*OFFICAL THREAD* AS Edexcel History Unit 1 (Stalin's Russia) - May 14th 2014 Watch

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Hey,

I'm finding revision for Stalin's Russia quite difficult. I struggled with Russia at GCSE so I have a feeling that since it is at A-Level, I will be finding it even more stressful.

I've found that mind maps are best for me and so I am sticking to that.

I'm focusing on my other units at the moment (The USA in Asia 1950-1973 and The Experience of Warfare in Britain: Crimea, Boer and the First World War) so that when I come to revise Stalin's Russia, it will hopefully be fresh in my mind for the exam

How are you finding revising for Stalin? Easy or difficult?
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Changing Skies
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If anyone would like a couple of essay examples for Stalin's Russia, feel free to ask sat this exam last year.

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Changing Skies
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I'll message you them later

I got an A, 84 and 86
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Changing Skies
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Thank you I'll post them here in case others in the future will benefit

This one got 29/30

Spoiler:
Show
Why did Stalin emerge as leader of Soviet Russia?

Observing his revolutionary background and other personal factors, Stalin was indeed a weak contender for the leader of Soviet Russia and lacked a strong, admirable past that perhaps people such as Trotsky did not. However, from 1924 to 1929, Stalin, with the use of manipulation, determination and tactical strategies, managed to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia. The reason as to why he created such an outcome is quite clearly an impressive doing, but what really worked in his favour and ultimately acquired him the position that eventually led to him becoming the totalitarian dictator he is infamously known for?

An important factor as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader was due to the advantages that he had as a result of his position within the Communist Party. Stalin managed to obtain the position of Head of the Central Control Commission. His role presented him with the power to investigate and discipline members of the Party. He used this to the best of his manipulative ability by not only expelling corrupt officials, but by expelling those who suspectedly disagreed and went against him ideologically. Not only would this be to his advantage due to the fact he could rid of those who would not like to see him as leader, but it also strengthened the support and loyalty of the people within the party, thus providing him with a support base who indeed admired and thought highly of him. It is clear the Stalin knew by gaining the trust of those who had the power to ‘elect’ him as leader, he would be more favourable than the likes of Trotsky and Bukharin. His role within the Government also had a similar effect. Within the Sovnarkom, he was responsible for communicating with senior officials throughout the USSR, meaning he could once again take advantage of his position in order to gain great loyalty from those he was held responsible for. He was also able to not only expel those within the Party once again, but also within the government, reflecting the idea that he could increase his patronage and ensure that government workers who wanted to keep their jobs would remain loyal and not go against him.

Fixated at the left wing of the Party lay Trotsky, and at the right wing of the Party lay Bukharin. Stalin, however, made the decision to position himself at the centre. This was not out of being undecided, but yet another method that he believed would enhance and greater his chance of becoming leader of Soviet Russia; quite clearly, it worked and can therefore contribute to the reason as to why he did. He avoided taking any extreme positions on many of the diverse and complex issues, meaning the other contenders would have no reason to oppose him; by remaining in the middle, he suggested the idea that he believed both wings of the Party were rational and that he supported neither more than the other. He ensured that he made as few enemies as possible to secure any chance of him rising as leader. However, Stalin did oppose one contender more than the others to begin with- Trotsky. He intelligently yet connivingly attacked Trotsky by comparing him to the dictator Napoleon Bonaparte. This led to members of the party fearing that Trotsky would manipulate his position as head of the Red Army to become a military dictator. Stalin clearly attacked Trotsky first as he knew that he was a strong contender for the position of leader of Soviet Russia, so by eradicating the support he may have once obtained, he strengthened his own chances of emerging as leader.

Stalin was indeed a man who possessed great intelligence when it came to political knowledge; he knew that in order to have the ability to come out as Lenin's replacement, he had to gain support from not only the members of the Party and government, but also the people in whom he was up against. His first action was the formation of the Triumvirate, which aimed to keep Trotsky out of power. Stalin formed the alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev with the objective of helping to take down Trotsky as well as gaining their support which he most needed and therefore desired. Stalin knew that by questioning Trotsky's ideology as well as ensuring he was unable to master the power of the Party, he would eliminate all chances of him becoming leader, which would effectively lead to Stalin becoming the only real contender. The Triumvirate did in fact work in Stalin’s favour due to the fact that Zinoviev and Kamenev argued Stalin’s case when he faced the sack as a result of his rudeness and lack of tolerance as stated in Lenin’s testament. Had Stalin not made the decision to form an alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev, he would have had little support and would have been sacked - preventing him from emerging as leader. This serves to prove that one reason as to why Stalin managed to become leader of Soviet Russia was due to the formation of the Triumvirate. Stalin progressively continued to attack Trotsky by ruining his reputation and turning as many people as possible against him in order to reduce the competition he faced.

