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Source based work on Impressions of Stalin?

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Introduction

a) Study Sources A and B Do these sources give similar or different impressions of Stalin? Explain your answer with reference to the sources. [6] There is clearly a lot of disagreement between these first sources. Upon first glance we plainly see Source A blaming Stalin for the deaths of millions of people, Source B on the other hand shows him to be a great man responsible for the success of Russia's industry. Source A is a cartoon which features three pyramids of skulls with vultures flying above. These both signify death and the skulls no doubt represent the victims of Stalin's harsh policies. These policies were the cause of much anguish throughout Russia; Collectivization was responsible for the death of thousands of Russian Kulaks. He ruthlessly put to death a million people during the purges and millions more were murdered in camps, prison and due to the artificial famine. The cartoon shows Stalin to be pointing at the pyramids with pride. It is ironic that his great monuments are the result of the death and destruction. Source B gives a very different impression of Stalin; he is shown in a more complimentary light. Stalin is standing with workers at the site of a new hydroelectric plant. This source is meant to show that Stalin's policies were hugely successful. It is true that he achieved improved working conditions for well paid skilled workers and a very low unemployment rate. This success in industry contrasts with the feeling of destruction and death in source A. The second source is clearly propaganda as it does not show the negative side to Stalin's industrialisation which is illustrated in Source A. The differences in opinion of each source are not surprising as they were produced by very different countries with different political views. Source A was produced in France, a country of free speech. Source B is an official Soviet painting produced in the 1930's, it was therefore propaganda issued by the Communist Government and was meant to give Stalin a very complimentary portrayal. ...read more.

Middle

Source F, however, shows the defendants freely admitting their crimes. "Yes, I'm guilty!"; "Of course I'm a traitor!" The tone is purely sarcastic and the joking manner in which they confess backs up the absurdity of the trials. They do not attempt to defend themselves and this could have been because they had been tortured, had threats put on their family and most likely as this source shows, their guilt had already been decided; at the back of the courtroom, a gallows is shown, indicating that guilt and death was inevitable for whomever was put on trial. The other slight difference is of course that everyone in the courtroom of source G is Stalin, including the Clerk. This brings about the issue of propaganda and censorship in Russia at the time. During Stalin's rule he had complete control over everything that was published in Russia. The fact that he is writing out the proceedings of the trial demonstrates this. Source G therefore shows that Stalin had influence over more than just the judicial system. This point is not shown in source F, as an unknown man behind Stalin is taking notes on the trial; the issue of propaganda is not evident. In conclusion, both of the sources give the same overall message of the farcical nature of the trials and predetermined verdict, however the way that this message is conveyed is slightly different. Small details such as F making the point that the accused admitted openly and that they would eventually be executed are not mentioned in G. Instead G shows how everyone in the courtroom was under Stalin's tyrannous control. e) Study Source H How far does Source H prove that Stalin was a 'brilliant leader'? [9] Upon first glance this source does give the impression of Stalin being a brilliant leader, in fact the first line states; 'Stalin is the brilliant leader.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Source J presents only the message that Stalin was a 'monstrous tyrant' which is a reliable enough judgment but does not provide as fair an argument as source I. After studying each source I can identify that some agree that Stalin was a monstrous tyrant and others contradict this. Every source which was produced during Stalin's lifetime in Russia is full of praise for the 'brilliant leader'. This is because they were produced under conditions of censorship and fear of disciplinary action. Sources that were created outside of the USSR or well after Stalin's death deal with much more of the truth about his rule as freedom of speech existed. I believe that the statement that Stalin was a monstrous tyrant is quite valid as many of the sources show. Source A's indication of the death and destruction caused by his rule is certainly legitimate. Throughout all of history, no other leader has killed his own people to the same extent as Stalin. Some 30 million people were victim to him. Millions were killed through collectivisation, the purges and deliberate famine. What is more frightful is that Stalin appeared to show no remorse for his atrocities. He brainwashed through propaganda and stirred terror with the NKVD secret police to allow his rule to continue. I would certainly warrant these acts of cruelness evidence for him being a monstrous tyrant. However, as some of the sources point out, Stalin did do a great deal to modernise the country. Source B shows one of many new industries that he was able to introduce. He brought wealth to the Soviet Union and many people truly idolised him as the hero of Russia. Sources D and H in particular show this. Although it is highly probable that these sources were propaganda or censored, I suggest that the reality behind theses sources, for example the consequence of death following the 5 year plans; the irony of some sources such as C, and the blatant atrocities shown in A, substantiate that Stalin was indeed as a monstrous tyrant. GCSE HISTORY Stalin; Man or Monster? Ellen Taylor 11E ...read more.

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