• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critical Review of "Let History Judge" by Roy Medvedev. The concluding chapter of this book describes the last years of Stalins life. It describes, following Stalins 70th birthday, how the old despot became more and more suspicious .

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Critical Review Let History Judge, Roy Medvedev The concluding chapter of this book describes the last years of Stalin's life. It describes, following Stalin's 70th birthday, how "the old despot became more and more suspicious ". It describes that his paranoia extended to such lengths that he was nearly living in complete isolation, the woods surrounding where he lived would be filled with traps and mines, his personal bodyguard grew in number greatly, and all who had an audience with him where thoroughly searched. This suspicion resulted in considerable danger to anyone who dared challenge Stalin, to argue or dispute him "was equivalent to suicide ". Stalin became suspicious of even his most trusted aides, Molotov and Poskrebshev's wives were arrested, and Kaganovich's brother was driven to suicide. These once trusted men were driven away from important decision making, Stalin even publicly declaring some of these, among others, as enemy spies. It goes on to describe Stalin's death through brain haemorrhage. The main part of this conclusive chapter poses the main ideas and questions concerning Stalin's rule, namely, did the costs of his reign, numerous as they are, outweigh the benefits to the communist movement, not only in Russia but the entire world. Medvedev gives the viewpoints from various perspectives; including bourgeois historians, Soviet, Interpretation from West German media, Marxist Historiography, socialist and revisionist, Dogmatists and Stalinists, other Communists interpretations from other countries (namely Communist China), and his own, Marxist-Leninist views. ...read more.

Middle

" A communist Chinese editorial from the newspaper People's Daily shared an equally lenient view saying "...Stalin did make certain mistakes...In the course of struggle to root out counterrevolution...many counter-revolutionaries who needed to be punished were justly punished, but innocent people were also mistakenly condemned. " Medvedev describes, to his obvious disgust, how the article goes on to conclude that Stalin mistakes were useful, for they provided a lesson to other communists. The second thesis of these groups is what Medvedev would call balancing; the groups concede that Stalin committed mistakes and crimes which were not necessarily needed for the building of socialism. But they also state that Stalin accomplished a great deal, and that if all his crimes and mistakes are weighed against his achievements and successes, the latter far outweighs the former. One dogmatist even stated that Stalin's record is 30% crime and 70% accomplishment. The Peking People's Daily stated in 1956 and 1963 that "If Stalin's merits are compared with his mistakes, his merits are greater than his mistakes. " Medvedev gives the argument against Stalinism in the concluding paragraphs. He states that "Genuine Communists "cannot answer the questions, which were greater, Stalin's accomplishments or crimes? This cannot be answered simply because this formulation contains the hidden suggestion that great merits give someone the right to commit certain crimes. ...read more.

Conclusion

an assault on old Bolshevik individuals that were "honourably serving the interests of the masses" In Medvedev eyes, Stalin was a hindrance to the Russian communist movement, not an aid to it; he believed that his few relatively insignificant merits, using the theory of balancing, were far fewer than his crimes and mistakes. He cited the philosopher G.Pomerants to illustrate his point "to restore respect for Stalin, knowing what he did, is to establish respect for denunciations, tortures, executions... is to set up a moral monstrosity near our banner... Even Stalin did not try to do that. " Medvedev clearly shows how different cultures, interpretations and perspectives viewed Stalin, but his personal opinions, although in his case justifiable, do not necessarily give an objective picture of what Stalin achieved (or failed to achieve) during his time of leadership. Medvedev describes Stalin's reign as a disease, which resulted in Russia losing "many of its finest sons "(very possibly referring to his father), he scrutinizes any opinion which glorifies Stalin, giving a clear opinion that Soviet Communist Russia progressed despite Stalin, not through him. A final quote succinctly illustrates Medvedev's viewpoint: "Stalin was for thirty years the helmsman of the ship of state, clutching its steering wheel with a grip of death. Dozens of times he steered it onto reefs and shoals and far off course. Shall we be grateful to him because he did not manage to sink it altogether? " ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the view that Stalins suspicions of his western allies between 1941 and 1945 ...

    4 star(s)

    The North African Campaign took place from 10th June 1940 to 13th May 1943. It included battles fought in Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Many of the countries fighting in this campaign had North African interests of colonisation and would therefore be vital to prestige and power once the war was over.

  2. To what extent was Napoleon an enlightened despot?

    This conclusive evidence about the nature and substance of his reign can support no other view than that Napoleon was a dictator with ultimate control. The distinction, however, between an enlightened despot and a 'run of the mill' dictator can only be by looking at whether he upheld the Revolutionary principles.

  1. How far was Stalin's personality responsible for the purges?

    to the downfall of Russia, and the removal or reversal of his policies could lead to a disaster. There is some basis is this motive, as an example is Kirov, who had opposed the pace of industrialization, and had been a potential threat and focal point of opposistion to Stalin's

  2. To what extent was equality achieved under Stalin?

    The New Economic Policy (NEP) promised an even better future for Lenin's peasantry: "the cultural and economic policies of these years created a feeling of relative satisfaction among the peasantry".13 This positive mood was enhanced by the memories of War Communism, when the Bolsheviks had implemented rigid control by enforcing grain requisitioning upon the peasants.

  1. To what extent were the Stalinist purges simply a way of eliminating his rivals?

    decision by planning and cunning, merely a panicked and unnerved reaction to an overestimated opponent. However this interpretation of Trotsky's personality is based simply on the writings of Robert Conquest, who, although a well known historian on Stalin's career wrote his assessment in 1968, 18 years after the death of Trotsky.

  2. How far did Stalin manage to modernize Russia by 1938?

    its goals - there was less food than before, and the peasants were not "happy socialists". In fact, looking at the figures, despite the falling grain harvests, state procurement was only rising and at a very steep rate. In 1928, 73.3 million tones were produced, and 10.8 of them were

  1. Russia and its Locomotive of History

    The Zemstva (small governments that represented peasants, townspeople and the gentry in each village) were also established in 1864 and extended a small level of democracy at a local level. The idea of a revolution was implemented notably during and after the defeat of the Crimean War - thus each

  2. The Impact of Stalins Leadership in the USSR, 1924 1941. Extensive notes

    After Lenin became ill, Kamenev along with Zinoviev supported Stalin in opposing Trotsky. Supported Stalin in 1934 at the 17th Party Congress but this did save him ? was arrested and executed in 1936 after the Kirov assassination. Kamenev?s strengths in the power struggle: 1.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work