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326 - Week 7 – Lecture 1 - the Great Terror .docx

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HIST 326
Katrin Bozeva

Week 7 – Lecture 1 History 326 – Russia from 1905 The Great Terror, 1937 in Russian History Term-papers: - format = introduction, main body, conclusion o introduction = subject of study; well-organised and interesting to grasp the attention of those reading it  don’t write a biography or sketch of the figure; necessary to analyse the matter and subject o main body = analysis and proofs from primary and secondary sources = prove one’s statement and persuade the reader  writing about battles  begin by placing it in a larger context  Stalin Cult = as much Russian as a part of a whole group of modern political cults • Necessary to compare the Stalin cult with contemporary cults of the time = vs. Mussolini and Hitler  in common = they appeared in closed societies (cult as powerful and a source of legitimacy = cannot happen in closed societies where there are not sources of legitimate opposition – in Russia, all these alternate views were eliminated) o What was the symbolism involved in the cult, what was the visual representation, how did it relate to Russian context – deep religious background = both cults were modelled along religious lines  pictures of S and L were hung where icons had been o Conclusion = page, page and a half, conclusive statement given at the end  Footnotes or endnotes = preferably footnotes  Chicago style of citing o Also include one page of report summarising the manner in which I worked – location of sources, anything interesting that was able to occur in the meantime, encouraged to use photographs, diagrams, pictures, statistics 17 March = bring them to class Lecture – Stalin’s Terror - Soviet society in the 1930s - International situation and background that formed a prelude to the GT - Describe the matrix of the GT - Some of the characteristics of totalitarian states and regimes that were a major part of 20thC European history Stalinist Soviet Union Industrialisation drive was only one part of the 1930s SU  became an industrial society by 1934 following the revolution from above = but this also became a militarised society - this aspect was founded in the 1930s = a society that is spending the bulk of it’s resources on the military; it becomes – because of this channelling of resources e.g. scientific research – psychologically and culturally prepared for war at all times o until Gorbachev, all leaders had used this as a salient feature of the Soviet way of doing things - 5 Year Plan = kept society together: by-product of the one party state as NEP ended by 1929 o Stalin began building a totalitarian type of state also known as a ‘one party state’as all opposition parties are liquidated o The main force that mobilised and brought the party together as an organism with the masses = 5YP  Priorities were agreed by the Party, sent to the Gosplan (state committee for planning) whom drafted the real plan w. targets, copies were then sent to the relevant ministries • In the case of the Soviet Union = state became an errand boy for the Party with the HQ of the Communist Party leading the nation and state • Up to the state to pretend/actually achieve the targets 1 5YP = repercussions on the structure and priorities of Soviet education  Relatively more liberal 1920s spirit was abandoned and put to rest  during the 1930s the state began to educate their people in technical disciplines – scientists and mechanical focus  major emphasis placed on technical education - Communist idea of modernity was central to this also Early 1935 = changing nature of force and political violence  political violence in Soviet and Bolshevik context was nothing new but between 1935-1938 have led to the opinions of some historians that the terror was like a supernova = it exploded and affected the whole Soviet Union - the old Bolshevik guard, closes associates of Lenin, evaporated after the 3.5 years of terror and violence - most of those around in October 1917 would be charged with treason and spying = hard to come to terms with this period because in Russian national memory, it represents a ‘black hole’= tore the fabric of society  the nature of terror was so arbitrary that no one could feel safe and no one could know what the future held difficult to understand and pretend that there are answers with a full idea of what happened  in spite of new sources after the 1990s archival revolution with the declassification of many sources, there is still no singular opinion regarding the origins of the terror and why it began = conspiracy theories: 1) conspiracy theory = began after the murder of Sergei Kirov – younger, sociable head of the party organisation in Leningrad th a. 1934 – 17 Congress of the communist Party = Congress of the Victors = where delegates were sent to celebrate the successful industrialisation  there were about 300 delegates who crossed the name of Stalin when there was voting for membership of the Central Committee with the altenrative being Kirov i. seemed that Stalin’s position was in danger  S thus plotted to eliminate him, leading to his death by December 1934 ii. BUT no one has ever been able to prove Stalin’s involvement 2) Other opinion – German view – has more to do with complicated international situation of the 1930s inc. escalation of international events and meltdown of the European security system from 1931-1939 a. The Soviets developed the so-called hysteria or sweeping wave of rumours about coming war due to the international situation i. 1933 = major change in Germany as the Nazis took power, 1934 = Soviets realised that they had underestimated this event 1. Communist International, residing in Moscow – organisation loyal to Kremlin parties w. foreign Communists within them – 20-21 parties e.g. Poles, Hungarians, Yugoslavs  people transmitting views of Moscow to their parties within the other countries e.g. French and Italians also
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