At the time, Stalin seemed like he was the greatest person on Earth. He made himself seem as if he was above everybody, both physically and mentally. After all of the revolts that were occurring in Russia, he just took over. He went into power right after Lenin had died and took his place, over Trotsky who also wanted to rule over Russia. Well he didn’t and we can’t change that. All we can do is remember Stalin and remember all of the things he did to make people support him and his cause to industrialize Russia.
Let’s talk a little but about how Russia was before Stalin came into power and changed up the whole game for Russia. As soon as the Czar of Russia (Nicholas II) was kicked off his throne, Russia’s peasant population came strong and in numbers. These peasants all set up something that was called the Provisional Government. The Provisional Government was formed in Petrograd, and was led first by Prince Georgy L’vov and then by socialist Alexander Kerensky, a prominent member of the Duma and a leader of the movement to unseat the Tsar. This government had really good intentions but they just couldn’t make it happen.
And the fact that they made some not so smart choices doesn’t help too much either. The people of Russia wanted this government gone which launched the November Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. What they wanted to do was to gain freedom, land and political strength. And so they did; they overthrew the fragmented government and finally had accomplished what they set out to do. But just like the Provisional Government, the Bolshevik government was sure to fail too. This is where Stalin comes in; this is where he takes over.
Joseph Stalin took over right after Lenin had died and in December 1924, Stalin declared himself the new Leader of the USSR and became the Dictator of Russia. Now at first, Stalin didn’t seem like such a bad guy. He actually seemed like someone who was going to bring Russia to their prime. Just look at Document One. He’s explaining to his people how far behind they really are compared to the rest of the world and that if they don’t do something soon, they’re done. All he wanted to do was fix Russia, to bring them out of their “hundred year lag” and to make them more powerful. That was the goal of his 5 Year Plan.
Stalin had extremely high expectations for Russia now that he was in power, and he would do anything to achieve them. If you look at Document Two, you can see how high he set his expectations. And then again, if you look at Document Three, you could see the amount of success he had with both of his Five Year Plans. Production in some areas were increasing at a very rapid pace. He wanted to more than double the production that Russia was putting out. You can see how much better he wanted to make his country, but he would do anything for it. Joseph Stalin was a very determined man and he would do anything to get what he wanted.
This is where his use of propaganda came in. What is propaganda? You can think of it as information that is spread for the purpose of promoting some cause. If you look at Document Ten, you can see how he was portrayed by many different artists. Well, the artists really didn’t have a choice but to portray him in a positive way. This is where you can finally see the “evil” side of Joseph Stalin. He used force to get what he wanted and many people didn’t see it. Eventually, his Five Year Plans backfired and really sent the peasants into an even deeper level of poverty.
Not only did he send some of the peasants into even more poverty that they were already in, he even killed some of them or put them in work camps and starved them to death. (Document Seven). He wasn’t going to let anybody stand in his way and if they tried, he would kill them off just like that. So as you can see, once Stalin came into power, he really didn’t want to lose his command over the Russian country. He did anything he had do to keep power and although all his intentions seemed good, he was really a dictator who made things a lot worse for the lower class of Russia.
It’s too bad that many people couldn’t do anything about it because he would kill off anybody that revolted against him. So although he was one of the most terrorizing rulers of Russia, nobody ever really knew because of all the things he did to hide his truly evil side. To the people, he remained pure and an amazing leader; but we all know about things he did to make himself seem that way. Sure, his intentions were good (industrialize Russia and catch up to the rest of the world), but all we can do is remember all of the methods he used to make people support him and his cause.
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