what's the Impact of Stalin's rule

Impact of Stalin’s Rule
Stalin voted third-best Russian
• Joseph Stalin came
third in a poll held
by a TV station to
find the greatest
Russian. (2008)
Legacies of Stalin’s rule
• Industrialized the backward USSR into
modern power
• Defeated Nazi Germany in WW2
• Annihilated millions in political purges and
the forced collectivisation of farms
• Millions more perished in the slave-labor
camps of the Gulag
What was the economic
impact of Stalin’s rule?
• Stalin aimed to modernize the Soviet
Union into a great country, more powerful
than Britain and the USA.
• Two measures:
– Rapid industrialization.
– Collectivization of agriculture.
What is industrialization?
• Development of industries
with advanced technology
to produce goods on a
large scale
Why industrialisation??
• To strengthen USSR so that it can defend itself
against capitalist countries
• To give all Russians a higher standard of living
• To demonstrate supremacy of communism and
gain personal glory for Stalin
Stalin in a 1931 speech to factory managers
explaining the need for industrialization
“Russia suffered many defeats because of her
backwardness. All those countries defeated her
because she was weak. This is why we must no
longer lag behind…
We are 50 to 100 years behind the advanced
countries. We must catch up in 10 years or they will
crush us.”
How was industrialisation
• Three Five -Year Plans
• Focused on production of heavy industries such
as coal, oil, steel, and iron
• Many new factories and industrial cities were
• Transport and communications networks were
also improved
Positive impact of industrialization
• Transformation of Soviet Union into a
modern industrial power
created vast number of jobs for the Soviet
strengthened the defence capacity of Soviet
First Five-Year Plan
• Focused on heavy industries, especially iron and
• Output was to be doubled for iron and steel
production and in electricity, chemicals and
• After some early success, targets were increased
and this Five-Year Plan was ordered to be
completed in four years instead of five.
Second Five-Year Plan
• Set new targets for heavy industries.
• More attention given to industries that produced goods
such as clothing.
• From 1934 onwards, priority was given to military
production as the Soviet Union anticipated another war.
• Factories were built to the East of the Ural Mountains,
beyond the reach of Western invaders.
• Transport and communication networks were greatly
Third Five-Year Plan
• Emphasis on industries related to military
• Disrupted when the Soviet Union was
invaded by Germany in 1941.
• From then on, all resources were focused
on military production and defeating the
Results of First and Second FiveYear Plans
(base year) (1st FYP)
(2nd FYP)
Stalin speaking about the first FiveYear Plan in 1932
What are the results of the Five-Year Plan in four years?
We have accomplished more than we ourselves
expected. We did not have an iron and steel industry.
Now we have one. We did not have a machine tool
industry. Now we have one. We did not have a modern
chemicals industry. Now we have one. We did not have a
big industry for producing agricultural machinery. Now
we have one. And we have created these new industries,
on a scale and in dimensions that eclipse the scale and
dimensions of European industry
A steel
factory in
Many of the new towns and industrial
cities were to be built in the East,
beyond the Ural Mountains.
The strategic
location of these
industrial cities
would place
them beyond the
reach of Western
Negative impact of industrialization
• Harsh working conditions
• Neglect of consumer goods
• Poor coordination and planning
Restrictions placed on workers
All factory workers had to work seven days a week.
Workers were not allowed to move around the
factories during working hours.
Workers would be sent to prison if they broke any
rules in the factories.
Workers could be transferred from one place of
work to another without their agreement
Workers would be sentenced to death for stealing
things from the factories
Negative Impact of Industrialisation
(short-term: early 1930s)
1. Poor working conditions, strict discipline and
severe punishments
2. Unbalanced economic development due to
focus on heavy industries  production of
consumer goods neglected  food, clothes and
shoes were in short supply  decline in living
standard in the early 1930s
Positive Impact of Industrialisation
(long-term: late 1930s)
Transformation of Russia from a backward country
into a modern industrial state  enabled Russia to
face German threat in WW2
Created job opportunities and enhanced literacy
and skills  many workers obtained well-paid,
high-skilled jobs by late 1930s
what is collectivisation?
The grouping of small private
farms into large modern stateowned farms
Crop distributed by state – the
government took 90 per cent of
production and left the rest for
the people to live on
why collectivisation?
• To make farming more efficient so
that more people in countryside can
work in factories
• To export more crops to other
countries to raise funds for
• To obtain a secure food supply for
factory workers in cities
• To abolish private land ownership and
complete communist revolution
Negative impact:
resistance and famines
• Most peasants (especially kulaks) burned
their crops and killed their animals rather
than hand them over to the state
• Drop in food production led to severe
famines in the early 1930s, resulting in
deaths of millions.
• Stalin blamed the kulaks, who were
executed or sent to the gulag.
Peasant women
in Ukraine
spilled kernels
Positive impact
• Cheap and regular supply of crops
• feed industrial towns
• raise funds for industrialization
• More manpower were freed from the countryside
to work in the factories to support
Past year question
‘Stalin’s industrial and agricultural reforms
were a total success.’ How far do you agree
with this statement? EYA. (2005 ‘O’ Level)
What was the political
impact of Stalin’s rule?
• Establishment of dictatorship through:
(i)Purges – Great Terror (25:30-42:00)
(i)Propaganda – personality cult (42:00-48:00)
How Soviet Union is ruled
• One-party rule; no free elections
• Party Congress brings together thousands of
delegates across the country. Its function is to
"elect" a Central Committee which runs the
Communist Party.
• The Central Committee's main job is to elect a
Politburo which decides government policies.
The Purges (1934-38)
• Murder of Kirov – Stalin used this as an excuse
to carry out a series of purges from 1934-38 to
remove opposition to his rule.
