Book 3 Chapter 2: Stalin's Soviet Union (Stalin's Social Impact…
Book 3 Chapter 2: Stalin's Soviet Union
Reasons for the Rise of Stalin
Non-disclosure of Lenin's Testament
In his testament, Lenin criticised all his leading successors however he
specifically stated to remove Stalin from his position as Secretary-General
When Lenin died in
, the Central Executive Committee decided to
keep Lenin's testament private
They ignored Lenin's advise as they felt that Trotsky would be chosen as his successor.
Stalin remained Secretary-General
removed his political opponents
kept his reputation as Lenin's trusted aide
Pretending to be close to Lenin
the ailing Lenin.
This convinced people that they both had
an enduring relationship
and that Stalin was
favoured and trusted by Lenin
Stalin's political standing was
When Lenin died,
Stalin organised Lenin's funeral
where he made himself
the chief mourner
This made him appear
relayed false information
about the funeral to Trotsky thus Trotsky was absent during the event.
This made Trotsky
Contrasted with Stalin who
renamed Petrograd to Leningrad
in Lenin's honour.
Control over the party's organisation
Stalin had the authority
to appoint and re-assign
appointed his supporters to important posts
replaced his opponent's allies
with his own.
Strengthened his power
over the party as well as
undermined his opponents
, Trotsky was
removed from his post
forced to resign as head of the Red Army
Exploitation of ideological division
Moderates: Followed Lenin's leadership and ideology.
Radicals: Formed new ideas and challenged the system.
allied himself on both sides
at different times.
First, he aligned himself with the moderates who were
as they thought he was a radical.
After Trotsky was eliminated, he
convinced the moderates
that Kamenev and Zinoviev were conspiring with Trotsky.
Kamenev and Zinoviev became discredited and isolated.
Then he allied himself with the radicals to
target Bukharin and Rykov
The radicals sided with Stalin and
Trotsky's unpopularity in the Politburo
disinterested in gathering support
was not interested in building his support base
did not participated actively in party politics
This put him at a disadvantage against Stalin.
Failed to counter
Stalin's cunning political moves, allowing him to
remain in power
Non-disclosure of Lenin's testament
Believed Stalin about Lenin's funeral
Outspoken, arrogant and
unpopular in the Politburo
Argued with Lenin and the Party
Criticised Lenin's New Economic Policy.
Criticised the increasing control over the Party.
Seen as acts of
disloyalty and arrogance
His position as head of the Red Army made his contenders see him as
a bigger threat than Stalin
Trotsky advocated Permanent Revolution.
Many members were wary of more fighting.
Found him to be
less nationalistic and practical
Stalin rose to power by
eliminating his opponents
economic, political and social policies
to consolidate his power
Stalin wanted to
modernise the Soviet Union
so that it could compete with the West.
Achieved this through the 5-Year Plans which involved
1st 5-Year Plan
: Expand industry, transport and power supply.
2nd 5-Year Plan
: Produce more manufactured goods.
3rd 5-Year Plan
: Produced luxuries.
Stalin's Economic Policies
Merged small individual farms into
large collective farms
belonged to the state
the state made decisions
on what to grow.
rich peasants and ordinary peasants
, agriculture yield in the USSR was
Mechanisation on collective farms would make work
easier and more convenient
would be required, allowing
more people to work in the factories
, such as tractors.
Peasants were taught
modern farming techniques
Freed more peasants
for the factories.
Supported Stalin's industralisation programmes.
to implement state initiatives and control the peasants.
Ensured food supply
to feed factory workers.
Destroyed Soviet farming in the short term and resulted in Great Famines
Grain harvest dropped drastically
and did not recover to their
Led to sever famine between
Instead of feeding the people,
Stalin exported the grain to raise funds
7 million peasants died.
Only in the
did the Soviets regain the grain harvest it had achieved in
Persecution of Kulaks
by killing their livestock and burning their grain.
100 million sheep and goats
16 million horses
These people were
either shot or sent to forced labour camps
7 million rich peasants.
Strengthen the USSR
Emphasis was placed on
industries such as electricity, iron and steel
Enabled the USSR to
develop its own arms and military
Modernise the USSR economy
production of farming equipment
Free up more labour
Strengthened Russia's economy (Long-term)
coal, iron, steel and oil production
Production of consumer goods
Strengthened Russia's military
the necessary economic resources
to fight a modern industrial war.
Industrial cities were
built in the East
, further from the West
Workers' conditions improved (Long-term)
A system of rewards.
Salaries were based on
a worker's productivity
Holidays and medals were
offered to hard workers
Educated labour force.
Primary education became
Thousandss of teachers, scientists and engineers were trained.
, Russians were able to do
Improved living conditions
Production of basic goods
Rationing ended in
cheap meals and free uniforms
Free education, subsidised health care and the provision of extensive leisure facilities such as cinemas, public parks, sports fields and gynasiums, were provided.
