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

How and with what results to 1939 did Stalin succeed in asserting his personal authority over the USSR?

Extracts from this document...


How and with what results to 1939 did Stalin succeed in asserting his personal authority over the USSR? During the period between Lenin's death, 1924, and the end of the 'Great Purge', 1939, Stalin managed to assert personal authority over the USSR by gaining complete control of the Communist Party and using terror to eliminate opposition to his role as leader. After a successful joint effort with Kamenev and Zinoviev to remove Trotsky from the Communist Party, Stalin turned his attention towards eliminating Kamenev and Zinoviev themselves, as they were a threat to his influence over the party. Both had attacked Stalin's authority and criticised the idea of having one single leader in the party. Therefore in 1926 party meetings were held in Moscow and Leningrad and attended by critics of both Zinoviev and Kamenev. These meetings saw that loyal members of the party were put in control of the two cities and that Zinoviev and Kamenev were removed as Secretaries of local parties. Zinoviev and Kamenev however, in 1926, joined with Trotsky in the 'United Opposition' to attack the policies of the Communist Party. Rather than debasing the party as they had hoped, this action led to their complete removal from the Politburo in 1926 and 1927. ...read more.


It was perhaps then inevitable that this change in policy should be accompanied by a purge of party members. During 1928-1930, 11 per cent of members were removed from the party, and then from 1933-1935 another 20 percent were ejected. A further 9 percent of party members were expelled in 1936 by not being issued new membership cards. Whether this was a way of ridding the party of lazy members and drunks or whether Stalin was trying to rid himself of critics and potential rivals is debatable. However, the reasons given for expulsion such as being spies or linked to spies, being Zinovievites and being former White Guards or Kulaks, suggest that it was a fear of opposition within the party that incited these purges as opposed to a desire for more respectable party members. Whether this was due to Stalin's insecurity or not, this way of controlling party membership was certainly a key factor in the assertion of Stalin's authority in the USSR. On 1 December 1934, Politburo member and Leningrad party leader Kirov was assassinated. A young party member, Nikolaev, was accused and shot without trial for the murder. The NKVD announced that he had been part of a Trotskyite centre in Leningrad which all party members were then ordered to guard against. ...read more.


However, out of the vast numbers shot by the NKVD, it is unlikely that more than a few were personally known to Stalin, and it was not he alone who selected the victims, even though he did authorize mass killings. These factors suggest that the 'Great Purge' and the show trials were not Stalin personally eradicating opposition, but were high ranking members of the Communist Party, loyal to Stalin trying to protect him from the so called threat of resistance in order to stay in his favour. However, whether Stalin was personally in control of these events or not, they still played a major part in the assertion of his authority over the USSR. Therefore by 1939, Stalin had succeeded by various means in gaining unquestionable authority over the Communist Party and the USSR. Aided by Lenin's system of a one party government, Stalin managed to remove all those seen as major or even minor threats to his position, both within and outside of the Communist Party. This resulted in what can be seen as a personal dictatorship over the USSR which was kept in place by the use of terror rather than due to mass support. Francesca Robson ...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 ...

    Building these great industrial sites would have been hard work as they were built from scratch Stalin successfully invested into huge new tractor works that were built in Stalingrad, Kharkov and other places to meet the needs of mechanised agriculture.

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

    In conclusion, personally, I believe that the idea of Stalin's glorification is not the only important reason why he decided to embark on his industrialisation programme, the issues discussed above were all linked and contributed significantly to bring about rapid industrialisation - Stalin's main aim as the leader of the USSR.

  1. How did Stalin establish his dictatorship 1928 -41?

    The Secret Police also ran the Labour Camps in which millions of people were imprisoned and forced to do hard work on construction and mining projects and around 13 million died because of the cold, lack of food and the ill treatment.

  2. How Successful Was Roosevelt’s New Deal?

    In the wet season, the Tennessee Valley would flood while in the summer, it would be little more than a trickle. It was a huge dust bowl. There were social problems also. Most people within the Tennessee Valley lived in poverty and had no electricity.

  1. The Policies of Joseph Stalin 1928 1953

    is popular and actively worked with the Soviet people in the 1930's to build a stronger economy. These sources are biased and will only show what Stalin wanted people to see; they are examples of classic propaganda that Stalin used to create a cult of personality.

  2. Source related questions on Joseph Stalin

    Stalin is closed to any new ideas and changing his policies. Stalin loved to be in control of everything and did not like being told what to do. Therefore, he did not take any advice and ran the country the way he wanted to.

  1. How successful by 1939 had Stalin been in achieving his aims in the USSR?

    Stalin achieved this by cutting off the "Old Bolsheviks" and regarding them as the enemy and alienating them from his own party. He was able to do this by primarily emphasising on their different opinions, particularly regarding the "Permanent Revolution" policy and use this to distinguish himself from the others whilst undermining them.

  2. Stalin was able to obtain total power in the USSR by the end of ...

    This would make Stalin harder to kick his supporters out. But Stalin was cunning enough to think of this strategy instead of confronting Trotsky directly, as he was able to realize that Trotsky was an overconfident and proud person and would find the fact that he was unable to influence

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