Stalin Had No Choice but to Lauch the Great Terror, Discuss

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How far do you agree that Stalin had no choice but to launch the Great Terror to secure his position as leader of the Soviet Union? The Great Terror was the period of ‘cleansing’ and ‘purging’ the Soviet Union from ‘impurities’. This translated to the arresting and killing of 20 million people. On one hand it would seem that Stalin had no choice but to launch the Great Terror because it was inevitable, giving the targets, the society and his personality. On the other hand you could argue that there was a choice in the matter and without it Stalin would still have maintained his position as leader of soviet Russia. When we are talking about choice there are two types. The only choice that Stalin felt he had because of his agendas and state of mind, or if the choice is possible in response to the external world. Stalin was never one to resort to half measures, in order to secure his position as leader; he would have wanted be 100% certain of his security. Stalin had a very complex personality. Some would argue that his totalitarian personality shaped the purges. It is believed that Stalin had extreme paranoia. This meant that he was sickly suspicious of everyone. Everywhere he looked he would see enemies or spies, ready to betray him. This would mean that Stalin felt that he had no choice. The purges were a way to deal with the intense paranoia he was carrying around with him. He felt he had so many enemies the only way to remain as leader of the Soviet Union would be to dispose of them. He had to tend to his totalitarian personality and convince himself he was always in complete control. He used the purges as a controlling weapon; terror was the way to control people, and the way they acted. It could be concluded that it was in fact Stalin’s state of mind and his dangerously flawed personality which meant that he felt he had no choice. Alternately, putting aside Stalin’s state of mind, you could argue that Stalin was acting in the interest of the party and the...
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