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Rhydymwyn Coursework

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Stalin: Man or Monster? 1. Study Sources A, B and C. Do these sources give similar or different impressions of Stalin? Explain your answer with references to the sources. There seems to be two very diverse messages given out by Source A and Sources B and C; which are fairly synonymous in their impression of Stalin. On one hand we have Source A which is a cartoon of Stalin published in Paris in the 1930's. The cartoon depicts the figure of Stalin amongst pyramids of skulls as a result of his purges and tyrannical regimes; showing that people suffered greatly at a cost. This clearly shows Stalin in a bad light as a monster ruling over his people with a series of oppressive regimes and killing anyone who crosses his path. However, it is hard to know if this is an accurate portrayal of Stalin as the cartoon could be biased because we do not know where it was published or by whom. Whereas, the impression of Stalin in Sources B and C are the other extreme; if one had no previous knowledge of Stalin and was presented with Sources B and C one would immediately jump to the conclusion that Stalin was a good leader, concerned with the welfare of his country and his people. Source B is an official Soviet painting of Stalin with the workers at a new hydroelectric power station in the 1930's. This would suggest that Stalin was concerned with the wellbeing of his people and responsible for improvements in Russia. Also, that Stalin does not place himself above others and believe he is too important to be in a picture with mere workers but rather he is working alongside them, however; Stalin is portrayed in white so he stands out and symbolises his 'purity'. Although, we must take into account that as the source is an official Soviet painting it could be biased as the Soviet Union would want to portray Stalin as a man of the people. ...read more.


In this source the American's are seen telling Stalin 'Yes I'm Guilty' and 'Of course I'm a traitor' whilst in the background a gallows can be seen. The message of this cartoon is that the accused are aware that however much evidence they provide and however hard they attest to their innocence in Stalin's eyes they are guilty and will inevitably be hanged as traitors. Also, this could also refer to Stalin's tactics of threatening the victim's family unless they admit to the crimes they most likely never committed. Whereas, Source J although sharing the same message takes a different aspect; this may be because France is more vulnerable than America so the mockery is more subtle. The source depicts a court room where the judge, jury and everyone else are all figures of Stalin. This refers to the main reason for the 'show trials' that as Stalin was paranoid of being overthrown and losing his power he set up trials for well - known people or anyone who may possibly have gone against him whether or not there was any evidence. Stalin wanted to show people that he was the only leader and therefore the multiple Stalin figures in the courtroom show that everyone was Stalin and there was no freedom of action or speech otherwise you would be suspected and also that Stalin was behind everything and controlled everything. Although, the sources refer to different aspects of the 'show trials' the sources share a unanimous aim to ridicule Stalin's 'show trials' 6. Sources L and M. Compare what these two sources say about Stalin. Both Source L and M are extracts from biographies of Stalin published a long time after his death. Source L in 1983 and Source M in 1974. There is a fairly undivided theme in the sources both talking about Stalin as a great leader but also as a tyrant. ...read more.


However, Sources F, G and H disagree with this representation of Stalin. Source F is from a speech by Bukharin in 1936 who was a supporter or Stalin against Trotsky to ascend to power after Lenin although he fell into disgrace in 1929 and was a victim of Stalin's purges, this means that Bukharin had been close to Stalin and therefore would have a good idea of what Stalin was really like 'He is a narrow - minded, malicious man - no, not a man, but a devil'. This interpretation of Stalin is the complete opposite to the interpretation in Source E. Source H an extract from Khrushchev's speech in 1956 then highlights the implications of Source F as to the paranoia evident in Stalin specifically around the 1930's where Stalin's purges became drastic to ensure his power. 'Everywhere he saw 'enemies' 'double dealers' and spies'. Then in Source G a reason is proposed for his actions this is an extract from a speech to the Soviet Communist Party in 1956 after Stalin's death by Khrushchev who ascended to power after Stalin meaning Khrushchev could give his true opinion. 'Stalin was convinced that the use of terror and executions was necessary for the defense of Socialism and Communism' Source M which is an extract from a biography of Stalin published in Britain 1974 gives yet another possible explanation of Stalin's apparent character change. 'The explanation of his life was he was corrupted by absolute power. Absolute power turned a ruthless politician into a monstrous tyrant' I think Source M sums up my conclusion of Stalin that although at the beginning Stalin was devious and conniving he was a 'ruthless politician' nothing less but he became corrupt by the power he had and he became a murderous ruler who saw enemies everywhere and in order to keep his power killed without mercy and with no regard to the victims innocence. In conclusion and in my opinion Stalin was a monster. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Dorman 11H 18/09/2008 - 1 - ...read more.

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