Were the Purges planned?

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  • Were the Purges planned?
    • Were the Purges simply random?
      • However, some Historians argue that the Terror was really quite arbitrary, that the frightening thing about the Terror was that it could strike anyone, anywhere, at any time.
      • The victims never really knew why they were enmeshed in the system. Often they had been implicated by previous victims under torture, in an effort to save themselves.
    • One explanation is that the events of the Terror largely targeted at the Party and bureaucracy seemed to coincide with changes in policy or with problems with industrialisation.
    • This is certainly true of these early Purges in 1930 to 1932. They were excuses for the failures of the first Five Year Plans.
    • Another explanation is that events were tied in with Stalin's personal battle over leadership.
    • All his opponents in the struggle for power figure in the Show Trails and confess to all manner of heinous crimes.
    • The Purge of the army seems to be linked with Trotsky - he had been Head of the Red Army and the army was really the only other possible source of power.
    • Many of the leading generals must have been confidants of Trotsky, and there is evidence that still, in the 1930's, some leading Communists were maintaining links with Trotsky.

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