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Stalin: Man or Monster?

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Introduction

Assignment B: Objective 3 Stalin: Man or Monster? 1. Study Sources A, B and C. Do these sources give similar or different impressions of Stalin? Explain your answer with references to the source. Each source represents the three most popular views of Stalin. `A' shows the hated figure of persecution and tyranny, `B' portrays the public figure he wanted to be seen as, a friend of the people `one of them, and `C' showing the respected and noble leader who kept in touch with the needs and wants of his devoted people. A is a cartoon published in France and showing the results of his policies in the 1930's. This famous source was drawn by an exiled Russian with the caption "Visitez l'U.R.S.S. ses pyramids!..." or "visit the pyramids of the USSR!". This cartoon is sending the message that Stalin has been responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of people but that he is somehow proud of this achievement and wants to show the power he has to the rest of the world. Source A is the controlling communist leader who is distrusted by Europe and America. Source B is the image of the trusted leader, respected and loved by his loyal citizens. This is a painting that makes Stalin look as though he is almost one of the family and completely comfortable amongst ordinary people. It's also sowing the USSR's achievements in industry and emphasising that Stalin had a major role in this. Again this source shows that perhaps Stalin is overly enthusiastic to show his power to the rest of the world. C is a picture and as B is an image of Stalin amongst his citizens, looking comfortable and respected. As in this photograph he is congratulating the wives of army officers he is showing the gratitude he feels for the USSR's soldiers and hard working people. As with source B this is a showy piece that, again, is demonstrating a point to the world, in this case that he has admiration for those who serve his country and the people closest to them. ...read more.

Middle

Khrushchev's analysis of Stalin seems quite accurate in relation to some opinions of him for example those that believed he was a ruthless and harsh dictator. Khrushchev must account for the mistakes and mishaps that Stalin encountered but cannot be too critical as, after all Khrushchev is still a communist and must protect the interests of the party. Also Khrushchev knows that Stalin was such a powerful and respected leader that his influence was still amongst the people, and would be for a long time. Khrushchev's speech is a way for him to get the business of Stalin and any bad feeling and knowledge of his actions out of the way early in so that the country and party could move on and forget the mistakes of the earlier years. By facing the reality that Stalin was only a man and was an extremely powerful figure that perhaps was corrupted by this, gave Khrushchev the opportunity to make excuses for this and explain that Stalin did what he did in the interests of the party and the people. Khrushchev manages to convince us that Stalin was a heavily burdened leader that had no choice but to rule unconventionally at least some times. He makes us feel sorry for Stalin and the pressures he had and so is successful in inciting forgiveness from which his reign can begin. There are several viewpoints from which Khrushchev's analysis can be scrutinised. Khrushchev was, after all, a member of the great USSR when Stalin was leader and may have been another of those who worshipped him as a God. Stalin had a great affect on many millions of people Khrushchev may be another example of a devoted follower. Khrushchev may have played down Stalin's failures and flaws as he was a supporter and would not want to see Stalin in a negative way. There was probably a lot more criticism of Stalin that Khrushchev could have made mention of as Stalin as only a human being and was capable of a lot worse in his position of power. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stalin was the leader of one of the largest and important countries in the world in a time when the relations between the countries of the world were at their most fragile. There is always going to be much speculation on such a powerful and interesting figure. Stalin managed to not only bring the USSR through the war but helped it emerge as a superpower at an immense cost and suffering to his own people. He was also responsible for the purge of every one of his opposition in 1936-38. Stalin did all that he could to stop any negative press on him an also emerged as a paranoid and suspicious man so it is difficult to know what sort of a person Stalin really was. Being such an interesting and important character in history means that there are going to be thousands of opinions and theories based on him and that he was such a an unknown personality only makes the thirst for knowledge and interest in him greater. There is so much to know and find out about this great leader and the character that drove him to such decisions. There are many interpretations of Stalin and his policies and leadership. There was a whole country of people who worshipped him as a god and other allied countries that believed him to be a malicious tyrant. There is bound to be much disagreement over the person everyone thought that Stalin was and what his real intentions were, was he acting in pursuit of greatness for his people or to being an evil and malicious man? There are many different sides to the story and many angry, hurt and deeply affected people with their own interpretation of Stalin. There is a lot to be said of this man and so disagreement and differing opinion will occur as we will never truly know the mind of such a man and all powerful leader as Stalin is part of history and we will never know the whole truth about him. ...read more.

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