• 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...


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.


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.


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

    In 1937 a census of 50 million Russians said they still had religious beliefs. Stalin was unable to wipe religion completely out of Russia. Even though most people cooperated with Stalin, a large amount of believers met in secret. Baptists met in secret in homes or the outdoors.

  2. The Policies of Joseph Stalin 1928 1953

    How far do these sources show this to be true? In the Soviet Union, during 1928 - 1953, Stalin had absolute control over everything. He was a talented politician who eventually reached and maintained his position of "Supreme Ruler". He was the most powerful dictators in the 20th Century.

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

    During the 1700 to around 1750 , canals were the main focus on transportation . This had resulted in many of them being constructed between production and trading areas .This particular method and the usage of canals seemed appropriate for some time but were not ideal when large masses of material needed to be transported .

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

    confidence and strength which allowed her not to only withstand Germany but to ultimately defeat her when Hitler tried to invade Russia in 1941. This again shows us that Stalin had modernised Russia effectively to a large degree. Noticeably, from a positive point of view, it can be argued that

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

    However I do believe that during Stalin's reign and time in power the Five Year Plans, which improved the industrialisation of the USSR and made it a force in the world to be reckoned with. However, while the country was reaching for the objectives pointed out in the Five Year

  2. How important was Stalin compared to Lenin in creating the Soviet Union?

    This was written by Michal Lynch in his book Reaction and revolutions: Russia 1881-1924. From this I can conclude that Lenin was destroying his enemies not out of hatred, but out of a desire to protect his society. I think that this is very important, because it demonstrates that Lenin

  1. " Stalin was an evil dictator whose rule did nothing to improve Russia".

    The image shows Stalin with his citizens (farm workers) and it shows how pleased they were at the fact of collectivisation. As the photo was created by the Russian Information agency it was intended for propaganda use and it message was that Stalin was sympathetic to the Russian public and

  2. How did Stalin transform the economy of the USSR in the 1930s?

    High unemployment persisted throughout the NEP. The workers complained bitterly about the gap between themselves and the 'better off'. They complained about the high prices charged for food by the peasants and market traders and about the bourgeois specialists and officials who were paid so much more than they were.

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