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Stalin: Man or monster?

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Introduction

Stalin: Man or monster? 1) Source A shows Stalin standing next to three pyramids made up of skulls. These skulls represent the millions of people killed by Stalin's policies of collectivisation and industrialisation as well as during the purges. There are vultures on the pyramids representing Stalin's policies being like birds of prey that murder the innocent and defenceless. This source is attacking Stalin because of the millions of deaths his policies caused. It is anti-Stalin as it originates from Paris and people in the west were very suspicious of Stalin and communism at the time (1930s). The caption reads: "Visit the USSR's pyramids." This source is similar to source B only in the way it portrays Stalin. He is dressed in white, which represents the opinion of many of the Russian people. They thought he was like a big daddy to Russia and admired him greatly. Although this source is from Paris, he could be in white to symbolise the apparent blindness of the Russian people to what is really going on. Source B conversely, is praising Stalin. He is pictured, again in white standing with workers outside of a newly opened hydroelectric power station in the 1930s. This paints Stalin in a good light showing him caring for Russia and being truly proud of the workers and their achievements. This is opposite to the impression given in source A, which shows him not caring for the Russian people at all. In source C, Stalin is shown congratulating the wives of Russian army officers. This gives the impression that he cares for the people and would not readily harm them. While this source agrees with source B on the nature of his relationship with the Russian people, it definitely disagrees with source A, which suggests he doesn't care for them at all. ...read more.

Middle

There was a pre-decided verdict of guilty to charges such as sabotage and treachery. The trials ended in execution or exile for the defendant. There were three main trials: Zinoviev and Kamenev in 1936, another in 1937 and the trial of Rykov and Bukharin in 1938. In the cartoon, all of the defendants are cheekily grinning and admitting to their crimes. It is an American source so it will be anti-Stalin, and consequently I think that this implies that the show trials were a farce and the confessions were blatantly false and forced. I believe that this cartoon is saying that Stalin is able to put anyone on a false trial and can execute anyone he wants. It also shows him having no regard for his fellow Communists. Source J shows a government consisting only of multiple Stalins. The title is: "The Stalinist constitution," and the caption reads: "New seating arrangements in the Supreme Soviet." It was published by Russian exiles in France in 1936. Therefore, it is very critical of Stalin and is saying that he is able to run Russia how he likes and that he is the sole decision-maker of the USSR. Both of these sources are anti-Stalin and they agree that he is in charge and can manipulate Russia however he likes. However, they are both criticising different parts of his reign. Source I is critical of the way he treats people and the way he executed so many millions of people, whereas source J is pointing out that he is in the position of dictator and it is critical of the general way Stalin runs Russia, on his own. 6) Source L says that Stalin was a great politician but goes on to say: "this does not mean he was a good man." ...read more.

Conclusion

However, he did. Many people argue that the human cost was too large, but conversely it is argued that the status of a world superpower is to be reached at all cost. There is also much doubt over whether or not he was a true Communist. One of the aspects of Communism is to re-distribute the wealth of the nation amongst the people. In Stalinist Russia, this did not happen. Many people could not afford to eat or farm. This is shown by a quarter of the population of Kazakstan perishing due to starvation. The Bolshevik revolution of 1917, led by Lenin, brought Communism to Russia, and got rid of the autocratic Tsarist system. One of the reasons why Stalin won the power struggle over Trotsky was his close association with Lenin. For this he was greatly respected. However, twenty years on, Stalin had only succeeded in bringing back an autocratic rule to Russia (as demonstrated in the cartoon of source J that shows a government session consisting only of many Stalins). He had killed ten million Russians but he had improved the Russian economy to a great extent. Because of these extreme differences between his weaknesses and successes there has been a high level of disagreement about whether Stalin really was a good thing to happen to Russia. There is also doubt over whether his style of rule was consistent with what Lenin and the 1917 revolution had strived to achieve. They got rid of autocracy, but for many people, Stalin only succeeded in bringing it back. This makes me unsure if Stalin was good for the people of Russia, as claimed in source K: "...ardent faith in the people." Andy Collins, 11:4. Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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