The Great Terror

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  • Created on: 01-05-13 14:26
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The Terror:
What it was:
Stalin's policy of control
It had been used by Lenin to remove opposition, yet Stalin turned it onto wider society
The Impacts:
Between 10-20 million people died in Stalin's reign
As many as 7 million executed by the state
At one point 10% of the population were a victim to the
Terror in some way
Background to the Terror:
Stalin won the leadership battle due to his support base
Terror was an established method of control, dating back
to Tsarism (Okhrana)
Working and living conditions in Russia were appalling
By 1933 the communist party was very unpopular
The Chistka (cleansings)was the removal of 20% of the party in
Causes of the Terror:
The Congress of victors:
Kirov was voted head of central committee over Stalin in 1934
He won by 1225 votes to 927
Some Bolsheviks wanted Kirov to stand for general secretary, but he refused
Why this caused the Terror:
This indicated a lack of faith in Stalin
Stalin had only won the leadership battle due to his support base
This suggested they were no longer loyal
Stalin felt the need to purge the party of his enemies
Stalin knew how easily someone could be removed from power
Pre-civil war communists knew Lenin distrusted Stalin
Yagoda filled Stalin's head with reports that people in the party hated his policies
Why this caused the Terror:
Stalin knew how important loyalty was
He knew he had removed people from power
Stalin believed to retain power he must eradicate his rivals

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Now Yagoda had worried him, he thought most people were his enemies
Terror economics:
Stalin accused opponents for working for Zinoviev, Kamenev and Trotsky
This provided him with scapegoats for failures with 5YP
The large numbers in concentration camps provided slave labour for 5YP
Why this caused the Terror:
Stalin needed to remove political opposition
He used the Terror to discredit opponents
He needed to meet targets for 5YP
A large amount of this was achieved through slave labour, which made the plan viable
Sergei…read more

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The trial of the 16: (1936)
Zinoviev and Kamenev were the two main victims
They were charged with murdering Kirov and
disrupting the 5YP
Were both (probably) offered pardons if they
pleaded guilty
However, when they pleaded guilty, they were
43 of their allies disappeared
The trial of the 17: (1937)
Targeted allies of Trotsky (Trotsky was convicted despite his absence)
Accused of terrorism and sabotage
Yezhov was responsible for torturing them into confessing
13 were executed, the others sent to Gulags
However the…read more

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He was largely responsible for the Terror
A few months after the murder, 30-40 thousand people had been exiled for political crimes
He did not find enemies quick enough, however
He lived in luxury, owning 70 pairs of ladies underwear
Executed in 1938
The second wave- Yezhovschina:
Named after new head of NKVD, Yezhov, who came to
power in 1937
A period of terror lasting 1937-1938
Thousands of party members, armed forces and
professionals arrested and imprisoned
Many died in labour camps
Bukharin was a…read more


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