Flashcards in Russia: Stalin Deck (58):
What views did Lenin express in his Testament?
He warned against Stalin becoming his successor as he thought that Stalin might not be capable of using his authority with caution and was too rude and ambitious
He said that Trotsky was distinguished with outstanding ability and capability but was arrogant
Why was there a struggle for power after Lenin's death?
When Lenin died in 1924, there were several leading communists who were possible candidates to take his place.
There were Kamenev and Zinoviev, leading Bolsheviks who had played important parts in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. They were left-wingers who agreed with Trotsky's ideas about state control of land and continuing revolution. They were determined to stop Trotsky from becoming party leader.
The main struggle was between Stalin and Trotsky.
What were Trotsky's positive qualities?
He was the most able, well-known and popular with the army and Party members.
He had lead the Red Army brilliantly during the civil war
He had planned the November Revolution
Why were some Bolshevik suspicious of Trotsky?
Trotsky frightened many people in the USSR - many older party members distrusted Trotsky, fearing that he might become a dictator, especially as he could count on the Red Army to follow him
They doubted his loyalty to the party as he had not joined the Bolsheviks until 1917
Many people were worried that Trotsky would involve the USSR in new conflicts and that his radical policies might split the party
What were Trotsky's negative qualities?
He often offended senior party members
He failed to take opposition seriously
He made little effort to build up any support in the ranks of the party and make alliances
He seriously underestimated Stalin
He did not inspire affection the way Lenin did - he was arrogant and did not have a lot of time for those he considered stupid
What were Stalin's negative qualities?
He was not an intellectual or an inspiring speaker
He was regarded as dull, mediocre and humourless by other leading communists
What were Stalin's positive qualities?
He was politically cunning - playing off different groups in the party against each other
He kept in the shadows, not taking a clear position and seeming to be the friend and ally of different groups - this allowed him to become steadily powerful without the others realising it
He had been a loyal member of the party for over 20 years
He did not hold extreme views that would be likely to split the party
He appeared to be a straightforward Georgian peasant - more of a man of the people than his intellectual rivals
What did Stalin do that allowed him to succeed over Trotsky?
He had a very powerful position as General Secretary of the Communist Party
He could control membership of the party - between 1922 and 1924 he put more of his own supporters into important party positions and expelled the younger, wilder and more radical members from the party who were more likely to support Trotsky
He made great efforts to associate himself with Lenin wherever possible - he tricked Trotsky and told him the wrong date for Lenin's funeral so that he didn't show up
He allied himself with Zinoviev and Kamenev to push out Trotsky. Then allied himself with Bukharin to defeat Zinoviev and Kamenev and along with Trotsky, got them expelled from the party. Finally, he turned on Bukharin and his supporters, removing them from powerful positions.
By 1929, he was the unchallenged leader.
How was luck a factor in Stalin's success over Trotsky?
Trotsky fell ill in 1923, just when Lenin was dying and when Trotsky needed to be his most active
Lenin's testament - in which he warned against Stalin and could have greatly affected Stalin's chance at becoming leader - was never published because it criticised other leading communists as well
What methods did Stalin use to maintain total control of Russia?/ How was the Cult of Stalin implemented?
Propaganda incl rewriting history, changing education and censorship
Terror incl the Purges, show trials and persecution
How did Stalin use propaganda to maintain control over Russia?
Stalin's name and picture was everywhere
Streets and cities were named after him
Huge parades in the Red Square in Moscow, films, statues and paintings - showed the Soviet people how fortunate they were to have such a great, caring leader whose genius had saved the USSR from its enemies and made it the envy of the world
Party members, such as Audienko were forever praising his achievements
How did Stalin rewrite history to maintain control over Russia?
He rewrote history to glorify his own past especially in the Bolshevik Revolution and remove that of 'enemies' like Trotsky
Photographs were doctored to remove images of people such as Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky
New photographs and histories were crated, emphasising Stalin's role, especially his apparent close links with Lenin, who was still treated as a god in Soviet society. He faked photographs that showed him with Stalin.
How did Stalin change education to maintain control over Russia?
Children were taught that Stalin was the 'Great Leader' and learnt his version of history
In 1932, a rigid programme of education was introduced. Discipline was strict and examinations were brought back
He had a new book, 'A Short History of the USSR' written for school students, which gave him a more important role in the revolution
Stalin chose the subjects and information that children should learn
How did Stalin use censorship to maintain control over Russia?
Writers, artists, film-makers and composers had to support the government by following the policy of 'social realism'.
Their work had to deal with ordinary working people, show how communism was developing and give clear, simple, optimistic messages
All their work was carefully censored and had to be submitted to committees before it was published
How did Stalin use persecution to maintain control over Russia?
