Stalin's Russia- full revision notes

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Stalin's Russia 1924 1953
Struggle for Power
After Lenin's death in 1924, the place of Communist leader of Russia was a highly contested
position with Stalin ultimately winning in 1929.
Why Stalin?
Stalin won due to a series of factors these include:
Weakness of his rivals
Political manoeuvres
Positions within the party and Government
Stalin certainly was not Lenin's first choice and so Stalin had to fight his way to power.
Personalities of Opponents
Trotsky ­ had many enemies, he was described as arrogant by Lenin. He was ill and had a
lack of ambition to lead, as seen when he was offered a government position and rejected it.
Kamenev and Zinoviev ­ were politically naïve. They were too intellectual and engrossed in
political debate, causing them to fail to see Stalin building up support.
Bukharin ­ described as the "party sweetheart" as he was so nice. He was loyal to Stalin
and during Stalin's left turn he just gave up and resigned. As the unofficial party theorist he
was respected however with many right wing views, his loyalty the Communist cause was
Stalin ­ cunning, manipulative, ruthless, underestimated. He tapped phones, abused the ban
on factions and controlled who sat I meetings, building himself support.
Trotsky vs. Stalin
Arguably, Trotsky was Stalin's biggest threat. Trotsky thought the party was becoming too
bureaucratic, with a hierarchy. He wanted permanent world revolution
Stalin wanted a government totally dominated by communist party and socialism in one
The NEP was another key issue during the power struggle. Trotsky wanted to end Lenin's
economic policy and crack down on the peasants. Bukharin on the other hand felt that the
NEP should continue as it seemed to be work. Bukharin was a further right member of the
party, this targeted in Lenin's testament as `not a true Communist'.
The Triumvirate
Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev in the early stages of the power struggle they promoted the
Cult of Lenin and criticised Trotsky
The Duumvirate
Kamenev and Zinoviev realised the threat of Stalin and left the Triumvirate to join Trotsky, all
three were excluded from the party as they had been perceived to have formed a faction.
Stalin joined Bukharin however became increasingly critical of the NEP in 1927, blaming it for
the Grain Procurement Crisis (1927). He switched to rapid industrialisation and

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The Course of Collectivisation
I. Emergency measures 192829 a harsh winter lead to the reintroduction of rationing
in cities. Article 61 and 107 were passed. Article 61 said that kulaks could be sent to
gulags. Article 107 grain hoarding was a punishable offence.
II. Dekulakisation Kulaks were rich peasants who Stalin felt were a capitalist element
that needed stamping out. It was speed the process of collectivisation if they were
liquidated. Kulaks resented collectivisation and this lead to the destruction of
machinery.…read more

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Industrialisation (Five Year Plans)
Reasons for the Plans
The economy in the USSR was weak, collectivisation had decreased the amount of skilled
workers and Stalin desperately wanted an economy that matched that of western
"We are 100 years behind and have 10 years to catch up or be crushed!"
Limited machinery ­ relied heavily on man power and production was very limited
Unemployment levels were high, industrialisation would decrease this.
Industrialisation would allow Stalin to keep control of all production.…read more

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Inefficiency ­ duplication and waste
· Poor planning by people who didn't understand the economy
· "Flitting" occurred where workers went from job to job to find better conditions
· Shortage of nails and bricks after collectivisation disrupted the peasant's lives
· Still largely relied on man power
The Great Retreat
Under Lenin there was an attack on the bourgeois institutions that were apparent in Russia
before the rise of Communism, Stalin saw this as a negative and so in the `30's Russia saw
a…read more

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Stalin believed that Lenin's rejection of academia had gone too far he believed that in order
for effective revolution, Russia must be wholly literate. Formal education become priority
meaning future Communists would be skilled, disciplined and literate.…read more

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The Great Terror
I. Chitska (cleansing) ­ nonviolent expulsion of 20% of the party
II. Moscow Show Trials
III. Yezhovschina period of mass terror
Under Stalin, terror was increasingly becoming more violent and widespread.
Causes of the Terror
1. Congress of Victors Kirov beat Stalin in the Congress of Victors. Stalin felt that he
was becoming unpopular and was being betrayed by the party felt the pruges were
necessary due to `trust issues'
2.…read more

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The Later Purges
Between 1949 and 1953 there were a series of `later purges' these were done for a series of
1) Provided scapegoats for WWII
2) Prisoners of War were ideal slave labourers and so they would boost the economy
3) PARANOIA! ­ People had many connection and Stalin feared people would take
advantage of his old age
What happened? Why the attack?
39,000 top ranking officials He felt that he had not be properly
Purge of the purged many generals were shot…read more

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The Art of Power
Cult of Personality: Arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda and other
media to create an idealised and heroic public image, often through praise and flattery
Socialist Realism: Art that sells Government, economic and social policy to the Russian
Art before Stalin
Revolutionary use of modern techniques e.g.…read more

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The Making of a Superpower
Stalin's response to the threat of War:
Stalin knew that war was imminent and so felt that he must do the following:
Reform the military
International espionage
Prepare the economy
The NaziSoviet Pact Why?
There was no viable alternative if Russia wanted to stay relatively safe the Munich
Agreement proved that there would be no chance of alliance with France or Britain
Robert Service claims that it was a tactic of buying time Russia needed to rebuild a…read more

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The Cost of the War…read more


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