In this source, the title of the poster is "Stalin’s Kindness Enlightens the Future of Our Children!" In this image, a cheerful Stalin is depicted to be carrying a happy child who is waving the flag of Soviet Russia with one hand, and carrying a small bouquet of flowers in the other, which is presumably for Stalin. This propaganda poster shows Stalin's tenderness with children and how he literally "raises" them, glorifying him as a true "father" of the nation and that his work will "enlighten the future of the children", giving them a future of hope and wonder. The purpose of this poster can be regarded as a deliberate attempt to make Stalin seem like a fatherly figure for the nation. Since the children are considered the future of a country and is also seemingly a weak spot for many people who love the children or have children of their own, this poster targets the hearts of the masses and serves to promote Stalin as a leader and more importantly, the idea that he is the father of the nation. The love the child seems to have for Stalin also represents the love of the children in Soviet Russia for Stalin, and showing the loyalty and adoration that the future generation of the country have for him. I chose this source in particular as it highlights Stalin's need to be presented as a father figure of the Russian people and how even the children of Russia love him. This source is the perfect example of his political scheme, to have loyal and easily influenced followers such as the children and to be glorified as a leader that holds the hearts of even the youngest person in Russia. This source therefore shows that Stalin's rule was not truthfully beneficial for the USSR as it highlights his thirst and restless attempts at making himself seem less of a threat and a dictator, and more of a friend of the people and a father of the nation. The source emphasises how this image that he created of himself was a falsification of the truth and contradicts the acts of terror he had carried out previously. This, above all, highlights his heavy interest in his own representation, that he was to be seen as a people's man.
In this source, it depicts a common man and woman holding up the symbols of the USSR with pride, the hammer and the sickle. In front of them is an officer, who is presumably from the NKVD, or the secret police. In this source, it displays the stringent and proud upholding on the communist symbols, highlighting how every man and woman has a role to play and is expected to carry out their duties and work for the state honourably, showing how glorious their part to play is and that upholding the communist beliefs, in line with those of Stalin's, were very crucial. The soldier at the forefront is displayed as a protector of the citizens and also of a higher importance, defending the nation's pride and honour while ensuring discipline and making sure that all are working hard with their leaders to bring Soviet Russia to greater heights. This source however, though glorious as it may seem, draws a facade over the everyday life of the Russian people. The secret police had informers everywhere and even the slightest indication of anti-Stalin sentiments could warrant an arrest. Fear was a common thing shared by the Russian community and they knew that were being judged and watched by Stalin's officials constantly, whereby if the judgement was poor, they would have more trouble applying for things like housing, jobs or even holidays. Especially during the Great Terror, if they upset officials or stood out of the crowd for the wrong things, they might end up being executed or sent to labour camps. I chose this source specifically for the way it covers up the element of fear, distrust and uneasiness amongst the Russian people, where brothers betrayed brothers and friends betrayed friends. This source shows the falsification from propaganda and the attempts of Stalin to glorify and cover up something as wretched as killing off all who simply opposed you. Therefore, it shows that Stalin's rule was not beneficial for the USSR, for it created uncertainty and distrust and hate amongst the people and that he still attempted to hide the truth in order to protect his own personal agenda from being uncovered.
In this source, it depicts how Stalin, "the leader of the word's first worker's state", was dangerously afraid of his political opponents and felt threatened by them constantly, highlighting his insecurity, and making them all his victims. From this video, it is apparent that Stalin had used methods such as Show Trials, whereby trials are made public and the fate of the person trialled had already been decidedly condemned, to instil a sense of fear and respect, showing how all opposition was not to be dealt with lightly. It was meant to be a demonstration of not just the state's power, but that of Stalin's and the wrath he would rain down on those who went against him. His political rivals such as Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin, who was the one being trialled in this video, were made forcibly to sign false confessions under the threat of the security of their families or after gruesome torture, and were all executed ultimately. These methods of forcing out confessions of crimes that his enemies did not commit were also ways to gain a political advantage, eliminating all opposition, holding them guilty for outrageous charges, and decreasing the popularity of those that went against him. This was therefore an assured way of advancing his own political standing and allowed him to, at the same time, punish his opposers. This source was chosen in particular for shedding light on how show trials went under Stalin's administration and his thirst for an unopposed, total rule. The video also included and interview with Nikolai Bukharin's wife, Anna Larina, who was later on sent to a gulag. It highlights how Stalin's insatiable appetite for power resulted in the loss of many lives and his intolerance for opposition, even from those whom he was closest to and those who were most loyal to him, would land his "comrades" in execution and defamation. Therefore, with Stalin's interests placed in maintaining his personal political power and advantage rather than aiming to work with the people in the Politburo and his country, coupled along with his dictate ruling, it emphasises how he, as a leader, was more concerned with his political opponents than other matters at hand during that period of time and was ultimately not a saviour of the USSR.
