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Propaganda, Purges & The Totalitarian State Stalin’s Show Trials.

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Presentation on theme: "Propaganda, Purges & The Totalitarian State Stalin’s Show Trials."— Presentation transcript:

1 Propaganda, Purges & The Totalitarian State Stalin’s Show Trials

2 Stalin’s Route to Power A marginal figure in the October Revolution (1917) General Secretary of the Communist Party (1922), allowing him to control key appointments throughout the Party. Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev & Stalin were all possible successors to Lenin after his death in 1924 He conspired with Kamenev & Zinoviev to marginalise the favourite – Trotsky – before subsequently outmaneuvering both Kamenev & Zinoviev to assume total power by the late 1920s.

3 Factors in Stalin’s Show Trials Collectivisation: An agricultural revolution with enormous human & political costs Economic Modernisation: A miracle of modernisation over 10 years requiring rigorous planning, central authority & absolute obedience. Leon Trotsky: the heir-apparent to Lenin & a target of Stalin’s personal & political paranoia. Trotsky’s alleged treachery would be used as a scapegoat for much of the Purges. The ‘Old Bolsheviks’: Participants of the October Revolution (1917) who could undermine Stalin’s revisionist role and oppose his dictatorial plans. Sergei Kirov: Kirov’s murder would be the pretext for a state-wide purge of opponents & dissidents

4 The original, surviving members of the October Revolution of 1917, including Lenin & Stalin. Would present an obstacle to Stalin’s revisionism of his minor role in the October Revolution of Stalin targeted these Old Bolsheviks as traitors who sought to undermine the Communist Revolution. Most of these, particularly Trotsky, advocated International Communism, while Stalin advocated ‘Socialism in One Country’. Grigory Zinoviev Lev Kamenev Nikolai Bukharin Genrikh Yagoda Karl Radek Sergey Kirov Vyacheslav Molotov THE OLD BOLSHEVIKS

5 Leon Trotsky: Shadow of the Revolutionary Commander of Red Guards in October Revolution 1917 Founder of the Red Army Very capable organiser & public orator Considered the natural successor to Lenin “The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end. ”

6 Due to opposition to collectivisation, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation by Kulaks slaughtered their animals in protest and in some cases burnt their grain. Famines resulted in Roughly five million people died. In response, Stalin attempted to eradicate the Kulaks, sending out requisition squads who either killed the Kulaks or sent them to prison in the Gulags. Roughly five million Kulaks had been dispossessed and/ or imprisoned by An attempt to end private ownership of land by peasants and introduce large, collectively-owned farms in which machinery, labour & profits were shared. In some cases, collective farms were state-owned, where farmers were paid a wage similar to workers in a factory. Opposed bitterly by the ‘Kulaks’ : peasant land owners. ‘Kulaks’ were an inconsistency with Communism – a wealthy, land-owning class in a Communist State. They were created by Lenin’s New Economic Policy of Many communists supported the forced eradication of these private land owners. COLLECTIVISATION: AN IDEOLOGICAL & ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE

7 THE FIVE - YEAR PLANS: GOSPLAN GOSPLAN: Central Planning Commission now planned all economic & industrial activity Set targets & quotas for all industries First Five-Year Plan concentrated on developing fuel production for heavy indiustries e.g. coal, iron, gas & electricity-producing stations Workers who exceeded their quotas were rewarded the ‘Order of Lenin medal as an incentive

8 HEAVY INDUSTRY & INFRASTRUCTURE New metalworking industries Transport, especially railways Moscow Underground Consumer goods Some armament production HEAVY INDUSTRY Machinery Production ( x 4) Oil production ( x 2) Electricity ( x 3) New towns: Magnitogorsk THE FIVE - YEAR PLANS: GOSPLAN The 1 st Five-Year Plan: The 2 nd Five-Year Plan: rd Five-Year Plan: ARMAMENTS Massively increased armament production *(interrupted by German invasion in 1941)

9 SERGEI KIROV Leader of the Communist Party in Leningrad Loyal supporter of Stalin Supported Stalin’s policies of Collectivisation and even the readication of the Kulaks. Very popular member of the Communist Party who was elected to the Central Committee in Crucially, Kirov was in favour of a more relaxed style of Communism, even including certain dissidents in the Politburo. Assassinated in 1934, probably by order of Stalin, who feared his growing popularity & influence throughout the Communist movement.

10 Origin: The ‘Cheka’ (1917 Revolution) State police founded in 1934 from reorganisation by Stalin to be both regular police force and state security apparatus The NKVD, from 1934 onwards, were given a wide mandate & enormous power, including control of fire services, security of borders, civil acts & responsibily for the operation of ‘Gulags’ Chief state instrument of Stalin’s purges and the Show Trials Prominent leaders of the NKVD: Yagoda, Yezhov & Beria N.k.v.d. Peoples’ Commissariat for internal affairs

11 Director of the NKVD, 1934 – 1936 Responsible for the deaths of 7 – 10 million Ukranians during forced seizures of grain supplies under the regulations of Collectivisation Organised the Trial of the Sixteen (1936), including the arrest, detention and interrogation of the ‘Old Bolsheviks’ e.g. Kamenev, Zinoviev. Replaced by Yezhov in September 1936 when Stalin accused him of being ‘’unable’’ to expose the true extent of the ‘Trotskyite conspiracy’. Was put on Trial in 1938 (Trial of the Twenty-One), found guilty and shot. GENRIKH YAGODA DIRECTOR OF NKVD ( )

12 ANDREI VYSHINSKY PROSECUTOR-GENERAL

13 Trial of The Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre Trial of The Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre THE SHOW TRIALS The 1 st Show Trial (1936) The 2 nd Show Trial (1937) The 3 rd Show Trial (1938) Trial of The Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rightists & Trotskyites

14 Trial of the ‘Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre’ THE 1 ST SHOW TRIAL: THE TRIAL OF THE SIXTEEN: (1936)

15 Zinoviev Kamenev 14 other leading ‘Old Bolsheviks’ Accused of murdering Sergei Kirov Accused of plotting to murder Stalin Accused of working with Trotskyites in an effort to undermine Communism in USSR TRIAL OF THE SIXTEEN (1936) ChargesThe Accused Verdict : All guilty & sentenced to be shot

16 Trial of the Sixteen The ‘Influence’ of Trotsky Each of the Sixteen defendants took turns to denounce themselves, pleading guilty, incriminating themselves under the false pretense that their lives would be spared once they had publicised Trotsky’s anti-Soviet conspiracy. “I am guilty of this that after Trotsky, I was the second organizer of the Trotsky-Zinoviev bloc which set itself the aim of murdering Stalin, Voroshilov and a number of other leaders of the party and the government.” - Grigory Zinoviev (1936)

17 Trial of ‘Anti-Soviet Trotskyite Centre’ THE 2 ND SHOW TRIAL: THE TRIAL OF THE SEVENTEEN: (1937)

18 Radek Pyatakov 15 others Accused of conspiring with Germany & Japan Accused of plotting with Trotsky Accused of ‘wrecking & sabotage of the economy’ TRIAL OF THE SEVENTEEN (1937) ChargesThe Accused Verdict : All guilty & sentenced to be shot

19 Trial of ‘Anti-Soviet Bloc of Rightists & Trotskyites’ THE 3 RD SHOW TRIAL: THE TRIAL OF THE TWENTY-ONE: (1938)

20 Bukharin Rykov Yagoda 18 others Accused of plotting to murder Stalin Accused of ‘wrecking & sabotage of the economy’ TRIAL OF THE TWENTY-ONE (1938) ChargesThe Accused Verdict : All guilty & sentenced to be shot


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