The Great Fear: Stalin's Terror of the 1930s PDF ×

The Great Fear: Stalin's Terror of the 1930s Between the winter ofand the autumn of , approximately three quarters of a million Soviet citizens were subject to summary execution More than a million others were sentenced to lengthy terms in labour camps Commonly known as Stalin s Great Terror , it is also among the most misunderstood moments in the history of the twentieth century The Terror gutted the ranks of factory directors and engineers after three years in which all major plan targets were met It raged through the armed forces on the eve of the Nazi invasion The wholesale slaughter of party and state officials was in danger of making the Soviet state ungovernable The majority of these victims of state repression in this period were accused of participating in counter revolutionary conspiracies Almost without exception, there was no substance to the claims and no material evidence to support them By the time the terror was brought to a close, most of its victims were ordinary Soviet citizens for whom counter revolution was an unfathomable abstraction In short, the Terror was wholly destructive, not merely in terms of the incalculable human cost, but also in terms of the interests of the Soviet leaders, principally Joseph Stalin, who directed and managed it The Great Fear presents a new and original explanation of the Stalin s Terror based on intelligence materials in Russian archives It shows how Soviet leaders developed a grossly exaggerated fear of conspiracy and foreign invasion and lashed out at enemies largely of their own making Somtimes the way to hell is paved of good intentions, this is the case of russian revolution.In this revolution is set out the moral dilema of if the purpose justify the means.This book about the stalinist terror is framed in the last subject.The Great Fear by James Harris is for me a excelent work in history, with a great work in documentation,study and syntesis,is a book of great historic rigor and very objective in its analysis.The book gives other historic perspective of the great fear diff Somtimes the way to hell is paved of good intentions, this is the case of russian revolution.In this revolution is set out the moral dilema of if the purpose justify the means.This book about the stalinist terror is framed in the last subject.The Great Fear by James Harris is for me a excelent work in history, with a great work in documentation,study and syntesis,is a book of great historic rigor and very objective in its analysis.The book gives other historic perspective of the great fear different of that of the book The Great Terror by Conquest.In brief the message that one get of the book is that the great fear is not the fruit of a bunch of evil psichopats mass murderers, otherwise a conjuction of factors that have carried ,as the author says ,to a perfect storm.Fundamentally this factors were The great apprehension of the comunist party of the Soviet Uni n to a invasi n war of the industrial powers in a agressively militarist context Germany,Japan.The paranoic personality and fanatism of Stalin, and his decisi n of to defend the soviet system at any price human or material.The feedback of this paranoia by othe fanatic and paranoic, head of the state security Ehzov.The untrue information obtained under torture by the NKVD funcionaries ,and that biased by Ehzov were given to Stalin.The underground fight of different factions in the party Troskists,Bujarinists ,Zinovievites and out of the party with spys,Whites,Mencheviques and Social Revolutionaries.The fake information made by Heydrich about the army threat of a coup, that give way to the execution of mariscal Tujachevsky and a great purge in the red army.Given that the direction of the regime received biased information about the great danger that the revolution were overturned, and as they dont want another fail as in the earlier revolutions they didnt want another 18 Brumario they launched a campaign of vigilance and delation that changed the Soviet Uni n in a mad house that put the sistema on the edge.The spirit of the moral and material failure of the construction of the socialism comunism in a alone country is reflected in the textual following paragraphs of the autor Everyone could do their best,keep their own corrupt practices quiet,and legitimately think the real roblems lay just beyond their horizon.at the same time the ,the top regional and ministerial officials protected themselves by building tight leadership cliques that managed the flow of information to the organization that monitored the plan fulfilment.When things were wrong in their organization,they were then in a position to identify a scapegoat or scapegoats.These were sacked or arrested,depending on the seriousnes of the problema,labelled as incompetent,or as wreckers or class alien and pressented as the cause of the fulfilment problems His pressuriced plans Stalins ,his demands for 100 percent fulfilment whithout excuses,and his calls for vigilance had created a recalcitrant,secretive and corrupt bureaucracy.Few officials could claim to embodyStalins ideal of Bolshevik Leadership because it demanded the imposible.Who was not an oportunist,if an oportunistwas defined as one who atempted to shield himself from the regimes imposible demands Who was not a Leftish Troskist Zinovievite if a Leftish was defined as one who lacked faith in the construction of Socialism Who was not a Rightist if a Rightist was defined as as one who attemted to slow the socialist construction.The apparat was full of officials who could be described as doubl dealers,praising central policy in public,but tryng to escape its nearly imposible demands in less public settings.The pressure to find enemies was extremely dangerous because it threatened to tear the party and state apparatus apart in a spiral of denunciations and counter denunciations As a anecdote, a indirect victim of the grat fear was Andre Nin, a troskist l der of the POUM partido obrero de unificaci n marxista that in Barcelona fighted against the PCE partido comunista de Espa a a stalinist party ,in the fight were killed a thousand people , the POUM defeated and Andre Nin purged murdered.Orwell, that was on the side of the POUM was disenchanted with the republic and described this facts in his famous book Homenage to Catalonia.And aside as a hard critic to the stalinist system and great purges he wrote 1984 and Animal Farm.A very recomended book for understand the deep historic causes of the stalinist great fear and the failure of the building the socialism in the Soviet Uni n Description from Pushkin House Today we turn our Pushkin House Recommends spotlight on THE GREAT FEAR Stalin s Terror of the 1930s by James Harris Oxford University Press This title presents a new and original explanation of the Stalin s Terror as a destructive force in terms of human life and the state that provoked the events