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Stalin: Man or Monster?

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Introduction

Stalin: Man or Monster 1a. The sources give a number of different impressions of Stalin and his character, however there are some similarities. All the sources show different views which people in Russia would have had of Stalin' it is obvious after looking at the three sources that A is against Stalin and his regime, whereas B and C give more positive views about Stalin's character. Source A is a cartoon produced in Paris in the 1930�s. The cartoon features Stalin showing three pyramids of skulls as if he was a tour guide. The caption translates to, "Visit the pyramids of the USSR" The cartoon shows the result of his policies and shows the fact that he is willing to put human lives down to achieve his goals. Source A shows Stalin as a cruel and ambitious man willing to sacrifice Russian lives to stay in power and ensure the modernisation of Russia. The skulls represent the deaths caused as a result of starvation as there was a shortage of food in Russia; also many deaths occurred as a result of the Purges, which were measures Stalin took to get rid of opposition. An exiled Russian drew this source; therefore the artist could be bitter and biased against Stalin and his policies. Source B is an official Soviet painting of Stalin with workers at a hydroelectric power station in the 1930�s. Source B however is different to source A because it is aiming to support Stalin and put a good view across to the Russian people about there leader. The picture shows Stalin with some workers talking to them and relaxing with them. The view of Stalin, which the picture is portraying, is that he cares about the workers and the danger and living conditions they put up with. Also it shows Stalin as a friendly person who doesn't raise above common people lastly it shows that he is interested in Russia's industry. ...read more.

Middle

The reason Source F gives a negative view of Stalin is because Bukharin who was a supporter of Stalin wrote it. Bukharin was a victim of the Purges. This probably meant he was angry with Stalin and hated him; this source is an extract from a speech by Bukharin in Paris where Stalin was hated. In conclusion the two sources where different because the writers had been exposed to different sides of Stalin and were influenced by where they were. 1d. To decide whether or not to trust Khrushchev's assessment of Stalin I need to look at a number of things. Firstly I must look at who Khrushchev was, the content of the text and if it matches what I already know of Stalin and lastly I must put the text into context and ask why it has been written, what it is supposed to achieve? Khrushchev was a leading figure in the communist party when Stalin was the main leader, Khrushchev survived the purges and became the leader of the communist party after Stalin died. Khrushchev wrote both sources G and H when he was in power. They were part of a speech made by Khrushchev to the Soviet communist party in 1956. Khrushchev didn't have a fall out with Stalin and stayed in his good books because of this the sources probably are not bias against Stalin but what he was really like. In this respect I trust that Khrushchev's assessment is not aimed to put Stalin down but the truth from Khrushchev's eyes. Source G seems to be justifying what Stalin had done over the past years and what he did was necessary to accomplish his goals. We get the impression Khrushchev thinks that what Stalin did was necessary for the defence of socialism and communism. In my opinion Khrushchev is attempting to defend Stalin in this speech. Perhaps the reason Khrushchev supports Stalin's actions is because he had just taken over as leader of the Soviet communist party and maybe did not want to lose his party's support, as he knew that the Soviet communist party held Stalin highly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Of course this speech was done by a writer who was under the influence of the congress of Soviets. He seems to be a person the Russian people look up to, not a person they hate for what he has done. This source describes Stalin as strong, beautiful, wise and marvellous not any of the characteristics of a monster. Source G and H are not positive views of Stalin but neither do they accuse him of being evil. These sources justify Stalin's actions, source G says 'We cannot say that these were deeds of a mad deposit. He considered this should be done in the interest of the party and the working masses. This is saying that Stalin was not a monster but just confused, he thought he was helping the Russian people. These sources are in my opinion accurate accounts of what Stalin was really like. Source K is from a biography Stalin published in 1947 this gives the impression that it may not be entirely accurate and the truth could have been distorted. The source shows Stalin as a brilliant leader and teacher, it described Stalin as a man with an iron will, clarity of mind and a devotion to his party. In my opinion not all these are true I think however Stalin did have an iron will and there can be no doubt he was devoted to his party. Overall I can conclude that none of the sources succeed in capturing Stalin's character completely. There are quite a few sources which do support the statement Stalin was a monster, but many other sources suggest he wasn't evil. In my opinion source L sums up Stalin' character the best; it says Stalin was a skilled politician and one of the greatest politicians of the twentieth century. However it then goes on to say that he wasn't a good man and had a dark side to his nature. In conclusion I don't think that these sources supported the view that Stalin was a monster that much, although most sources agree Stalin did have a dark side to his nature. ...read more.

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