Another reason as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia was through the takedown and destruction of yet another possible contender- Bukharin. After the Triumvirate split, Stalin tactically formed a Duumvirate with Bukharin who was clearly his next victim of manipulation. He used Bukharin to help him prevent the left wing from seizing control, which not only allowed the left to be attacked, but also lured Bukharin into thinking he had the support from Stalin, which clearly was not the case. Stalin knew that Bukharin was a man of intellect as he was known as the Party theorist, and so he took advantage of this to make up for his lack of authority as an intellectual. Stalin’s use of Bukharin was proven effective at the Fourteenth Party Congress. Bukharin easily demolished Zinoviev’s arguments in favour of world revolution, thus proving the Duumvirate was an effective move in contributing towards Stalin’s victory as leader. Stalin once again used his position as General Secretary to assist them, he was able to appoint the majority of the delegates who attended the Congress, which put his mind at ease knowing they would vote for himself and Bukharin. It’s clear that one of the main reasons as to why Stalin emerged as leader of Soviet Russia was due to his role within the Party and the government.

Stalin’s break with the NEP was yet another move that allowed him to become leader of Soviet Russia. He had managed to take down three of the possible contenders, and was now left to defeat Bukharin- something he had obviously planned from the start. Due to the fact the NEP began to fail, Stalin came to the realisation that if he wanted to emerge as leader, he would have to adopt the policies he once opposed- rapid industrialisation and agricultural collectivisation. His swing to the left is therefore a prime reason as to why the final contender was defeated. Stalin knew that with Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev removed, the supporters of the left wing had no leader and so it was his aim to gather their support to help him acquire that desired position. Stalin also coolly adopted radical economic ideas that were similar to that of War Communism, which allowed him to appeal to the heroic aspirations of many Communists who had never been fully reconciled to the alterations of the NEP. What made Stalin such a great contender was his flexibility, he purposely changed his ideas to fit the role that would gather as much support and as much loyalty as possible.

The final reasons as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia was through ideological battle and tactical manoeuvring. Bukharin’s incompetence, which was brought about due to the increasing problems within the NEP, and the destruction of his theoretical prestige, simply enhanced the success of Stalin. He was rapidly becoming a growing figure in ideological stature. He used this to produce The Foundations of Leninism which was widely read by new recruits to the Party. In doing this, he was appealing to yet more people and therefore gaining support as well as educating people in his ideas. It was short and simple to read, and due to the fact a vast majority of Russia’s population lacked much literary knowledge, they were able to read it with ease and were therefore influenced extensively. Stalin continued with his devious movements and manipulating plans by ensuring that the public were aware of Bukharin’s disagreements with the ‘idolised’ Lenin. He made it his job to ensure that every small disagreement was republished and discussed in the media. Stalin knew that by destroying Bukharin’s reputation as a Leninist, people would no longer support him and so would turn to Stalin as the newly desired leader. He also described Bukharin’s acts as Trotskyism - a truly clever choice of a word that would indeed turn any support away from Bukharin.

Stalin’s tactical manoeuvring were what finally and ultimately allowed him to take the title after much deliberation amongst the Party. Stalin was talented in the way that he knew when the perfect time was to retreat. It was once Bukharin won a victory against him at the Central Committee meeting in April that Stalin made the risky yet effective move of temporarily stopping grain requisitioning- this was quite clearly a popular decision amongst much of the population. Moreover, he used the deviousness of his personality to lure people into believing he had formed an alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev. As well as this, he tactically managed to delay Bukharin’s plane twice. Stalin indeed knew what he was doing; his deviousness was nothing short of impressive and it clearly worked in his favour to gain the power in the end. It was perhaps Stalin’s deviousness that had allowed him to sail to victory. Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin all fell for his tactics and only realised what he was doing when it was too late to alter the outcome; he was a true political figure.

To conclude, there are many reasons as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia, but the most important reason is due to the deviousness that he possessed. Had he not been devious in ensuring he remained in the centre of the Communist Party for a large duration of time, or forming a Triumvirate with Zinoviev and Kamenev, and then a Duumvirate with Bukharin, he would not have accumulated a great deal of success. He was also devious in the way the he used his positions with the Party and government. His high positions enabled him to appoint those who he knew would support him and remain loyal to him, and additionally, expel those who disagreed with him or who he knew would not remain loyal. Stalin was indeed an intellect when it came to tactics and political aspects,and so it is understandable that he eventually emerged as the leader of Soviet Russia rather than the other contenders.


Can't remember what mark, but I think it was a mid A
Spoiler:
Show
How far do you agree that Stalin's paranoia was the main cause of the Great Terror?

At the end of 1934, Stalin launched the Great Terror, a time that was to be difficult and tortuous for even the highest ranking members of the Communist Party as well as the rest of the Russian population. It’s clear that throughout his dictatorship, Stalin was extremely paranoid. After all, he did hold immense power and a position that many within Russia would only dream of obtaining. However, although Stalin’s paranoia was indeed extremely significant in causing the Great Terror, there were many other factors that can be deemed just as important; the murder of Kirov perhaps being one of the most prominent, as well as economic reasons and the outcome of the ‘Congress of Victors’. But were any of these causes more detrimental than the prominent paranoia of Stalin?

