The Impressions of Stalin

Topics: Soviet Union, Great Purge, Source Pages: 13 (4661 words) Published: July 17, 2010
I would say that sources B and C are very similar while source A portrays a totally different image. Source A is a cartoon showing three pyramids of skulls with Stalin pointing at them and telling people to come and "Visit the pyramids of the USSR", which show us the results of Stalin's policies of killing the Kulaks because they disagreed with him. Stalin looks happy and proud of these pyramids that he has created and is please that he has achieved his goal. He looks far from remorseful, which is what would be expected of any normal man and instead inviting people to come and see the skulls. The source uses sarcasm to show people how evil Stalin is and illustrates the awfulness of what his policies have done. There are also vultures present on the skulls, which simply help to emphasise on how evil Stalin is.

The cartoon was published in Paris in the 1930's. This was at the same time when capitalist countries, including France, were trying to overtake communism and so by publishing this cartoon the French capitalists were showing everyone how bad communism is. Therefore, it is obvious that the source is biased and should be treated with caution. However, from my background knowledge I know that Stalin did eliminate millions of Kulaks (peasant farmers) and so the image that the cartoon portrays is accurate.

Source B shows an entirely different side to Stalin. This source shows Stalin standing in front of a hydroelectric station laughing with four peasants, despite the fact that Stalin is wearing white, crisp clean clothes and gives off a very neat image while the peasants are wearing ragged clothes and are obviously of far less status than Stalin, which indicates comradeship between Stalin and the workers. The peasants are all happy, which shows that they are pleased with Stalin and are happy to be rewarded.

This source was on 'official' Soviet painting and so is obviously is very biased. From my background knowledge, I know that Stalin used media to achieve his purposes, and he actually paid artists, painters, novelists, etc. to draw and write about him in a positive manner. Therefore, the source is not at all reliable and from my background knowledge I know that the image it portrays is also wrong. The hydroelectric station portrays a true image of the industralistion that was going on due to the five yea plans. However, the majority of workers were not happy as they had poor wages, long hours, and hardly any type of social life. Therefore, the image of the workers being rewarded for their work totally contradicts the reality of what was happening.

Source C is very similar to source B. it shows a photograph of Stalin congratulating wives of army officers. The women obviously look up to Stalin, thinking he is wonderful and are all trying to touch him. However, it must be noted that the women are all wives of the people who helped Stalin get through collectivization and who helped achiever Stalin's goals, and so Stalin is clearly going to be nice to them.

The fact that the source is a photograph makes the source more reliable, however, it is still not 100% accurate as Stalin has been know to alter photographs before. (As was the case of removing Trotsky and Kamenev from the photograph showing Lenin giving a speech).

Although none of the sources are totally accurate and reliable, I know from my background knowledge that it is source A which portrays Stalin as a brutal murderer, which is closer to the truth than sources B and C, which falsely portray Stalin as a kind-hearted, respectable and popular man.

2. Study Source D. Does it provide any useful evidence about Stalin? Explain your answer. (6)

Source D is written by Stalin and before even reading the source, we know there is bound to be a biased view portrayed in it. The source recalls an incident of when Stalin was in exile in Siberia.

Apparently Stalin had seen around thirty men...
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