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L11 stalin and the rise of a superpower

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L11 stalin and the rise of a superpower

  1. 1. Stalin and the Rise of a Superpower Five Year Plan’s, Collectivisation and Terror
  2. 2. • Should Stalin be remembered as a murderer of 20 million people or as the man who turned Russia into a global superpower? Millions were worked to death in the Gulag slave labour camps during the Russian Holocaust in 1933 Prisoners with severe malnutrition are seen here in a camp hospital. Most of these prisoners were expected to die.
  3. 3. Who do you think the statue is of? What would be the purpose of this building? Why was this never built?
  4. 4. Was Russia changed by the Stalinist Revolution of 1928-41? • Historians have tended to focus more on the struggle for power rather than the social and economic backdrop of 1920’s • Brovkin (Russia After Lenin) said NEP Russia was ‘an independent and vibrant society.’ • Communists had eliminated organised opposition but did not feel completely secure – reinforced power through propaganda, agitation and invoking class warfare. • Many sections of society found communist attitudes irritating or patronising – imposing new mentality and values had little impact. • Peasants – resistant to change and interference. • Workers – disliked communist attitudes, apathetic and saw conditions much the same as under the Tsar. • Youth movements such as the Komsomol made mischief with the Church without a serious interest in ‘building socialism’. ‘They were more interested in vodka than Marx.’ • Police reports showed that they had not succeeded in implanting an attitude of class consciousness in the population at large. • Stalin decided a ‘second revolution’ was required for two reasons 1. To build a socialist economic system / make Russia a great power. 2. To strengthen control of the party by making a pre-emptive strike against peasants and complacent CP members
  5. 5. Phases of Development 1928-1930 – accelerated industrialisation, urbanisation and forced collectivisation – shortages led to rationing in towns and cities. 1930-1932 – economic policy was confused. The first ‘Five Year Plans’ had not been planned properly. Attempts to hit targets led to decline in rate of industrial growth. Free peasant market legalised. 1933 – disastrous 1932 harvest (Stalin supposedly let it get worse.) grain quotas increased. Targets for Second Five Year Plan more realistic. 1934-1936 – spectacular economic development. Factories built in first plan began to produce, agriculture slowly recovered. Standard of living rose and rationing was abolished. Increased repression. 1937-1941 – mass repression and prep for war. Purges caused a slowing down in agriculture, despite a tightening of labour discipline.
  6. 6. Methods – Historical Views Chapter 9 ‘Building Paradise’ gives a good overview of Five Year Plans and Collectivisation – here you can find primary evidence to support historical opinions. • Pre-1917 Russia had been a predominantly agricultural economy. • 1930s saw a massive shift to industrial production – grew at greater rate than pre-1914. View 1 - very critical of Stalin’s policies – as he used terror as a political and economic weapon. R. Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow. • Forced collectivisation • Kulaks (rich peasants/grain hoarders) killed, deported or forced to work on industrial projects. • Famine devastated large areas, especially Ukraine.
  7. 7. Methods – Historical Views View 2 – brutal change from above was part of a long tradition in Russia – Stalin was just on a larger, more ferocious scale. A. Nove, An Economic History of the USSR – ‘difficult to make omelettes without breaking eggs.’ View 3 – economic changes go hand-in-hand with ideology. The importance of class warfare was promoted by Five Year Plans. Though regime did have to include capitalist elements – wage differentials, incentives to specialists etc. View 4 – industrialisation and collectivisation heavily linked – food had to be provided for industrial workers via the quotas. A. Nove – ‘peasants were the major losers.’
  8. 8. We will smite the kulak who agitates for reducing cultivated acreage
  9. 9. What is Kenez’s opinion of Stalin’s methods? Who suffered the most? Why?
  10. 10. What is happening in this poster? What does it tell us about Stalin’s regime?
  11. 11. Long Live the Stalinist Order of Heroes and Stakhanovites!