Stalin’s paranoia seemed to originate within the Communist Party itself. Events that occurred led to him believing that many of his so-called comrades could no longer be considered trustworthy. He acted against these people by removing anyone who he saw as a potential threat to himself and more importantly, his position. Despite the fact he was an unchallenged ruler of Soviet Russia, Stalin consistently believed that he still had a great deal of enemies, enemies that he would have no choice but to eradicate. Past events increased the paranoia and anxiousness that he already had. With Trotsky, Zinoviev and Bukharin all losing their once high status within the Communist Party, he was led into thinking that he too could have his immense power taken away from him, a thought that he could no longer bear. This was not irrational thinking coming from Stalin, however, it was completely possible that he would suffer the same fate. Moreover, he distrusted former rivalry, believing that they were perhaps not truly converted to his version of Socialism as well as his opinions. Another side of his paranoia came from his fear of old Communists who had been vital members before the occurrence of the Civil War. Unlike most, they were fully aware of how his rise to power came about, as well as Lenin’s view that Stalin was not deserving of the role of General Secretary, let alone leader of Soviet Russia. It’s clear that these people were to be in a great deal of trouble due to this. Another source of Stalin’s fear came from the Red Army and the secret police; he believed they had far too much power. Stalin lacked control of these bodies and so this led him to the fear of assassination. To make matters worse, Genrikh Yagoda, second in command of the OGPU, only further enhanced Stalin’s paranoia by fuelling his suspicions. Little did Stalin know this was simply an act to win him over and work in the favour of Yagoda. Extensive reports were compiled on the discontent of collectivisation by the OGPU and later the NKVD, clearly worrying Stalin greatly. Finally, Yagoda collected evidence that suggested that many Communist officials questioned the wisdom and motives behind Stalin’s policies, which would only further increase the paranoia that he already felt. Paranoia can therefore be deemed massively important in terms of causing the Great Terror, but can it be classed as the main cause?

The Congress of Victors was intended to be a celebration of the economic achievement brought about due to Stalin’s work, however it certainly produced a different outcome. Stalin was worried further for various reasons. Firstly, when the Congress voted to elect the Central Committee, it was Kirov who came out on top rather than Stalin - creating obvious issues, especially one of jealousy. Stalin only gained 927 votes, whereas Kirov managed to obtain 1,227. This result worried Stalin greatly, as it appeared that Kirov was significantly more popular than himself within the Communist Party. What further worsened the issue was that a group of old Bolsheviks confronted Kirov after the vote, attempting to persuade him into standing as General Secretary. Despite the fact Kirov declined, Stalin found out about the plan and therefore provided him with the evidence that he had no other option but to purge the Party due to its untrustworthy nature. This links back to his paranoia and indeed provided him with great incentives for the Great Terror.

Economic factors were also a reason as to why Stalin introduced the Great Terror. By introducing this, he was able to divert all economic issues on political enemies. Rather than the ongoing difficulties within the Five-Year Plans looking as if they were due to the incompetence of them, the issues could be explained through the presence of ‘wreckers’ within the workforce. According to Stalin, these ‘wreckers’ were working for the likes of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev and so were deliberately sabotaging the outcome of the Russian economy; Stalin clearly wanted to ensure that no failure originated from him and his policies. With this method, Stalin could create scapegoats for any economic problems that may have arisen due to inherent problems associated with the Five-Year Plans. Purges were also a cause as by doing this, a huge reservoir of cheap labour could be enforced. The vast majority of the victims of Stalin’s Great Terror were sent to prison camps, providing evidence for his economic motives. The prisoners in the Soviet gulags were simply a source of slave labour, meaning economic problems could be slowly tacked through their work. Another source of evidence of Stalin’s motives being partially economic is due to the trial of the Shakhty engineers, the Menshevik Trial of 1931 and finally the trial of state farm and agricultural officials in 1933. In each of these cases, those who were accused were trialled and found guilty of economic sabotage - showing the suspicions of Stalin were indeed economic. Although this undoubtedly caused a reason for the Great Terror, I do not believe it was as impacting as Stalin’s paranoia. But how much of an impact did the murder of Kirov play in causing the Great Terror?

The murder of Kirov can be considered the immediate pretext for the Great Terror. Following the ‘Congress of Victors’, Stalin made an attempt to exclude Kirov from the Politburo by insisting that he should stay in Leningrad to supervise the local party. After all, Stalin had good reason for wanting to keep Kirov out of Moscow for many reasons. Stalin’s paranoia and idea that he had many enemies was dragged out to a great extent as when he demanded the execution of Mikhail Riutin for circulating a document highly critical of Stalin, Senior Communists refused on the grounds that Party members could not be executed for simply opposing Party Policy. It’s clear that this would only anger Stalin more and increase his motives for the Great Terror. In December of 1934, Kirov was murdered by a lone gunman in his Leningrad Headquarters. This murder was quickly blamed on Leonid Nikolayev by the Soviet press, who according to them, was working for a secret ‘Trotskyite-Zinovievite’ terror group whose main aim was to overthrow the Soviet government. Consequently, Zinoviev and Kamenev were arrested for the conspiracy to murder Kirov. This outcome was extremely beneficial for Stalin; the murder had eradicated his most important rival as well as giving him the excuse for imprisoning two of his old opponents. Moreover, Kirov’s murder gave Stalin the pretext for seeking out this ‘secret terror group’. Finally, it allowed him to produce the claim that the murder showed that political dissidents were plotting acts of Terror, ultimately justifying the execution of Party members who opposed Stalin’s policies. It has been argued that Stalin and the NKVD were behind Kirov’s death, but regardless of the culprit, Stalin still benefited greatly from the murder.

