• 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 ...

    The State Planning Authority, Gosplan were the ones who drew up the first Five Year Plans. The first plan mainly concentrated on improving the industry of the soviet as I have mentioned earlier. The first plan wanted to improve coal, steel, oil, and iron production.

  2. The Policies of Joseph Stalin 1928 1953

    The wealthiest families were also deported to other regions. Both the "actively hostile" and wealthiest families' property was confiscated and given to the local kolkhoz. Those categorised as "less harmful" were allowed to stay. Source B agrees with the statement because Stalin liquidated the Kulaks because they were the only real threat to the success of collectivisation.

  1. Stalin and the Five Year Plans

    Many workers died whilst building industrial plants, mines or other buildings wanted by the government. Although when they were built they were successful, hundreds, probably thousands of workers died during the construction periods. In conclusion, it has to be said that there were probably more things that brought miserly to the Russian people than there were to bring them comfort.

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

    a huge 95 million tons by 1940 when the second Five Year Plans were over. Above all, the result of these Five Year Plans was that it helped to nearly eliminate unemployment from Russia as there were enough industrial workplaces and hydroelectric power plants where people could work and living off.

  1. Using these four passages and your own knowledge, explain how and why historians disagree ...

    and the modifications made by him to the Marxist's idea, "the proletariat would have lost, and the enemies of the proletariat would have won." For these historians, Lenin is solely responsible for the communism in Russia." It was through Lenin's "courage to replace one of the old propositions" that Marxism was able to flourish in Russia.

  2. Source related questions on Joseph Stalin

    Finally, the reporter from the USSR has got 'reliarble news' written on his paper. This heading is used in such a way that it emphasises the word liar. This tells you that the public are not hearing the truth. From this, I can gather that information about the way people in the USSR are being treated stays in the USSR.

  1. Operation Barbarossa

    But as the army was restored the Red Army took the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania, and in the same month parts of Romania. This was a move that, to Hitler's eyes, brought Russia too close to the oil fields of Ploesti; Germanys only oil supply, vital for tanks, planes, ships etc.

  2. Assess the Impact Stalin Had On Russia and Its People Stalin came to ...

    By 1937 nearly 22 million Russian's had died either of starvation, being sent to prison camps or by the death sentence. One of collectivization's main aims was to modernise agricultural methods, but this was not accomplished as the peasants who worked on the farms were uneducated and were not able to handle the new machinery.

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