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Stalin and the Cult of the Personality

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Stalin and the Cult of the Personality The real, full-blown cult really got going around 1933-1934. Before that, in around 1929, Stalin was actually seen as rather cold and distant. He tried to assume a modest image, and wanted to be seen by the people as a hard-working man of moderation. After Lenin died, the party members knew it was essential that the party stick together if it were to accomplish the huge task of transforming an unwilling population into good socialists. They therefore did not want a leader who might cause divisions among the different wings of the party and split it into warring factions. That's why they feared Trotsky and believed that Stalin would play a good role, as he was always silent, never argued and always did his job as it should have been done. ...read more.


There were paintings, poems and sculptures to promote the Stalin cult. At the beginning of the cult the regime did not want people to be alienated by a remote leader, so they deliberately cultivated a more popular image of Stalin. Praise was heaped on Stalin's personality and his link with Lenin and his role in the achievements of the First Five-Year Plan were emphasized. Paintings and posters stressed Stalin's humanity and showed the people that he really cared about them, that he too was actually participating in their ordinary lives. He was shown working with peasants in the fields, investigating great projects or marching alongside with workers etc. there was especially a great emphasis on Stalin's relationship with children. In every nursery there was a painting with "thank you, Stalin, for my happy childhood" saying on it. ...read more.


"The cult of the personality" reached its height at the end of the 1940's. Stalin was no longer seen as a disciple, but was now an equal or even master. Portraits showed him superior and apart, in god-like solitude or with Lenin, sometimes even appearing to tell him what to do. He was presented as the heir of Lenin and the sole infallible interpreter of the party ideology. When John Steinbeck, the American novelist, visited the Soviet Union in 1947, that's what he wrote in his diary: "...everything in the Soviet Union takes place under the fixed stare of the plaster, bronze, drawn or embroided eye of Stalin [...] In shops they sell millions upon millions of images of him, and in every home there is at least one portrait of him...he is everywhere, he sees everything..." Stalin got what he wanted; he was now practically instead of God for the Soviet people, Stalin dominated the USSR physically as well as politically. ...read more.

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