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To what extent were the sufferings of the Soviet people in the 1930's a price that was worth paying for the progress that was made under Stalin?

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Introduction

Laura Coulson To what extent were the sufferings of the Soviet people in the 1930's a price that was worth paying for the progress that was made under Stalin? Life under Stalin had a significant effect on the Soviet people in the 1930's. For many people life was horrendous. People's livelihood and families were taken away from them, to live in gruelling conditions working endlessly, for Stalin's future USSR. However, in the long term, Stalin improved the USSR tremendously, developing it from a very backward country, to a modern industrialized one. Russia did become a major industrial nation by 1939 and her progress was unmatched in the era of the Depression in America and western Europe where millions were unemployed. In my opinion the improvements were not worth all the short term sufferings for the Soviet people. He murdered 1000s of enemies over his reign, and an estimated 12,000,000 in the 'gulags,' the prison camps under the Soviet Rule. There is no doubt that Stalin's rule was a brutal dictatorship that in many ways was similar to Hitler's Germany. Stalin's control over Russia meant that freedom was one thing that people lost. The people of Russia had to read what the state allowed, see what the state allowed and listen to what the state allowed. ...read more.

Middle

There was more production in a week than in one day. Even though many people could not meet their targets, it still greatly helped Russia become a great world power. Unemployment became almost non-existent and Education became free and compulsory for all. Yet was this worth workers being treated harshly, millions of deaths and accidents and poor living conditions for almost every peasant? Stalin ordered all opponents to be killed "the purges" as this increased his popularity and his ways through his ruthless nature. People didn't dare stand up to him for fear of death. People who did were arrested, tortured, executed and made to confess to crimes that his secret police had made up. The successes of this policy benefited Stalin, as there was almost no opposition and he could do what he liked. However Russia's army and people were strongly weakened as many skilled workers were killed. Every family in the USSR lost someone, thousands of people were tortured and killed and people were forced into labour camps. Another of Stalin's policies 'The Cult Of Personality' was to make Stalin and his party as popular as possible, it made people willing to work for him. The Soviet Union built up Stalin's popularity by Propaganda, artists and painters had to paint Stalin in a way which glorified him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stalin had full control over every aspect of people's lives. He changed their work from agriculture to industry, often forcing them to leave their homes to work in factories, sometimes miles away. Conditions were harsh and paid low and there were few luxuries. The farmers and peasants lost their land and many were killed in the Collectivisation plans. Stalin's propaganda meant that teachers taught only the things he wanted the children to hear. He controlled the arts so that music, art, books, etc. were all used to spread Stalin's image as the great leader of the people. There was hardship. Not just on the farms, but in the factories where workers could be fined, jailed, or even sent to labour camps if they did not work hard and reach the targets Stalin set for them. However, Stalin had brought some good things. Russian agriculture did supply food to the towns more and generally Russia fed itself better than before. Though the targets set by Stalin in industry were rarely met, nevertheless Russia's industrial output increased enormously. As a result many people in Russia saw Stalin as a heroic figure and the young particularly admired him. His plans did reward hard work and brought training and new career opportunities for the young. In the end Stalin had made an impact on almost every aspect of his peoples' lives. The human cost was not worth paying for the progress under Stalin. ...read more.

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