufferings they had endured during the Nazi killing operations.



Forest Society and Colonialism


  • Forests provide us with many products which are of great importance.
  • It supports a large variety of flora and fauna such as in Amazon forests or in the Western Ghats.

Why Deforestation?

  • The disappearance of forests is referred to as deforestation.

Causes of deforestation in India

Land to be Improved

  • Forests were unproductive, therefore British brought them under cultivation so that they could increase the income of the state.

Building Ships

  • By the 1830s, In India, trees were cut down and exported to England for building royal ships.

Railway Tracks

  • Wood was needed for Railways as:

Fuel for Trains

Railway lines sleepers which were essential to hold the tracks together.



  • Large areas of natural forests were also cleared for tea, coffee and rubber plantations to meet Europe’s growing need for these commodities.


The Rise of Commercial Forestry


  • British made a German expert, Dietrich Brandis, the first Inspector General of Forests in India.


  • Brandis set up the Indian Forest Service in 1864 and helped formulate the Indian Forest Act of


  • The Imperial Forest Research Institute was set up in Dehradun in 1906.

Scientific forestry was taught there. 

In the scientific forestry system, forests with different kinds of trees were replaced by plantations. 

Forest management plans were made by forest officials. They planned how much of the forest had to be cut and how much had to be replanted.


  • The Forest Acts divided forests into:

Reserved Forests – these were the best forests. Villagers could not enter these forests

Protected Forests – villagers can enter these forests but with permission

Village Forests: The villagers were dissatisfied with the Forest Acts. They were now forced to steal wood from the forests. If they were caught, they were punished.


How were the Lives of People Affected?


What is Shifting Cultivation?


  • An area is cleared for cultivation for a period of time after that it left uncultivated so it could gain fertility.


  • The colonial foresters did not favour this system as it made it difficult for the government to calculate taxes, there was a danger of fire and also that no trees could grow on this kind of land.


Consequences of banning shifting cultivation


  • Some people changed occupations


  • Some people resisted through large and small rebellions.


Who could Hunt?


  • The forest laws forbade the villagers from hunting in the forests but encouraged hunting as a big sport. 


  • They felt that the wild animals were savage, wild and primitive, just like the Indian society and that it was their duty to civilise them.


New Trades, New Employments and New Services


  • Forest communities rebelled against the changes imposed upon them. 


The People of Bastar


  • Bastar is located in the southernmost part of Chhattisgarh.


  • The initiative was taken by the Dhurwas of the Kanger forest where reservation first took place. 


  • The new Forest Act introduced by the Colonial government reserved two-thirds of the forest in 1905.


  • The British sent troops to suppress the rebellion. 


  • It took them three months to regain control. 


  • A victory for the people of Bastar was that the work on reservation was suspended and the area was reduced to half of that planned before 1910.


Changes in Java


The Kalangs


  • They rose in rebellion against the Dutch in 1770 but their uprising was suppressed.


Scientific Forestry in Java


  • Forest laws were enacted in Java. 


  • The villagers resisted these laws. 
  • Forest timber was used for ships and railway sleepers.


  • The Dutch government used the ‘blandongdiensten’ system for extracting free labour from the villagers.


Samin’s Movement


  • Around 1890, Samin of Randublatung village (a teak forest village) questioned the state ownership of forests. 


  • A widespread movement spread. 


  • They protested by lying on the ground when the Dutch came to survey it and refusing to pay taxes and perform labour.


World Wars and Deforestation 


  • The world wars had a major impact on forests. 


  • The forest department cut freely to meet the British demands. 


  • In Indonesia, the Dutch destroyed sawmills and burnt huge piles of teak logs.


  • The Japanese after occupying Indonesia exploited the forests recklessly for their war needs.


New Developments


  • The government realised that if forests are to survive, the local community needs to be involved. 


  • There are many such examples in India where communities are conserving forests in sacred groves. This looking after is done by each member of the village and everyone is involved.

Chapter 5


Pastoralists in the Modern World

Who are Pastoralists?

The goats, sheep or cattle farmers are known as Pastoralists.

