It is true that Stalin was the cause of millions of Russians being murdered and there is sufficient evidence, which shows Stalin to be a despotic tyrant, but whether he should be condemned for this is a different matter. Stalin was obsessed with power and to make sure he kept it, he would murder anyone that showed even the slightest bit of opposition to him, so millions of people died in these purges. Also Stalin got rid of some of the Soviet Union’s most intelligent and creative brains for example – thinkers, writers and artists who could have gone on to great things.
Instead Stalin had them murdered too, as he cold not stand people who were more intelligent or gifted than he was, as they posed a threat to him. Also there is no doubt that Stalin used the five year plans to increase his power on the country. This was done by increasing the industrial base with these new plans, this would therefore increase support for the Bolshevik party and so give Stalin the excuse to increase control over trade and so this would in turn increase his own power.
As can be seen from this Stalin was certainly a tyrant and responsible for mass murders but he pushed the five year plans and the collectivisation policy through for good reason. Stalin predicted that in the very near future, Russia would come under invasion from Hitler’s Germany. At the time Russia didn’t have a chance of defending and Hitler would have easily conquered the country, killing millions of people and enslaving many more in the process. So Stalin believed that he could sacrifice a small part of his population by pushing through these policies and so being able to defend against an invasion.
So one could say that Stalin should be admired for his bravery in sacrificing millions of people so that many more people in the country will remain free. There are several sources that give evidence of Stalin being a mass murderer and a despotic tyrant, namely sources A, F, H and M. Source A shows Stalin standing next to pyramids of skulls, this is commenting on Stalin being a mass murderer but it is not very reliable as it a cartoon drawn in the 1930’s in Paris.
Cartoons are usually exaggerated and this is bound to be disparaging of Stalin as it was drawn in the 1930’s when the purges were occurring, in a very anti-communist country. Source F tells us of how Stalin will kill any one who speaks better than him, but this is again an unreliable source as it is from Bukharin, a victim of the purges. Source J is very similar to this as it tells us of how Stalin eliminated the opposition but is also unreliable as it is from Trotsky, another victim of the purges.
Source H on the other hand is most likely to be reliable as it was written many years after the purges in a time where Britain was no longer at war with Russia. This source taken from a textbook, meaning that the information will have been taken from many different sources, shows how Stalin forced through collectivisation, killing many of the Kulaks in the process. One can see that there is plenty evidence against Stalin showing him to be a mass murderer and a despotic tyrant but he did do many good things for Russia. In just 30 years Stalin managed to turn Russia into a powerful, modern industrial nation.
In 1928 Russia was very much industrially backward but by the mid 1940’s agriculture was organised by collectivisation and she was far more advanced industrially than she ever had been. From 1928 till the Second World War, Stalin did heavily strengthen the country, so much so that they were eventually successful in stopping Germany capturing the country and drove them back across Europe. Also under Stalin there were advances in medicine and education and enormous numbers of people learned to read and write. Living standards also began to rise, so really people should be praising Stalin or should they?
In turning Russia into a great, industrialised country, Stalin sacrificed 20 million people’s lives and in my opinion the price that he exacted was too high. Instead of strengthening Russia by purging his opposition in fact weakened her as he purged much of the Russian army. It is said that Stalin personally did not order all the excesses of the purges, it was just that the secret police got out of control, but I feel that Stalin knew exactly who was being killed and he went beyond what was necessary with the purges. He should have tried another way instead of killing 20 million people.
When looking at the sources one can see that there are several sources praising Stalin for example sources E, G and K but these three sources are all unreliable. Source E is from a speech made to the Congress of Soviets in 1935 and it was published in Pravda. It tells us of how great Stalin is and how much he has done for the country but this source is incredibly unreliable. This is because it was a speech in front of the Congress of Soviets in 1935; if this person had shown even a hint of opposition at that time he would have been the next victim of the purges.
Also because it was published later in Pravda magazine it is bound to have been very praising to Stalin and so this source cannot be seen as reliable. Source K is also unreliable as it is from a biography of Stalin in 1947. Stalin was still in power at this time and so the source is again going to praise Stalin unnecessarily and so cannot be seen as reliable. Source G’s reliability is debatable as it is from a speech made by brigadier of a collective farm and so has to be praiseworthy of Stalin but it was published by a British academic in 1938.
I say its reliability is debatable because it would be most likely that this would be a false speech for this man fears for his life but on the other hand it was published by a British academic who should have no need to praise Stalin. What swung it for me however that this source is unreliable is that this British academic actually had a eastern European surname and so is most likely to have connections with Russia and so have a hidden bias.
One can see therefore that there is very little reliable evidence that praises Stalin for transforming and strengthening the country. I do feel that Stalin did do great things in Russia and this is shown by Russia’s ability to defend itself against Germany in the Second World War. He was though, the cause of many deaths in Russia and he certainly killed people to strengthen his power, so by using my knowledge of the period and the evidence provided in the source I have come to the conclusion that Stalin should be condemned as a mass murderer and a despotic tyrant.