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Stalin Coursework - sources explaining collectivisation and its effects.

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Introduction

Stalin Coursework: Question 4 Source H is a photograph showing the peasants demonstrating against the kulaks and favouring collectivisation. It is also subjective towards Stalin and has probably been doctored in order to indoctrinate the Russian people to the way of thinking that Stalin desired. The first problem with the photograph is that the banner that the peasants are carrying reads, "We demand collectivisation and the liquidation of the kulaks as a class", and however, since most peasants in the 1930 were illiterate, the whole idea of the peasants carrying a written banner suddenly becomes implausible. Stalin would have probably staged this whole photo in order to convey positive political propaganda, showing that despite claims that collectivisation was failing, the peasants themselves still supported the scheme and so it was going to work. In fact, the peasants in the photograph may not be actual peasants, but Soviet Party members who have been asked by Stalin to participate in staging this photograph. However, whilst there is a strong possibility that this photograph has been doctored to suit Stalin's wishes, looking at if from a different perspective, some peasants did see the lack of kulaks as a lack of competition and a chance to become one of Russia's elite farmers. ...read more.

Middle

Source J is a passage from a book called "Stalin: Man of Steel" written by a historian called E. Roberts in 1986. The date shows that it was published in the aftermath of Stalin's era, when Gorbachev was in power, therefore, E. Roberts is unlikely to be under any pressure to be subjective towards or against Stalin as Stalin was dead and the Socialist Realism Policy no longer applied to him. However, just because it was written in hindsight, does not mean it is a completely trustworthy source as E. Roberts may be writing this in order to demonstrate just how brutal Stalin's regime was, instead, it is possible to tell that Source J is a trustworthy source because it is written in a balanced way. E. Roberts starts off by stating how Stalin ignored "the great cost in human life and misery" and is thus showing the bestial side of Stalin, however, he then goes on to counter-act this point by saying how "The collective farms, despite their inefficiencies, did grow more food than the tiny, privately owned holdings had done." By doing this, E. Roberts has created a balanced and therefore Source J is an objective source. ...read more.

Conclusion

98% of all privately owned farms to make big State owned farms, Stalin also modernised farming by introducing new technology to the State farms. Stalin wanted each collective farm to have a tractor station where tractors were available to be hired out be the collective farm workers and tractors soon replaced horses on the farm. In fact, in 1929, the USSR had 34 million horses, however, by 1933, it only had 17 million horses. This was because half of the horses were slaughtered, probably in an attempt to get more farmers to use tractors instead of horses (farmers were originally reluctant to switch to new methods of farming). Overall, all three sources have content that can be verified with other pieces of historical data and could therefore be useful for a historian studying collectivisation, however, since Source J is the only balanced and objective source, it would probably be the most reliable source. Whilst it shows some of Stalin's failings with the collectivisation policy (e.g. Stalin's ignorance of all the deaths), it then goes and counter-acts that with some of the positives of collectivisation (e.g. the mechanisation of agriculture). Sources H and I, both provide useful information, however, they are subjective sources, and for a historian looking for an objective and reliable source of information, Source J would be the best. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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