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Stalin; Man Or Monster Sources Questions

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Introduction

Stalin; Man Or Monster History Course Work 2001 1) The three sources all show Stalin. 'A' is very different to 'B' and 'C' in many aspects, but there are also some similarities. Source 'A' is a cartoon written in the 1930's and published in Paris, meaning it is uncensored and written at the time suggesting a knowledge of the period. The cartoon is basically showing the people the results of Stalin's policies; uncountable numbers of skulls representing the millions of dead, the crows and pyramids stretching into the distance adding to the sinister feeling of the cartoon. Stalin himself stands at the foot of the skulls a smug look on his face, almost 'showing off' his achievement. This sense of pride is mirrored in source 'B', the only similarity between the two sources, where Stalin is showing off a very different achievement, the building of a new hydroelectric power plant - a totally different view, one a monster, one of a good leader bringing life into the country. Sources 'B' and 'C' are both in many ways similar to each other and different to source 'A'. 'B' a definite propaganda picture and 'C' a photo show Stalin as the 'peoples leader'; smiles and a comfortable air shown in both. Source 'B', notably an 'official' picture portraying Stalin's desired image for propaganda purposes show him as the caring leader of his people, laughing and looking relaxed with the lower classes. This is also seen in Source 'C', where he is, once again totally at ease with the people, smiling and shaking the hands of officer's wives. Both these sources show a friendly air to Stalin as opposed to the sinister Stalin in source 'A'. ...read more.

Middle

This is then backed up by the description of 'his interests of the working masses'. The second extract follows this appeasing tone. He says the suspicion in Stalin 'created in him a general distrust towards Party workers he had known for years. Everywhere he saw 'enemies', 'double dealers' and spies'. This again shows he did not believe that Stalin's actions were correct to appease those who did not like Stalin but suggests again that he was not evil but misguided and a victim of his suspicion. It is therefore very hard to trust his assessment of Stalin, as this very important audience seems to be influencing his words; being neither condoning or condemning. However he was in a very good position to judge Stalin as knew him so the source has some value. 5) Sources 'I' and 'J' are both cartoon satires of the 'show trials' in Russia. The cartoons both show Stalin as the judge, the focusing point of both sources. However in source 'J' Stalin is the only person in the picture, shown as judge, jury, clerk and prosecutor, while in 'I' the victims are apparent, and behind Stalin there appears to be some official in the picture. This puts across a different message to 'I'. In 'J' the victims are faceless and we are given no impression of any chance for them to defend themselves, their fate decided. This feeling of their fate being decided is also seen in 'I' with the gallows in the background making the idea of death inevitable. The lack of a defence is seen differently in both sources. In 'I' the victims put up no defence, putting across the point that every one is guilty with sarcastic admittance's of guilt; 'of course I'm a traitor' suggesting that there was no point of defence, the gallows and soldiers waiting in the background. ...read more.

Conclusion

He seems remorseless and ruthless, but more than anything very insecure, explaining purges in the army and throughout the country. I do not however see him as an evil monster, though he certainly had an 'evil streak'. 8) As seen in the above answer there is a varying degree of opinions on Stalin. This opinion varies from a great leader who changed a backward country into a modern great power who repelled Germany against the odds to a more damming opinion that he was simply evil and a poor leader, his only asset; the use of terror. This 'disagreement' arises for many reasons. It is impossible to find a reliable source on Stalin. Russian sources from the time are unlikely to be completely honest. Censorship was used in all published sources and people speaking or writing for an audience would, for of fear of being 'purged', would not feel confortable in speaking their mind, informers everywhere. The use of propaganda in Russia is also a great problem. Using the 'cult of personality' People were 'brainwashed' into seeing Stalin as a hero and would not have known about much of the terror being afflicted on people, only seeing the great changes to their country. Posters and advertisements showing 'the great Stalin' were everywhere. Sources form Russians speaking outside Russia seem to be mostly by exiled Russians speaking out of a grudge making them unreliable. Russia itself historically has always been isolationist, so accurate information would have always been hard to get. Also, partly due to this isolationist stance the Western world has never really trusted Russia and has feared communism, making many western sources biased. ...read more.

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