Marxism-Leninism is an all-embracing political doctrine containing principles which purport to explain the entire course of human history. This chapter focuses on the theoretical underpinnings and historical antecedents of Third World Communist policies toward rural populations. In particular it concentrates on societies labelled "pre-capitalist" by Marxist-Leninists, and assesses the application of the definition in the creation of the first Communist Party state. A considerable portion of Marxist theory on "pre-capitalist" socio economic formations is derived from Engels' interpretation of "prehistory." Lenin successfully combined Marxist materialist ideology with Populist Russian sentiments, and rejected the capitalist "stage of development." Soviet Marxism, particularly after Lenin's death in 1924, became increasingly preoccupied with adapting theory to existing conditions and less concerned with developing Marxist social science. During Stalin's reign, from the late 1920s until the mid-1950s, intra-Marxist debates were effectively closed and the General Secretary's views were imposed on the Communist movement as rigid dogmas.