To conclude, I believe that Stalin’s paranoia was indeed the main cause of the Great Terror, however along with the murder of Kirov. His extensive paranoia of party members being untrustworthy, and even enemies, provided him with the incentive of eradicating anyone who showed the slightest bit of opposition. Furthermore, to no surprise, he was too protective over his position, and so in his mind the only way he could carry on as the totalitarian dictator of Soviet Russia would be by eliminating anyone who stood in his way through the introduction of Great Terror. However Kirov’s murder was also extremely important and a prominent cause of the Terror. It provided him with the excuse that political dissidents were plotting acts of Terror and also catalysed the execution of many opponents, including providing excuses for the imprisonment of Zinoviev and Kamenev. Although purges and economic issues and the ‘Congress of Victors’ were indeed great contributors, I do not believe they were as strong in terms of causing the Great Terror.
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lavender-
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(Original post by Changing Skies)
Thank you I'll post them here in case others in the future will benefit

This one got 29/30

Spoiler:
Show
Why did Stalin emerge as leader of Soviet Russia?

Observing his revolutionary background and other personal factors, Stalin was indeed a weak contender for the leader of Soviet Russia and lacked a strong, admirable past that perhaps people such as Trotsky did not. However, from 1924 to 1929, Stalin, with the use of manipulation, determination and tactical strategies, managed to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia. The reason as to why he created such an outcome is quite clearly an impressive doing, but what really worked in his favour and ultimately acquired him the position that eventually led to him becoming the totalitarian dictator he is infamously known for?

An important factor as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader was due to the advantages that he had as a result of his position within the Communist Party. Stalin managed to obtain the position of Head of the Central Control Commission. His role presented him with the power to investigate and discipline members of the Party. He used this to the best of his manipulative ability by not only expelling corrupt officials, but by expelling those who suspectedly disagreed and went against him ideologically. Not only would this be to his advantage due to the fact he could rid of those who would not like to see him as leader, but it also strengthened the support and loyalty of the people within the party, thus providing him with a support base who indeed admired and thought highly of him. It is clear the Stalin knew by gaining the trust of those who had the power to ‘elect’ him as leader, he would be more favourable than the likes of Trotsky and Bukharin. His role within the Government also had a similar effect. Within the Sovnarkom, he was responsible for communicating with senior officials throughout the USSR, meaning he could once again take advantage of his position in order to gain great loyalty from those he was held responsible for. He was also able to not only expel those within the Party once again, but also within the government, reflecting the idea that he could increase his patronage and ensure that government workers who wanted to keep their jobs would remain loyal and not go against him.

Fixated at the left wing of the Party lay Trotsky, and at the right wing of the Party lay Bukharin. Stalin, however, made the decision to position himself at the centre. This was not out of being undecided, but yet another method that he believed would enhance and greater his chance of becoming leader of Soviet Russia; quite clearly, it worked and can therefore contribute to the reason as to why he did. He avoided taking any extreme positions on many of the diverse and complex issues, meaning the other contenders would have no reason to oppose him; by remaining in the middle, he suggested the idea that he believed both wings of the Party were rational and that he supported neither more than the other. He ensured that he made as few enemies as possible to secure any chance of him rising as leader. However, Stalin did oppose one contender more than the others to begin with- Trotsky. He intelligently yet connivingly attacked Trotsky by comparing him to the dictator Napoleon Bonaparte. This led to members of the party fearing that Trotsky would manipulate his position as head of the Red Army to become a military dictator. Stalin clearly attacked Trotsky first as he knew that he was a strong contender for the position of leader of Soviet Russia, so by eradicating the support he may have once obtained, he strengthened his own chances of emerging as leader.

Stalin was indeed a man who possessed great intelligence when it came to political knowledge; he knew that in order to have the ability to come out as Lenin's replacement, he had to gain support from not only the members of the Party and government, but also the people in whom he was up against. His first action was the formation of the Triumvirate, which aimed to keep Trotsky out of power. Stalin formed the alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev with the objective of helping to take down Trotsky as well as gaining their support which he most needed and therefore desired. Stalin knew that by questioning Trotsky's ideology as well as ensuring he was unable to master the power of the Party, he would eliminate all chances of him becoming leader, which would effectively lead to Stalin becoming the only real contender. The Triumvirate did in fact work in Stalin’s favour due to the fact that Zinoviev and Kamenev argued Stalin’s case when he faced the sack as a result of his rudeness and lack of tolerance as stated in Lenin’s testament. Had Stalin not made the decision to form an alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev, he would have had little support and would have been sacked - preventing him from emerging as leader. This serves to prove that one reason as to why Stalin managed to become leader of Soviet Russia was due to the formation of the Triumvirate. Stalin progressively continued to attack Trotsky by ruining his reputation and turning as many people as possible against him in order to reduce the competition he faced.

