The Birth of a Superpower: Detailed Revision Notes

detailed history revision notes for as edexcel stalins russia

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Why would the USSR feel threatened in the 1930s?
USSR had no communist allies
High chance of invasion and war against the USSR
Economy still fairly unstable
Why did Stalin make an alliance with Nazi- Germany?
Stalin admired Hitler
No alternatives
Following Lenin's example ­ Lenin suggested German fascists and communists ally
Keen to recapture old territory
`buy time' before entering war
How successful were Soviet preparations for war?
1. Military Reforms:
Army discipline:
Under Trotsky, titles such as officer had been abolished and soldiers had been encouraged to
treat each other as comrades.
Under Stalin however, the strict Tsarist system of discipline returned, with a clear hierarchy of
Purge of Army:
Stalin purged the army
Potential problems/weaknesses:
Army already small in numbers and so lacked skill and experience also crucial for success
2. Espionage:
The USSR had an extensive network of spies in other countries. They provided the USSR with secret
information to help it win the war
However, Stalin disregarded much of this information as he distrusted his intelligence services.
Instead, he used intelligence resources to hunt for Trotsky
Potential problems/weaknesses:
Little left to monitor the activity of foreign enemies
May not be prepared for an attack
Lacked concrete and extensive intelligence
Didn't trust intelligence gathered so wouldn't' be able to draw up war plans based on
3. Economic preparations:
Plans to rearm:
Rearmament during the third FYP was successful in some ways
New aircraft factories were built from scratch, together with new factories to build explosives
(industry expanded)
Potential problems/weaknesses:
Lack of an agreed budget for military spending ­ could cause further damage if not monitored
Chaotic FYP: purges to GOSPLAN, lack of expertise and knowledge for coherent plan
Reasons why the USSR won:

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Nazi Economic Planning:
Divided focus between war production and military goods
Goerning opposes mass production of aircraft
Use of propaganda:
Presented war as `Great Patriotic War', people would be fighting to defend the `Motherland'
USSR's economic performance:
FYPs built up industry and USSR's capacity to produce weaponry
Economy is able to out-produce Germany, UK and France
The Grand Alliance:
Combined military strength
Land Lease (lend equipment for money loans)
Transport ­ jeep cars, move army supplies
Food ­ tinned food like SPAM ­ vital for…read more


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