In this source, it highlights the poor standards of living under Stalin's rule. In this source, it is seen that many people are cramped into one small, dusty room with no proper sanitation and very little room for comfort. From my contextual knowledge, often times, one large room would be shared by over 200 people, often with whole families together, on top of that, there was a shared communal kitchen and wooden lavatories and water was rationed. With the church being the only other source of faith and hope of the Russian people besides Stalin, the church was eventually seen as a threat to him. Village priests were often shamed and ridiculed and were made to publicly renounce their faith. This act of tearing down the only other pillar of hope and belief served to be an act of cruelty and with that, the Russian people would put their faith back into the hands of their leader, Stalin. The Russian people were therefore forced to live in cramped housing shared with many, often than not without running, clean water or proper sanitation in the overcrowded city, and had little food to eat though being overworked, having to work for long hours, with little spare time, under poor conditions and not being paid fairly. This therefore highlights that the poor standards of living under the Tsar during the time of the Russian Empire was made worse under Stalin's rule. This source was chosen in particular for the precious content it holds, depicting the daily life of the workers under Stalin and how terribly poor the living conditions were at that point in time. It also highlights how Stalin's rule was not beneficial for the people of the USSR, with their welfare being second to the industrialisation and progress of the country and causing millions to die due to the worsening conditions under his leadership and distrust.
In this source, it depicts a man who is presumably Stalin waving his hand as if he were displaying the pyramids of skulls that lay ahead of him. In this image, he seems happy or proud of the pyramids of skulls. In this political cartoon, the skulls are those of whom Stalin's campaign of terror had killed, mainly his political rivals, those whom were found to be against him, intellectuals, skilled workers and officers. This served to be a great setback to the progress of the country. This also reinforces the thinking of communist dictators like Stalin, whereby they practiced anti-intellectualism as they believed that if they were the only intellectual that was for his personal political beliefs, there would be no one around to challenge his authority or his philosophy, likening to that of an authoritarian or totalitarian government, whereby all opposition is forcibly removed. This also meant that the mass executions of these important personnel shrank the Russian workforce and the push for industrialisation. Purging the intellectuals such as engineers and scientists meant that there was a loss in vital workers for Stalin's 5-Year Plan, a loss in skilled workers and professionals, and that factories started to produce goods of poorer quality, faulty bridges and dams. Purging the administrators resulted in a loss of skilled administrators during the period of time when the state control was expanding and a lowered effectivity of management within the government due to the lack of these crucial personnel. All this, therefore, affected the quality of Soviet civil service, industrial output and education and efficiency in managing governmental affairs. Commanders and officers of the Red Army being purged also meant the exclusive loss of more than half of the most experienced army personnel, the loss of strong leadership for rookie soldiers and thus affected the Russians' ability to prepare for the Second World War. All of this was due to the selfish desires of Stalin, purging his opponents be it political or in a casual sense, whereby even those who made remarks against him were seen as enemies of the state. I chose this source specifically for how it reflected the death toll of the purging of such intellectuals that drove the country and from this, it shows that Stalin's rule was detrimental to the USSR as he selfishly and single-handedly wiped out the driving force for the USSR and the valuable members of the workforce that was required to keep the country strong.
This source is an extract from a newspaper article, describing the effects of the famine and the social ills of Stalin's collectivisation. In this source, the header and the subtitle highlights the situation during the famine, whereby 6 million people died due to the famine and the crops and animals of the peasants were all seized. When the state set up the idea of collectivisation and placed it into practice, it meant that the farmers could not keep the produce for themselves, for all of it were to be collected at the expense of farmers, even their farmlands, and all was instantly owned by the state. The peasants tried to hide their food and go against the government, but the Party officials forcibly took the produce from them. Kulaks, the wealthy peasants, were also targeted as they were against Stalin's proposition of collectivisation, but alas, they were liquidated as a class and were sent to be executed or delivered to labour camps, and while the government tried to take their property, they burned their lands and killed their animals, showing their last shred of rebellion. Especially during the Great Famine in 1932, the condition worsened when the state did not distribute the forcibly stockpiled grain, but instead, sold it overseas in an attempt to raise funds for more industrial machinery and development, leading the famine into 1934 and eventually costing the lives of close to 7 million peasants. I chose this source in particular as it highlights the severity of Stalin's oppressive and damaging regime, whereby the people suffered extensively. Therefore, Stalin's rule was not beneficial to the USSR as he, in an attempt to bring industrialisation forward, neglected the welfare of his citizens and cost the lives of millions in the process, highlighting his ruthlessness and how detrimental his act was on the Soviet people.
In conclusion, it is established that Stalin was definitely not a saviour of the USSR, and was instead, a tyrannical dictator who prioritised advancement over the welfare of his people, causing millions to perish under his ruthless regime and leaving an air of distrust and fear during his time in office. Stalin's acts, be it political, whereby he slaughtered millions by his desk with a pen and paper, crafting the Great Terror and the humiliation of those who dared to oppose him, economic, with the damaging short-term effects of collectivisation and the troubles brought about by heavy industrialisation, or social, where the standard of living worsened from its current state, millions were starving to death because of his immoral priorities, and the dense air of fear in Soviet Russia, all had damaging effects on his people and cost many lives for it to succeed. Ultimately, Stalin was not a saviour of his people, for he himself failed to ensure the survival of those whom he had indirectly or directly killed with his plans.