Stalin's Rule of USSR 1928 - 1953

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					Stalin‟s Russia
 1924 - 1953
     Year 12
                   The Rise of Stalin:
           Stalin‟s Character & Early Career
   Had ruthless determination to do whatever was necessary to further the
    cause of the Bolshevik Party, e.g. crime - rob banks & trains; endure
    repeated imprisonment & torture in Siberia.
   Devoted to ideals of Communism & Bolshevik Party, e.g. turned his
    back on early religious education; saw Marxism as offering genuine hope of
    freedom, equality & prosperity for the working class, unlike Christianity,
    Tsarism or Capitalism (he was born in 1879 into miserable poverty in
    Georgia (conquered territory of Russian Empire)).
   Steadily rose up through Bolshevik Party – eventually became part of
    its leadership: member of Central Executive Committee; editor of Pravda
    (party newspaper); after revolution - member of Sovnarkom (Commissar for
    National Minorities) and Politburo of Communist Party (General Secretary);
    organised defence of town of Tsaritsyn against Whites during Civil War &
    took part in Russo-Polish War (1920-21) BUT he had favoured some kind of
    political deal with Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries in Spring 1917
    (opposed by Lenin), supported the ill-conceived „July Days‟ uprising and
    played only a minor role in the Bolshevik Revolution (unlike Trotsky) in
    Oct./Nov. 1917 – the Bolshevik Party‟s greatest achievement.
           The Rise of Stalin:
  The Struggle for Power (1924 – 1929)
WIN SUPPORT – used                    make alliances because Politburo members more
debates over „Permanent               worried about threat of others gaining power – Stalin
Revolution‟ (Trotsky)/ „Socialism     not seen as credible successor to Lenin by them.
in One Country‟ & continuation                        USED HIS POSITION
of NEP to discredit rivals &                          IN GOVERNMENT &
present himself as a reasonable       How did Stalin PARTY TO BUILD
politician who wanted best for
USSR & Communist Party.             become the leader SUPPORT – As General
                                                                   Secretary, controlled all
  STALIN’S PERSONALITY –                of the USSR?               appointments – put own
  ruthless, determined, cunning,                                   supporters into key posts
  treacherous, manipulative.                                       while removing/ demoting
MADE POLITICAL ALLIANCES IN                                        those loyal to his rivals.
AFTER ANOTHER – initially allied with Kamenev MOUNTED PROPAGANDA
& Zinoviev against Trotsky; switched to Rykov &   CAMPAIGNS AGAINST
Bukharin against K & Z; finally could rely on own RIVALS – used supporters‟ talents
supporters – now members of Politburo thanks to          (for writing books, speeches &
Stalin – against R & B (& last futile alliance of K, Z   newspapers) to discredit rivals &
& T – too weak when finally allied against Stalin).      present him as Lenin‟s successor.
    Stalin‟s aims 1928 -1953: What did he want to
    achieve? What drove him? Was he successful?

 Modernise Soviet society &
  economy - creating a truly
  Communist and prosperous
 Ensure the national security
  of the USSR (After the
  death of Lenin Stalin had
  called for „Socialism in One
  Country‟ )
 Maintain his position as
What were Stalin‟s main policies 1928 - 53?

 Collectivisation
 The Five Year Plans
 The Cultural Revolution (inc. the cult of
  personality & policies towards women,
  religion, education & young people)
 The Purges
 Leading USSR during „The Great Patriotic War‟
    The Five Year Plans (1928 – 1941)
   Devised by GOSPLAN, the State Planning Commission for
    economic development since 1921, acting under Stalin‟s

   Three „Five Year Plans‟ between 1928 and 1942:
   1928-32 - coal; iron & steel; oil; hydro-electricity; farming
   1933-37 - as above & manufacturing
   1938-42 – as above & consumer goods BUT shifted to
    rearmament early on & interrupted by Nazi invasion (1941).

