• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Stalin: Man Or Monster?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

G.C.S.E. History Assignment B Stalin: Man Or Monster? Question 1: Study Sources A, B and C. Do these sources give similar or different impressions of Stalin? Explain your answer with references to the sources. Source A is a French cartoon, showing how Stalin's policies actually affect the masses. The text reads: "Visit the USSR's pyramids!". It shows Stalin gesturing towards mounds of human skulls, with carrion crows flying overhead. Source B is an "official" Soviet painting picturing Stalin standing with cheerful-looking workers in front of the newly-built Dnieprostroi hydroelectric dam. Source C is a photograph of Stalin shaking the grateful hands of wives of army officers. On the whole, Source A gives a different impression from B or C, because it is drawn form a foreign perspective. Stalin had seized control of all newspapers, and all creative works were "officially" released by the government. A cartoon showing a negative view of Stalin would certainly have not been allowed, and whoever was responsible would have been sent to an internment camp. Some Russians managed to escape Stalin's USSR before his dictatorship really struck fear into the people, or were lucky enough to get out. These exiles often travelled to other parts of Europe or America. In this case, the exiles were in France,which is why the text is in French. I would also estimate that, being able to speak a foreign language, these exiles were more than likely intellectuals who would have suffered under Stalin's regime. It is also probable that they had experienced labour camps themselves and were keen to tell others abroad the horror of his regime (such as in Alexander Solzhenitszyn's works). The French generally would also have agreed with this cartoon, as France and Russia were old allies under the Tsarist regime, and so were deeply suspicious of the Bolsheviks who overthrew the royals. Source B gives an entirely different impression of Stalin, one of friendship and love towards his people, as he seems close and brotherly to his smiling workers. ...read more.

Middle

Bukharin, a high-ranking Bolshevik, would be more aware of what Stalin was up to and what he was like than the writer of Source E. Perhaps a pang of jealousy is evident in Bukharin's speech, when he says Stalin is not the best, and that Stalin knows it, but kills anyone he perceives to be a threat. This, in retrospect, is accurate, but the source is still biased against Stalin as it was written by a man embittered by Stalin's success. The sources are both biased, but I would rate Bukharin's source as more accurate, as Source E was effectively created by Stalin himself. Question 4: Study Sources I and J. How far do these two sources agree about Stalin's 'show-trials'? Explain your answer. Artists outside the U.S.S.R drew both these sources, so neither would be for the show-trials. Source I was an American source, and they were always deeply distrustful of Communism, which went against everything America stood for. It shows Stalin as the judge, and in the background, a noose is hanging. The four defendants in the box are each willingly and smilingly admitting their guilt to Stalin. Source J does not concentrate on the guilty, rather the fact that the trials are all arranged by Stalin. The judge, jury, prosecution and scribe are all figures of Stalin. This source shows more of the bias of the courts rather than the plight of the Party members. Source I implies that the men have no chance of being let off as not guilty, they will all be executed, so they might as well plead guilty. Source J agrees that no men would have a chance to be found not guilty in a court of Stalin. The very reason why someone would be subjected to these trials would be that Stalin didn't like them and felt that they were untrustworthy. This source would have been drawn by Russian exiles in France - perhaps even victims of these 'show-trials'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Absolute power corrupted absolutely, and Stalin grew increasingly determined to eradicate anyone who questioned him. Millions died in the Purges, one of the most terrifying points in his regime. People tried to reason this, saying that Stalin did not want these people to be killed; he was not aware of it. But later, documents were found which listed those in prison camps, destined to die, and Stalin's signature OK-ing it below. If Source D by Churchill is to be believed, it shows Stalin as a man who desperately tried to boost the economy, but tried not to think of its consequences. He said that it was bad, and difficult, but repeats that it was necessary. Perhaps this was his solace - that a few needed to suffer to pave the way for the good of Russia in the future. He also quickly changes the subject when questioned by Churchill about the collective farm struggles, perhaps trying not to think of millions who got put into prison camps, or perhaps just trying to change the subject to prevent his decision from looking bad. Privately, he married twice (he hated his son Jacob by his first marriage) and secondly to a girl called Nadyezhda Aliluyera, 22 years his junior. After some time, Nadyezhda committed suicide, and in her suicide note, criticised Stalin for his ways and his policies. Stalin was said to be very angry, but his chauffeur recalled a gentler side to his nature - he would visit his wife's grave and sit there and grieve for hours. Despite intense speculation, Stalin still manages to retain some mystery about him (no doubt he had his personal history re-written, and the Soviet legend has blurred with the truth), but I do not believe he was a monster who sent millions to slaughter for the sake of it, but as a very insecure man who felt he was acting in the Party's best interests, but twisting the Communist theory to his own style, and leaving his mark on Russia for generations to come. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Russia, USSR 1905-1941 essays

  1. 'The Five Year Plans brought glory to Stalin and misery to his people.' How ...

    Plans the country was not only improving but it was also causing misery to many of the Russian people. Production targets which were high were met, as workers did overtime and were over worked by the managers. This caused stress for many workers and this wasn't part of their normal

  2. How did Stalin control Russia from 1924-1953?

    Many huge dams were constructed to provide hydroelectric power, and many quarries and mines were also made. There were three Five Year Plans. The first ran from 1928-1932, and was focused on building up heavy industry like coal, steel, railways, electricity and machinery.

  1. Why did Stalin introduce collectivisation and what were the consequences of his policies?

    By 1934, 7 million kulaks were eliminated and the aggregate deaths of kulaks between 1930 and 1937 was 11 million. However, another aspect of the antagonism of the kulaks resulted in the devastation of many estates due to the animosity between Stalin's agents and the kulaks.

  2. Assessment on whether Stalin was a necessary evil.

    Like-mindedness became the norm in part life while indecisiveness only exacerbated matters. Under the banner of creating a monolithic party Stalin systemically destroyed the democratic principle of internal party exchange. The abolition of socialist pluralism launched the monopoly on both social truth and political power.

  1. The Policies of Joseph Stalin 1928 1953

    Stalin thought Trotsky was making plans to overthrow his and so he had Stalin murdered. This paranoia lead to the Great Purges of 1938. There is some truth in this statement because Kirov was murdered. Kirov's murder was controversial but it is possible he was murdered because he was a threat to Stalin's position.

  2. Purges and Hysteria in the Soviet Union

    Trotsky had moved to Mexico that month, having been booted out of Norway for violating his agreement not to make political statements. And Trotsky was to continue his attempt to expose the fraudulent nature of the accusations against him.

  1. Consider this judgement on the consequences of Stalin's leadership of the Soviet Union 1928 ...

    However, this was only true for the traditional industrial areas, with the agricultural regions remaining impoverished., Output in steel, iron and electricity had more than doubled but although claims were made in both the 4th and 4th 5-Year Plans to improving living conditions and agricultural efficiency, in reality, little was done until Khrushchev's era.

  2. "Stalin was personally responsible for the Purges in Russia in the 1930s". Agree or ...

    Moreover, Lenin had handled opposition within the Party during his regime, as he made a decree on 'factionalism' to prevent party splits, which Stalin intended to achieve from the purges. I have considered a wide range of reasons which agree or disagree with the statement.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work