To what extent was the Great Terror Stalins main form of social control during the 1930s?

Authors Avatar by Liam

To what extent was the Great Terror Stalin’s main form of social control during the 1930s?

The 1930s was a period which saw the extension of a totalitarian regime within Russia. The Great Terror, the Cult of Personality and social policy were all forms of social control in the 1930s, influencing the behaviour and attitudes of the Russian people. While the Great Terror eliminated served as propaganda for Stalin’s reliability and spurred similar behaviour, it was not the main form of social control during the 1930s.

The Great Terror was undoubtedly an important form of social control, serving as a tool of propaganda, while inspiring the loyalty of Russian’s from below. The Trials of the Sixteen, Seventeen and Twenty-One (1936, 1937 and 1938) publicly denounced Stalin’s rivals, accusing them of plotting against Stalin and the Party. In this sense, they proved to the Russian people that he alone could be trusted with the future of Russia. Said trust was an important form of social control as it inspired the loyalty of ordinary Russians. This loyalty was manifested in the wider Terror from Below, as people at a local level followed Stalin’s example by rising up against their bosses. For example, in Yaroslavl, the managers of a rubber factory were put on trial by their workers and turned over to the NKVD after being found guilty. Overall, the Great Terror was certainly a significant form of social control, as Stalin’s example was mirrored by ordinary Russian’s who used it to find scapegoats for their own discontent.

Join now!

However, the Cult of Personality was a more significant factor in Stalin’s extension of social control in the 1930s than the Great Terror. While the failings of the regime, were obvious and hard-felt, the Cult of Personality ensured Russians remained loyal and gratuitous to Stalin himself. The Cult of Stalin was underpinned by official histories such as A Short Course of the History of The All Union Communist Party which exaggerated his role in the October Revolution and ridiculed his former rivals. Texts and films such as these led to the myth of the two leaders, which depicted Stalin as ...

This is a preview of the whole essay