   The 4th (1945-50) and 5th (1951-55) Five Year Plans were
    launched after WWII - re-build industry & agriculture.
        The Five Year Plans
“The history of the old Russia has consisted in being
beaten again and again…because of her…backwardness,
military backwardness, industrial backwardness,
agricultural backwardness. She was beaten because to
beat her has paid off and because people have been
able to get away with it. If you are backward and weak
then you are in the wrong and may be beaten and
enslaved. But if you are powerful…people must beware
of you. We are fifty to a hundred years behind the
advanced countries. We must make up this gap in ten
years. Either we do this or they crush us.”

                         From a speech by Stalin, 1931
      The Effects of the Cultural Revolution
                 (1928 onwards)
   Peasantry – After the NEP (1921-28) & with the implementation of
    Collectivisation (1928-33 and onwards) the peasants found
    themselves the victims of increasing state control & famine. They
    became a smaller proportion of the population as industrialisation
    progressed and were effectively restored to the miserable status at
    the bottom of society that they had experienced under Tsarism.
   Industrial Working Class – Grew as a class due to the success of
    the Five Year Plans – their achievements in the service of the USSR
    were celebrated over other groups. Workers‟ education programmes
    offered further ways to improve their position in society and fostered
    the idea of the „New Soviet Man‟ – the model working class citizen.
    Living and working conditions improved after the initial horrors of
    rapid industrialisation, but remained of a relatively low standard.
    Healthcare services for all improved (hospitals, sanatoria, clinics,
    training for doctors, nurses & midwives) but never came close to the
    claims the Communists made for them from the moment they set up
    a state-run health service in 1917 and never adequate to meet the
    demands of a population experiencing rapid industrialisation and
    total war.
       The Effects of the Cultural Revolution
                  (1928 onwards)
   Women (& Families) – Experienced some „liberation‟ in their lives
    after 1917 – more freedom of choice in marriage, divorce & childbirth
    (abortion) and their interests represented by Zhenotdel (1917-30) in
    the Communist Party – the family and women‟s obligations to it were
    rejected as instruments of Bourgeois Capitalist Oppression.
    Cultural Revolution essentially reversed this trend, especially after the
    „Great Retreat‟ (1934 onwards) when women‟s traditional role in the
    family and society was promoted in the face of growing anxiety over
    the social „breakdown‟ caused by rapid industrialisation (e.g. 1936
    strict enforcement of marriage registration; divorce & abortion
    restricted; family defined as basic unit of Soviet society;
    homosexuality outlawed). This traditional role was reinforced by the
    Family Law (1944), which furthered encouraged motherhood to
    restore the population after WWII.
    In the long term, women did benefit from increased opportunities in
    the industrial workforce and the education programmes which went
    with these due to the demand for labour in the Five Year Plans and
    during WWII (500,000 served in Red Army), but an equal status to
    men in society was never achieved.
       The Effects of the Cultural Revolution
                  (1928 onwards)
   Young People & Education – Initially hailed as the young heroes
    of the new Soviet society and encouraged to actively challenge the
    ideas of the older generation (e.g. many orphans after Russian Civil
    War – state orphanages taught young people loyalty to Communist
    Party, not families; old textbooks destroyed; exams abolished). The
    Communist Party youth organisation, Komsomol (formed 1926), was
    used as a powerful instrument of propaganda and was in the
    forefront of the persecution of the Church in the 1920s.
    With the „Great Retreat‟ a more traditional role for young people was
    promoted – emphasis on traditional respect for authority figures and
    improvement in academic standards in education as society was
    transformed by rapid industrialisation (e.g. 10 years compulsory
    schooling; official curriculum & textbooks; state run exams;
    uniforms). Stalin & Communist Party more interested in creating an
    obedient & educated workforce rather than idealistic, but unruly &
    possibly insubordinate, young people (e.g. 1926 to 1940: literacy rate
    of pop. - 51% to 88%; school attendance 12 to 35 million).
     The Effects of the Cultural Revolution
                (1928 onwards)
   Religion – the Church was the object of persecution by
    Lenin and Stalin – the Communist Party & Stalin saw it as a
    rival for people‟s loyalties & an obstacle to spreading Marx‟s
    teachings, e.g. 1918 – Church lost state support; By 1924 –
    300 bishops executed & 10000 priests imprisoned; 1928
    onwards – peasant resistance to damage to church property
    (icons & bells) in rural areas was blamed on Kulaks . During
    WWII (1941-45) there was a suspension of this campaign for
    propaganda purposes – the Communists were prepared to
    use any means to stiffen resistance to the Nazis and
    encourage self-sacrifice on the part of the population, e.g.
    churches in USSR: 1940 - 500; 1953 – 25000. After WWII
    the Christian Church was only tolerated by the government
    as long as it avoided becoming the focus of any form of
    political opposition against Stalin.
     The Effects of the Cultural Revolution
                (1928 onwards)

