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Stalin, Man or Monster? Source based questions.

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Introduction

Stalin, Man or Monster? Stalin, was he a man or a man or monster? The answer to this question depends entirely on how you look at it. On one hand, Stalin did an amazing job of bringing Russia up to speed with the rest of the world, improving industry and modernising Russia at an amazing rate using the five-year plans. On the other hand he was single handily responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the purges, labour camps, show trials etc. But this was on face value; Stalin had done a lot of good for the country, but along with it a lot of bad. In the following coursework I hope to use the evidence I have to lay out all the wrongs against all the rights that Stalin did, and find out whether Stalin really was the monster everyone thinks he was. 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 clearly against Stalin. It is a French cartoon of him showing off piles of skulls saying, "Welcome to the USSR pyramids." Stalin is shown to be proud of what he has accomplished, comparing the deaths he had caused to some of the most famous, amazing architecture in the world. He was proud of the deaths he caused, similarly in source B he is shown to be proud of the dam that he organised. In source B he is wearing white, as if representing purity and kindness. He is pictured as a relaxed man talking with workers, at the opening of a hydroelectric power station. This source was an official Soviet painting, obviously supporting Stalin and trying to make him look like he cares and listens to his people. Stalin wanted the image of being a caring man, willing to listen to what people wanted when in fact he was none of that. ...read more.

Middle

Khrushchev didn't need to lie about Stalin as there was no threat from him any more, but if people had thought Stalin was great while he started abusing him then he may have lost support. Source G is making excuses for Stalin. He is saying that Stalin's intentions were good, but his actions were evil. He is saying that Stalin didn't use terror and execution for the sake of communism but he dismissed able politicians and army officers because they had different opinions to his. This was done in the interests of Stalin instead of the interests of his people. If Stalin had wanted to help his people then he wouldn't have purged the good army officers. Trotsky and Bukharin for example, were purged because they disagreed with Stalin. Source G could be looked at in 2 ways; it could indicate that Stalin is mad, saying that he was convinced terror and murder were good things. You could also see it as Khrushchev making excuses for Stalin, saying the Stalin thought it was the only way. Although Khrushchev is making excuses for Stalin he only mentions the terror he bought to the country, he mentions nothing of the way Stalin brought industry into the twentieth century. Source H is from the same year as source G, but Khrushchev has become a lot more negative towards Stalin than he was in source G. In source H, Khrushkev is very open, possibly trying to put the point across that he isn't Stalin's heir, and he will do things differently. Source H suggests that everyone that came close to Stalin died. "This suspicion created him a general distrust towards party workers he had known for years" This happened to Bukharin, who was turned upon even after helping Stalin win over Trotsky. From my knowledge I know that there was terror and executions in Russia. Stalin had secret police (NKVD) ...read more.

Conclusion

However, given that almost all of the sources are unreliable I have decided that Stalin had a mixed character. He was a gifted politician but had very cruel and heartless methods of improving the country. 8. Use the sources and your knowledge of Stalin and Soviet history to explain why there has been disagreement about Stalin. The sources all convey a different picture of Stalin. Although most of them are unreliable they still show that Stalin was viewed in many different ways. There are many reasons for this, it was partly because everyone has a slightly different opinion of things to each other, and, as there are so many sources, opinions are bound to differ to quite an extent. The sources were written for many different reasons, and for each different reason there would be a different way of portraying the opinions. The Western countries feared communism and tried to make it look bad. There was lots of propaganda and censorship around this making the majority of the sources unreliable. A good example of propaganda is D, where Stalin is promoting himself as being caring and attentive to detail. This could be a lie, or it could be true, or it could be totally exaggerated out of proportion to make himself look good. There is disagreement about Stalin because everyone had such strong opinions that were different to everyone else's. Because everyone thought differently to each other, people began to exaggerate their reasons for their own opinions, making lots of information we have today very unreliable. Stalin scared people, he urged them on, and by doing this he made Russia what it is today. The price Russia paid for that was the lives of millions. Without the fear Stalin gave people Russia would not be nearly as advanced today, for that Stalin was a great man. It is a matter of whether the freedom of the individual was more important that the freedom of the nation. In the end the USSR was brought into the twentieth century, and equality was provided, but Russia's sacrifices were huge. 2 ...read more.

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