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For The Good Of All? An Essay About Joseph Stalin's Elmination Of The Kulaks, With References To Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Novel, "One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich".

1072 words - 4 pages

If you could go back in time, knowing that Hitler started the most devastating war in the history of the world, would you kill him? Would you kill the infant Hitler, long before he became the anti-Semitic sociopath who attempted to systemically wipeout an entire people? Would you kill a pregnant Klara Pölzl, the mother of this monstrosity? How far down the line would you be willing to go to ensure the fate of the future? (Iles) When faced with that same question, Joseph Stalin would respond with a smile and the OGPU.Joseph Stalin blamed the failure of the forced collectivization of agriculture on the kulaks, a group of rich peasants. In reality, the kulaks were a very small percentage of the people. Stalin included a large majority of the middle class into his definition of a kulak. He was quoted as saying "We have an adequate material base which enables us to strike at the kulaks, to break their resistance, to eliminate them as a class, and to substitute for their output of the collective farms and state farms..." (Houghton 324). The tyrannical psychopath planned to eliminate the entire kulak class and was not secretive about it. Those defined as kulaks, kulak helpers, or ex-kulaks were to be shot, placed into Gulag labor camps, or deported to remote areas of the country, depending on the charge.Stalin went to extremes in his prejudice against the kulaks. He would often raid kulak farms for everything. "They would take not only the food and livestock, but also 'all valuables and surpluses of clothing,' including icons in their frames, samovars, painted carpets and even metal kitchen utensils which might be silver." (Houghton 325). One man, Lev Kopelev, reflects on his involvement in one such raid. "The woman howled hysterically, clinging to the bag. 'Oy, that's the last thing we have! That was for the children's kasha (cereal). Honest to God the children will starve...It was excruciating to see and hear all this. And even worse to take part in it." (Houghton 325). So much for killing a mother and a child.In his novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn impugns Stalin's hated of the kulaks. In a single character, Andrei Prokofyevich Tyurin, Solzhenitsyn demonstrates how far Stalin was willing to go. Tyurin is Solzhenitsyn's attempt to show his countrymen how socially, philosophically, and politically wrong it was to hate a man based on his heritage.Tyurin is first placed in the camp with Shokhov because is father was a kulak.'And who are you here to serve, Tyurin?' 'I serve the toiling people.' He boils over and bangs the desk with both hands. 'The toiling people! and what do you call yourself, you wrench?' It was like I'd swallowed something scalding. 'Machine-gunner first-class,' I say. 'Passed with distinction in military and political subjects.' 'First class, you vermin. Your father's a kulak! (Solzhenitsyn 88).Tyurin is a symbol in the novel, of not only the injustice of the Gulags, but of Stalin's rein in...

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