   The Cult of Personality – Stalin himself
    benefited the most from the Cultural
    Revolution – the „cult of personality‟, which
    was propagated by it, strengthened his
    position as leader.
            The Arts & Media
       and the Cultural Revolution
 Cinema                 Architecture
 Newspapers             Festivals
 Literature: RAPP;      Radio
  Union of Soviet        Komsomol & Education
  Writers, 1932 onwards  Posters, Place Names
 Performing Arts:        & Statues
  Music; Theatre; Opera  Science
  & Ballet
 Art
                        Socialist   Realism
    The Cultural Revolution (1928 onwards)
   Did it totally transform Soviet society & culture? – Not really –
    True Communism was not achieved, but the Cultural
    Revolution did cultivate a new sense of national identity for
    the Soviet peoples, presenting an image of Soviet society
    which was appealing to many – serving the needs of Stalin‟s
    major policies – the Five Year Plans, winning the Great
    Patriotic War and maintaining his position as leader.

   Many „cultural producers‟ did collaborate with the regime,
    willingly & unwillingly, BUT many did not – remarkable degree
    of variety in what was produced given the repressive nature of
    Stalin‟s rule!

   Successfully promoted the cult of Stalin‟s leadership and
    drummed up Russian nationalism during WWII – ultimately it
    was another factor for the survival of the Stalinist USSR as a
                          The Purges
   From 1934 to 1938 Stalin conducted a series of purges of the
    Communist Party, Red Army and other sections of Soviet society –
    millions died in labour camps, executions or mass killings.
   The instrument for this was the secret police – NKVD under first
    Yagoda (1934-36) and later Yezhov, the „poisoned dwarf‟, (1937-38)
    (later part of the policy against ordinary citizens in the localities is
    sometimes known as the „Yezhovschina‟).
   01/12/34 – Decree against Terrorist Acts – gave NKVD unlimited
    power to hunt down enemies of the state (on the same day as
    Kirov‟s murder which triggered the Purges).
   A product of Stalin‟s paranoia and the result of the tensions
    awakened by the drastic agricultural, industrial and cultural policies
    pursued by Stalin, which made Stalin vulnerable to criticism.
   A series of „show trials‟ of prominent Communists and military leaders
    justified the purges – Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov and Bukharin all
    admitted to plotting against the Stalin and the Party, becoming
    „Trotskyite‟ scapegoats for the USSR‟s troubles. Trotsky himself (in
    exile since 1929) was finally assassinated on Stalin‟s orders in 1940 in
                        The Purges
   By 1938 Stalin had turned on Yezhov (replaced by Beria) and
    the NKVD itself – all opposition had been erased and Stalin was
    again seeking popularity and focusing on the national security
    of the USSR. (By this point 1 in 8 citizens had been arrested at
    some point in the purges & almost every family had lost at least
    1 of its members as a victim of the terror – the fear & suspicion
    generated by the purges in society had secured Stalin‟s hold on
    power but now threatened to cripple the USSR.)

