Stalin's power, 1928-53

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  • JOSEF STALIN, GENERAL SECRETARY 1928-53
    • Limits on power
      • Limits from below
        • Party members wished for socialist policies that would reduce the threat from abroad
          • Was Stalin just following the party's wishes?
        • Overly enthusiastic party members risked pushing events further than Stalin wanted.
        • In 1930 an article 'Dizzy with success'  reprimanded the party members who were overzealous with collectivisation
      • Limits within the leadership
        • Using terror was one of the only ways Stalin could exercise control
        • Removing Left and Right opposition left mediocre yes-men.
          • No intuitive/ new ideas to push the party forward
        • Stalin's wish to execute Ryutin in 1932 failed
        • Had to redraft FYPs as party members disagreed
        • Did Kirov represent a faction? He got more votes than Stalin in the CC elections. Did this represent growing opposition?
          • Kirov murdered in 1934
            • Terror
              • Instruments of terror
                • Secret police (NKVD by 1934)
                  • Carried out torture and execution
                  • Also ran the Gulag
                • Party Secretariat
                  • collected information on other party members
              • Great Purges of the 1930s
                • Chistka, 'cleansing' 1932-35
                  • 22% of party removed by 1935
                  • nonviolent
                  • shows increasing opposition to Stalin
                • Show Trials
                  • Trial of the Seventeen; party officials e.g. Radek
                  • Trial of the Sixteen; Zinoviev, Kamenev
                  • Trial of the Twenty-one; the Right; Tomsk, Bukharin, Rykov
                • Purges of the Red Army
                  • 35,000 officers shot or imprisoned
                  • 3/5 marshals
                  • The Navy
                    • 14/16 navy commanders
                    • All admirals
                • Purge of the secret police
                  • Yezhov replaces Yagoda as NKVD head in 1936
                    • Yezhovschina
              • Trotsky assassinated in 1940
        • Some Politburo members began to express concern over Stalin's increasing use of brutality.
      • Personal limits
        • It was impossible for him to keep an eye on every issue
    • Increasing power
      • Terror
        • Instruments of terror
          • Secret police (NKVD by 1934)
            • Carried out torture and execution
            • Also ran the Gulag
          • Party Secretariat
            • collected information on other party members
        • Great Purges of the 1930s
          • Chistka, 'cleansing' 1932-35
            • 22% of party removed by 1935
            • nonviolent
            • shows increasing opposition to Stalin
          • Show Trials
            • Trial of the Seventeen; party officials e.g. Radek
            • Trial of the Sixteen; Zinoviev, Kamenev
            • Trial of the Twenty-one; the Right; Tomsk, Bukharin, Rykov
          • Purges of the Red Army
            • 35,000 officers shot or imprisoned
            • 3/5 marshals
            • The Navy
              • 14/16 navy commanders
              • All admirals
          • Purge of the secret police
            • Yezhov replaces Yagoda as NKVD head in 1936
              • Yezhovschina
        • Trotsky assassinated in 1940
      • Control over party and state
        • Intimidation tactics
          • Walking around the room
          • Fear of execution if anyone disagreed with Stalin
        • Less frequent Politburo meetings
          • 1920s, weekly meetings
          • 1930s, 9 times a year
        • Subgroups
          • Stalin could exercise more control over a smaller group
    • His power during WW2 (1941-45)
      • Co-ordination
        • of the country's admin: State Defence Committee (GKO)
        • of the military: Supreme Command (Stavka)
      • The use of terror was reduced
        • Generals e.g. Zhukov and ex-Party officials used their expertise for the war effort
      • He emerged from the war as a hero to the Russian people
    • High Stalinism, 1945-53
      • Party moved quickly to reassert authority after relaxation of control during the war
      • Stalin celebrates 70th birthday in 1949
        • cult of personality gives the facade of extreme power but in reality his health had been in decline
          • He emerged from the war as a hero to the Russian people
          • Those around him in rivalry for power
      • The rise of a new generation in the Politburo
        • Malenkov
        • Zhdanov
        • Beria
      • Mingrelian Affair 1951 purged Beria's allies
        • Beria
      • Increased size of Politburo, renamed presidium in 1952 to bring in new allies, e.g. Brezhnev
      • Evidence of another major purge before his death?
        • Doctor's Plot 1952

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