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Russia - Stalin

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Russia Coursework a) Explain Trotsky's contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922 The Bolsheviks were the majority party for the communists. After the Bolsheviks overthrew the government in October 1917, they managed to hold on to power by winning the civil war; which was started because other parties demanded a share in government; however the Bolshevik leaders wanted to govern alone. Leon Trotsky was a War Commissar and organized the Red Army using ex-Tsarist officers to train and lead soldiers. He took officers' families hostage to ensure loyalty, and assigned a political commissar to each unit to help secure the loyalty of the officers. Trotsky kept up morale, however he was very ruthless in his discipline and he often used the death penalty; however this contributed to the excellent performance of the Red Army. Trotsky was a superb organiser and a great orator, her was popular with the youth and committed communists and had strong military support. He was a very intelligent man and used his knowledge to organise the Red Army. In doing this, the Civil War was won, because of Trotsky's tactical ability, the army was strong enough to defeat the Whites and therefore stay in power. Had it not been for the discipline within the army, using ex-Tsarist officers, the war could have easily been lost due to poor defence. Though there were other factors that helped the Red Army win the civil war, for example the reds controlled the central region of Russia and the Whites had no single leader and were made up of different groups with different aims, when Trotsky was thrown into this equation it is clear his contribution helped secure victory. ...read more.


Although Stalin did not only rely on terror to keep control, there was a distinct move in that direction after the murder of Sergei Kirov, leader of the Leningrad Communist Party. He was an excellent speaker and started to appear as a pop figure and could be seen as a threat to Stalin. When he was murdered, any evidence that he ever existed was destroyed, and this was done with each victim. Stalin used this episode to order massive purges by which anybody suspected of disloyalty was murdered, sent to prison camps, or put on public show trials at which they pleaded guilty to incredible crimes they could never have done. These public show trials were had so people could see how powerful Stalin was, and use terror to keep everybody loyal. However the purges went too far and were carried on for too long, which suggested Stalin's paranoia was as severe as a mental illness, but also it must be pointed out that some enthusiastic officers became carried away, and Stalin was therefore, not wholly responsible for the extent of the purges. The Communist leadership was purged - 93 of the 139 Central Committee members were put to death. The armed forces were purged - 81 of the 103 generals and admirals were executed. The Communist Party was purged - about a third of its 3 million members were killed. Stalin needed cheap labour; so many ordinary people were sent to the gulag where perhaps half were worked to death. Stalin banned religions such as the Christian Church and the Muslim religion, members of any ethnic minority were persecuted and only Russiafication was accepted throughout the Soviet Union. ...read more.


Stalin gained most of his aims and collectivisation was very successful, however the human cost was immense, as millions of kulaks were killed and many died in the famine. All of these factors played a major role in Stalin maintaining control of the S.U, however I would personally say that his totalitarian regime that created an atmosphere of terror, and the extensive propaganda used to create his cult of personality were possibly the things that had most impact. In conclusion, I believe that all of these factors were needed for Stalin to stay in control, as each was linked to another or to a certain part of his leadership. Because, not only did he just use terror to run Russia, he had many ideas to industrialise and improve the country, using his economic policies to keep the country running. However, as far as staying in control, the main two factors in that would be the dictatorship and propaganda. This is because, some of his policies that did in effect improve Russia were not initially very pleasant for the citizens, and they may not have agreed to follow Stalin had it not been for fear of death. However, with Stalin being a dictator, people had to agree or be killed, which led to Russia becoming a lot more of a success than it had been. Though Stalin was a manipulative, brutal and evil man, his leadership skills are something to be admired, excluding the purges and murders, where he became overly paranoid and out of hand. Though many of the more ruthless acts were the ones that helped him stay in power. ?? ?? ?? ?? Suzanne Cleary 11B History Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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