Another reason as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia was through the takedown and destruction of yet another possible contender- Bukharin. After the Triumvirate split, Stalin tactically formed a Duumvirate with Bukharin who was clearly his next victim of manipulation. He used Bukharin to help him prevent the left wing from seizing control, which not only allowed the left to be attacked, but also lured Bukharin into thinking he had the support from Stalin, which clearly was not the case. Stalin knew that Bukharin was a man of intellect as he was known as the Party theorist, and so he took advantage of this to make up for his lack of authority as an intellectual. Stalin’s use of Bukharin was proven effective at the Fourteenth Party Congress. Bukharin easily demolished Zinoviev’s arguments in favour of world revolution, thus proving the Duumvirate was an effective move in contributing towards Stalin’s victory as leader. Stalin once again used his position as General Secretary to assist them, he was able to appoint the majority of the delegates who attended the Congress, which put his mind at ease knowing they would vote for himself and Bukharin. It’s clear that one of the main reasons as to why Stalin emerged as leader of Soviet Russia was due to his role within the Party and the government.

Stalin’s break with the NEP was yet another move that allowed him to become leader of Soviet Russia. He had managed to take down three of the possible contenders, and was now left to defeat Bukharin- something he had obviously planned from the start. Due to the fact the NEP began to fail, Stalin came to the realisation that if he wanted to emerge as leader, he would have to adopt the policies he once opposed- rapid industrialisation and agricultural collectivisation. His swing to the left is therefore a prime reason as to why the final contender was defeated. Stalin knew that with Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev removed, the supporters of the left wing had no leader and so it was his aim to gather their support to help him acquire that desired position. Stalin also coolly adopted radical economic ideas that were similar to that of War Communism, which allowed him to appeal to the heroic aspirations of many Communists who had never been fully reconciled to the alterations of the NEP. What made Stalin such a great contender was his flexibility, he purposely changed his ideas to fit the role that would gather as much support and as much loyalty as possible.

The final reasons as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia was through ideological battle and tactical manoeuvring. Bukharin’s incompetence, which was brought about due to the increasing problems within the NEP, and the destruction of his theoretical prestige, simply enhanced the success of Stalin. He was rapidly becoming a growing figure in ideological stature. He used this to produce The Foundations of Leninism which was widely read by new recruits to the Party. In doing this, he was appealing to yet more people and therefore gaining support as well as educating people in his ideas. It was short and simple to read, and due to the fact a vast majority of Russia’s population lacked much literary knowledge, they were able to read it with ease and were therefore influenced extensively. Stalin continued with his devious movements and manipulating plans by ensuring that the public were aware of Bukharin’s disagreements with the ‘idolised’ Lenin. He made it his job to ensure that every small disagreement was republished and discussed in the media. Stalin knew that by destroying Bukharin’s reputation as a Leninist, people would no longer support him and so would turn to Stalin as the newly desired leader. He also described Bukharin’s acts as Trotskyism - a truly clever choice of a word that would indeed turn any support away from Bukharin.

Stalin’s tactical manoeuvring were what finally and ultimately allowed him to take the title after much deliberation amongst the Party. Stalin was talented in the way that he knew when the perfect time was to retreat. It was once Bukharin won a victory against him at the Central Committee meeting in April that Stalin made the risky yet effective move of temporarily stopping grain requisitioning- this was quite clearly a popular decision amongst much of the population. Moreover, he used the deviousness of his personality to lure people into believing he had formed an alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev. As well as this, he tactically managed to delay Bukharin’s plane twice. Stalin indeed knew what he was doing; his deviousness was nothing short of impressive and it clearly worked in his favour to gain the power in the end. It was perhaps Stalin’s deviousness that had allowed him to sail to victory. Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin all fell for his tactics and only realised what he was doing when it was too late to alter the outcome; he was a true political figure.

To conclude, there are many reasons as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia, but the most important reason is due to the deviousness that he possessed. Had he not been devious in ensuring he remained in the centre of the Communist Party for a large duration of time, or forming a Triumvirate with Zinoviev and Kamenev, and then a Duumvirate with Bukharin, he would not have accumulated a great deal of success. He was also devious in the way the he used his positions with the Party and government. His high positions enabled him to appoint those who he knew would support him and remain loyal to him, and additionally, expel those who disagreed with him or who he knew would not remain loyal. Stalin was indeed an intellect when it came to tactics and political aspects,and so it is understandable that he eventually emerged as the leader of Soviet Russia rather than the other contenders.


Can't remember what mark, but I think it was a mid A
Spoiler:
Show
How far do you agree that Stalin's paranoia was the main cause of the Great Terror?

At the end of 1934, Stalin launched the Great Terror, a time that was to be difficult and tortuous for even the highest ranking members of the Communist Party as well as the rest of the Russian population. It’s clear that throughout his dictatorship, Stalin was extremely paranoid. After all, he did hold immense power and a position that many within Russia would only dream of obtaining. However, although Stalin’s paranoia was indeed extremely significant in causing the Great Terror, there were many other factors that can be deemed just as important; the murder of Kirov perhaps being one of the most prominent, as well as economic reasons and the outcome of the ‘Congress of Victors’. But were any of these causes more detrimental than the prominent paranoia of Stalin?

