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Stalin's Contributions to History

Discussion in 'World History' started by carmen510, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. carmen510

    carmen510 Deity

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    This is currently a high school project I'm working on, about Communism in the 20th century. It doesn't need to be a lengthy discussion and argument; just a moderately detailed answer (with whys) would suffice.

    1) How has Stalin contributed to the course of history?

    2) How do you view Stalin's contribution to the Soviet Union?

    3) Who was worse overall, Hitler or Stalin?

    4) What's your name/preferred alias and your occupation/preferred description? (Part of the assignment is to get the names & identifiers of people I interview. If real-life details don't work for you, just come up with a made-up name and identity)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    1. The USSR survived WWII and Eastern Europe was formed into the Marxist-Leninst Soviet Block. Foundation was laid for the Cold War.
    2. How is contribution defined? If by 'survived Nazi Germany and became a world power', then I say he did a very good job. If however you look at the quite dubious human rights record, increase of the nomenkatura system, and the promulgation of Marcism-Leninism I would say is contribution was barely postive. (He only gets that far because to me, M-L is better then Nazism)
    3. Hitler was worse overall.
    4. Alias, just use my forum tag. If you need my real name I'll PM it. As for occupation, high school senior.
     
  3. Brian Shanahan

    Brian Shanahan Permanoob

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    1) He did massively industrialise the USSR, but while this was the cause of the USSR becoming a great power, the method used was a major cause of severe problems within the system. He also had a major effect on Communism both before and after the war. With the show trials and assassinations of all his major rivals before WWII he was allowed to lead the USSR down a path that was far different than Marx or Lenin had envisaged it. After the war he was the (main) cause for the spread of Communism throughout Eastern Europe, and his support of Mao helped him win China and spread his own client states though East Asia.
    2) Well he turned the USSR into an industrial giant overnight, but at a huge cost. I would have to define the contribution as Ghengis like, as in he redrew the map of the world, while at the same time removing millions from it.
    3) Definitely Hitler, he was a real nasty piece of work. But Stalin would be the 20th Century's no.2.
    4) Alias is name, I'm a currently unemployed business graduate.
     
  4. Terrance888

    Terrance888 Discord Reigns

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    1) How has Stalin contributed to the course of history?
    Without Stalin, I would guess that the Soviet Union would fail without his Iron fist and collaspe, or another Dictator would rise and cause different actions. He contributed to a period of tension and instability, causing poxy wars across the globe. However, Stalin also finished westernizing (as in industrialising) Russia started way back to Alexis, father of Peter to Great. In doing so, Russia grew from a regional power to a world power.


    2) How do you view Stalin's contribution to the Soviet Union?

    He has lead a fracturing, splintering and beseiged and almost failed First Communist Nation to a unified, goal-lead behemoth. He did gave Soviet Union its bad name, but he also game the Soviet Union its power of unified populous, which itself is a strategy that the People's Republic of China is emulating.


    3) Who was worse overall, Hitler or Stalin?

    Overall, Hitler. While Stalin knows when to wait, cause revolutions or stabilize his country, making a stronger and more dangerous one, Hitler can go truely all out with little temptation. Also, while Stalin kills those who his spider sense paranoia points to, letting skilled workers to dodge it and keep their heads low, Hitler will get everyone within the parameter for destruction. Finally, only the high ranking killings of Stalin are ordered while the lower ranking (although massive amounts of) deaths are a consequence of his goal for World Power Soviet Union, while Hitler ordered most of the civilian killings deaths that he caused.

    4) What's your name/preferred alias and your occupation/preferred description? (Part of the assignment is to get the names & identifiers of people I interview. If real-life details don't work for you, just come up with a made-up name and identity)

    I'll be Terrance Li, Chinese Freshman in Ohio.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  5. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    Contribution to history seems like a funny way to put it. How do you contribute to history? Does that imply that there's necessarily an end point or a goal to history? Is history a coherent narrative? It doesn't help you to come up with anything worthwhile when you have no angle at all and seek to make a qualitative judgement without perspective. Indeed, it would be more interesting if you looked at it from the Marxist point of view, especially since your project is about Communism. What role, if any, did Stalin play in the grand scheme of historical materialism?

