Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

To What Extent Did Stalin Establish a Personal Dictatorship in the Years 1929

Category Years
Essay type Personal
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To what extent did Stalin establish a personal dictatorship in the years 1929-1939? Between 1929 and 1930 Stalin used various ways to establish a personal dictatorship. This allowed Stalin to establish a personal dictatorship in these years. In order to do this Stalin instituted a party purge to silence the opposition of Riutin and his supporters, the assassination of Kirov, executed delegated party congresses, The trial of the twenty-one and general Purges.

A purge was the systematic elimination of opponents by Stalin, The assassination of Kirov allowed Stalin to use it as an excuse to begin the purges. In 1932, Kirov had helped to defeat Stalin on an important issue concerning Mikhail Riutin, who had circulated a document that was highly critical of Stalin. Stalin was furious and demanded Ruitins execution. However the central committee and the politburo refused to order Ruitins execution, Stalin viewed this as a betrayal.

In December 1934, Kirov was murdered by Nikolayev who claimed was working for a secret terror group who wanted to overthrow the soviet government; however Zinoviev and Kamenev were arrested for the conspiracy of Kirov’s Murder. This murder rid Stalin of his most powerful rival, whilst allowing him to imprison two of his old opponents, basically “two birds with one stone”. The Murder of Kirov allowed Stalin to establish dictatorship because with the death of Kirov, it gave Stalin an excuse to purge and the purges became more systematic and far-reaching.

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In the spring of 1937, Stalin argued that the conspiracy against the Soviet people was not restricted to the forty or so people involved in the show trials, and so the start of the purges against the party and army began. The effects on the party were dramatic. Between 1934 and 1938, some 330,000 party members were convicted of being enemies of the people. Stalin had never fully trusted the Red Army because the majority of its senior officers had been appointed by his arch rival, Trotsky. For this reason Stalin feared that the military might try to seize power.

In June 1937 eight Generals were tired. In the following eighteen months, 34,000 soldiers were purged from the army. This silenced the opposition of Riutin and his supporters. With this Stalin had no problems to establish a personal dictatorship as his opponents would have been in fear to rise up or oppose against Stalin’s ideas. The Trail of the twenty-one in 1938 was the trial of Bukharin, Rykov and their accomplices. The defendants were accused of attempting to overthrow socialism and of the murder of Kirov, Bukharin was personally charged with attempting to assassinate Lenin.

Bukharin tried to prove his loyalty to Stalin but failed on several occasions. Bukharin confessed to political responsibility for the crimes of which he was accused, however Bukharin never confessed to trying to assassinate Lenin. All attempts failed and Bukharin was sentenced to death. With the execution of Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin, Stalin had shown that there will be no mercy for those who opposed his power. With the elimination of Bukharin and the right, Stalin had no opposition to prevent him from gaining power.

The show trials targeted the previous generation of the Communist Party. The Purges of 1937 wiped out younger members of the party, and dealt with unreliable elements within the army. A general purge of the Russian people kept the country in a state of fear and obedience. This enabled Stalin to establish a personal dictatorship as he eliminated any future rivals and kept Russia in a state of fear to prevent uprising. To conclude Stalin used various ways to establish personal dictatorship between 1929 – 1939.

The Murder of Kirov allowed him to begin the purges as an excuse which allowed him to suppress his opponents. With the assasination of Kirov, Stalin was free of his rival and was able to lock away Zinoviev and Kamenev; however this was only the start to which he established a personal dictatorship. The main reason I believe that allowed him to establish a personal dictatorship was the trial of twenty one. This trial rid of him his rivals and allowed him to eliminate the right. The trail gave him power and sent fear into anyone who tried to oppose him.

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