Stalin: Man or Monster
1. Source A shows Stalin as a man intent on destroying the prosperity of Russia and destroying its people. In contrast, source B is showing the opposite. Source A shows Stalin proudly presenting ‘the USSR’s pyramids’ made of the skulls of the people. He has a big grin on his face. Meanwhile, source B shows Stalin talking with the workers at a new power station. He is presented as wanting to connect with this people and caring by how he is taking with what is regarded as the lower-class when he is regarded as the most important person in Russia. Source C presents Stalin as the spirit of Russia and the symbol of power of Russia by how he is very large in comparison to everything around him which emphasises his power and strength as does the huge army around him. In comparison, source A shows Stalin as the symbol of the destruction of Russia because of the large quantities of human skulls with Stalin presenting them with a smile show how he is planning to destroy Russia which is the exact antithesis of source C. Source B and source C both show Stalin as pro the development of Russia. Source B shows Stalin in front of a brand new power station which shows that he is industrious and looking out for the people of Russia by improving their lives. Source C also shows Stalin leading the Russians to victory in the war and he is the subject of the poster which directly links him to all Russian success and power. Both of these sources put Stalin in a positive light.
2. Source D presents Stalin as a caring and brave man who is the only man in a position of power who cares for others because he talks about how he saved a man from drowning when others did not care. Although Stalin wrote it and therefore it is probably not factual but just propaganda, it still is useful as it says a lot about him. If this was made public then it can be argued that Source D was used as propaganda in order to win the hearts of the people after the war. It was written in 1945 so just after the war and the last sentence indicates that it was possibly used to get people on his side. Stalin says that ‘it seemed to me that the lack of concern our leaders show towards the people is the same as I met in far-off Asia’. The fact that he uses the word ‘our’ in relation to the leaders indicates that he was distancing the himself from the mistakes made and trying to say that he is just like anyone else. Also the reference to ‘Asia’ indicates he is trying be one of the soldiers as he had fought for Russia and that he is trying to sympathise with them after many millions of Russians died. However this last sentence could also be Stalin apologising for his mistakes with The Great Purges when 18 million people were sent to labour camps called Gulags of which 10 million died. This seriously weakened the USSR as many able people were taken away. Also he is trying to claim that he is very caring by using the story about a comrade being left behind in the floods. He says that ‘when asked where he was, they (other comrades) replied with no interest that he remained at the river’. This shows Stalin attempting to present himself as the only caring person in a position of power. This gives further evidence that Stalin believed he was a very caring person and good leader which can be argued as very arrogant as he never really showed this to his people when he was in power. In conclusion, Source D, although it is unlikely that it is true, says a lot of useful things about Stalin and what he was believed. It shows him as very arrogant as he may be trying to distance himself from the mistakes of his regime and also because he thinks he is caring when from historical evidence he was not. Also, if it was published which seems almost certain, it shows that he was a determined man as he tried to make sure his position was safe by using a propaganda story which is probably not true.
3. Both Source E and Source F are written by people with very...
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