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Stalin: Man or Monster - Sources Questions

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Introduction

HISTORY COURSEWORK STALIN: MAN OR MONSTER 1) Source A gives us the impression of Stalin being a murderer, as there are pyramids of human skulls. This could represent the huge amounts of people he had killed, through labour or work camps. I know from my own knowledge and after studying Russia under Stalin's rule that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Therefore this source gives us a pretty good overview of what Stalin was like. Also we can sense a satisfaction or pride that Stalin has from himself after looking at source A. This can be sensed as Stalin is pointing to all the skulls as if it was a thing to be proud of. There is also a caption in the source saying "Visitez L'U.R.S.S. ses pyramides!" Which is another thing that the author uses to show us, Stalin's pride. Source B on the other hand gives us a completely different impression of Stalin. We see him in this source as a good leader that takes interest in his workers. The people shown (who are probably lower class workers) and Stalin are happy on the picture and it gives an impression of a happy, well ruled Russia. The picture is saying that Stalin is a carrying ruler and that he takes interest in even the low class people. Source C seems to give a more similar impression to source B. It seems to show Stalin yet again as a man in a good relationship with his people; even a gentleman. In source C Stalin is shaking hands with the wives of the soldiers, the woman are happy and yet again we get a similar impression to source B of Stalin loving his people and them loving him. Sources B and C give a very different impression about Stalin to source A, but tend to give a rather similar impression of the USSR leader between themselves. ...read more.

Middle

The two sources do not agree about show trials as simply one of them does not cover this topic, but they agree far on how things were run in the Soviet Union. By Stalin only with no opposition. They both also give a similar impression. I know from studding Stalin Russia that Stalin actually never or very rarely attended the show trials and it is obvious that he wasn't everything in the Supreme Soviet like shown in J. The two sources are telling us that even thought Stalin was not present in person he and his ideas and way of running was around everywhere and the people where like puppets did everything Stalin wanted them to. Even though the two sources do not agree far on show trials they give us a similar overview, and we can guess that the show trials were from Stalin's orders and probably fake and unfair; as many things were in Russia at that time. 6) Source L says about Stalin that he was a skilled and a gifted politician while source M agrees that he was a politician but a ruthless politician that turned into a monstrous tyrant due to the corruption of power. Even though the two sources are both from biographies of Stalin, they have differences in them. Source L points out to us that Stalin was one of the greatest political figures of the twentieth century, while we read in source M that he was a ruthless politician a tyrant that terrorised men to keep obedient and for people to believe in him. These words are not words to describe one of the greatest political figures, but to describe an evil man that could not hold on to power with out using normal methods but only by using terror. However, in saying that, that source M tells us about the wrong's of Stalin "he was corrupted by absolute power. ...read more.

Conclusion

However is does not end there, we also see another side where Stalin is not a monster nor a brilliant leader but a paranoid man and perhaps even with mental disorders. This we can learn from sources F and H. So, as we see Stalin can be seen differ depending on what side of him you look at. Not everyone looks at the same or all sides and therefore we get disagreement. A matter that influences the reason for disagreement is the fact that we get new evidence all the time which is more up to date and correct; those who have not yet seen the new evidence would disagree with those that have. For example source M from 1947 just informs us how evil Stalin is leading people to believe that, but then we see source L from1983 that gives us two points of view. Agreeing that Stalin was evil but also pointing out he was a skilled politician. As well there is the issue of writing in the cold war, some sources were written in the cold war, were there was a lot of tension among nations. If a source is from America or any other allies country such as Britain or France then obviously it will be harsh towards Stalin such as source J published in the 1930's in France, saying that Stalin is all selfish and doe snot allow opposition. If the source is from Russia then obviously it will be positive towards Stalin. Of course simple things like how you were brought up or what you once heard influence the people, which later causes disagreement with those who were brought up otherwise or taught differently. In conclusion the reason for such huge disagreement about Stalin, is because people deal with different sources, they hear different things, people have different views. And mainly because Stalin and Russia had so many different angles to it, and everyone sees a different Russia at that time. ...read more.

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