Stalin’s paranoia seemed to originate within the Communist Party itself. Events that occurred led to him believing that many of his so-called comrades could no longer be considered trustworthy. He acted against these people by removing anyone who he saw as a potential threat to himself and more importantly, his position. Despite the fact he was an unchallenged ruler of Soviet Russia, Stalin consistently believed that he still had a great deal of enemies, enemies that he would have no choice but to eradicate. Past events increased the paranoia and anxiousness that he already had. With Trotsky, Zinoviev and Bukharin all losing their once high status within the Communist Party, he was led into thinking that he too could have his immense power taken away from him, a thought that he could no longer bear. This was not irrational thinking coming from Stalin, however, it was completely possible that he would suffer the same fate. Moreover, he distrusted former rivalry, believing that they were perhaps not truly converted to his version of Socialism as well as his opinions. Another side of his paranoia came from his fear of old Communists who had been vital members before the occurrence of the Civil War. Unlike most, they were fully aware of how his rise to power came about, as well as Lenin’s view that Stalin was not deserving of the role of General Secretary, let alone leader of Soviet Russia. It’s clear that these people were to be in a great deal of trouble due to this. Another source of Stalin’s fear came from the Red Army and the secret police; he believed they had far too much power. Stalin lacked control of these bodies and so this led him to the fear of assassination. To make matters worse, Genrikh Yagoda, second in command of the OGPU, only further enhanced Stalin’s paranoia by fuelling his suspicions. Little did Stalin know this was simply an act to win him over and work in the favour of Yagoda. Extensive reports were compiled on the discontent of collectivisation by the OGPU and later the NKVD, clearly worrying Stalin greatly. Finally, Yagoda collected evidence that suggested that many Communist officials questioned the wisdom and motives behind Stalin’s policies, which would only further increase the paranoia that he already felt. Paranoia can therefore be deemed massively important in terms of causing the Great Terror, but can it be classed as the main cause?

The Congress of Victors was intended to be a celebration of the economic achievement brought about due to Stalin’s work, however it certainly produced a different outcome. Stalin was worried further for various reasons. Firstly, when the Congress voted to elect the Central Committee, it was Kirov who came out on top rather than Stalin - creating obvious issues, especially one of jealousy. Stalin only gained 927 votes, whereas Kirov managed to obtain 1,227. This result worried Stalin greatly, as it appeared that Kirov was significantly more popular than himself within the Communist Party. What further worsened the issue was that a group of old Bolsheviks confronted Kirov after the vote, attempting to persuade him into standing as General Secretary. Despite the fact Kirov declined, Stalin found out about the plan and therefore provided him with the evidence that he had no other option but to purge the Party due to its untrustworthy nature. This links back to his paranoia and indeed provided him with great incentives for the Great Terror.

Economic factors were also a reason as to why Stalin introduced the Great Terror. By introducing this, he was able to divert all economic issues on political enemies. Rather than the ongoing difficulties within the Five-Year Plans looking as if they were due to the incompetence of them, the issues could be explained through the presence of ‘wreckers’ within the workforce. According to Stalin, these ‘wreckers’ were working for the likes of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev and so were deliberately sabotaging the outcome of the Russian economy; Stalin clearly wanted to ensure that no failure originated from him and his policies. With this method, Stalin could create scapegoats for any economic problems that may have arisen due to inherent problems associated with the Five-Year Plans. Purges were also a cause as by doing this, a huge reservoir of cheap labour could be enforced. The vast majority of the victims of Stalin’s Great Terror were sent to prison camps, providing evidence for his economic motives. The prisoners in the Soviet gulags were simply a source of slave labour, meaning economic problems could be slowly tacked through their work. Another source of evidence of Stalin’s motives being partially economic is due to the trial of the Shakhty engineers, the Menshevik Trial of 1931 and finally the trial of state farm and agricultural officials in 1933. In each of these cases, those who were accused were trialled and found guilty of economic sabotage - showing the suspicions of Stalin were indeed economic. Although this undoubtedly caused a reason for the Great Terror, I do not believe it was as impacting as Stalin’s paranoia. But how much of an impact did the murder of Kirov play in causing the Great Terror?

The murder of Kirov can be considered the immediate pretext for the Great Terror. Following the ‘Congress of Victors’, Stalin made an attempt to exclude Kirov from the Politburo by insisting that he should stay in Leningrad to supervise the local party. After all, Stalin had good reason for wanting to keep Kirov out of Moscow for many reasons. Stalin’s paranoia and idea that he had many enemies was dragged out to a great extent as when he demanded the execution of Mikhail Riutin for circulating a document highly critical of Stalin, Senior Communists refused on the grounds that Party members could not be executed for simply opposing Party Policy. It’s clear that this would only anger Stalin more and increase his motives for the Great Terror. In December of 1934, Kirov was murdered by a lone gunman in his Leningrad Headquarters. This murder was quickly blamed on Leonid Nikolayev by the Soviet press, who according to them, was working for a secret ‘Trotskyite-Zinovievite’ terror group whose main aim was to overthrow the Soviet government. Consequently, Zinoviev and Kamenev were arrested for the conspiracy to murder Kirov. This outcome was extremely beneficial for Stalin; the murder had eradicated his most important rival as well as giving him the excuse for imprisoning two of his old opponents. Moreover, Kirov’s murder gave Stalin the pretext for seeking out this ‘secret terror group’. Finally, it allowed him to produce the claim that the murder showed that political dissidents were plotting acts of Terror, ultimately justifying the execution of Party members who opposed Stalin’s policies. It has been argued that Stalin and the NKVD were behind Kirov’s death, but regardless of the culprit, Stalin still benefited greatly from the murder.

