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The following were equally important reasons why Stalin was able to hold on to power in the Soviet Union: The purges and show trials, The secret police, Propaganda and the cult of personality, and Stalin's economic policies - Explain

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Introduction

The following were equally important reasons why Stalin was able to hold on to power in the Soviet Union: * The purges and show trials * The secret police * Propaganda and the cult of personality * Stalin's economic policies Explain how far you agree with this statement The above were all important reasons why Stalin was able to hold on to power in the Soviet Union. In the 1930s Stalin consolidated his position as "Supreme Dictator" of the Soviet Union and he maintained this position using many different methods, the main two were controlling the people by terror and having control of and manipulating their ideas. Also Stalin's economic policies were extremely successful, had he not had these successes he would not have been able to hold on to power. When Stalin emerged as leader in 1928 the USSR was a backward country and lacked in industry. Stalin however managed to transform the country into a modern, powerful, industrial nation and he did this in several ways. Stalin wanted to protect the country from foreign invasion and protect it from other dictators by creating a strong industry. He did this by three main methods: 5 year plans, collectivisation and the building of showpieces of Soviet achievement. The 5 year plans on the whole were very successful and even though sometimes the unrealistic targets were not met amazing achievements ...read more.

Middle

The most famous incident was in 1934 when there was talk of slowing industrialisation down and appointing someone else as leader and Sergei Kirov put forward his views, shortly afterwards Kirov was found shot outside his office. This is an example of how Stalin went to any length to ensure his position as leader. Between 1935 and 1938 Stalin expelled many members who he deemed "unreliable" and he made the central committee send letters to branches all over the USSR instructing them to do likewise, after being sacked from the party many were then arrested by the NKVD; this was called the Great Purge. By doing all of this Stalin showed he was doing something about people who were supposedly threatening the state. He publicised this by Show Trials which were put on for the most important party members and they were broadcasted nationwide. The "Trial of sixteen" involved Zinoviev and Kamenev, all were accused of involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow the government organised by Trotsky; Stalin's greatest rival. Many did not believe every word of the confession that the accused made in the show trial (most made them in the hope of saving their families) but they could not speak out at the threat of being killed themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was treated in such a messianic way that it would have been difficult for people to doubt him. Stalin also rewrote history; he made himself out to have been very close to Lenin, he changed photographs and paintings and inserted himself in next to Lenin, who was treated like a god in Soviet history. This encouraged people to support him as they saw him as Lenin's right hand man, someone who Lenin admired which thus inclined people to admire Stalin. He was able to get away with this as many people who were around in that period had died and those who could still remember were too afraid to speak out. In conclusion all the above were equally important reasons why Stalin was able to hold on to leadership of the Soviet Union. He was able to manipulate people's thoughts and ideas through propaganda and the cult of personality which encouraged people to think of him as a messianic figure. With the added help of his secret police he was able to wipe out any of his opposition. The introduction of the purges and show trials justified his actions as he was seen to be protecting the state from attack and crisis, thus making it more secure for the people. However had he not been able to industrialise the Soviet Union in the dramatic way he did it is unlikely he would have had control for as long as he did. ...read more.

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