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Was Stalin Bad



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Joseph Stalin, Leader of the Soviet Union (1878-1953)

Stalin, [L] and [R]. When Nazi Germany fell, he used the instability in Europe to his advantage, pushing the iron curtain across the East and splitting Germany in half. He remained a harsh dictator until his death in Castro as a child [L] and as leader of Cuba [R]. In , he graduated from the University of Havana and opened a law office, and two years later ran for the Cuban House of Representatives. When Fulgencio Batista seized power, Castro began planning an uprising. In July , he led over men in an attack on the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Castro, [L] and [R].

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, , in Austria. From an early age, he and his father fought, as he refused to conform to the strict discipline of his school. This led to regular beatings, from which his mother tried to protect him. Hitler as an infant [L] and as leader of the Third Reich [R]. The Beer Hall Putsch in November established Hitler as a right-wing hero, and the release of his prison manifesto, Mein Kampf , allowed his continued rise and the birth of the Third Reich. This allowed him to spread his ideas of the Aryan race and his anti-semitic attitudes toward Jewish people.

Millions of Jews lost their lives in concentration camps , Germany invaded numerous European countries and fighting ran six years. When it became evident the Nazis had lost the war, Hitler, his wife and other high-ranking German officials died by suicide. The eldest of three children, he often spent time shadowing his father, who was a blacksmith. According to Timothy Snyder , ethnic Poles constituted the largest group of victims in the Great Terror, comprising less than 0. The purge of the Red Army and Military Maritime Fleet removed three of five marshals then equivalent to four-star generals , 13 of 15 army commanders then equivalent to three-star generals , [68] eight of nine admirals the purge fell heavily on the Navy, who were suspected of exploiting their opportunities for foreign contacts , [69] 50 of 57 army corps commanders, out of division commanders, 16 of 16 army commissars , and 25 of 28 army corps commissars.

This discrepancy was the result of a systematic underestimation of the true size of the Red Army officer corps, and it was overlooked that most of those purged were merely expelled from the Party. Thirty percent of officers purged in — were allowed to return to service. The purge of the army was claimed to be supported by German-forged documents said to have been correspondence between Marshal Tukhachevsky and members of the German high command. However the actual evidence introduced at trial was obtained from forced confessions.

Eventually almost all of the Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of , or in Lenin's Soviet government, were executed. Of the seven members elected to the Politburo between the October Revolution and Lenin's death in , four were executed, one Tomsky committed suicide, and two Molotov and Kalinin lived. While being the most visible part, the trials and executions of the former Bolshevik leaders were only a minor aspect of the purges.

The victims were executed at night, either in prisons, in the cellars of NKVD headquarters, or in a secluded area, usually a forest. The NKVD officers shot prisoners in the head using pistols. In the s and s, 2, writers, intellectuals, and artists were imprisoned and 1, died in prisons and concentration camps. The Meteorological Office was violently purged as early as for failing to predict weather harmful to the crops.

The investigators began to use force on me, a sick year-old man. I was made to lie face down and beaten on the soles of my feet and my spine with a rubber strap For the next few days, when those parts of my legs were covered with extensive internal hemorrhaging, they again beat the red-blue-and-yellow bruises with the strap and the pain was so intense that it felt as if boiling water was being poured on these sensitive areas. I howled and wept from the pain. I incriminated myself in the hope that by telling them lies I could end the ordeal.

When I lay down on the cot and fell asleep, after 18 hours of interrogation, in order to go back in an hour's time for more, I was woken up by my own groaning and because I was jerking about like a patient in the last stages of typhoid fever. Victims of the terror included American immigrants to the Soviet Union who had emigrated at the height of the Great Depression to find work. At the height of the Terror, American immigrants besieged the US embassy, begging for passports so they could leave the Soviet Union. They were turned away by embassy officials, only to be arrested on the pavement outside by lurking NKVD agents. Many [ quantify ] were subsequently shot dead at Butovo firing range.

Political prisoners already serving a sentence in the Gulag camps were also executed in large numbers. NKVD Order no. Other victims were nobility and political and academic figures, along with some ordinary workers and herders. The Xinjiang War broke out amid the purge. Sheng and the Soviets alleged a massive Trotskyist conspiracy and a "Fascist Trotskyite plot" to destroy the Soviet Union. Xinjiang came under virtual Soviet control. The Great Purge of — can be roughly divided into four periods: [97].

