LEQ: How did Stalin transform the SovietUnion into a totalitarian state?
• Build up heavy industry• Improve transportation• Increase farm outputThe Soviet Union under Stalin became atotalitarian state controlled by a powerful andcomplex bureaucracy.He brought all economic activity under governmentcontrol, calling it a command economy, the opposite ofa capitalist system.In 1928, heimposed thefirst of several“five-yearplans” to:• command economy – an economy in which government officialsmake all basic economic decisions
Between 1928 and 1939, the Soviet Unionexperienced tremendous growth in industry.The government:• Built large factories• Built hydroelectricpower stations• Created huge industrialcomplexes• Improved oil, coal, andsteel production• Expanded mining• Built new railroads
Even with Stalin’s push to industrialize the nation,overall the standard of living remained low.Central planningwas often inefficient,causing shortagesin some areas andsurpluses in others.• Consumer productswere scarce.• Wages were low.• Workers were forbiddento strike.• Workers’ movementswere restricted.
Stalin also brought agriculture under his control,but at a terrible cost.• Peasants had to farm on state-owned farmsor collectives.• They kept their houses and belonging, but thelivestock and tools were owned by the state.• The state set prices and controlled supplies.• collectives – large farms owned and operated by peasantsas a group
The peasants rebelled, causing Stalin torespond with brutal force.• He believed the kulaks, wealthy farmers, wereresponsible for the resistance.• He tried to eliminate the kulaks by taking theirland and sending them to labor camps.• Thousands were killed or died during this purge.• kulaks – wealthy farmers
The Terror Famine of 1932 was a result of thegovernment’s efforts to rid the land of the kulaksand eliminate peasant resistance.Between 5 and 8 million people died in Ukraine alone.The governmentseized all of the grainto meet industrialstandards, leaving thepeasants to starve.Peasants resistedby growing onlyenough grain tofeed themselves.
• Police spies opened privateletters.• There was no free press.• Protests were forbidden.• Critics were sent to theGulag, a system of brutallabor camps.Stalin’s Communist party used secret police,torture, and violent purges to ensure obedience.But Stalin was still fearful that a rival party was plottingagainst him.A Gulag labor camp in 1934• Gulag – brutal labor camp
In 1934, Stalin launched the Great Purge.He targeted formerCommunist armyheroes, industrialmanagers, writers,and ordinary citizens.At least 4 million people were purged during theStalin years.He staged a seriesof spectacular“show trials”to force falseconfessions.
Stalin used terror and Gulag labor camps tocontrol the huge, multinational Soviet Union.Stalin’s powerincreased, and allSoviet citizens wereaware of theconsequences ofdisloyalty.The Soviet Union, 1928–1941
Stalin used propaganda to appear like a god.He bombarded citizens with stories of communistsuccesses and capitalist evils.• The governmentcontrolled books,music, and art.• Stalin required artistsand writers to createworks in the style ofsocialist realism.• socialist realism – an attempt to show Soviet life in a positivelight and promote hope in the communist future
• The Russian language had to be used in all schoolsand businesses.• Atheism became an official state policy.• Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic teachings weresuppressed.Stalin controlled the cultural life of the Soviet Unionby promoting russification, the process of making ofa culture more Russian.Any who refused to conform to government expectationsfaced persecution.• russification – making a nationality’s culture more Russian• atheism – the belief that there is no god
Stalin created a society where a few elite groupsemerged as a new ruling class.The elite had privilegesunavailable to the restof the population.They lived in the bestapartments andshopped in specialstores.The general population had someprivileges they didn’t have beforecommunism.Their children attended freecommunist schools and participatedin sports, cultural activities, andpolitical classes.Elite General Population
• Free medical care• Free day care• Inexpensive housing• Public recreationIn addition, women made gains. By the 1930s,they were allowed access to education and a widerange of jobs.The Sovietstate providedother benefitsto the generalpopulation.
Between 1917 and 1939, the Soviet Union’sforeign policy focused on spreading communismand revolution throughout the world.• Lenin formed the Comintern, a worldwide communistorganization that aided revolutionary groups.• Leaders hoped to bolster Soviet security by winningforeign support.• Comintern – a communist group whose purpose was toencourage world-wide revolution
Stalin brought all economic activity undergovernment control, and he used terror tactics tocontrol Soviet life.LEQ: How did Stalin transform the Soviet Unioninto a totalitarian state?