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

Did Stalin pervert the message of the "real communists?"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Did Stalin pervert the message of the "real communists?" Stalin's role in the Soviet Union has been a topic of controversy amongst historians, both in Russia and in the West, ever since his death in 1953. Coming to power in a time of great hardship for his country he turned the Russian spirit over and began building the new foundations for a modern "super power." Head of the Bolshevik party set up by Lenin and ruler of the first ever communist state, Stalin was set the task of successfully integrating communism into a country where seven years of war had left the population starving and the economy in ruins. When considering such aspects of Stalinism as his tyrannical rule, his exploitation of both the peasant and urban population, and his reign of terror, it is hard to understand how Stalin upheld the principles of communism at all. Having said this Stalin did bring about collectivisation of agriculture, a free and compulsory system of education as well as a significant increase in industry, all of which were seen as essential ingredients to a socialist revolution. Contrary to the popular belief that communism first came about with Marx the origins of this notion can in fact be traced back to long before the industrial revolution. The story of Adam and Eve for instance told of a society based on the idea of equality. It was, however, Karl Marx, with his communist manifesto who really developed this concept and provided a concrete base for the political ideology which was to be called communism. When discussing "real communism" it is therefore logical to base our arguments on the ideas outlined in the communist manifesto. ...read more.

Middle

The communities that existed within these farms were thus based on a communist mentality where everyone would work together for a common goal. People pooled together their equipment, crops, livestock, and technology, carrying out the abolition of private property which Marx said "summed up the theory of the communists in a single sentence." (Communist manifesto) Theoretically, collectivisation was therefore in full accordance with true communism. This revolutionary method of farming was put in place at a phenomenal pace, by 1937, 90% of all farmland had been collectivised. Stalin did also abolish all free markets in grain by 1929 which was undeniably in keeping with true communism. Collectivisation also provided the promise of a classless society. Under the NEP, a wealthier class of peasants had been born, these peasants were called Kulaks. Stalin used this class as a scapegoat for agricultural failure and then for the initial disaster brought about through collectivisation. He proceeded to wipe out this entire class of peasants who he saw as a threat to communism, around 10 million were deported, killed, or put into labour camps. These ruthless methods succeeded in eliminating the hierarchy that existed in rural areas yet failed to show any respect for the dignity of human life, a concept which true communism obviously upheld. The kulaks were by no means the only ones to suffer from the five year plans. In the towns, workers were forced to work long hours for ridiculously low wages. Ironically, their living conditions were often unbearable. Marx had, on many occasions, denounced the deplorable living conditions of the workers of the industrial revolution and now that communism had been put in place, the conditions were as bad if not worse than under capitalism. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rate of literacy soared under Stalin's rule as education was made free and compulsory and adults were taught how to read and write. Marx had promised "Free education for all children in public schools" in his communist manifesto and that is what the Russians received. Stalin also upheld Marx's view of religion as he rejected it, yet replaced it with his personality cult. So it is true that, to some degree Stalin abided by Marx's ideal of communism in his attempt to create a classless society and implement a planned economy. Despite certain advantages that his rule may have brought, the sheer exploitation of the people, coupled with his reign of terror and self-portrayal as a God, created a society which by no means compare to the "paradise" Marx predicted. Many historians, such as Roy Medeven, for example, reject the argument that Stalinism abided by communist ideals altogether and give him "no credit at all." The fact that the period under Lenin's rule is now called Marxist-Leninism and that the period under Stalin's rule is simply called Stalinism, gives us a solid indication that Stalin did not abide by the message of the true communists. As Norman Lowe states, "Instead of Marxism, dictatorship of the proletariat, there was merely Stalinism and dictatorship of Stalin." Some argue, however, that the blame for this failure does not lie with Stalin, but with the ideal of communism that is believed to be impossible to implement successfully. This theory holds some weight when one takes the example of any other attempt at communist rule. Whether it be in China under Mao, or Cambodia under Pol Pot, no regime has ever honoured Marx's idea of communism in its purest form. The fact is that where there has been a revolution the Marxist ideology has been hijacked by the eternal human thirst for power. ...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 ...

    There was also a concentration on heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods or good housing. Again, overall it was successful. The USSR was successfully modernised, and there was genuine Communist enthusiasm generated among the young 'Pioneers'. New purpose built industrial cities was constructed.

  2. Operation Barbarossa

    an attack in Finland which would cut the German supplies of Iron, nickel etc. Another reason for invading Russia was a particular objective he had in mind, Hitler wanted 'Lebensraum' for the German people, this meant more free space as the German economy was expanding at a very rapid rate and therefore needed more room for the 'superior race'.

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

    Due to the new dams and hydroelectric power stations that were getting built at a high speed as well as the electricity production rocketing, Stalin also didn't have to worry about where he was to get his energy source from to run his industries.

  2. The Policies of Joseph Stalin 1928 1953

    Source I is completely unreliable because it is an official document and the language is biblical which portrays Stalin as a "God-like" figure. 5. Look at sources K and L. How far do these sources agree about Stalin's show trials? Source K is an American cartoon about Stalin's show trials.

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

    quickly , since the generation of ideas would have been much slower . The development of steam power had lead onto many aspects of the Revolution , especially the trains which was vital to the Revolution . Though trains had come after a short period of when canals were used .

  2. Stalin and the Five Year Plans

    Although they could have complained, they most probably would have just been punished and the punishments enforced by the government were ones that workers wanted to avoid at all costs. Propaganda also gave the people of Russia a head figure to look up to and to give them an idea of what they could amount to.

  1. CHINA UNDER MAO, 1945-C.1976

    It is obvious from sources that the Red Guards were a force- a very strong, brutal force- behind Mao. Consequently, there are many different opinions about why Mao launched the Revolution; people believed that he wanted more power, that he believed that "various areas of command had been corrupted or

  2. History Force essay. A specific individual and group, Lenin and the Bolsheviks ...

    It is Lenin's interpretations of Marxist theory within the agrarian Russian Empire of the early 20th century. Lenin reversed Marx's order of economics over politics, allowing for a political revolution led by a vanguard Party of professional revolutionaries rather than a spontaneous uprising of the working class as predicted by Marx.

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