  12. 12. Success? • Russians were pioneers in statistical analysis – 1920s figures are reliable • 1930s – figures distorted or simply not published. • Most historians agree – considerable increase in output of most goods, consumer goods given low priority, major decline in agriculture. • High proportion of GDP invested in defence, technological innovation not encouraged in most sectors, system inefficiently managed. • Industrialisation was successful in so far as it laid the foundations for USSR victory in WWII. • Long-term – crude top-down model of command economy was inflexible, inefficient and discouraged initiative. Left problems for Stalin’s successors has system was resistant to change.
  13. 13. Interpretations of success Short term • Stalin achieved his objective of eliminating the peasantry as a potentially independent force. • Won the battle for collectivisation and secured a regular supply of food. • Massive increase in fuel production and engineering. • Leningrad and Moscow expanded. • Succeeded through propaganda in telling public they must work hard for future of Russia. • Unemployment disappeared, working conditions difficult. • Not efficient, increased production down to new workforce (ex- peasants, women) • Many simply worked harder – built on people power rather than mechanical power.
  14. 14. Medium Term • Made great leap forward in sheer quantities of production. • Agriculture recovered slightly when peasants given concessions such as right to trade surplus. • Industrialisation crucial in defeat of Germany
  15. 15. Long-term • Economic revolution probably a long-term failure. • Great human cost. • Peasantry keener on small private plots than collectives. • Grain sometimes had to purchased from abroad. • System of long-term planning prevented development and innovation. • Did not produce great quantities of consumer goods that people wanted. • Economic problems would undermine Soviet regime.
  16. 16. Conclusion • Difficult to gauge overall success and failure. • A dispossessed kulak would feel very differently to a skilled engineer. • Stalin had not built socialism – collective farmers still traded freely once quotas were met, specialist earned more, people allowed to buy consumer goods (if available). • Not socialism that Marx would recognise but society had changed beyond recognition from Tsarist days.
  17. 17. Stalin and NKVD chief, Nikolai Yezhov Stalin and ….!! What the!?!
  18. 18. • Der Faterland (1938) • Efimov was the leading satirist of purge victims. Here he lampoons Trotsky, Rykov, Bukharin, Radek and Chernov
  19. 19. Ezhov's Iron Glove (1937)
  20. 20. http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&Subj ectID=1934kirov&Year=1934 Kirov http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&Subj ectID=1936terror&Year=1936 Great Terror
  21. 21. Terror • The dictatorship of the proletariat really meant the dictatorship of Stalin. • No political institutions could challenge Stalin’s policies. • Politburo met less and less. • Stalin relied on party members who owed their positions to him and others he controlled through fear. • Purges and show trials were used to eliminate left and right – many of the people who had opposed him in 1920s.
  22. 22. Historians on Terror! • Some emphasise Stalin’s personal qualities – mental instability or outright paranoia. • Many western and post-Soviet historians see Stalin’s methods as a continuation of Lenin. • Some see Stalin’s brutality as a part of a broader Russian tradition of despotic leadership (Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great) – nothing to do with communism. • Terror can be justified as regime needed to create a ‘siege mentality’ in Russia to justify sacrifices of economic revolution. • Surrounded by hostile countries and fearful of attack. • Purges could be seen as scapegoats for the difficulties and failures of industrialisation • Secret police had quotas the meet. • Russians fearful of being denounced often denounced someone else first. • Pre-Kirov Affair (see sheet) – knee-jerk reactions to opposition to collectivisation etc. • Post-Kirov – more direct with political motivations. • NKVD Chief Yezhov was a zealous supporter of terror tactics and purging.
  23. 23. Conclusion • Stalin had eliminated all likely potential opposition to his leadership by late 1934 and was the unchallenged leader of both party and state. • Nevertheless, he proceeded to purge the party rank and file and to terrorize the entire country with widespread arrests and executions. • During the ensuing Great Terror, which included the notorious show trials of Stalin's former Bolshevik opponents in 1936-1938 and reached its peak in 1937 and 1938, millions of innocent Soviet citizens were sent off to labour camps or killed in prison. • By the time the terror subsided in 1939, Stalin had managed to bring both the party and the public to a state of complete submission to his rule. • Soviet society was so atomized and the people so fearful of reprisals that mass arrests were no longer necessary. • Stalin ruled as absolute dictator of the Soviet Union throughout World War II and until his death in March 1953.