In the summer of Yezhov was relieved from his post as head of the NKVD and was eventually tried and executed. The decree signaled the end of massive Soviet purges. Nevertheless, the practice of mass arrest and exile continued until Stalin's death in In some cases, high military command arrested under Yezhov were later executed under Beria. Some examples include Marshal of the Soviet Union Alexander Yegorov , arrested in April and shot or died from torture in February his wife, G. Bondar , arrested August and shot March All the aforementioned have been posthumously rehabilitated. When these ten-year periods elapsed in —48 but the arrested did not appear, the relatives asked MGB about their fate again and this time were told that the arrested died in imprisonment.

Although the trials of former Soviet leaders were widely publicized, the hundreds of thousands of other arrests and executions were not. These became known in the West only as a few former gulag inmates reached the West with their stories. According to Robert Conquest in his book The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties , with respect to the trials of former leaders, some Western observers were unintentionally or intentionally ignorant of the fraudulent nature of the charges and evidence, notably Walter Duranty of The New York Times , a Russian speaker; the American Ambassador, Joseph E. Davies , who reported, "proof Knickerbocker also reported on the executions.

He called them in "the great purges", and described how over four years they affected "the top fourth or fifth, to estimate it conservatively, of the Party itself, of the Army, Navy, and Air Force leaders and then of the new Bolshevik intelligentsia, the foremost technicians, managers, supervisors, scientists". Knickerbocker also wrote about dekulakization: "It is a conservative estimate to say that some 5,, [kulaks] Evidence and the results of research began to appear after Stalin's death. This revealed the full enormity of the Purges. In his secret speech to the 20th CPSU congress in February which was made public a month later , Khrushchev referred to the purges as an "abuse of power" by Stalin which resulted in enormous harm to the country.

In the same speech, he recognized that many of the victims were innocent and were convicted on the basis of false confessions extracted by torture. To take that position was politically useful to Khrushchev [ original research? Starting from , some of the convictions were overturned. Mikhail Tukhachevsky and other generals convicted in the Trial of Red Army Generals were declared innocent " rehabilitated " in The former Politburo members Yan Rudzutak and Stanislav Kosior and many lower-level victims were also declared innocent in the s.

Nikolai Bukharin and others convicted in the Moscow Trials were not rehabilitated until as late as The material demonstrates in detail how numerous show trials were fabricated. Official figures put the total number of documentable executions during the years and at ,, [] [] in addition to , deaths in the Gulag ; [2] whereas the total estimate of deaths brought about by Soviet repression during the Great Purge ranges from , to 1. All of the bodies identified from the mass graves at Vinnitsa and Kuropaty were of individuals who had received this sentence. The lower figure did roughly confirm Conquest's original estimate of , "legal" executions and in the preface to the 40th anniversary edition of The Great Terror , Conquest claimed that he had been "correct on the vital matter—the numbers put to death: about one million".

According to J. Arch Getty and Oleg V. Naumov, "popular estimates of executions in the great purges vary from , to 7 million. The Soviets themselves made their own estimates with Molotov saying "The report written by that commission member…says that 1,, arrests were made in the s. That's too many. I responded that the figures should be thoroughly reviewed" []. Historians with archival access have confirmed that Stalin was intimately involved in the terror. Russian historian Oleg V. Khlevniuk states "theories about the elemental, spontaneous nature of the terror, about a loss of central control over the course of mass repression, and about the role of regional leaders in initiating the terror are simply not supported by the historical record".

In one instance, he told Yezhov "Isn't it time to squeeze this gentleman and force him to report on his dirty little business? Where is he: in a prison or a hotel? Baranov's name, "beat, beat! No one. Who remembers the names now of the boyars Ivan the Terrible got rid of? Stephen G. Wheatcroft posits that while the 'purposive deaths' caused by Hitler constitute 'murder', those caused by Stalin fall into the category of 'execution', although in terms of "causing death by criminal neglect and ruthlessness Stalin probably exceeded Hitler". Stalin undoubtedly caused many innocent people to be executed, but it seems likely that he thought many of them guilty of crimes against the state and felt that the execution of others would act as a deterrent to the guilty.