To conclude, I believe that Stalin’s paranoia was indeed the main cause of the Great Terror, however along with the murder of Kirov. His extensive paranoia of party members being untrustworthy, and even enemies, provided him with the incentive of eradicating anyone who showed the slightest bit of opposition. Furthermore, to no surprise, he was too protective over his position, and so in his mind the only way he could carry on as the totalitarian dictator of Soviet Russia would be by eliminating anyone who stood in his way through the introduction of Great Terror. However Kirov’s murder was also extremely important and a prominent cause of the Terror. It provided him with the excuse that political dissidents were plotting acts of Terror and also catalysed the execution of many opponents, including providing excuses for the imprisonment of Zinoviev and Kamenev. Although purges and economic issues and the ‘Congress of Victors’ were indeed great contributors, I do not believe they were as strong in terms of causing the Great Terror.
Wow an A in history, that's so good! The highest i've got in one of my russia papers is 24/30 and even that was a struggle for me.
I'm finding it really hard and would just like to know what type of revision you did for this exam?
Thank you
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Changing Skies
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Hehe it's okay

I'm going to sound awful but I did my main revision by cramming the day before for both I don't like telling people that because it makes me look awful, but it's the honest truth! I did do a bit of revision for unit 1 in the Easter holidays, but I ended up forgetting everything because my revision method was awful. I got given so many essays to do throughout the year that I believed my exam technique was up to scratch, so I literally just covered the content!

I'd advise you to get the content finished as quick as you can, really, obviously ensuring you actually remember it unlike me :lol: it'll take the pressure off yourself a lot more :yep: however, I think a week would be sufficient enough to work on technique

Yep, basically
(Original post by lavender-)
Wow an A in history, that's so good! The highest i've got in one of my russia papers is 24/30 and even that was a struggle for me.
I'm finding it really hard and would just like to know what type of revision you did for this exam?
Thank you
Aww thank you aiming for an A* this year, not sure how it's going to turn out though that's still a great mark :yep:

As above, really I just memorised my textbook by writing things out over and over, but I also wrote out every past paper question and bullet pointed what I'd include underneath other people find mind maps great for history, so that's something you could consider

Best of luck, I'm sure you'll do great


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Changing Skies
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Aww thank you

Yeah there's definitely a lot of content to get through that's good

Surprisingly not, I just worked nonstop during the day

It's going okay thank you

Nice subjects! How are you finding them?

Yeah I love it that's great! I'm doing that and some of it is so interesting the exam isn't that bad either as it's just one 30 mark essay and one 40 mark source question! Coursework went fine thank you, no idea what I've got on it yet, though

I do coursework for biology and I don't know what mark it's on, my last draft was an A though trying to get it to an A*! How about you? just going to see how long it takes me, not got a set plan yet

I'm hoping for an A* in History, an A/A* in English Literature and an A in Biology probably won't happen though :lol: yourself?

Aww don't worry about it! Thank you, good luck to you too

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(Original post by Changing Skies)
Hehe it's okay

I'm going to sound awful but I did my main revision by cramming the day before for both I don't like telling people that because it makes me look awful, but it's the honest truth! I did do a bit of revision for unit 1 in the Easter holidays, but I ended up forgetting everything because my revision method was awful. I got given so many essays to do throughout the year that I believed my exam technique was up to scratch, so I literally just covered the content!

I'd advise you to get the content finished as quick as you can, really, obviously ensuring you actually remember it unlike me :lol: it'll take the pressure off yourself a lot more :yep: however, I think a week would be sufficient enough to work on technique

Yep, basically

Aww thank you aiming for an A* this year, not sure how it's going to turn out though that's still a great mark :yep:

As above, really I just memorised my textbook by writing things out over and over, but I also wrote out every past paper question and bullet pointed what I'd include underneath other people find mind maps great for history, so that's something you could consider

Best of luck, I'm sure you'll do great


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Woow good luck! Thank youuu!
You must be so good at history if you crammed it all in a few days before hahaa
That's been relally helpful for me cause i've literally been freaking out about history as it's the only subject that i have to put my all into (i know it sounds bad) so it takes up a lot of my time
Anyway thank you again!
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This exam is my favourite to revise because the content is so interesting! I've gone through almost every single kind of past question and written plans for them all but the only one I struggle with is this one:

How far did Stalin’s social policies change the lives of children and women in the years
to 1945?

