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Account For The Development Of Totalitarianism Under Stalin Between 1928 1945

988 words - 4 pages

Totalitarianism is best defined as participatory despotism; a tyranny exercised in the name of the people with an active participation (voluntary or coerced) of the people. Meyer believes totalitarianism develops most frequently because of perceived or real inequality, this was certainly the case in Russia, the Bolshevik revolution occurred because of the feudalism practiced by the tsar. Totalitarianism grew gradually in the soviet state from 1917 however, Stalinism proved a huge catalyst in the development of totalitarianism. What is important for one to remember is that the period of Stalinism was not one consistent period. The degree of state control of the individual varied not just over ...view middle of the document...

Stalins rule was launched, symbolically at least, when he announced his policy of collectivisation. This policy was strongly opposed within the Communist Party itself, the committee on collectivisation warned of the "ecstasy of dictatorship" it would lead to. Despite this opposition, Stalin collectivised 50% of all farms by 1930 and almost all by the second FYP. Stalin's ability to rule by decree was a result of his ability to manipulate and dumb down the party body. Stalin's many purges removed all descentors from the party and repressed intellectuals, the old Bolsheviks of 1917 were all replaced by new faces. The mediocrity of the party that allowed Stalin to rule by decree for all the pre war years had to be reversed during the GPW. The intelligentsia were recruited to become a new bureaucratic elite.Stalin, as a leader was according to Meyer, "infallible and unquestionable, revered and hailed more than any Tsar could have hoped for." Meyer's comments are a reflection on the successful nature of the cult of personality Stalin developed. Initially he was viewed as the disciple of Lenin however he was later seen as Lenin's successor. Stalin employed cultural workers to socially engineer Russian society, children were taught to revere Stalin as " the great leader" and to be of use to their nations. Strict discipline was introduced to Russian society from the very earliest age with schools being run as strict and rigid institutions. Stalin distorted history by exaggerating his role in the civil war and 1917 and playing down the role of the other old Bolsheviks, he ensured that by 1939 the majority of Russians could read but only he could publish and print. All art became utilitarian - composers created the image of the "iron Bolshevik" and the glorious worker using socialist realism. The party suppressed all ideology other than the parties.Perhaps Stalin's most remarkable act was, as Abrahams describes it his ability to reverse the party...

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