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The Great Terror


									Stalin & the Terror
               Key Questions
  Why did Stalin launch the Great Terror in
  In what ways did he terror differ from earlier
Communist repression?
       What was the scale of the terror?
         The Great Terror
• 1927 - Kirov elected chairman of Leningrad
• 1932 - Riutin expelled from Party
• 1934 - Congress of Victors (celebration of
  Stalin’s 1st 5 yr. plan & Collectivization.
• 1934 - Kirov Assassinated
• 1935 - January: Zinoviev & Kaminev arrested
  for Kirov’s murder.
         The Great Terror
• Role of the Cheka (secret police) expanded
  under Stalin. Became OGPU , then later
• 1928 - OGPU organized ‘deKulakisation’
  (mass exile of 10 million peasants.
• Organized prison /labour camps whose
  inmates constructed large public works & built
  the city of Magnitogorsk.
• Spied on workers & peasants. Organized
  ‘Show Trials’ of saboteurs.
          The Great Terror
• Causes of the Terror:
• End of 1934 Stalin launched wave of political
  terror that claimed a million lives & 12 million
  sent to forced-labour camps.
• Stalin’s reasons for Terror:
   • Events inside party led him to believe his comrades could
     no longer be trusted.
   • Stalin’s paranoia fed by his secret police
   • Purges tied to his economic goals
   • Purges enabled him to remove his political rivals.
         The Great Terror
• The Congress of Victors:
• Kirov won election to Central committee
  defeating Stalin.
• Kirov then approached to stand as general
  Secretary (post held by Stalin).
• Stalin now purged the party. After three years
  1000, of the congress 1200 delegates had
  been executed.
• Stalin removed all who he thought stood in his
          The Great Terror
• Yagoda head of OGPU sought Stalin’s favour
  by pandering to his paranoia and collected
  information on many party members who had
  ever disagreed with Stalin.
• Terror Economics:
   • allowed Stalin to blame economic problems on enemies.
   • 5 yr Plan target failures were seen as the fault of
     ‘wreckers’ in the employ of Trotsky, Zinoviev, & Kaminev
     (e.g. scapegoats)
   • Terrors provided slave labour.
   • Scapegoats tried for economic sabotage. e.g if machinery
        The Great Terror
• Kirov murder: Dec 1934
• It is unknown who organized Kirov’s murder,
  but some believe it was the NKVD & Stalin.
• Soviet press blamed Leonid Nikolayev, who -
  they claimed - worked for a Trotskyite -
  Zinovievite terror group.
• Convenient for Stalin as murder removed his
  most powerful rival & enabled Stalin to
  imprison two of his old opponents.
• His war on Terror (hunting down Terror group)
  enabled him to execute Party members who
  opposed him.
The Great Terror -1934-6
 • Kirov’s death enabled Stalin to
   launch a terror wave against the
 • Within hours of the murder Stalin
   issued a decree authorizing swift
   execution of political opponents.
 • Yagoda appointed to investigate
   the murder.
 • Stalin interrogated Nikolayev
   personally. Nikolayev implicated
   Trotsky, Zinoviev & foreign
   powers. Over 100 political
   prisoners shot directly.
 • Trotskyites were purged from the
   party (30-40,000 exiled)
 • Yagoda oversaw arrest
         The Great Terror
• Describe how each of the following factors led
  to the great Terror:
• Congress of Victors.
• Stalin’s paranoia.
• Terror economics.
• The murder of Kirov.

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