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Assessment on whether Stalin was a necessary evil.

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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.

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