Stalin believed religious groups posed a threat as they owed their allegiance to a different god and not Stalin
Christian leaders were imprisoned and their churches closed down
The 'League of the Godless' smashed churches and burned religious pictures
Mosques and Muslim schools were closed and pilgrimages to Mecca banned.
Why did Stalin want to modernise agriculture?
1) Having fewer, larger farms would make it easier to introduce new technology, which would increase food production
2) Most farms were still very small and used old traditional methods: strip farms with wooden ploughs
3) Mechanisation of agriculture would release farm labourers to work in industry
4) In 1928-9, another food crisis hit. Bread and meat had to be rationed in the cities
Why did Stalin want to modernise industry?
1) To make Russia less dependent on the West for industrial goods
2) Industrialisation would guarantee the survival of the communist revolution by creating more members of the proletariat
3) In the 1920s, Soviet production of coal and steel lagged behind that of France
4) To provide the machinery, especially tractors, needed to mechanise farming and produce more food
5) To rival the economies of the USA and other capitalist countries
6) The right-wing members of the party, such as Bukharin, Tomsky and Rykov, remained in favour of the NEP - by launching more left wing policies, Stalin would be able to discredit and remove them, thus consolidating his control
Why did Stalin want to modernise agriculture and industry?
1) To transform the country from a backward society into a modern one
2) By creating and sharing wealth Stalin hoped to create a strong state based on communist principles, where the state controlled economic activity
3) To improve the USSR's military strength - Stalin feared an attack from the West, especially given Britain, France and the US's help to the Whites in the civil war
How did Stalin modernise industry?
He introduced much greater state control through a series of Five Year Plans - targets for key industries which had to met within five years
How did Stalin modernise agriculture?
Small farms were merged into much larger ones where farmers would work together and share everything, including tools, animals and produce - this was known as collectivisation
Who were the Komsomol?
A youth organisation controlled by the Communist Party
What was a kolkhoz?
A collective farm - lots of small farms combined into one big farm which shares everything on the land
What was a kulak?
A wealthy or prosperous peasant, generally characterised as one who owned a relatively large farm and who was financially capable of employing hired labour and leasing land
What were the causes of collectivisation? / Why did Stalin begin collectivisation?
In 1928, the country was 2 million tonnes short of the grain needed to feed its workers - even under the NEP farmers weren't producing enough, they had become wary of growing too much food, knowing it would be seized by the state for a low rice
Stalin also wanted to raise money for industrialisation by selling excess food abroad.
By forming large farms (kolkhoz) he believed it would be easier:
- to make the best use of modern technology such as tractors and fertiliser - this would mean that more food could be grown by fewer people, releasing peasants to work in the growing industries while also ensuring that the industrial population would be fed
- to collect grain and taxes
It was socialist: the farmers would be co-operating rather than selling their own food for a profit
What was collectivisation?
Forcing farmers to combine their lands and cattle and farm them together in large farms called kolkhoz usually made up of around 80 peasant families
What were the key features of collectivisation?
Peasants pooled their land, animals and tools to form a kolkhoz, though they could keep small plots for personal use
The government provided tractors from Motor Tractor Stations - tractors and drivers went round the kolkhoz to do the ploughing
90% of the Kolkhoz's produce would be sold to the government, and the profits shared among the kolkhoz workers
The remaining 10% was used to feed the kolkhoz
What were the successes/positive impacts of collectivisation?
Stalin achieved several of his aims
- he had control of grain supply: in 1929 the state procured 12m tonnes of grain, in 1932 this number had increased to 23m - he was also able to collect this grain from peasants at very low prices
- he had success as he was able to spread collectivisation across Russia as by 1942, almost all agricultural
- he had control of the countryside because the peasants never openly rebelled against the communists again
Collectivisation was also true to socialism as the farmers would be co-operating rather than selling their own food for a profit
What were the successes/positive impacts of collectivisation?
Collectivisation had success with mechanising agriculture and gaining labour for factories
The MTS worked well in the kolkhoz and the mechanisation of agriculture increased, so collectivisation did make the best use of modern technology, which was one of Stalin's aims.
The mechanisation of farming also released millions of rural youth for industries in the cities
This additional working force for industrialisation, as well as the fact that there was enough food produced by collectivisation to feed people in the cities, led to an increase in labour for factories.
What were the failures/negative impacts of collectivisation?
During the period of collectivisation, grain production fell and Stalin did not fulfil his main aim.
- there was a rapid and unpopular increase in collectivisation and by 1937, 93% of peasant households were collectivised
- this caused huge disruption and grain production fell by 10% from 1928-1934 - and in 1928 Russia was already 2m tonnes short of the grain needed
Another aim not achieved was to raise money for industrialisation by selling excess food abroad
- farming in Russia remained insufficient and Soviet farmers were producing less per head than those in the USA - this meant that until the 1930s food had to be bought from abroad, not sold, so Stalin had failed
What were the failures/negative impacts of collectivisation?