...all I can think of are reasons why their lives did change...a lot...I know you could say they suffered a lot under Tsarist rule, but their lives still would have changed because of Lenin's liberalism in the 1920s...
Any ideas?
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(Original post by NatashaG)
This exam is my favourite to revise because the content is so interesting! I've gone through almost every single kind of past question and written plans for them all but the only one I struggle with is this one:

How far did Stalin’s social policies change the lives of children and women in the years
to 1945?

...all I can think of are reasons why their lives did change...a lot...I know you could say they suffered a lot under Tsarist rule, but their lives still would have changed because of Lenin's liberalism in the 1920s...
Any ideas?
21 April2014
20:35
The question isdirected at Stalin's policies in particular, so discussion of Tsarism is bestavoided as that's actually outside of the period- don't get confused betweenTsar/Revolution (first question) and Stalin (second question). Some of thepoints you may wish to explore in this question are: Stalin's policies onfamily life- the return to traditional values, increased role at home forwomen, and the end to the socially destructive "free love" policyunder Lenin. Also stalins policies on educating children- compulsory education,focus on core subjects, exams and regular homework- but fees for latereducation lead to elitism, with party children receiving priority withgovernment grants etc. The role of women in the workplace is also key- the Fiveyear plans and then the war led to women playing an increasing role- yet notrecognised by the government- women paid 60% of male salary for same job, alsoexpectation of playing increased role in domestic life AND the workplace leadsto a "double burden" on their time and energy.

Basically everythingyou need to write this essay is on pages 60-65 of the Stalin's Russia textbook(the one with the woman with the flowers on the front)
The examinersreports on the edexcel website also have high-scoring essays for most questionson every paper except 2009 ones which are really useful :-) good luck (ok justnoticed that there isn't a model answer for that question and the examinerreport says all the answers were rubbish :/)

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(Original post by Changing Skies)
If anyone would like a couple of essay examples for Stalin's Russia, feel free to ask sat this exam last year.

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Would love these please!!


I have my exam in 3 weeks and I am completely clueless about the Stalin half of the course
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NatashaG
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(Original post by Meriadoc)
21 April2014
20:35
The question isdirected at Stalin's policies in particular, so discussion of Tsarism is bestavoided as that's actually outside of the period- don't get confused betweenTsar/Revolution (first question) and Stalin (second question). Some of thepoints you may wish to explore in this question are: Stalin's policies onfamily life- the return to traditional values, increased role at home forwomen, and the end to the socially destructive "free love" policyunder Lenin. Also stalins policies on educating children- compulsory education,focus on core subjects, exams and regular homework- but fees for latereducation lead to elitism, with party children receiving priority withgovernment grants etc. The role of women in the workplace is also key- the Fiveyear plans and then the war led to women playing an increasing role- yet notrecognised by the government- women paid 60% of male salary for same job, alsoexpectation of playing increased role in domestic life AND the workplace leadsto a "double burden" on their time and energy.

Basically everythingyou need to write this essay is on pages 60-65 of the Stalin's Russia textbook(the one with the woman with the flowers on the front)
The examinersreports on the edexcel website also have high-scoring essays for most questionson every paper except 2009 ones which are really useful :-) good luck (ok justnoticed that there isn't a model answer for that question and the examinerreport says all the answers were rubbish :/)

Yeah I looked this up already, and yes I have already looked at the book, but from my point of view all the content is about how their lives did changed so I would find it difficult to incorporate the counter-argument
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Katiea1997
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Hi!
Any of you have any wild guess' to what could come up in the exam? Haven't done any revision and hoping for a B:/ I'm so screwed!!
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AncientApple3
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Hello, my teachers have reason to believe it might be on Soviet Culture (art, music, literature etc) or collectivisation as that hasn't come up much over the past few years. Last year, apparently it was the five year plans, so it shouldn't be that again but it's still good to know them
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(Original post by AncientApple3)
Hello, my teachers have reason to believe it might be on Soviet Culture (art, music, literature etc) or collectivisation as that hasn't come up much over the past few years. Last year, apparently it was the five year plans, so it shouldn't be that again but it's still good to know them
yh thats what i reckon is gonna come up. You more confident for stalins or russia in revolution?
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(Original post by benSHTEE)
yh thats what i reckon is gonna come up. You more confident for stalins or russia in revolution?
I'm actually struggling with Stalin's Russia, I've always found Russian history difficult to recall. How are you finding it?
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im alright on russia in revolution, i think because we've been studying it for longer. But im struggling on Stalins russia. What it the highest you've got in an essay so far?
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Amethysst
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Ahh im not doing these units but i have my edexcel as on the same day, just different units obviously
goodluck all xD
ive completely finished the first half of unit 1 with exam technique etc, plan to have the 2nd part done by Friday, then spend Sat/Sun/Mon/Tue cramming lol.
I always cram oops.. i got an A in the mock by cramming so im praying!
I want an A so i can drop History in peace (i really haven't enjoyed it lol)
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Hey guys

Not doing Stalin so feel free to ignore me but my two sections are Civil Rights in the USA (Pursuing Life and Liberty or something like that) and then the USA in Asia (Korea/Vietnam etc.).
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