   The Purges had secured Stalin‟s hold on power, generated
    more labour for the GULAG system and brought the Red Army
    to heal, but they did immense damage to the operational
    capability of USSR‟s armed forces – 1938: Red Army was in an
    appalling state on the eve of WWII, (highlighted by its poor
    performance in „The Winter War‟ (1939-40) with Finland, in
    spite of outnumbering Finns 4 to 1 (800 Soviet tanks vs. 100
    Finnish ones; 27,000 Red Army troops killed in first month of
    fighting – only won in March after a change of commander &
    by sending in overwhelming force against the Finns).
      Foreign Policy 1918 - 1936
 Under Lenin and his Commissar for Foreign Affairs,
  Chicherin, Soviet foreign policy followed 2
  contradictory strands: –
 Fomenting of „World Revolution‟ – Comintern
  founded (1919); USSR won back much of land lost
  in 1918 during Russian Civil War up to 1921.
 Pragmatic agreements with other states – Treaty of
  Rapallo with Germany (1922).
 This continued under Stalin, although less emphasis
  was placed on „World Revolution‟ as Stalin had
  called for „Socialism in One Country‟ – in other
  words peaceful co-existence with Capitalist
  countries for the immediate future (Comintern not
  disbanded under Stalin).
     Foreign Policy 1924 - 1941
 Chicherin remained as Commissar for Foreign Affairs until
  1930 – replaced by Litvinov (had been largely leading
  policy since 1926)
 Litvinov attempted to establish good relations with other
  states through treaties & compromises which would
  safeguard USSR against foreign aggression, especially Nazi
  Germany after 1933:
 1931: Japan invades Manchuria (northern China) – USSR
  sold its railway there to the Japanese, rather than make
  this a cause of future conflict.
 1934: USSR joined League of Nations
 1935: Franco-Soviet Pact – both agreed to assist
  Czechoslovakia if it was attacked; Comintern
  recommended Socialists & Communists abroad form
  political alliances with other parties for the first time
        Foreign Policy 1936 - 1939
 Traditional suspicion of the USSR got in the way of closer
  diplomatic relations with Britain & France which could have
  blocked Nazi aggression:
 1936-38 – Britain & France appeased Hitler rather than opposing
  him outright.
 1936: USSR gave aid to the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War –
  Britain & France remained neutral.
 1936: Anti-Comintern Pact – Germany & Japan, and later Italy
  (1938) allied against the threat of the USSR.
 Sept. 1938 – Stalin not invited to the Munich Conference (Britain,
  France, Italy & Germany) to discuss the fate of Czechoslovakia –
  diplomatically isolated.
 1938: Rearmament became the aim of 3rd Five Year Plan.
 April 1939: Following the invasion of Czechoslovakia, negotiations
  with Britain & France to form an alliance against Germany came to
        Foreign Policy 1939 - 1941
1939 – 1941: a new direction in foreign policy
 May 1939: Litvinov (took over from Chicherin in 1930) replaced
  by Molotov – Stalin now wanted an understanding with Nazi
  Germany (sworn enemies of Communism) to protect the USSR
