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To What Extent Was Stalin's Regime Based On Terror

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Introduction

To What Extent Was Stalin's Regime Based on Terror? At the time of Stalin's regime the feelings regarding the Soviet leader were very mixed. Masses loved him but others despised him and one of the key causes for that disregard towards him was his violent and ruthless manner of ruling. Today, this question is still of great relevance as both Vladimir Putin and Stalin's grandson are, of sorts, trying to rehabilitate Stalin. They are of the opinion that Stalin was also a great leader and he did not solely base his regime upon terror. To what extent are they correct in believing this? Many still believe that Stalin deserves to be referred to as nothing more than a mass-murdering tyrant. To answer this question, I will need to look at evidence both supporting and denying the possibility that Stalin's regime was indeed based on terror. I will also be looking at different areas of Soviet Russia at the time and considering to what extent terror played a part in these areas. Perhaps Stalin's best-known policy was the collectivisation of all farms in the USSR. Stalin triumphed in collectivising well over 90% of all farms and, from the outside, this looked positive and promising. There is no doubt that Stalin made use of a considerable amount of terror in the domain of agriculture. This may have been considered necessary as one of Stalin's agricultural aims was to get rid of the kulaks as a class ('dekulakisation'). ...read more.

Middle

Stalin's workers were also forced to work using quotas that were amounts of work that they had to attain in a certain amount of time. Each person had a different quota depending on their ability but every miner or factory worker had to meet these or they would be punished with fines, deportation or humiliation. The Shakhty trials were used as a means of terrorising the workers because they were evidence of what happened to workers that were accused of 'resistance to the Plan' (Lynch). So many workers worked under fear, indicating a certain amount of terror used in industry as well. However, Stalin was also very eager to encourage good work. The Stakhanovites were an elite of workers that were heavily rewarded for their outstanding performances in the workplace and they were hence used as an example to others. Stalin used positive support in many other ways in industry. In fact, it could be argued that it was the basis of his industrial programme. His Fiver-Year Plans were key as they allowed each person to have their own targets or quotas. This made the task much more manageable for each person. Stalin believed that organisation would be key to success in industry. In fact, GOSPLAN, the organisation that set the quotas for everyone had over half a million employees! Stalin tried to encourage more and more to join the workforce. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps he felt that this was the fastest and most efficient means of obtaining what he thought best for the USSR at the time. He did in fact claim that, in terms of its industry and agriculture, Russia was fifty to a hundred years behind Western Europe. He then said, "We must make up this gap in ten years. Either we do this or they crush us." And, sure enough, in 1939, just short of ten years after the speech, Germany and the USSR went to war. There is very little doubt that, without the rapid industrialisation that Stalin put the USSR through, Germany would have succeeded in invading the Soviet Union. So was Stalin right in doing what he did. Could the consequences have been much worse if Stalin hadn't ruled how he had done? Was he aiming for 'a greater good'? Also, was Stalin not bound to using terror as one of his methods because of the conditions under which he was trying to rule? It is important to remember that Russia was, and still is, a huge country with a huge variety of people and climates across it and that it has always been extremely difficult to rule, as the many previous rulers and Tsars could testify to. Also, socialism was a very controversial idea at the time and Stalin would have been trying to install something that was comparatively new. Lenin, who was doing a similar thing whilst he was ruling, also used terror as a means of keeping control in the USSR. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam ...read more.

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