It is very difficult to judge whether he was a monster of not, the argument is strong for both sides of the argument. I will use the evidence provided about Stalin in the sources provided and my own knowledge to come up with a statement that I think would be a fair judgment. To facilitate the comparison of the sources, I have grouped the sources that have similar origins together so that it is possible to observe both the positive sides of the man.
First the sources that come from the people who had been working with Stalin and were his close allies for a period of time, these sources would be the most reliable from all the sources, although there is a degree of personal view involved in these sources. Source F, a speech of Bukharin, had said that Stalin will not let anyone who is better than him live, because the men remand Stalin that he is not the best and first.
This source had shown that level of injustice in Russian under the rule of Stalin, who was a tyrant and malicious man. I would consider that this source had provided some useful information about Stalin, not only because Bukharin had been working with Stalin for many years, and the speech was made in 1936, before the purges of Bukharin but after the start of the great purges between 1934 to 1938 that the nature of Stalin can be seen quite clearly by his close comrades.
Source G, from Khrushchev’s (Who was raised by Stalin and took over the leadership after Stalin’s death) writing had agreed with the terror, but only for the good purposed such as to benefit the party and the masses of workers. But we knew that the party and the majority of the population were not benefited in many ways if the intension of terror was good, but Khrushchev described a man who would do such deeds not as a mad despot.
This source, described the purges in such way, I would have thought is not able to provide us with valid evidence, because Khrushchev had taken part in the purges as well as attack the anti-Stalinist so that he would prefer to hold on to his power rather than letting Mal, other leader of the collective leadership get hold of his weakness that he had done such evil deeds. Source H, a speech of Khrushchev in the same year as source G, have had an entirely different view about the characteristics of Stalin.
This speech possibly part of the “secret speeches” which informed the rest of the party the truth about Stalin, such as the murder of Kirov and the purges. In the source Stalin was described as distrustful and suspicious, which is a different interpretation of the reasons of the purges. Because this source is to show the real side of Stalin, that the words of Khrushchev here would be a good piece of evidence to show that Stalin was not a great man, that he was a man who saw “enemies”, “double dealers” and spies everywhere, and purged whom for no real reason.
So far the evidence seems to point towards the direction that Stalin was a monster, as judged by his colleagues. But another group of sources seemed to show an utterly side of Stalin. Source B, C and D were all published in Stalin’s time in Russia. Stalin was demonstrated as loved by the masses, and people lived in a happy atmosphere. Source B in particular, had included a newly built hydro-electric power station under Stalin’s Five year plans; the workers also look very pleased that they all have a smile on their face.
This had opposed source G which had declared that terror was used so that people should be scared of Stalin, and source F which had said that Stalin was a malicious man, in which case the dam would not have been built to provide electricity for millions of homes. Source C is able to show that Stalin did not suspect anyone by looking at the photo, in fact everybody raced to shake the had of Stalin, showing the love of Stalin, who had shacked hand with people with a smile on his face, again no sign of distrustfulness of Stalin can be seen.
Source C presented Stalin as a loving and caring man, while the other comrades showed no interest in the lost man, consequently the view of source G which had called Stalin a devil can be debated. Even though the reliability of evidence of Stalin provided by the sources above is low, because of there purpose of publishion, some good qualities can be found in these sources. Knowing that these sources were published in the official news papers, written by Stalin himself, they possibly served the purposes of propaganda.
One factor these sources had in common was that in all three of the sources Stalin always stood out from the rest of the grout with out fall. Stalin dressed in a suited with a coulor showed clear contrast with the clothes of the workers, and he was also in the centre of the photo graph; in source C every one rushed to Stalin to shake his hand so that Stalin was the focal point; again in source C Stalin was the only caring man. Because all three sources of extracts of different resources, and they all had a common suspicion of being propagandas.
So far because the sources showed weak reliability that the conclusion is still difficult to draw. From the ways of the presentations of the propagandas of the soviet regime, it is possible to tell what kind of image Stalin wanted to show to the public. Stalin wanted to show that he was the greatest, above every body. In source B and C Stalin had to be the focal point of these two, the love towards Stalin (source C), the great achievements of Stalin (source B), and the ultimate correctness of Stalin (source D).
Source D in particular is agreed by source F that Stalin must be the above everyone, where in source D it was used to blame the faults of purging people on the other leaders of Russia to maintain the image that Stalin is a god-like being who is never wrong. It was clear that approximately 20m people were dead due to the purges of Stalin, but in source D it was also clear that Stalin had pointed at the other leaders of the party for not caring for people.
Because source D had been written by Stalin himself, surly the analysis of the first hand evidence would be reliable enough to say that Stalin was a dictator and wanted to be loved by the people that false information was send to the public to build up Stalin’s power. The other pieces of propaganda were sources E and K, the were both published in Stalin’s time in Russia, one particularly published in the Pravda and the other was a biography of Stalin, therefore this will mean that Stalin will be again praised in the two sources.
The writer of source E had indicated that Stalin had brought joy and better quality of life to him, of course in 1935 when the writing was published, many people lived in the horror of the NKVD, the secrete police of Stalin, that if one had anything against Stalin then the man was for it! It was also known that although the industry out put dramatically increased, the production of consumer goods was still little and had not been improved since the come to power of Khrushchev, the living conditions were still poor for the workers, especially in housing, and only a little was improved until the late 30s.
