Stalin's Dictatorship

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Why did Stalin, not Trotsky become ruler?

1. Policies: Trotsky advocated 'permanent revolution' - Stalin wanted 'socialism in one country'.

2. Personalities: Trotsky was arrogant and unpopular - Stalin was cheerful and friendly.

3. Position: Stalin was general secretary and appointed the major party officials.  

4. Tactics: Zinoviev and Kamenev helped Stalin survive Lenin's Testament.

5. Dirty tricks: Trotsky was ill and missed Lenin's funeral - Stalin took advantage this.

6. Stalin used the OGPU (the secret police) to arrest, imprison and exile Trotsky.

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Was Stalin all powerful by 1929?


1. Had removed all his rivals - Trotsky, then Zinoviev and Kamenev, then Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky.

2. General secretary - appointed the major positions. 

3. Had established himself as the heir of Lenin.

4. Could use the OGPU and agitprop (combination of agitation and propaganda)

5. Was declared the vozhd in 1929. 


1. Other leaders were popular (especially Kirov)

2. Opposition within the Party.

3. Russia was weak agriculturally and industrially.  

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Did the Great Purges strengthen the USSR?


1. Removed all Stalin's rivals.

2. Attacked 'wreckers', saboteurs and spies.

3. Government, army and universities purged.

4. Forced into collectivization and the Five Year Plans.


1. Climate of constant terror - smiling mask.

2. Human cost - 'graze mistake' - numbers killed.

3. Armed forces weakened. 

4. 1936 Constitution destroyed local government.

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Did the Soviet people like Stalin?


1. 1936 Constitution 'most democratic'.

2. Schoolchildren were indoctrinated to love Stalin.

3. Writers praised Stalin as a demi-god.

4. Cult of Stalin - posters/operas/films/paintings.

5. Ordinary workers liked the Terror.


1. Climate of constant terror.

2. Orthodox Church, Muslims and Jews persecuted.

3. 'Russification' suppressed nationalities.

4. Criticisms by writers.

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Was collectivization a success?


1. Nearly all farmland collectivized.

2. More modern methods - tractors.

3. After 1933, grain production increased.

4. 17 million peasants went to work in towns.

5. Communists ran the kolkhozi.


1. Peasants killed livestock in the process.

2. At first, grain production fell.

3. Human cost - 5 million Kulaks killed and 5 million died in famine.

4. Peasants way of life was destroyed.

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Were the Five-Year Plans a success?


1. Increased production - coal/steel/oil/electricity.

2. New industrial areas.

3. New towns.

4. Dnieper Dam.

5. Growth in science and technology.


1. Use of terror.

2. Forced labour.

3. Poor conditions in factories and new towns.

4. NOT consumer goods - people didn't benefit.

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