Collectivisation and the ignorance from the government had devastating effects on the peasants in Russia
- there was such desperate resistance to collectivisation that many peasants slaughtered and burned their crops instead of giving them to the kolkhoz - as a result of this 30m cows and 16m horses died
Anyone who resisted the kolkhoz was labelled as a kulak therefore as many as 10m people were deported to Siberia or labour camps (gulags)
Furthermore, due to the decrease in the already low levels of grain production due to collectivisation and a poor harvest in 1932, there was a huge famine - this was worsened by the government who refused to acknowledge the famine or slow down grain requisitioning
Overall 13m people died as a result and by 1934 there were no kulaks left
What were the dates of the Five Year Plans?
First FYP: 1928-32
Second FYP: 1933-37
Third FYP: 1938-41
What was the focus of the first FYP?
Focused on major industries
What were the effects of the first FYP?
USSR increased production
Cities were built from nothing and workers taken out to new industrial centres
Huge new steel mills at Magnitogorsk in the Urals and Sverdlovsk in Siberia
New dams and HEP fed industry's energy requirements
What was the focus of the second FYP?
Mining for lead, tin, zinc and other minerals in Siberia
Transport and communications
Wanted industrialisation to help improve Russia's agriculture
What was the effect of the second FYP?
Transport and communications boosted
New railways and canals were built - Moscow underground railway
Production of tractors and other farm machinery increased dramaticallly
What was the focus of the third FYP?
Use of factories and consumer goods
What were the effects of the third FYP?
Some factories switched to production of consumer goods - stopped by WW2
Positive impacts of the FYP (first para)
1) Industrial improvements
- new steel mills, dams and HEP stations
- huge new cities e.g. Magnitogorsk grew from nowhere
- new industry created from scratch e.g. in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
- industrial output increased from 1927 - 1940 e.g. coal, 35m tonnes to 150m tonnes + steel 3m tonnes to 19m tonnes
2) Spectacular building projects e.g. Dnieprostroi Dam and Moscow Metro
3) Industrialisation saved the USSR from defeat when Hitler invaded in 1941
Positive impacts of the FYP (second para)
1) First FYP set up 1000s of new crèches and daycare centres so that mothers could work - 4/5 of the new workers recruited between 1932 and 1937 were women
2) By 1930, unemployment was almost non-existent
3) In 1940, the USSR had more doctors per head of population than Britain
4) Education became free and compulsory for all and Stalin invested huge amounts in training schemes based in colleges and in the work place
Negative impacts of FYP (first para)
1) Rapid growth of industry led to a huge shortage of skilled workers - they caused damage to machinery and equipment and targets were often missed
- the first FYP produced 50,000 tractors when its target was 170,000
- even though other industrial outputs increased, they were still below the targets
2) Because of the rush to fulfil targets:
- products were poor quality
- some factories massively overproduced
- some had to shut down for short periods because they couldn't get parts or raw materials
3) Concentration on heavy industry meant that there were few consumer goods being produced that people wanted to buy
Negative impacts of FYP (second para)
1) It was impossible to build enough houses for the millions of peasants who came to cities - families had to live in overcrowded and run-down buildings
2) Workers were poorly paid and the value of their wages fell 50% from 1928-1933 as the prices of goods doubled
3) Fines were imposed for lateness and workers who were absent for more than one day were fired, which could lead to them losing their flat or house as well - anyone blamed for obstructing work would be sent to a gulag or shot
4) There were appalling conditions:
- some of the biggest tasks were carried out by prisoners in 'gulags', many of whom were peasants who had opposed collectivisation
- especially on major projects e.g. during the construction of the Belomor canal an estimated 1000 workers died
5) To escape punishments and harsh conditions or to try and get batter wages and bonuses workers moved jobs frequently - this did not help to stabilise industry or society
How did life improve for the Soviet people under Stalin?
1) Sport and fitness were encouraged to improve the general health of soviet men and women
2) Every worker was now entitled to take a holiday every year
3) Improved healthcare as the government put lots of resources into building a health service - large increase in facilities and doctors
3) Education improved and public libraries became available as literacy became a high priority
4) Mothers received cash payments of 2000 roubles per year for each child up to the age of five
5) Women were given the same educational and employment opportunities as men - women entered the workforce in increasing numbers, by 1935 42% of all industrial workers were women
Communism challenged traditional views of women - thought they should be free and not tied down by marriage
How did life not improve for the Soviet people under Stalin (first para) ?
1) All work in the arts was censored and had to praise Stalin (Socialist Realism) - no freedom of expression
2) Housing - in Moscow only 6% of households had more than one room, it was difficult to find and expensive
3) The health service had overwhelming demands and it was very rigid, with people being forced to do as they were told - including having operations that weren't required
4) Wages - the buying power of a worker's wages fell by over 50% during the first FYP
- the average worker in Moscow ate only 20% of the meat and fish they ate in 1900
How did life not improve for the Soviet people under Stalin (second para) ?