He signed the papers and insisted on documentation. Hitler, by contrast, wanted to be rid of the Jews and communists simply because they were Jews and communists. He was not concerned about making any pretence at legality. He was careful not to sign anything on this matter and was equally insistent on no documentation. At least two Soviet commissions investigated the show-trials after Stalin's death.

They were given the task to investigate the materials concerning Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, Tukhachevsky, and others. The commission worked in — While stating that the accusations against Tukhachevsky et al. Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, and others were still seen as political opponents, and though the charges against them were obviously false, they could not have been rehabilitated because "for many years they headed the anti-Soviet struggle against the building of socialism in USSR".

The second commission largely worked from to and was headed by Shvernik " Shvernik Commission ". The hard work resulted in two massive reports, which detailed the mechanism of falsification of the show-trials against Bukharin, Zinoviev, Tukhachevsky, and many others. The commission based its findings in large part on eyewitness testimonies of former NKVD workers and victims of repressions, and on many documents. The commission recommended rehabilitating every accused with the exceptions of Radek and Yagoda, because Radek's materials required some further checking, and Yagoda was a criminal and one of the falsifiers of the trials though most of the charges against him had to be dropped too, he was not a "spy", etc.

The commission stated:. Stalin committed a very grave crime against the Communist party, the socialist state, Soviet people and worldwide revolutionary movement Together with Stalin, the responsibility for the abuse of law, mass unwarranted repressions and death of many thousands of wholly innocent people also lies on Molotov, Kaganovich, Malenkov Molotov stated "We would have been complete idiots if we had taken the reports at their face value. We were not idiots. In the late s, with the formation of the Memorial Society and similar organisations across the Soviet Union at a time of Gorbachev 's glasnost "openness and transparency" it became possible not only to speak about the Great Terror but also to begin locating the killing grounds of — and identifying those who lay buried there.

In , for instance, the mass graves at Kurapaty in Belarus were the site of a clash between demonstrators and the police. In , a boulder stone was brought from the former Solovki prison camp in the White Sea, and erected next to KGB headquarters in Moscow as a memorial to all "the victims of political repression" since Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many more mass graves filled with executed victims of the terror were discovered and turned into memorial sites. In , one such site, the Butovo firing range near Moscow, was turned into a shrine to the victims of Stalinism. Between August and October , more than 20, people were shot and buried there.

On 30 October , President Vladimir Putin opened the Wall of Sorrow , an official but controversial recognition of the crimes of the Soviet regime. In August , a mass grave containing between 5, and 8, skeletons was discovered in Odessa , Ukraine, during exploration works for a planned expansion of Odesa International Airport. The graves are believed to date back to the late s during the purge. Kuropaty mass grave site near Minsk , Belarus.

Memorial cemetery Krasny Bor near Petrozavodsk , Russia. Memorial to Polish victims of Stalinist repression, Tomsk , Russia. Monument to victims of political repressions in Rutchenkove settlement, part of Donetsk , Ukraine. The monumental slab at the entrance to the Sandarmokh burial grounds reads: "People! The Great Purge has provoked numerous debates about its purpose, scale and mechanisms. According to one interpretation, Stalin's regime had to maintain its citizens in a state of fear and uncertainty to stay in power Brzezinski, Robert Conquest emphasized Stalin's paranoia, focused on the Moscow show trial of "Old Bolsheviks", and analyzed the carefully planned and systematic destruction of the Communist Party.

Some others view the Great Purge as a crucial moment, or rather the culmination, of a vast social engineering campaign started at the beginning of the s Hagenloh, ; Shearer, ; Werth, According to historian James Harris, contemporary archival research pokes "rather large holes in the traditional story" weaved by Conquest and others. The real motivation for the terror, according to Harris, was an exaggerated fear of counterrevolution.

So what was the motivation behind the Terror? The answers required a lot more digging, but it gradually became clearer that the violence of the late s was driven by fear. Most Bolsheviks, Stalin among them, believed that the revolutions of , and had failed because their leaders hadn't adequately anticipated the ferocity of the counter-revolutionary reaction from the establishment. They were determined not to make the same mistake. Two major lines of interpretation have emerged among historians.

