The Great Terror

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Why was the communist party very unpopular by 1933?
Rapid industrialisation created stress and tension in all aspects of society, the violent forced collectivisation and famine of 1232-3 alienated the peasantry
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What did Stalinist leadership use as a justification for the Great Terror?
Kirov's murder
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What were Stalin's possible motives for the terror?
He felt threatened by the growing opposition against him in the early 1930s, by the late 30s Stalin was convinced war was looming and wanted no interference in his pace of industrialisation
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How was Stalin's personality responsible for the Great Terror?
He was deeply paranoid, the bearer of grudges this might explain why other comrades were killed rather than exiled, old Bolsheviks knew his intellectual capabilities
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When was the trial of the 16 and who were the key induviduals accused?
1936 - Zinoviev and Kamenev
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When was the trial of the 17 and who were the key induviduals accused?
1937 - Trotsky's former allies
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When was the trial of the 21 and who were the key induviduals accused?
1938 - Bukharin, Rykov, Yagoda
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Why were the show trials public?
Proves that noone is safe even within the Party, to frighten people into submission, makes Stalin look heroic
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What was the pyschological effect of leading Bolsheviks such as Zinoviev pleading guilty?
it helped to create an atmosphere in which innocent victims submitted in open court to false charges
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What percentage of the Central Committee elected at the 17th Party Congress were shot?
70%
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Why was the Red Army purged?
Stalin feared they had too much power, he had a lack of control over these bodies
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During the Great Terror how many senior military officers were shot?
35,000
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Why was it significant that Stalin purged the best commanders out of the Red Army?
He did this with the prospect of war looming it was a powerful indication of how far the terror had gone
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What were the 2 important economic functions the Great Terror served?
Stalin was able to create scapegoats for the economic problems that were inherent of the FYPs, they also provided a huge reservoir of labour
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How did the terror affect the economy?
Gosplan was purged it eliminated the most experienced economic planners, the 3rd FYP was issued in draft form only, party members felt compelled to lie about facts to give the impression targets had been met & avoid arrest, the truth was distorted
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What was the effect of the terror on coal production?
More than 1/4 of the management of coalmines were purged between 1936-1938, production barely grew during the height of the terror
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What was populist terror?
Stalin encouraged USSRs 'little people' to hold their bosses to account of the economic problems, local show trials were held and local party bosses were purged
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How many ordinary Russians were affected by the terror?
1/8
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How many arrests were made during the Great Terror?
7-8million
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What was NKVD Order 00447?
at the centre of the terror, drawn up by Yezhov it set up quotas of people to be arrested in each area, part of the sweep of anyone who didnt fit in the Stalinist system
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What effect did the terror have on families?
the wives of 'enemies of the people' lost their jobs, older children were likely to be expelled from uni, children were encouraged to denounce their parents and renounce them once they had been arrested
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What was the 'culture of fear'?
People were arrested noisily in the middle of the night to create widespread fear and paranoia
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What was the political impact of the terror?
proved everyone who opposed Stalin had done so for corrupt reasons, encouraged populist terror, left no rivals to Stalins leadership
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What was the role that the NKVD played in the terror?
historians argue the terror was conducted with such vigour because it was in the NKVDs best interests as an institution, they may have murdered Kirov, the target fulfillment mentality created by Order 00447
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Who was Yagoda?
Head of the NKVD 1934, he was criticised for not finding enemies quick enough
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Who was Yezhov?
Head of the NKVD, initiated a period of the terror called 'Yezhovshchina'
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When did the terror reach its height?
During 1937-38
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How was social instability a cause of the terror?
disruption caused by the FYPs created an unstable society, urbanisation created social tension and violence, there was a great deal of hostility in the country to the Party, gov. was worried about the loss of control in a 'quicksand' society
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How were the Gulags a cause of the terror?
the terror provided a large pool of slave labour to carry out the dangerous work needed for the industrialisation of Russia
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How was the prospect of war responsible for the terror?
increased pressure to develop an armaments industry, Stalin didnt want any interference with his war plans
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What did Stalinist leadership use as a justification for the Great Terror?

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Kirov's murder

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What were Stalin's possible motives for the terror?

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How was Stalin's personality responsible for the Great Terror?

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Card 5

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When was the trial of the 16 and who were the key induviduals accused?

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