VCE History. Revolutions - units 3 & 4

This guide identifies resources relevant to the VCE History - Revolutions units

Ebooks & databases & and print resources

Our Library has a number of ebooks considering issues around the Russian Revolution we also subscribe to a wide range of scholarly journals. Both ebooks and online journals can be accessed using your State Library Victoria membership


Search ebooks using keywords. You can also search for similar books by clicking on the subject heading under the Details tab for any book. 

Suggested subject heading: 

Broader catalogue searches

Use the dropdown options to search different types of publications. Books will include print as well as ebooks. Articles will find full text articles.


Primary sources

  • A collection of reports on bolshevism in Russia 1919 UK House of Commons Sessional Papers. Online page numbers in brackets.
    • eyewitness accounts and personal interpretations of the immediate aftermath of the revolution
    • some notable reports are:
      • No. 11 pp.12-27 (18-33)  relates to industrial conditions
      • No. 31 pp. 30-31 (36-37) account by two British subjects living in Moscow
      • No. 35 & 36 pp. 35-38 (40-44) accounts of atrocities in Estonia during the 'Terror'
      • No. 55 pp 52-56 (58-62) account conditions around Moscow
      • No 60 pp 69-76 (75-81) report on the economic conditions in Russia
  • Report (political and economic) of the committee to collect information on Russia 1921.  UK House of Commons Sessional Papers
    • reports by a parliamentary committee assessing different aspects of the political and economic situation in the very early years of the Bolshevik government.
    • pp. 109-115 (59-65) is a summary of their findings


Here are examples of some articles that can be found on specific issues of the Russian Revolution, the causes and the aftermath. 

These articles can be contradictory as different historians interpret the evidence of events in different ways. The articles will also have footnotes and bibliographies that can lead to further articles.

These are just a few examples of articles you can find using our databases and Article search through our Library catalogue.

Ascher, Abraham. The Kornilov Affair. The Russian Review, vol. 12, no. 4, 1953, pp. 235–252. 

White, James D. The Kornilov Affair. a study in counter-revolution Soviet Studies, vol. 20, no. 2, 1968, pp. 187–205. 

Search newspaper databases like Trove and Gale news Vault. Narrow to specfiic years or ranges of dates.


JSTOR Search


Proquest Search

Gale News Vault

Historical perspectives on the Russian revolution

The subject of history is the study of past events. A historian is someone who researches these events and interprets them. Different historians may judge the causes and effects of historical events differently and may place greater emphasis on certain documents or evidence to form their conclusions.

Historians may also approach and interpret evidence through their own personal perspectives, influenced by their background and political, ideological or social beliefs. For example historians may view historical events through a left wing or conservative lens. Historians may be identified as ‘revisionist’ if they reinterpret events in a way that contradict traditional historical conclusions.

Choose from the tabs above for suggestions of texts written from a specific perspective. We don't, though, want to classify historians too narrowly and so the categories should be interpreted broadly.

Historiography of the Russian revolution

These articles may help broadly understand the range of perspectives historians bring to the Russian revolution, and the different issues that influence interpretations of events.

Alpha history

This site has been developed to support VCE students and includes excellent overviews of each of the VCE Revolutions topics. The site also has pages on historical perspectives, highlighting some of the leading historians.

Reviews of books

On our catalogue restrict your search to Articles and enter the author and the book to find reviews of the work. For example see this review of The Russian Revolution, 1900-1927 by Robert Service 

Within this category are histories written by the victors, the Bolsheviks, which are unlikely to be self critical. You will also find histories and memoirs written by other (non-Bolshevik) revolutionary factions. 

Western histories with Bolshevik sympathies

  • John ReedTen days that shook the world Reed was an American journalist, a Harvard graduate from an affluent background, he was a committed socialist and his sympathetic eyewitness account of the revolution is consdiered a classic
  • Morgan Phillips.  British journalist and eye witness to the revolution. He was sympathetic to the Bolsheviks

Western liberalism is characterised by belief in the freedom of the individual and civil liberty in a modern democracy. Historians from this school of thought may suggest  that societies that vary from this 'western' model are inherently inferior. Their interpretation of the Russian Revolution focusses on the Bolshevik victory as a coup imposing totalitarianism without significant support from the people.

Some noted authors writing in this tradition are:

To find reviews of these author's books, use the article search option. See this example for Richard Pipes book The Russian revolution.

Revisionism in history involves a re-assessment of the accepted views of the causes and outcomes of events.

Dmitriĭ Volkogonov -  a general in the Soviet army, was committed to the Soviet political administration for much of his life. His rank gave him access to secret archives and his research led to disillusionment. He published a number of books that challenged the accepted Soviet view of the leaders of the revolution.

Social revisionism investigates history through the whole of society rather than focussing only on politics and ideologies. This reinterpretation of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Soviet history, arising in the early 1970s in the context of the social upheavals of the 1960s, emphasised the revolution as an outcome of a working class movement rather than a grab for power by a small group of idealogs as posited by earlier historians, themselves influenced by the Cold War. 

Some interesting articles about social revisionists and their interpretation of the Russian Revolution.

Post revisionists moved towards seeing the revolution and subsequent Cold War as being inevitable.