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

Assessment on whether Stalin was a necessary evil.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assessment on whether Stalin was a necessary evil Marxism was a doctrine formulated by Karl Marx about the elimination of economic inequality and class conflicts. According to Marxism social and political relationships depend on economic factors because whichever group in society controls the "means of production" also has political control. Marx believed that historical change was a series of stages that were influenced by economic forces and that each stage had to be completed before the next could begin. In a classes and stateless society, co-operation will replace competition and this final and perfect stage of human history would be communism. In Russia the government was essentially feudal, the majority of the population were peasants, and capitalism was in its infancy. Lenin realised that in order to bring about revolution Marxism would have to be adopted to suit these conditions. Lenin developed the argument that the economic resources that imperialism provided were used to "buy off" workers in capitalist countries by improving working and living conditions. This made workers less revolutionary, as the system did not appear to be treating them badly. His view of the dictatorship of the Proletariat was that the Party would form a dictatorship to fight counter-revolutionary attempts, take away private property and end free enterprise to build a secure socialist state. The 1917 February Revolution saw the end of the Romanov dynasty as Tsar Nicholas abdicated and his place soviets (Russian for councils) were set up across the country to represent soldiers, workers and peasants, which allowed the Provisional Government led by Alexander Kerensky to govern. ...read more.

Middle

Deportation deprived new farms of skilled and ambitious labour and destroying existing farms precipitated widespread famine. It is estimated that at least 13 million people died of starvation in the period 1932-1933 due to the food shortages caused by the disruption in rural areas forcing many to break the law just to provide for their starving families. Collectivisation meant the destruction of a centuries old way of life and a drastic drop in living standards for peasants. Collectivisation faced widespread resistance and in an attempt to overcome this resistance Stalin's regime assembled shock brigades, who used indiscriminate violence against the peasantry. In response many slaughtered animals, burnt crops, houses and destroyed farm equipment instead of handing them over o the state. Within two years the country lost approximately 60% of its livestock and food production took a decade to return to pre-collectivisation levels. Stalin blamed this drop in food production on Kulaks (rich peasants) who he believed were capitalistic parasites organising resistance to collectivisation. He ordered all Kulaks to be either shot or transported to prison camps. Certainly grain was needed in order to purchase industrial equipment, to improve supplies to the rapidly growing towns and to create state reserves but such extreme measures were not required. Command polices replaced economic methods. The targets set by GOSPLAN for industrialisation were unrealistically high but the results of the First Five Year Plan (1927-1932) were impressive with industrial output increasing on a massive scale. During the 1930s mass literacy campaigns and the increase in government spending on education meant that education levels rose sharply and by the 1940s many could read and write. ...read more.

Conclusion

Historians argue that Stalinism occurred due to the consequences of the Civil War and that ruthless behaviour in order to stay in power was continued for decades while others say that since Russia did not have a democratic tradition, people were used to tyrannical rulers and that Stalin was no different. Even though the foundations of the Stalinist state existed before Stalin came to power, i.e., consequences of Leninism, Stalin perverted these to consolidate his own power. Stalin's personal traits of dominance, manipulation and determination to pursue his idea at all costs influenced his policies and it is these reasons why Stalinism occurred. He brought the country from a backward status into a great industrial power and built a country with no unemployment, social services for all citizens and mass literacy. By leading the country to victory in WWII and holding the "encircling capitalist countries" at bay, Stalin's success in unparallel in history given the situation. However he created a "cult of personality" eliminating all independent thought and institutional initiative and was responsible for the deaths of millions during collective campaigns. Unlike capitalism, which can adapt to economic surroundings, communism is based on rigidity and must adhere to ideological constraints. Stalin established system that lacked a smooth transition of power after his death and dragged the USSR into a Cold War with America who had the ability to out produce and out spend because of its market based economy and privatisation of debt. Stalin's harsh polices are indefensible on a moral or human level. The idea of the end justifying the means as his modus operandi was erroneous and the staggering cost in human lives overrides any progression achieved under a brutal rule. --------------------------- 1. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 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 GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays

  1. 'The Five Year Plans brought glory to Stalin and misery to his people.' How ...

    However, the real horror never took place until 1934 when Purges began to take place when Kirov, the leader of the Leningrad Communist Party was assassinated. Stalin cleverly used his intelligence to clear out all his opponents because of the murder.

  2. How did living conditions change in towns as a result of the Industrial Revolution ...

    One of the developments that had influenced the forward movement was the productivity and usefulness of transport . Transportation was vital since in order to send goods to the market and to transport coal and other raw materials , an efficient mode of transport was needed to ensure that the productivity met the demands at a reasonable time .

  1. 'The Five Year Plans brought glory to Stalin and misery to his people' - ...

    it still didn't prevent the famine harming the Russian economy as millions died in Ukraine and Kazakhstan - two of Russia's most industrial regions. Moreover, the collectivisation process even though it promised to bring about increased grain production and profits which would be equally shared out to avoid starvation, the

  2. Free essay

    The League of Nations was formed in 1919 to encourage the member countries to ...

    The following were reasons why Tsarist rule ended in 1917: (i) the influence of Rasputin; (ii) the collapse of the army; (iii) the strikes and food shortages Which of these reasons do you think were the most important? Explain your answer, referring to (i), (ii)

  1. How did the rule of Stalin affect the Soviet Union?

    Tomsky committed suicide in 1936. After Lenin's death of the 7 man Politburo only 3 escaped death. Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico. The police chief Yagoda and Yezhov were executed. Local party officials went missing by the thousands; in 1934-38 one and a half million party officials were purged.

  2. Russia 1905-1945 Stalin - man or monster - source based questions

    with the workers, which means that Stalin refused to be seen with people of a lower class than him, so this lacks reliability. Whereas source D is written by Stalin, it contains unrealistic + inaccurate information. It is considered as a biased source.

  1. The Policies of Joseph Stalin 1928 1953

    Source G is likely to be a "set up" because it is unlikely that all schools in Russia would be as well resourced as this one. The photograph may be legitimate, but it might have been taken of a private school in Moscow; therefore the standard of education in the school would be much better than in a rural school.

  2. To what extent was Stalin's economic policy successful? In the 1920's the soviet economy ...

    Service, A History of Twentieth-Century Russia 1997, pp. 181-82 Mr. Service is writing in 1997 and being an historian he has access to hindsight and greater resources giving this source good utility. There are no questionable motives behind this source as the historian does not seem to have direct involvement.

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