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How did Stalin conrtol the USSR?

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How did Stalin control the USSR? During the `930s Stalin consolidated his position as the supreme dictator of the Soviet Union. Stalin's USSR developed into a brutal totalitarian state, like Hitler's Germany. A totalitarian state is one in which those in power have total control of the people. Every aspect of peoples lives in controlled and monitored. Stalin's totalitarian state of the 1930s had the following characteristics; it was a one party state, controlled through the use of terror, a secret police force (the NKVD), the gulag (forced labour camps), a cult of the leader, propaganda and censorship, control of education, control of the arts and sciences. In other words, Stalin maintained his dictatorship in the USSR by two main methods. To control by using force and terror and to control by persuasion and ideas. The 'great purges' lasted from 1934 to 1938. The meaning of the term purge is a 'drastic clear out'. The purges were the major method of control used by Stalin against anyone he believed was a threat to his dictatorship. The secret police (NKVD) were used as a means of carrying out the purges. During this period of millions of Russians were arrested and either sent to the Gulag or shot. Figures are constantly being revised in the light of new evidence. ...read more.


Many have claimed Stalin had ordered the assassination which was committed by Leonid Nikolayev. It was ordered by the suggest because Stalin feared the growing popularity of kirov and would go to any lengths to maintain his position. Stalin always denied the claim that he was responsible but whatever the truth of the matter; Stalin certainly used it as a pretext to launch the purges. The Kirov murder provided Stalin with the perfect excuse to destroy the opposition that was growing against him. Stalin claimed that the Kirov murder proved that there was a conspiracy against him and to destroy the party. Using the atmosphere of fear created by the murder, he ordered the arrests and justified it by Kirov murder. In 1936, Stalin set about purging the communist party to get rid of all those who might oppose or threaten his position, particularly whose who had been close to Lenin in the past who were not as loyal to Stalin. The first to go were Kanenev and Zinoviev. They were arrested along with 14 others and were accused or organizing the murder of Kirov and plotting to assassinate Stalin. They were put on trial in full view of the world in the famous show trials of the 1930s. Such trials were an important part of the purges and were broadcast on radio. ...read more.


But by forcing the accused to deliver humiliating public confessions while on public trial - they were broadcast both inside the USSR and to the outside west. This gave Stalin many advantages. They served to justify the present and future terror. Stalin's claim that there was a widespread conspiracy to overthrow the state now seemed real and therefore the confessions justified the killings and Stalin was seen as a hero rather than a mass murderer. The confessions justified the continuation of the terror in other words it gave Stalin the go ahead to eliminate further opposition and secure his position even more. The confessions also gave names of others. Not only did the accused admit their own guilt but they also gave the names of others - denunciations - that were guilty of 'counter revolution'. This ensured that the terror continued and made it easier to punish other opponents of Stalin. As well as serving as a justification for the terror purges to the soviet people it also served as a justification to the west who Stalin was trying to gain support off in an attempt to form an anti Nazi alliance. So to conclude, Stalin became the powerful dictator he was by using force and terror on the people of Russia so they wouldn't have the physical or mental power to overthrow Stalin. Stalin created an atmosphere of fear, and it paid off as not only did he become the supreme dictator but he also transformed Russia into a super power. ...read more.

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