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

To what extent did Stalin's security in power rely on terror

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent did Stalin's security in power rely on terror? Stalin often held public trials of leading enemies of the state, called Show Trials. Former leaders of the regime were accused of crimes against the government, and in nearly all these cases, they were executed. The proceedings would've been filmed, so they could be used for propaganda, and publicity for these events was maximised using the press. Stalin used the Show Trials also to attack Trotsky. He however, was one of the few who escaped without the death penalty, but Stalin began to regret simply expelling him from Russia, as he was still alive, and therefore still a threat. This shows us that the show trials were important as they allowed Stalin to remove opponents who posed threats to his power, and they also helped him to warn the public as to what could happen to them if they dared to condemn or criticise Stalin. Sergel Kirov was a leading Communist party politician, until he was assassinated in 1934. When collectivisation was proving unpopular, it was suggested that a conciliatory approach may be more appropriate, and it is possible that it was Kirov that put forward these ideas. He therefore posed a threat to Stalin's economic policies, and therefore could provide a reason for ordinary Russians to question his policies. As a result, Kirov was endangering Stalin's popularity as a leader. ...read more.

Middle

Though the right had expressed opposition to much of the Five Year Plan, there was no strong evidence supporting the Troskyite-Rightst Bloc to which members such as Rykov and Bukharin confessed. Bukharin wrote an article entitled "Notes of an Economist", in which he criticised the Five Year Plan, and made it clear that he opposed the economic policies. He was therefore viewed as a threat to Stalin, as his views could affect those of others. This meant Stalin had to have him executed in order to retain security in power. However, it was not only party officials that posed a threat to Stalin's security. The army's criticisms of collectivisation, meant they posed a threat to Stalin, and so in 1937 and 38, thousands of the Red Army were executed. There was a downside for Stalin to the purges also. With the growth of the purges, the role of the secret police also grew, and as a result, their influence on people increased. To ensure they posed no threat, the purgers themselves, were in turn, purged. The purges then extended beyond the party, as ordinary Russians were arrested. The whole population was living in terror, as anyone criticising Stalin was denounced. As a result, people became scared to be critical of Stalin, and so did not pass judgment on him or his policies. This gave him security in power. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stalin also discouraged religious worship. Increased working hours, and the threat of sacking if work was missed made it hard to attend church, and committees were even set up to weaken religious influence. This was important, as with the decrease of influence from religion, came the increase in influence from Stalin and his policies. The lack of religious influence, and Stalin's control of the media, meant that Russians were only hearing Stalin's ideals, and so would turn more towards his way of thinking, and so in turn, helping to secure his place in power. This I believe is more important than Stalin's alteration of family values, and of his education policies, but still was less effective than the purges. Under Stalin, there were also benefits for some people, and these benefits could be another explanation for his security in power; that many people actually approved of what he was doing. In contrast to Stalin's collectivised farms, his state farm workers received social benefits, and a higher wage. However, these benefits did not apply to many people, and certainly did not affect the majority of Russia in the way that the Great Terror did. Despite the presence of numerous other ways in which Stalin tried to control his power, such as censorship, I believe the most effective, and the most relied upon, was terror. The purges I believe were the most effective way of securing power, as they struck fear into ordinary Russians. Too scared to say anything for fear of death, meant that although many people may have opposed Stalin, nobody dared start a public rebellion. ...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. The causes of the show trials and purges of the 1930’s

    He states that Lenin described Trotsky as "not having a clue about politics."4 Pipes also expresses the ideas that Lenin trusted Stalin a great deal and that Stalin was Lenin's right hand man in his final days.5 Although it was not Lenin's wish that Stalin took control of the government,

  2. To what extent was equality achieved under Stalin?

    The Bolsheviks had never been fond of the peasants;24 they had conservative tendencies and petty-bourgeois attitudes. However, they would create the profit so desperately needed for industrialisation; without it there would be no socialism. Industrialisation and the Equality of the Proletariat It is crucial to note that Stalin was not the initiator of suppressing the rights of the proletariat.

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

    In the mean time, Zinoviev's intervention gave Stalin the time he required to destroy Trotsky's position in The Party's leadership, which he shrewdly achieved by encouraging the Right Wing to attack Trotsky, beginning with putting forward a new slogan- "Socialism in One Country".

  2. Were the Armenian killings of 1915 a deliberate act of genocide or a justifiable ...

    So far the actions of the Empire have matched this definition but there are key reasons, which make it more difficult to classify the 1915 killings in the same way. To begin with, breakdown of the Ottoman Empire*5 and the creation of the new Republic of Turkey lead by the CUP*6 (Committee of Union and Progress)

  1. Calvin and Knox: Religious Thinker and Religious Politician

    It was then, however, that his father ordered Calvin to change his studies to law, after failing out with local authorities (his father, was subsequently excommunicated). Calvin obeyed and left Paris for Orl´┐Żans (Online: Schaff, p. 1). Similarly, Knox completed his education at the University of Glasgow, however, it is

  2. Mass media

    All leaders totally agreed on that the soviet union should progress into a strong socialised country by developing the agriculture and industry yet it would be how this would be maintained and how fast it should take place, relating on two main issues: NEP and 'Permanent Revolution'.

  1. Evaluate historical comparisons of Hitler and Stalin and their regimes

    that their similarities are fundamental and is what makes them both totalitarian dictators. Comparing Hitler and Stalin has always proving to be difficult task for historians as they were born 10 years apart in different countries and from different backgrounds.

  2. To What Extent was Stalin's Personal Paranoia the Main Reason for the Purges?

    Lenin exhibited a fetish for ideological purity and the 'correct line'.5 Pyatakov reportedly said of Lenin 'he would be ready to believe that black was white and white was black if the Party required it'.6 This attitude goes someway towards explaining the attitudes of the accused as Smirnov is recorded

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