  in the short term.
 23rd August 1939: Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact –
  secret protocols in the treaty allow the USSR to:-
 Partition Poland with Germany (Sept. 1939)
 Occupy parts of Finland (March 1940) and the Baltic States
  (July 1940)
 Stalin also seized northern Bukovina & Bessarabia from
  Romania (June 1940) whilst Hitler was taken up with the war in
  France (May – July 1940) – not part of the Pact!
 Stalin had taken back most of the land lost in the Treaty of
  Brest-Litovsk (1918), making a buffer zone facing Germany
      Foreign Policy 1924 - 1941
Had Stalin‟s foreign policy been a success?
 1926 – 1939 Litvinov maintained peaceful relations
  with other states – „Socialism in One Country‟; Five
  Year Plans modernised the economy.
 1939 – 1941 Extended Soviet territory.
 When USSR was attacked in 1941 Germany was
  already at war with Britain.
 USSR had become diplomatically isolated again.
 A devastating (and potentially disastrous) war with
  Nazi Germany had not been avoided.
                  Foreign Policy 1941
    1941: Stalin was confident that Germany would not attack the USSR
    in the immediate future because Germany would be preoccupied with
    its war with the British Empire, but…
   Autumn 1940 – Nazi invasion of Britain postponed – German land forces
    not tied up, Hitler turned his attention east.
   Soviet moves against Finland and Romania (Germany‟s main oil supplier)
    alarmed Hitler.
   „The Winter War‟ with Finland (Nov.1939 – March 1940) highlighted the
    limitations of the Red Army – 120,000 soldiers killed, compared to
    22,000 Finns – Hitler was confident the USSR could be defeated easily.
   USSR had no allies – ejected from the League of Nations in 1939 over
    the invasion of Finland.
   Hitler‟s deep hatred of Communism came to the surface again.
    (Stalin continued to believe there was no immediate danger right up to
    the German invasion, rejecting a great deal of intelligence to the
    contrary about a German military build up on the USSR‟s borders (e.g.
    reports from Richard Sorge in Japan – USSR‟s most successful spy). As a
    result when the invasion came Stalin‟s nerve temporarily broke and he
    fell into deep despondency, leaving the USSR effectively leaderless at
    the outset of the fighting.)
   The USSR and the Nazi Invasion
“The history of the old Russia has consisted in being beaten again and
again…because of her…backwardness, military backwardness, industrial
backwardness, agricultural backwardness. She was beaten because to beat her
has paid off and because people have been able to get away with it. If you are
backward and weak then you are in the wrong and may be beaten and enslaved.
But if you are powerful…people must beware of you. We are fifty to a hundred
years behind the advanced countries. We must make up this gap in ten years.
Either we do this or they crush us.”
                                                     From a speech by Stalin, 1931
“Lenin left us a great legacy and we have fucked it up.”
        Stalin addressing the Politburo at the start of the Nazi invasion, June 1941