Worsened the plight of the workers (Short-term)
Workers lived and worked under
harsh and appalling conditions
, workers who were under-performing or engaged in sabotage were
All workers had to work
7 days a week
not allowed to move around the factories
during working hours.
sent to prison
if they broke any rules.
Workers would be
sentenced to death
if they stole from the factory.
if they missed a single day of work.
Living conditions were
Production of basic goods, such as food, clothes and shoes were
neglected and had to be rationed
This lead to
workers' salaries fell by 50%
Stalin's Political Impact
The Great Terror
Soviet agriculture was
between Stalin's supporters and haters.
, Stalin was
stripped of his title
Kirov, who favoured a relaxation of the 5-Year Plan, was
elected as Stalin's replacement
1 December 1934
The NKVD (Secret Police) 'investigated' Kirov's murder.
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Purges and show trials.
Those who were arrested were put on show trials where they
readily confessed their involvement in plotting Stalin's murder and working with enemies of the state
These confessions were made after
physical and psychological torture in prison as well as the threatening of family members
The purges also encouraged citizens to
denounce one another
nobody knew who to trust
Elimination of intellectuals, skilled workers and officers
Many scientists, teachers and writers were
arrested to prevent opposition
killed on the spot or sent to labour camps
Weakened the quality of Soviet civil service
High-ranking commanders and tens of thousands of officers were
accused of treason
their connection to Trotsky
Stalin replaced them with
younger, inexperienced Party members
This ensured that the army was loyal to him.
30-60 million people lost their lives under Stalin's Great Terror.
Use of Propoganda
Strict censorship made it that
Stalin could only be praised in media
Criticism meant being
sentenced to death
sent to a labour camp
Unwanted people were
Stalin often wore ordinary clothes to
All offices, factories and classrooms were
required to have a picture of Stalin
All achievements and successes were
credited to Stalin
Large portions of Soviet history were rewritten
to boost Stalin's status.
Stalin's Social Impact
State control of society
All private enterprise was banned
. The state became the only legal distributor of everyday goods.
Individuals' vacation destinations.
shortages of essential consumer goods
Fall in standard of living
There were often
shortages in food and quality consumer goods
Increasing city populations caused
Many were forced by the government to live in
cramped conditions with no running water or sanitation
Workers were forced to work
long hours in poor conditons
not allowed to keep produce
During the Great Famine in
, the state
sold its stockpiled grain
instead of distribute it.
, 7 million people died.
Lack of consumer goods
Production of consumer goods was
were the people finally promised luxuries such as bicycles and radios.
However, these promises were not kept.
Living in fear
slightest anti-Stalin sentiments
could warrant an arrest.
The secret police had
Arrest could lead to death or deportation to labour camps.
often being judged
If the people were judged poorly, it would become difficult for them to apply for housing, jobs or holidays.
Impact of policies on various social groups
The republics of the former Russian Empire
lost their autonomy
with the creation of the Soviet Union.
Their governments were
all controlled by Moscow
Stalin felt that modernisation and industrialisation were
than cultural traditions.
They lived the same miserable and fearful lives of Russians.
, millions of Ukrainians died. This was speculated to be a deliberate attempt to attack Ukrainian nationalism.
New Soviet Man
Ordinary people were
promoted by the state as celebrities
due to their work achievements or personal connections with the Party.
The pressure to meet such standards and the oppression faced by those who failed to do so had
a negative psychological impact
on Soviet society.
Many became pessimistic and lacked self-confidence.
Changing role of Soviet women.
were guaranteed to women
Abortion and divorce became legal
, abortion became illegal once again.
Women were then expected to be
both workers and housewives
However, women welcomed the change as
it gave them the opportunity to be just as capable as the men
encouraged to work
State-run childcare centres were built to enable women to do so.
facilities were poorly maintained
Youth and education
Before the revolution: 40% of males between ages 9 and 40 literate.
: 96% of males between ages 9 to 40 were literate. Women who were literate increased from 13% to 65%
Improved people's chances of getting a job
School attendance was
with every child being entitled to
at least 9 years of free education
full of propaganda
and emphasised communism and atheism
The growing literacy rate only served
to further the influence
of the Communist Party.
Universities taught technical
subjects which would help meet national industrialisation targets
The growing literacy rate only served
to further the interests
of the Communist Party.
Teenagers were encouraged to join the Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth).
They did outdoor activities and were
indoctrinated to be loyal to Stalin and the Communist Party
Many were later promoted to prominent Party posts.
Similarly, children aged 10 to 15 were encouraged to join Young Pioneers.
helped to work on political campaigns or on collective farms and industries
Stalin crushed his opponents through careful, calculated decisions, actions and manipulation.
Stalin's rule was more of a failure than a success.
Stalin's rule and control over the Soviet society was carried out at a high human cost.
The fact that millions of people died or suffered while others lived in fear makes Stalin's rule inhumane and unjustifiable.