One argues that the purges reflected Stalin's ambitions, his paranoia, and his inner drive to increase his power and eliminate potential rivals. Revisionist historians explain the purges by theorizing that rival factions exploited Stalin's paranoia and used terror to enhance their own position. Peter Whitewood examines the first purge, directed at the Army, and comes up with a third interpretation that Stalin and other top leaders believing that they were always surrounded by capitalist enemies, always worried about the vulnerability and loyalty of the Red Army. Experience in carrying out the purge facilitated purging other key elements in the wider Soviet polity. Thurston reports that the purge was not intended to subdue the Soviet masses, many of whom helped enact the purge, but to deal with opposition to Stalin's rule among the Soviet elites.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the — Soviet purge. For political purges in general, see Purge. For the period of the French Revolution, see Reign of Terror. For other uses, see Great Terror disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. People of Vinnytsia searching for relatives among the exhumed victims of the Vinnytsia massacre , Summary executions Massacres Mass murder Ethnic cleansing. Soviet leadership. Related topics. Main article: Moscow Trials. Main article: Dewey Commission. Poet Osip Mandelstam was arrested for reciting his famous anti-Stalin poem Stalin Epigram to his circle of friends in After intervention by Nikolai Bukharin and Boris Pasternak Stalin jotted down in Bukharin's letter with feigned indignation: "Who gave them the right to arrest Mandelstam?

In May , he was promptly arrested again for "counter-revolutionary activities". In the final interrogation, he retracted his confession and wrote letters to the prosecutor's office stating that he had implicated innocent people, but to no avail. Babel was tried before an NKVD troika and convicted of simultaneously spying for the French, Austrians and Trotsky, as well as "membership in a terrorist organization".

On 27 January , he was shot in Butyrka prison. In the proceeding that lasted 15 minutes, he was condemned to death and executed shortly afterward. His wife, the actress Zinaida Raikh , was murdered in her apartment. In a bitter humor, he named only the 18th-century Georgian poet Besiki as his accomplice in anti-Soviet activities. Tabidze's lifelong friend and fellow poet, Paolo Iashvili , having earlier been forced to denounce several of his associates as the enemies of the people , shot himself with a hunting gun in the building of the Writers' Union. He was promptly shot on 16 July Stalin received lessons twice a week from to , but he found it difficult to master even some of the basic ideas.

Stalin developed enduring hostility toward German idealistic philosophy, which he called "the aristocratic reaction to the French Revolution". Sten eventually became a member of an underground opposition group, and this group later joined the Bloc of Soviet Oppositions which was led by Leon Trotsky. On 19 June , Sten was put to death in Lefortovo prison. He was shot in October Russian linguist Nikolai Durnovo , born into the Durnovo noble family , was executed on 27 October He created a classification of Russian dialects that served as a base for modern scientific linguistic nomenclature. The State prize of Mari El is named after Chavain. Ukrainian theater and movie director Les Kurbas , considered by many to be the most important Ukrainian theater director of the 20th century, was shot on 3 November He was executed on 12 October Russian Esperanto writer and translator Nikolai Nekrasov was arrested in , and accused of being "an organizer and leader of a fascist, espionage, terrorist organization of Esperantists".

He was executed on 4 October Another Esperanto writer Vladimir Varankin was executed on 3 October Playwright and avant-garde poet Nikolay Oleynikov was arrested and executed for "subversive writing" on 24 November Yakut writer Platon Oyunsky , seen as one of the founders of modern Yakut literature, died in prison in Russian dramaturge Adrian Piotrovsky , responsible for creating the synopsis for Sergei Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet , was executed on 21 November Boris Shumyatsky , de facto executive producer for the Soviet film monopoly from to , was executed as a "traitor" in , following a purge of the Soviet film industry.

Sinologist Julian Shchutsky was convicted as a "Japanese spy" and executed on 2 February Ukrainian drama writer Mykola Kulish was executed on 3 November He is considered to be one of the lead figures of Executed Renaissance. Main article: Stalinist repressions in Mongolia. Main articles: Xinjiang War and Sheng Shicai. Main article: Timeline of the Great Purge. Main article: Rehabilitation Soviet. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. December Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Mass graves in the Soviet Union. Europe-Asia Studies.

S2CID The best estimate that can currently be made of the number of repression deaths in —38 is the range ,—1. McNair Scholars Journal. Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion. ISBN Retrieved 29 September Later, it was cited by several sources, including: Albats, Yevgenia. Penguin Books. Moscow: Governing the Socialist Metropolis. Harvard University Press. ISBN ,

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