Joseph Stalin

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Josef Stalin was one of the most important members of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union succeed the Russian empire in 1922 and lasted until 1991. Stalin shaped the country in the 1930s and continued to help it thrive to victory helping to win the Second World War against Nazi Germany. I am going to concentrate on the myths surrounding Stalin during the Stalin era (1928-1941) and after his death in 1953. After Stalin’s death in 1953 there was no clear successor for his role in the Soviet Union. The competitors for Stalin’s position were Laverntii Beria (1899-1953), Nikita Khrushchev (1894-1971), Georgi Malenkov (1902-88) and Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986), however, Beria was executed as a traitor within two months of Stalin’s death and Malenkov was forced to resign by 1955. Molotov, Stalin’s veteran Foreign Minister, remained to have a large following of the ‘old guard’ which was a clear threat to Khrushchev as many of them may have been influenced by nostalgia from the Stalin era. Khrushchev, therefore, had to detach himself from any affiliation with Stalin and he did so in the speech made to congress in 1956 in which he set out to denounce Stalin. In the speech made in 1956 to congress, Khrushchev sympathises with the decisions Lenin made stating “Lenin used sever methods only in the most necessary cases”. In the same speech Stalin is said to have “used extreme methods and mass repression at a time when the revolution was already victorious”. While these two previous quotes are not particularly conflicting, there was a continuation form Lenin’s actions to enable Stalin’s, Lenin is considered by many historians to have paved the way for Stalin to become the leader he was. The controversies that occurred during the Stalin era are key to the reputation held by Stalin and the myths surrounding him. A ‘cult of personality’ was created in the late 1920s and by the beginning of the 1930s, as historian Moshe Lewin puts it, ‘Stalin actually became the system’ (Lewin,...
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