1) Religion + Discrimination of National minorities
- many churches were closed and priests deported, priests and their children were not allowed to vote
- muslims were banned from practicing Islamic law and women were encouraged to abandon the veil
- in some area, whole populations of national minorities were deported, in 1935-1938 at least 9 ethnic groups were deported
- the Finnish population around Leningrad fell by 1/3 in the 1930s
2) Discrimination of Women
- the vast majority of women remained in relatively low paid jobs or traditional roles
- there is evidence that women faced resentment from male colleagues and relatively few women were able to achieve promotion
- promises to make state-provided kindergartens didn't materialise and 1000s of women ere left to manage as best as they could with jobs and children
How did Stalin launch the Purges to make Russia stronger?
- Stalin believed that he was the only person who could transform the Soviet Union into a modern, industrialised country. He believed Russia had to become stronger to defend himself from attack, especially by Germany. Anyone who tried to stop him doing this, he believed, was a traitor
- The Purges were the only way that Stalin could get mass forced labour for his industrial and collectivisation policies
How did Stalin launch the Purges to get rid of opposition?
- Stalin was concerned that his enemies were plotting to overthrow him
- Many Communists, especially the old Bolsheviks, rejected Stalin as they were deeply disturbed by the violence of collectivisation in the 1930s and shocked by the mass slaughter and human misery it had brought about
- Stalin wanted to destroy any men who might form an alternative government, especially the "Old Bolsheviks"
How did Stalin launch the Purges to secure his position as leader?
- The purges were a good way of explaining setbacks: failures to achieve FYP targets could be blamed on "wreckers", showing the need for purges, rather than on any problems with the plans
- Stalin believed he was better than anyone else so if anyone else said that he was not the best, that person had to be killed or else he wold be a constant reminder to Stalin that he is not the best
- 1934: Stalin's position as leader was under threat. At a Seventeenth Party Congress that year, Kirov, a popular communist, received more applause than Stalin
Give some examples of how Stalin enforced the Purges
- 1932: Ryutin, a senior member of the Communist Party, criticised Stalin's economic policies - Stalin had him and his supporters arrested and put on trial, Ryutin was expelled from the party and sent into exile
- 1934: At a Seventeenth Party Congress that year, Kirov, a popular communist, received more applause than Stalin when he criticised Stalin's industrialisation policy and said it should be slowed down - he was shot and this murder was significant because it shows how ruthless Stalin was
- Stalin ordered people to look out for anyone opposing Stalin and to report them even without proper evidence
What was a show trial?
When Stalin put people in the communist party who were important on trial. The trial was put on in full view of the world and broadcast on radio
What sort of charges and evidence were used in the show trials?
- Charges included organising the murder of Kirov, planning to assassinate Stalin, planning to murder Lenin, industrial sabotage and spying
- Evidence was very poor - one of the hotels where the plotters were supposed to have et to plan the murder of Lenin had been demolished years before and Smirnov, another 'plotter' had been in jail at the time
Why did Stalin want confessions from the show trials?
Because they showed that the state and Stalin were right that a conspiracy did exist
Describe the first main show trial
1936 - Zinoviev, Kamenev and 14 others were enemies of Stalin as they had been important in the past. They were accused of organising the murder and Kirov and planning to assassinate Stalin so they were all executed
Describe the second main show trial
1937 - Senior Party members were accused of industrial sabotage and spying
Describe the third main show trial
1938 - Bukharin, Rykov and Yagoda. It was too dangerous for Stalin to have men like Bukharin around, who knew too much about the revolutionary days. Him and Yagoda (previous head of the NKVD) were shot
What were the effects of the purge of the armed forces in 1937?
Made Stalin strong as anyone left in the armed forces would be disciplined and loyal
Made Russia weak as it reduced the number of skilled people and there were fewer armed forces
How many people (from different sections of the party) were purged from the party?
1/5 of the members expelled or shot
of the 1961 delegates at the Seventeenth Party Congress in 1934, 1108 were arrested
90 out of 139 Central Committee members shot
5/11 of the Politburo in 1934 were shot
What were the effects of the Purges?
- Pulled Soviet society apart
- By 1939, over 20m Russians had been transported to labour camps (gulags) and approx. 12m died
- Mass graves: one in Chelyabinsk in the Urals was found with over 80,000 bodies
- Stalin's position was unchallengeable as all sources of opposition were crushed
- People were encouraged to denounce others, including family members e.g. Pavlik Morozov denounced his own father and one woman denounced 8000 people
- Created an atmosphere of terror
- 90% of Soviet generals were removed which left Russia in a desperate state at the start of WW2