“The issue is one of life and death for the peoples of the USSR. We must mobilise
ourselves and reorganise all our work on a new wartime footing, where there can
be no mercy to the enemy. In areas occupied by the enemy, sabotage groups
must be organised to combat enemy units, to foment guerrilla warfare
everywhere, to blow up bridges and roads, damage telephone and telegraph
lines, to set fire to forests, stores and transports. In occupied regions, conditions
must be made unbearable for the enemy.”
                                        From Stalin‟s radio broadcast, 3rd July 1941
            The USSR in World War II
   Nazi invasion in Summer 1941 – Operation Barbarossa
   Objective: Archangel-Astrakhan Line –
   Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev & the Ukraine all to be captured – political,
    communication & economic systems effectively would be seized in a lightning
    campaign which would wipe out the Red Army in the field (3 army groups
    attacked along a 1000 mile front) .
   Failed in spite of dramatic initial gains (Zhukov‟s counter-offensive before
    Moscow) – re-launched as Operation Blue in Summer 1942.
   Objectives: reach the River Volga and swing north to encircle Moscow; seize
    Soviet oilfields in the south – Caucasus Mountains.
   Failed (Zhukov‟s counter-offensive before Stalingrad) – Operation Citadel
    launched in Summer 1943 to trap and destroy massed Soviet forces in the
    „Kursk Salient‟, following retreat from Stalingrad.
   Failed - Nazis are forced gradually to retreat out of USSR and the Balkan
    peninsula (1943-44) by series of costly Red Army rolling offensives (Soviet
    forces shifting focus of attacks when Germans moved to reinforce embattled
    area) masterminded by Zhukov (Romanian oilfields taken Oct. 1944). UK & US
    forces advancing from west after D-Day (June 1944) – massive pincers.
   January – May 1945 – USSR launches the last great offensive of the war in
    Europe which drives Nazis out of Poland and all the way back to Berlin.
   August 1945 – USSR declares war on Japan – invades Manchuria and destroys
    Japanese forces there.
       Why was the USSR victorious?
   Outnumbered Axis forces
   Russian winter – repeatedly upset Nazi plans (1941 - 42, 1942 – 43)
   Resilience & determination of the Russian people (over 17 million killed, but
    they still fought on!) – „Borodino spirit‟ – fostered by Stalin‟s successful
    propaganda campaigns to raise morale, inc. not persecuting the Church
    (prepared to use any means to give the Russians the will to fight on)
   Strong leadership – Stalin (civil) & Zhukov (military) – Zhukov was largely
    given a free hand by Stalin in conducting the war, unlike Hitler who
    constantly meddled in military plans - Red Army reorganised effectively into
    modern fighting force with specialist units - „Tank Armies‟; „Shock Armies‟;
    partisans behind enemy lines; massed artillery formations - after damage of
    the Purges, Winter War & initial disaster of 1941.
   Terror among civilians and soldiers enforced by the NKVD & Death to Spies
    – ultimately the Soviet peoples had to fight even if they did not want to.
   Hatred of Nazis (sworn enemies of Communism) – especially after the
    atrocities committed against Soviet civilians.
   T34 tank – a decisive weapon – mass-produced – best tank of the war
   Industrial production continued in the east – 1300 factories moved from the
    war zone to the new industrial areas beyond the Urals e.g. Magnitogorsk.
   Aid from the western allies – intelligence reports from UK, (code-breaking
    carried out by ULTRA) and industrial products from USA (Lend-Lease
    Agreement from 1941) – maintained Soviet war production.
                              Stalin in 1945
   Under his leadership the USSR had won WWII (1945 –
    adopted the title Generalissimo to stress his part in ultimate
    victory). The Red Army had advanced into the heart of
    Europe – How did Stalin‟s priorities now change?
   Creating a truly Communist society remained the stated goal
    of the USSR, but the entrenched power of Stalin & the
    Communist Party made this impossible.
   „Socialism in One Country‟ could no longer be the rationale
    for Soviet policy – the USSR‟s conquest of much of eastern
    and central Europe meant it was no longer the only Socialist
    state in the world. It had become a „superpower‟ whose
    military might made it a far greater threat to its Capitalist
    neighbours than the USSR of the 1920s and 30s.
   A huge amount of Soviet territory had been devastated by
    the Nazi invasion. Reconstruction of the Soviet economy was
    now necessary.
   Stalin‟s position as leader was secure (although he was no
    less paranoid) – he no longer exercised strict control over
    political appointments (everyone in high office owed their
    position to him anyway), but he maintained his supremacy
    through intrigue, cold-bloodedly fostering suspicion, fear and
    rivalry among his subordinates.
millions   1937   1945    1950
 Coal      128    147.3   261.1

