Pravda and Stalin’s Terror

Noam Chomsky pointed out when he was observing the role of the press during the Vietnam War, that it had a significant role to play in atrocities. The job of print and broadcast media, he argued, was to legitimise and explain away mass killings and to tell the story of why they were necessary. LookingContinue reading “Pravda and Stalin’s Terror”

Stalin and HG Wells

Here is another article from the archives, one that I enjoyed writing some years ago on my teaching blog: Ok, so this might be useful for teachers of modern Britain (1930s) and teachers of Soviet Russia. In the early 1930s the USSR had a complex relationship with western intellectuals, it has been described by historianContinue reading “Stalin and HG Wells”

Lebensraum, Genocide and Nazi Racial Colonial Utopianism

Hitler, a cautious dictator for the first couple of years of his rule, had become reckless by 1941, and had gambled everything on a swift victory in the USSR. If Stalin’s regime could be crushed and thirty million Russians starved to death as a result, then there would be enough living space for Aryan GermanContinue reading “Lebensraum, Genocide and Nazi Racial Colonial Utopianism”

Everyday life and terror – 1937

What often gets overlooked in the examination of the great terror (and other 20th Century terrors) is the experience of ordinary people and their thoughts, fears and survival strategies. During the Cold War an immense amount of scholarship went into fathoming the internal workings of the soviet state and the reasoning of Stalin and hisContinue reading “Everyday life and terror – 1937”

Why did Stalin choose collectivisation?

In the late 1920s Stalin faced a seemingly unsolvable economic dilemma. How did the USSR industrialise, build defence industries and protect itself from a hostile world when its weak agriculture could not provide enough grain surpluses for export or to create cheap food to feed the cities? The NEP had produced a social class that,Continue reading “Why did Stalin choose collectivisation?”

Hunger, Housing and Stalin’s First Five Year Plan

In 1928 the Soviet economy experienced a moment of massive change. For four years, as power struggles between Stalin and the ‘troika’ of Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev left Russia in a period of confused collective leadership, the biggest question had been one of economic direction. It was unclear how long Lenin’s New Economic Policy thatContinue reading “Hunger, Housing and Stalin’s First Five Year Plan”

Stalinist Architecture

The October Revolution of 1917 was at once a break with the past, a new beginning and an end of history, three ideas encapsulated within the dialectic of Marxism and the Hegelian eschatology that Marx’s ideas were based upon. A revolution staged by a radical intelligentsia who claimed to have correctly interpreted the processes ofContinue reading “Stalinist Architecture”