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Was Stalins personality the most important reason behind the Purges? (24 Marks)

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Was Stalin?s personality the most important reason behind the Purges? (24 Marks) If one was to define the word purge they would receive the ideology of purification or the removal of incompetent impurities. In Stalin?s? regime it saw the removal of those who were labelled as ?wreckers?, ?sabotages?, traitors and in some cases those who were believed to be spies. The Great Purge which lasted four years affected everyone from party members to ordinary civilians who were prosecuted under the suspicion of treason against the regime. The Purges were introduced after the murder of Kirov, which then came to impact the daily life of Russians, the idea of war and Industrial production. However was Kirov?s death just an excuse to allow Stalin to assemble his leadership onto the party or did his personality play too much of an influence? Stalin used the murder of Sergei Kirov to his advantage by using it to display corruption within Russia and maybe its party and to show that conspiracies were underway against the regime. Kirov, who had publically argued with Stalin on several occasions on policies and ideas, threatened Stalin?s influence as he won the support of the majority making Stalin a minority. Later Kirov was assassinated by a younger party member. ...read more.


As the Great Purges began to rapidly impact on industrialisation which prevented the modernisation that Stalin wanted, it was called to an end. To relieve himself of all the blame he passed it on to the last remaining original Bolshevik who had not yet died at the hands of Stalin, Yezhov , the NKVD chief was burdened with the blame of horrific guilt over the results of the Purges. After Yezhov?s death, Stalin remained the only original Bolshevik left leaving him unthreatened by competition from other members. Believing that Stalins personality was the main focus of the cause of the purges is a Totalitarian view. As his selfish personality, allowed him to eliminate competition from other Bolsheviks through the method of murder for leadership. Stalin did not only kill just his opponents, but also their family and anyone associated or sympathetic of them. In this view, it is believed that members of the NKVD followed the instructions handed to them from the highest authority. However, here Stalin made sure that it seemed like he was not connected to them in terms of their actions by depicting that what ever brutal task they did was of their own accord. The element of fear was built up within the people as Stalin allowed the purges to act as a way to control the people through manipulation and terror. ...read more.


However, J.Arch Getty had said, ?Scholars have often discussed the Great purges only against the background of Stalin?s personality and categorised Stalinism simply as the undisputed rule of an omniscient and omnipotent dictator?. Which allows us to see that this historian believes it is a bit arrogant to assume that it was only Stalins personality which concluded to the terror and that other factors too play a part in the final event. Overall, it is my personal opinion as a Totalitarian, to believe that Stalins personality played a major role in the brutality that occurred. As it would be naive to assume that a leader as calculated as Stalin had proved, through the elimination of his ex Bolshevik pals such as Bukharin failed to see what was happening under his own rule. Through the characteristics of Stalin I have received, he trusts no one after the death of his wife and it would be idiocy for him to trust the NKVD alone to deal with the branded ?traitors? as such, as this may lead to corruption within the NKVD. To add to this, if he didnt even trust the Red Army who fought with him, why would he trust men alone with his enemies-it makes no sense. Stalin is a hands on man, not a background man who is unknown to what he has and hasn?t permitted. ...read more.

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