    And the question of whether Stalin or Hitler is worse is exceedingly juvenile. How do you measure bad? By death toll? By ideological repercussions? What?
     
  6. Lord Baal

    Lord Baal Deity

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    That's why it's a high school history project. They're always tripe.
     
  7. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Quite. This is not a historical question. It's also one that has been debated absolutely ad nauseam in innumerable threads here, so if you really want to rehearse those tedious arguments, you can have a look through those. Let's not go through it all again in this thread.

    Also, please bear in mind that the purpose of this forum isn't to have other people do your homework for you... Of course you should feel free to ask questions but don't just use people's answers willy-nilly. Follow up the references yourself that people give.
     
  8. Lithuanian!

    Lithuanian! Chieftain

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    I think Stalin was worst, because he was killing everyone. Stalin killed more Russians than German army did during all 4 years of war. Hitler was choosing what to kill.
     
  9. Tee Kay

    Tee Kay Justice guaranteed

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    I won't write much now, because I'm tired. I might add more to this tomorrow.

    Can I do dot points?

    - Played a massive role in the events of World War II and influenced the rise of the Soviet Union to become one of the two superpowers of the Cold War.
    - Inspired leftist dictators around the world from his puppets in Eastern Europe to Mao Zedong to the Kim Dynasty in North Korea.
    - Industrialized the USSR massively. The standards of living of the average Soviet citizens (or those who survived his regime) markedly increased. New areas of the country were opened up. Spread of electricity, education, mechanization, etc.
    - Created a cultural revolution in the Soviet Union. Whole classes of people (the religious, kulaks, intellectuals, etc) were wiped out, suppressed or reformed on the Stalinist model. Stalin consolidated the Soviet bureaucratic-surveillance-totalitarian state, suppressing all opposition to party orthodoxy, while workers were heavily exploited by the state in a model that was copied by other socialist countries.
    - Paved the way for the rise of Communism in Eastern Europe, the subservance of those countries to the USSR, and the start of the Cold War. Was also instrumental in the rise of Communism in China and Korea.

    He took a rather poor and isolated new revolutionary republic and transformed it into a modern totalitarian superpower, leading it through the largest invasion in history on the way. This was achieved at enormous human costs, and this combined with his legacy of an all-powerful, corrupt, dogmatic state bureaucracy eventually led to the stagnation and fall of the USSR.

    It's a stupid question, but considering Stalin ended his reign as undisputed master of the second most powerful nation on Earth and Hitler ended his reign in a bunker shooting himself while Stalin's army razed his capital city, on that basis Hitler is the worse when it comes to survival and success as measured by personal power.

    Call me Ryan, and I'm just a lowly engineering student.
     
  10. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    From the way I read the OP, namely the explanation to question 4, his homework is to ask questions.
     
  11. Lord Baal

    Lord Baal Deity

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    This. I think he's filling out a survey of some sort.
     
  12. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Industrializing Russia is his biggest accomplishment. Had it not been for him, Russia might well have ended up as a big cold Africa following the Cold War.
    While he had certain undeniable qualities as an inspirational leader in WW2, just about any other leader would have avoided the horrendous personnel and strategic decisions he made in defending Russia from the Nazis.

    Set it on its course for failure by reinforcing the Czarist regime's track record on human rights abuses--and in some cases quite outdoing the Czars. Nothing has held back Russia in the modern age more than it's cultural propensity to ignore human rights.
    Still, his instilling discipline in the society and working to increase its industrial might, he made Russia a top tier player in world affairs again--a position they hadn't been in since the post Napoleonic years.

    Apples. No, oranges. No wait, I mean apples. Or do I mean oranges?


    They call me Bucky.
    They call me Rea.
    They call me Mister.
    That's not my name!
    That's not my name!
    That's not my name!
    That's not my name!

    Teacher of history and serial pedagogue.


    No, thank you. For a fleeting moment I felt like my opinions mattered.
     
  13. carmen510

    carmen510 Deity

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    This actually was supposed to be a survey, if I hadn't made that clear before. We had to do a poll on Stalin's legacy and write an article about it.

    Thanks for all the responses!
     
  14. LiquidCommander

    LiquidCommander Chieftain

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    Modernized the Soviet Union, turned the USSR into a superpower after WWII.

