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Why is there disagreement about Stalin's effect on the Soviet Union?

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History Coursework - 8 Since Joseph Stalin was the long-time ruler of the Soviet Union, historians have judged his reign, however, due to various reasons they haven't been able to agree. Some would say that Stalin moulded the features that characterized the Soviet regain of economic status and shaped the direction of post-World War II Europe. Stalin was also considered by many to be the most powerful person to live during the 20th century. However, many historians would say that Stalin was an evil communist dictator, whose only methods of leadership were force and persecution. Some have likened him to Adolf Hiller, or even said that his reign spelt more pain and suffering for more people than Hitler's. The main reason for the disagreement is the amount of secrecy surrounding Stalin's reign and correct figures of the amount of people killed, for example. ...read more.


Each of these sources have reliable points, as well as unreliable ones. The way the sources are grouped depends only on the place and time they were produced, however, the decision of whether these are reliable or not depends on other circumstances. A source produced during Stalin's reign in Russia, like sources A, D, C, and E, would have to be approved by the government before being produced this would, therefore, make them very unreliable as they only showed good situations and often idolised Stalin. Source A and C, for example, were also 'official' government productions, these were normally part of the Stalin's cult of personality, which was basically a method of using propaganda within the country, to enhance the view of Stalin among the people. ...read more.


The only foreign source that supports Stalin is source F, however, this is unreliable because of the fact that it is written by an American communist who would probably have much the same views as Stalin himself. The final section the sources fit into is sources that were produced after Stalin's lifetime, these are therefore unaffected by rules surrounding productions against Stalin, this is something that might make them more trustworthy. The main problem with these type of sources is that although they have the advantage of an over view, they are secondary sources which are traditionally less reliable. Overall, I think the reason that there is disagreement about Stalin is because of the way all sources in history about him have some type of biased either in his favour, like source E, or against him, like source I. Without a number of completely reliable sources people can only really show an opinion about Stalin, never proper factual evidence. ...read more.

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