I think that source E could be a special case, or it is more likely to be another piece of propaganda. Source K instead had said how much love Stalin had for the people and how good of a leader he was. Again this was not true referring to my own knowledge that Stalin set up the labour camps where extreme work had to be carried out, many died during the building of the constructions. Many of the good qualities described in Stalin I agree to a certain extent, e. g. Stalin was described as brilliant military commander, and his victory when defending Stalingrad was well known and Russia’s effort to defeat Hitler cannot be denied.
But on the other hand Stalin’s tactics had coasted Russia with the largest by far the number of death, which would have lowered his rating. Even though many good qualities of Stalin was shown in Source E and K, but because of the reliability of the evidence provided by these two sources, they cannot be trusted easily. The other group of sources that is very interesting to look at and would be quite useful to draw the conclusion is the group of foreign cartoons, two French and one American.
All three sources contained different levels of criticism within them, with the exception that source A gave some credit to the industrialization that went under Stalin’s policies. Source A had suggested that the outcome of industrialization and perhaps collectivization may be as great as the pyramids, built under autocratic rule and the death of millions, but the hard work of the workers to achieve the targets was paid off in virtually nothing. This was also to illustrate some of the autocracy and cruelty of Stalin since Stalin could make the workers to work without paying what they deserved.
This source had agreed with source F which had stated that Stalin was a malicious devil, although the cartoon was published in France and the French disliked communism, but I think that this source had indicated a clear image of Stalin, back up by my own knowledge that many people who were in the labour camps worked in extreme harsh conditions and many were killed due to the lack of care for them. Sources I and J also had shown the horrific side of Stalin. Both sources indicated the same event-the show trials, both with sarcasms had criticized the injustice and the dictatorship of Stalin.
The common feature of both cartoons is that Stalin is the judge of both sources, this to a certain extent shows that Stalin is the one who will decide the charges of the defendant. In source J Stalin is every part of the trial, the judge, the jury and the defendants, this means that Stalin will not only alter the results of the trial, but also what the defendants have committed as well as what to decide what to write down, simply because Stalin was everybody in the court, and the trials have lost their original purpose which was to obtain justice.
Source I however was more sarcastic, but also to show the meaningless of these trials, as all the defendants happily admitted to their commitment. I think both sources have given an accurate account of the trials because I knew that the show trials were so meaningless that someone can be charged for commitments that could not have had happened. These sources had added to the point that Stalin was ruthless and is willing to do anything to gain his absolute power, that oppositions will be destroyed at any cost, the show trials is only a tip of the iceberg.
With the sources available it is still not enough to come to a conclusion since the sources only include a few of Stalin’s deeds. I think it is important to take into account the industrialization that Stalin had done, this act not only brought Russia among the super powers of the world, but more importantly that the Russian army was able to resist the German attack and won the Battle of Stalingrad. With out the industrialization, the Russian army could not have produced as much weaponry and ammunition for the war.
The results of the Five year plans along can prove the significance of industrialization. years after its establishment in 1928 the production of coal, oil, iron ore, pig iron and steel had all roughly been doubled from the initial production at the start of the first five year plan. After the second five-year plan many of the productions had increased even more, particularly in pig iron and steel, where the figures almost tripled. The 40 years of industrialization lead be Stalin would defiantly have consolidated the rules of the Soviet Union over Eastern Europe and made Russia a super power after the war. What was also not included was the terrifying scenes of collectivization.
The idea was that the peasants could farm collectively, that the animals and equipments were to be handed in to the farm, which was run by a committee. The setting up of these collective farms were met with the resistance from a large number of peasants, that grain were hidden and animals were slaughtered by their owners that the food production had fallen dramatically. The natural instinct of Stalin had made him to blame the Kulaks who were arrested. Due to the large resistance in the rural areas, thousands were named Kulaks and arrested by the OGPU, terror again had been used to make the peasants to carry out Stalin’s wills.
But I think that collectivization was introduced by Stalin to increase the food production when Russia was still a backward agricultural country, the workers also needed food since the industries was increasing at an unimaginable pace, and modern equipments are needed to be used in farming. However the time was not right for collectivization, because the peasants had just gained their own land from the revolution in 1917, and that they will not be willing to give up their land.
I think that there is a little alternative when the food demand from the vast workers was so high that more food are needed to support them and to be used to earn foreign currency which brought Russia the modern machineries when sold to other countries. Here I want to point out that Stalin was trying to something that would benefit the party and masses of the workers, however he does have the suspicion over people as said in source H and his pursuit for the absolute power had corrupted him that terror was often the solution.
The characteristic of Stalin are described further in Source L and M, which are both biographies published in Britain, one nine years later than the other. It would be difficult to test these descriptions of Stalin because the Stalin had shown good will to improve Russia but the method was in humiliating, and Stalin was also a murderer who killed those challenged him; the balance on each side I have felt as very much equal although from many reliable sources that Stalin was a monster.
I quite agree with source L that Stalin was a good politician, who had contributed a lot to Russia, but he was also a malicious man who got rid of all that got in his way, after all Stalin is “the man of steel”. But source M had a different interpretation to source L that Stalin was corrupted by absolute power and make men believe in him. I think that Stalin did want the absolute power, which does not make him a bad man, but his methods to achieve his targets were often rootless.
The fact that Stalin had kept men obedient did stop people knowing the truth, but will also give more motivation to the people because they would listen to the man that they admired so much from the mass of propagandas. On the whole the things that Stalin done that made the people suffer in fact lasted a shorter period of time, that people were not horrified after the death of Stalin, but the industrialization that Stalin had done, benefited Russia for decays, most obviously in the Second World War. Now it is possible to conclude that Stalin was a man, not a monster, although he did have part of both within him.