It also uncovers new evidence from the Russian archives and is the first English language monograph to be written on the Terror in 20 years Description from Pushkin House Today we turn our Pushkin House Recommends spotlight on THE GREAT FEAR Stalin s Terror of the 1930s by James Harris Oxford University Press This title presents a new and original explanation of the Stalin s Terror as a destructive force in terms of human life and the state that provoked the events It also uncovers new evidence from the Russian archives and is the first English language monograph to be written on the Terror in 20 years. Excellent book Reading the book, and the new evidence that it discloses regarding the actions taken by Stalin and others, is very thought provoking Among the many questions worthy of consideration that the book can raise in the mind of the reader are the following 1 Changed perception A Should the public perception of Stalin be changed to any significant degree by the additional evidence that has come to light following the opening of the Soviet archives B Or has the historical image of St Excellent book Reading the book, and the new evidence that it discloses regarding the actions taken by Stalin and others, is very thought provoking Among the many questions worthy of consideration that the book can raise in the mind of the reader are the following 1 Changed perception A Should the public perception of Stalin be changed to any significant degree by the additional evidence that has come to light following the opening of the Soviet archives B Or has the historical image of Stalin become so embedded in the minds of the public that such image has not, and will not, be changed to any significant degree by any new evidence obtained as a result of the opening of the Soviet archives C If, and to what extent, has the public s perception of Stalin been changed by new evidence that has come to light following the opening of the Soviet archives D Is there any significant additional new evidence that is expected to be uncovered from now on going forward that is likely to result in any future changes in the public s perception of what Stalin did and why he did it 2 Misunderstanding A Is it true that Stalin s great terror is among the most misunderstood moments in the history of the 20th century B If so, why is that Is it because that misunderstanding of that terror is caused by, or compatible with, or contributes to satisfaction of the political, emotional, or other needs of those who misunderstand those actions and that time period 3 Emotional or rational responses A If, and to what extent, were the actions taken by Stalin that constitute what is considered to be the terror motivated or driven by X the emotional responses of Stalin, and or Y rational analysis by Stalin B If, and to what extent, is the conclusion that there was no substance or material evidence supporting the claims against a majority of the victims of state repression that they were participating in counterrevolutionary conspiracies based upon exculpatory evidence that came to light after the time of terror, and not before 4 Justification for seeking power When it is said that the terror represents the culmination of Stalin s struggle for total power , what criteria should be used to determine how much power it would be reasonable for a head of state to seek to use in the management of the government, when the government is perceived to be threatened internally, and by other nations, to the same extent that the Soviet Union was threatened 5 Intelligence gathering How does the extent to which Stalin used the apparatus of intelligence gathering to keep a careful watch on domestic and international individuals and groups compare to what was done, and is done, by other governments that perceive significant internal and external threats to the present and future existence of their nations 6 Evaluating decisions using information not available to the decision maker Should history judge the decisions made by a head of state based upon either X what the head of state knew at the time that decisions were made and actions taken, or Y what comes to light at a subsequent date 7 Relationship of reaction to the degree that state is at risk A Did the other nations that Stalin viewed as a threat to the Soviet Union then, or thereafter, they themselves overreact to what they perceived as risks threatening them and, if so, how did their overreaction compared to the alleged Stalin overreaction B Was it logical, or foreseeable, that Stalin, and the Soviet Union as a whole, would feelinsecure, and act accordingly, than other nations, when faced with such foreign and domestic threats perceived, given the prior history of foreign invasion of Russia and the Soviet Union 8 Considering the circumstances A Was Stalin s perception correct that the Soviet Union was at one point during the rule of Stalin was so economically and militarily behind the advanced countries that it was reasonable for Stalin to conclude under the circumstances that unless the Soviet Union eliminated that deficiency with some promptness that certain foreign countries would crush the Soviet Union B How does the nature and extent of the brutality attributed to Stalin compare to the nature and extent of the brutality attributed to those who were opposing Stalin C In justifying actions to be taken in the furtherance of what they perceived to be their national interests, was Stalin anyor less likely to believe that the end justified the means than the leaders of Stalin s perceived domestic or foreign opposition D If, and to what extent, was the information that was provided to Stalin by his intelligence services, upon which he based his decisions, flawed in comparison with flaws in the information provided to the foreign enemies of the Soviet Union by their intelligence services E If, and to what extent, did the ability of Stalin to gather information, and carry out the decisions and actions he preferred, depend upon the good faith and cooperation of other individuals, who were not totally within the control of Stalin and who themselves from time to time had their own personal objectives, ambitions, and views that conflicted with those of Stalin 9 Selfish motives of others If, and to what extent, were some of the claims ultimately shown to have wrongfully been brought against innocent people in the Soviet Union initiated not by Stalin, but instead by other individuals in the Soviet Union who asserted such claims against such innocent people to eliminate such innocent people for opportunistic personal or competitive reasons or to deflect blame I suspect that a consideration of these questions in light of the newly disclosed evidence may cause the reader to have a deeper understanding andcomprehensive assessment of Stalin, and his times, than was previously possible A very worthwhile read

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