• Millions lost their lives – “The Great Terror”.
• Video (25.30 to 42.00)
Victims 1: Communist Party
• political rivals like Kamenev, Zinoviev and
Bukharin were put on show trials at which they
confessed to being traitors before being executed
• 500,000 party members were arrested on charges
of anti-Soviet activities and either executed or
sent to gulags
What does this source tell you about the
“confessions” that were made at Stalin’s trials?
“Kamenev and Zinoviev were kept in heated cells,
at the height of summer and worn down by
continuous questioning. They were told that their
families would be killed if they did not cooperate.”
Party leaders
who had been
purged were
removed from
Victims 2: Armed Forces
• Stalin was suspicious of the Red Army
because of its loyalty to Trotsky
• Most senior commanders and officers
(25,000) were accused of treason, tortured
into confession and shot
Victims 3: Ordinary people
• By the end of 1930s, the purges had spread to the
people – university lecturers and teachers, miners
and engineers, factory managers and ordinary
• Some 20 million ordinary Russians were sent to
forced labour camps (gulags); half of them died
from overwork and ill treatment.
Arrests and Interrogation
• The secret police (NKVD) had a quota system for
• People were forced to inform against their friends
and family who voiced opposition against Stalin
• Arrests took place in the middle of the night;
physical and psychological torture to break the
What does this source tell you about the life
for the Russians in the 1930s?
“At 4 am, there was a knock on the door of the
house. Everyone leapt out of the bed, but none
dared open the door. The knocking grew louder.
Finally, one of the tenants took courage and opened
the door. He was heard whispering for a few
moments and then came back to his terrified fellow
tenants with a smile. He said, ‘nothing to worry
about comrades, the house is on fire, that’s all.”
photos of victims of the purges
Impact of Purges?
• Consolidated Stalin’s rule
• No security of life
• Loss of able leaders and intellectuals
Propaganda: personality cult
• Stalin used propaganda extensively to build up
his image as a fatherly and popular leader.
• All offices, factories and classrooms had pictures
of Stalin.
• All successes and achievements of the country
were attributed to him.
What can we learn from this source about Stalin?
Propaganda: personality cult
• Artists were required to praise Stalin in films,
books, posters, paintings and musicals.
• Soviet history rewritten to highlight the heroic
role of Stalin during the October Revolution.
• Watch video (42:00-48:00)
Impact of propaganda?
• Made people worship Stalin
• Boosted Stalin’s authority and status
What was the social
impact of Stalin’s rule?
• Increased state control over everyday social life
 Fall in standard of living
 Living in fear
 Women’s position improved
 Increased literacy rates
 Control of education and youth
 Religious persecution
Fall in standard of living
• Soviet workers led very difficult lives in 1930s due
to rapid industrialization.
• E.g. long working hours and poor living conditions
• E.g. lack of consumer goods such as textiles due to
the focus of Five-Year Plans on heavy industries.
We were led down to the communal kitchen in the basement
… ‘My’ section consisted of a packing case and two reeking
kerosene stoves. On these I was expected to cook, boil up
washing and heat water for an occasional bath taken in a
basin in the room above … The room was good for Moscow
we were assured. At least we would not have to share with
another family.
– Betty Rowland, Caviar for Breakfast. The novelist
describes her experiences of Russia in the 1930s.
Living in fear
• Fear was an aspect of everyday life
• Secret police (NKVD) had informers everywhere
to keep people under constant watch
• Slightest indication of anti-Stalin sentiments
could warrant an arrest by secret police
• Victims sent to forced labour camp or even killed
Position of women improved
• Stalin’s industrialization encouraged women to
become productive members of economy.
• Women not discriminated or given lower pay
• State-run childcare centres were built to enable
women to work in factories
Increased literacy rates
• There was free and universal education for all
• E.g. every child was entitled to at least nine years
of free education; school attendance was
• Rise in literacy from 40 to 94 per cent among men,
and 13 to 65 per cent among women.
A historian’s view about life under
Stalin’s rule in USSR during the 1930s
“Stalin's policies granted the Soviet people
universal access to education. For the first
time ever, girls were granted adequate and
equal education and women had equal rights
in employment... The generation born during
Stalin's rule was the first near-universally
literate generation. Millions benefitted from
mass literacy campaigns and from workers
training schemes.”
Control of youth and
• Stalin used education to control what people were
• Lessons were loaded with communist propaganda;
history was distorted to boost Stalin’s status and
discredit his rivals
• Teenagers joined the Komsomol (Communist Union of
Youth) – encouraged outdoor activities and
indoctrinated them to be loyal to Stalin.
Religious persecution
• Religious worship of any kind was banned as
atheism was a key part of communism.
• ‘Religion is the opium of the people’ – Karl
Marx – harmful superstition
• Places of worship were demolished; religious
symbols burnt; religious leaders persecuted.
Control of the arts/ mass
• The arts and mass media were carefully
monitored by NKVD.
• Only artists who made art praising Stalin
could remain in their jobs.
• Only approved newspapers and magazines
could be published
SEQ Assignment on
Impact of Stalin’s rule (20m)
(a) Explain how Stalin maintained control over the
Soviet Union. (8m)
(b) ‘Stalin’s dictatorship in the 1930s was a disaster
for the Soviet people.’ How far do you agree?
Explain your answer. (12m)
Submission deadline: 10 July 2014, Thursday
Stalin’s methods of control
- Propaganda: creating personality cult e.g.
Stalin praised in films, posters, paintings
- Link to control?
- Brainwashed people into obeying and
idolizing Stalin as saviour of country,
which gave him better control