  Oil      28.5   19.4    37.9

 Steel     17.7   12.3    27.3



150                        Oil



      1937   1945   1950
            Post War Reconstruction
   Two more Five Year Plans were launched to
    re-build the Soviet economy after WWII:
   1945-50 - re-build industry & agriculture
   1951-55 - „prestige projects‟ - made regime
    look good, but achieved little economically
   Remarkable progress was made because:             millions
                                                                 1937 1945 1950
   The first three Five Year Plans had given the
    USSR an industrial infrastructure to build upon
    – trained workers; communication networks;        Coal       128    147.3 261.1
    industrial plant - much of the chaos of the
    Plans in the 1930s could be avoided.
   The USSR was able to economically exploit its
    new political sphere of influence in eastern      Oil        28.5   19.4   37.9
    Europe, e.g. stripping German industry of
   Armaments production continued after WWII         Steel 17.7        12.3   27.3
    as the USSR sought to maintain its
    superpower status in the Cold War -
    stimulated the industrial economy.
   Agriculture did not recover as well as industry
    – remained relatively backward - the
    peasantry remained the second class citizens
    of the USSR.
            Foreign Policy 1945-53
 After the war Stalin was unwilling to sacrifice or compromise upon
  any of the diplomatic & military gains the USSR had made during
  WWII – his confrontational foreign policy was to create the
  opening phase of the Cold War conflict and was only mitigated by
  the USSR‟s economic limitations and the threat of atomic war with
  the USA:
 Yalta & Potsdam Conferences (1945) – Stalin used these to assert
  Soviet claims over occupied Europe – made few concessions to
  the USA (Truman) & UK (Churchill), who soon came to see Stalin
  as a menace to liberty in Europe: Churchill‟s „Iron Curtain‟ speech
  (1946); „Truman Doctrine‟ (1947) aid states resisting Communism.
 Comintern had been abolished in 1943 – but its subversive role
  was taken effectively taken over by NKVD (replaced by KGB after
  Stalin‟s death). Cold War subversion pursued in professional way.
 „Satellite States‟ were set up: the leadership of the new
  Communist states in eastern Europe were all loyal to the USSR
  thanks to Comintern. Stalin increased the USSR‟s influence over
  them through Comecon (1949) – economic cooperation;
  Cominform (1947) – political coordination.
            Foreign Policy 1945-53
 Berlin Blockade (1948 - May 1949): Stalin attempted to force the
  western allies out of West Berlin as relations between the former
  allies soured. Forced to give way when the western trade embargo on
  the USSR proved damaging to economic reconstruction – a
  permanent rift between Stalin and the West now opened up: the
  closest Stalin came to starting WWIII! (but also shows the limits to
  his aggressive foreign policy).
 Atomic Bomb (Aug. 1949): by developing atomic military capability
  the USSR could challenge the only other superpower, the USA, on its
  own terms – ensured that the Cold War deadlock and particularly the
  ideological division of Europe would continue.
 The USSR‟s military occupation of Manchuria & North Korea (1945)
  greatly assisted the setting up of Communist regimes in North Korea
  (1948) & China (1949), leading in turn to the…
 Korean War (1950-53) – whilst the USSR did not intervene in this war
  directly, Stalin provided economic and diplomatic support to North
  Korea and China in the first open conflict of the Cold War: at Stalin‟s
  death, the Cold War deadlock had also spread to Asia – Stalin had
  advanced the cause of Communism unreservedly and hedged the
  USSR with ideological allies.
                   Stalin‟s Last Years
Stalin‟s Personal Rule:
 Stalin remained paranoid about maintaining
   his position to the end of his life, e.g. „The
   Leningrad Affair‟ (1949) – another purge of
   Communist Party to root out potential rivals –
   included those with distinguished war record.
 Regularly humiliating and undermining the
   other members of the Politburo reinforced his
   political & psychological authority over them.
 Jewish Doctors‟ Plot (1953): In the last
   months of his life Stalin was preparing to
   undertake another major purge of the
   government – it was alleged that a plot
   against his life and the Communist Party was
   being orchestrated by the Jews – doctors
   were trying to poison him. As a result Stalin
   refused any kind of medical treatment when
   he fell ill. Before the plot could be „unmasked‟,
   Stalin died of a stroke, aged 73.
                   Stalin‟s Legacy
   Entrenched power of the Communist Party and the
    demands of the Cold War made reform of the USSR almost
   Khrushchev 1955 - 1964 - reformer
   Brezhnev 1964 - 1982
   Andropov 1982 - 1984
   Chernenko 1984 - 1985
   Gorbachev 1985 – 1991 - reformer
   Gorbachev‟s attempt to liberalise the regime after 1985
    ultimately led to the end of the Cold War, the fall of
    Communism and the end of the USSR & its empire by 1991.
   The effects of Stalin‟s policies are still evident in Russian
    economy & society today.