Pastoral Nomads and their Movements

In the Mountains

The Gujjar Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir

  • They are pastoral nomads who move in groups called ‘Kafila’.
  • Their movements are governed by cold and snow weather conditions.
  • In winters when the high mountains are covered with snow these  Gujjars move down the low hills of the Shivalik range.
  • At the onset of summer, when the snow melts and the mountains become lush and green, these pastoralists move back to the mountains.

The Gaddi Shepherds of Himachal Pradesh

  • They also spend the winter on the low Shivalik hills and the summers in Lahaul and Spiti.

The Gujjar cattle herders of Kumaon and Garhwal

  • They spend their summers in the ‘bugyals’ and their winters in the ‘bhabar’.

The Bhotias, Sherpas and Kinnauri
• They follow the cyclic movement which helps them to adjust to seasonal changes and make best use of pastures.


On the plateaus, plains and deserts

The Dhangars of Maharashtra

  • The Dhangars stay in the central plateau of Maharashtra during the monsoon.
  • This is a semi-arid region.
  • By October they begin their movement towards the Konkan.
    Here their cattle help to manure the fields and hence they are welcomed by the Konkani peasant. 
  • As soon as the monsoon sets in, they retreat back to the semi-arid land of Maharashtra.

The Gollas and Kurumas and Kurubas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

  • The Gollas herded cattle.
  • The Kurumas and Kurubas reared sheep and goats and sold woven blankets.
  • They live near the woods and in the dry periods they move to the coastal tracts.

The Banjaras of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra

  • They moved over long distances in search of good pasture land for their cattle.

Raikas in the deserts of Rajasthan

  • The rainfall in the region was meagre and uncertain.
  • They combine cultivation with pastoralism.

When their grazing grounds become dry they move to new and greener pastures.

Pastoral life was sustained by:

  • Their sense of judgement to know how long one must stay in an area
  • To know where they could find food and water
  • To assess and calculate the timings of their movement
  • Their ability to set up a relationship with the farmers so that the herds could graze on the harvested fields.

Colonial Rule and Pastoral Life

  • Under colonial rule the life of the pastoralists changed completely.


  • All grazing lands became cultivated farms
  • Forests Act restricted movements of pastoralists in the forests

Some customary rights were granted to them.


Forests were marked as protected and reserved.
British officials were suspicious of these pastoral groups.
The Criminal Tribes Act was passed in 1871.

  • Taxes were imposed on cattle which went up rapidly.

How Did these Changes Affect the Lives of Pastoralists?

  • Natural restoration of pastoral growth stopped.
  • Cattle died due to the scarcity of fodder.
  • A serious shortage of pastures.

How Did the Pastoralists Cope with these Changes?

  • Some reduced the number of cattle in their herds.
  • Some discovered new pastures when movement to old grazing grounds became difficult.
  • Over the years, some richer pastoralists began buying land and settling down, giving up their nomadic life. 


Pastoralism in Africa


  • Over half the world’s pastoral population lives in Africa.


The Maasai – Changes in their way of life


  • Maasai live primarily in east Africa.


  • Before colonial times, Maasailand stretched over a vast area from north Kenya to the steppes of northern Tanzania.


  • In the late nineteenth century, European imperial powers cut Maasailand into half.


  • The best grazing lands were gradually taken over for white settlement and the Maasai were pushed into arid zones with uncertain rainfall and poor pastures.


Land Cultivation


  • In the pre-colonial period the Massai pastoralists dominated the agricultural sector both economically and politically, the British colonial government encouraged local peasants to cultivate land.


The Borders are Closed


  • From the late nineteenth century, the colonial government began imposing various restrictions on the mobility of African pastoralists.


Not All were Equally Affected


  • The Maasai society was divided into two social categories- elders and warriors.

The elders formed the ruling group while warriors consisted of younger people, who defended the community and organised cattle raids.


  • British appointed chiefs of different sub-groups of Maasai, who were made responsible for the affairs of the tribe. 


  • The chiefs appointed by the colonial government often accumulated wealth over time.

They had both pastoral and non-pastoral income, and could buy animals when their stock was depleted.


  • However, the poor pastoralists who depended only on their livestock did not have the resources to tide over bad times.

In times of war and famine, they lost nearly everything.