Persecution and Control: Detailed Revision Notes

AS Edexcel History

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How secure was Stalin's position in 1932?
Resistance in the countryside
Worker discontent due to the impact of the Five Year Plans
Party members unhappy at the level of violence
Local party resistance to orders from Moscow
The old Bolsheviks knew the `truth about Stalin
the Ryutin affair (local party secretary who wrote a pamphlet criticising Stalin ­ described him as
the `evil genius')
Stalin felt he did not have as much of a grip on the Party as he thought so he carried out....
The Chitska 1932-1934 (purging of the Party)
inactive or disloyal members were expelled ­ including illiterate workers and peasants
22% of the Party had their membership cards taken away
Why did the purges turn violent after 1934?
1. Congress of Victors:
XVII Party Congress
Moderates (Kirovs) ­ slow down industrialisation
Stalin ­ industrialisation must speed up
Secretaries of equal rank (Stalin and Kirov)
Kirov topped the poll in the vote to elect the Central Committee (showed Kirov was more
popular than Stalin)
Old Bolsheviks asked Kirov to run for General Secretary ­ declined but Stalin found out about
plan [increased paranoia]
2. Paranoia
Fuelled by secret police and Red Army ­ feared they had too much power and might
assassinate him
Fear of falling from power like Bukharin, Trotsky and Zinoviev
Old Communists who knew the `truth' about Lenin's testament and role in revolution
Didn't trust old rivals
Felt unable to trust party ­ wanted to remove those he saw as potential threats
3. Economic factors
Terror provided Stalin with scapegoats to blame for the problems of the FYPs ­ Stalin blamed
the `wreckers' for sabotaging plans
The victims of the terror were sent to labour camps and were used as slave labour,
especially on big industrial projects such as the Moscow Metro
4. Murder of Kirov
Stalin blames it on Trotsky and Zinoviev supporters
Gave Stalin an excuse to launch the violent purge of the Party ­ justification
Stalin uses murder as evidence of terror plots against the government ­ being led by
Kamenev, Zinoviev and Trotsky
Phase Who were the victims? Details

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Nikolayev (assassinated Kirov provided Stalin with an excuse to purge the party
Kirov) Appointed Yagoda to investigate murder
100 Political party members Yagoda = Head of Secret Police
30,000 members in
Kamenev The first Show Trial, organised by Yagoda
Zinoviev Accused Kirov's murder and for sabotaging the FYPs, con
The Trial of the 14 other high ranking to overthrow the government
Sixteen 1936 Bolsheviks Stalin would agree to set them free if they admitted to d
43 other allies `vanish' the…read more

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Stalin's Doctrine of Sharpening Class Struggle ­ says that as the country moves closer to
socialism, class struggle gets more intense: justification
Evidence to support the Revisionist view:
Regional officials wanted to impose higher targets in order to be able to arrest more people ­
desire to arrest came from officials, not direct orders from Stalin
Potential access to higher level jobs through denouncing of workers bosses created a desire to
carry out more purges ­ came from the people
NKVD targets ­ Yezhov: `Better…read more

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Impact of the purges:
Cult of personality:
Cult of personality = excessive worship of a single leader ­ the leader comes to embody the country
and state
1. The Lenin Cult:
Excessive worship of Lenin as `God-like'
Rituals and routines used to create an emotional bond between population and the Bolshevik
Petrograd renamed Leningrad
Built Lenin's tomb
The chaos of the 1930s created a need for a cult of personality
2.…read more


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