    Emphasizing on the point above, while he did modernize the country, it was achieved only after millions had lost their lives. Overall his negative contributions outlasts his positives.

    Hitler, no debate. The Great Purge's casualties are still hotly debated, with ranges from 600,000 to tens of millions. Irregardless, Hitler brought misery to an entire continent and indirectly, the world. Stalin only brought misery to his own country.

    Talon (that's me real name), and I'm a college student majoring in History.
     
  15. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    Stalin won WWII Europe, USSR did most work

    1) Industrializing USSR, winning WWII
    2) positive overall,
    3) Definitely Hitler
     
  16. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Hitler was probably eviler, but didn't Stalin have the higher overall death-toll in oppressing civilians under his power?

    1. Stalin led the USSR to victory in WW2, and then ideologically challenged about half the world while spreading his own ideology.

    2. Stalin led the defense of USSR against NAZI aggression, forced the Russian people to be communists, and made the USSR a first world nation.

    3. Probably a tie. Final decision pending death-toll tally.


    4. Goodgame, Occupation: Student.
     
  17. say1988

    say1988 Deity

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    Actually by definition the USSR was "Second World".
     
  18. civ_king

    civ_king Deus Caritas Est

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    Wait, when did USSR join NATO?
     
  19. Ethics

    Ethics Yeehaw!

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    1) By showing himself to be a nationalist, and to pull back and run counter to some of the positives (or compromises) of the Bolshevik takeover. You see in the 20s, a willingness to compromise and expand freedoms (such as empowering women unions), but this may have been to play factions against one another. Stalin is more than willing to reneg or rescind protections or standards in the 30s when his power is secure (this does mean good things too, like releasing many political prisoners after the 1st 5year plan, but this is more to do with needing more workers).

    I think, from a Western perspective, his actions and demeanor are what we used to paint communism and socialism as evils to unquestioningly work against. Under the Tsars, life was very bleak for many and continued to be difficult under the Bolsheviks, but the effects of the Communist takeover on American politics has been profound.

    2) You know, he often gets credited with industrializing the Soviet Union, but more appropriately, I think that we should define that statement to the creation of heavy industry (rather than consumer industry). I don't think his ending of NEP (New Economic Policy... capitalism light), and kulakization (collectivizing) of the peasants, were wise decisions.

    Although, in a crazy mixed up way, the kulaks slaughtering their work animals (in protest to the government) indirectly forced Soviet industry to invest in Soviet agriculture (tractors and other farm machinery), and it somehow worked out in the end to industrialize. Still, I think overall Stalin and the Party's managing and investment towards industry was terrible, and the salvation of and success in those endeavors should goto the people who managed and moved (during the war), those industries... namely the people! Its called the Great Patriotic War for a reason.

    I, as I get older, am starting to see Stalin in more of a Reagan light. I don't think what he actually did in many cases were grounded in reason or even the right thing to do, but he managed to pull off the "Father Russia" figure, much like the Tsars before him, and swaying people to action sometimes is far more important than actually following the wise course of action. In the primary sources from the period, time and time again, I see the "If only Father Russia (Stalin) could see what is wrong and save us!" Its funny (err.. depressingly sad), because in many cases the person is being negatively affected by policies of Stalin's regime.

    As far as creating the Eastern bloc to stand against the West, I think in many cases those countries (such as Romania) were more than willing to attempt the grand experiment after the Soviet Union saved them from Nazi fascism. Just imagined living in a country thats just seen the worst war in history (little to nothing still stands), the older generation has been wiped out (you see in some of these countries where the demographics are teenager-to early 20s), and the army that saved you from it was the one painted up Red. Stalin had people a willing audience, and then he made it clear they were simply a human shield against their will.

    Reading all that, keep in mind that I've done far more research on Khrushchev than Stalin, so I see him much more from the eyes of the man who replaced his madness.

    3) I know this is one of those questions where we try to equivocate two people who seem similar, but its just silliness in the end. When I was in high school we asked the same question. Both are products of the cultures they lived in, the times they lived in, and the power their egos were afforded. Humans can get pretty scary, no?

    4) G.S. Crispus, World History Teacher.
     
  20. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Very nuanced, except

    Stalin was no nationalist (unlike Franco), he merely used patriotism to drive back the Nazi invasion - because it worked on the propaganda level.
     

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