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71

Wikipedia article on the Winter War The 3 top Soviet officers (apart from Stalin): Kliment Voroshilov: died 2 December 1969. Semyon Timoshenko: died 31 March 1970. Kirill Meretskov: died 30 December 1968. Since Stalin died 5 March 1953, it is rather obvious that there were officers (at least three of them!) involved in the Winter War who were not executed ...


40

Trotsky, as the leader of the Fourth International, was a direct competitor to Stalin as the Leader of the World Worker Movement. Stalin needed all the communists to be subservient to him, especially during the World War. Squabbles between Stalinists and Trotskyists inside the Spanish Republicans cost them dearly and demonstrated that Trotsky was still a ...


39

1932 There are two chief interpretations of the 1932 Soviet famine, or especially the more infamous Ukrainian component, the Holodomor. That the famine was at least partially caused or exacerbated by Soviet policies is well established. The main difference between the schools of thought is the degree to which Soviet authorities perpetuated or even ...


33

Stalin made the suggestion of executing 50,000 German officers at the Tehran Conference in 1943. The story was reported by President Roosevelt’s son Elliot and in Churchill's memoirs after the war. It's worth noting that Stalin had ordered the execution of some 15,000 Polish officers at Katyn earlier in the war. The discovery of the bodies of these officers ...


29

Certainly not "all officers", but some: According to Robert Edwards, the [44th] division's Commander A. Vinogradev managed to escape, but later, on the orders of Stalin's emissary, Lev Mekhlis, he was shot for incompetence following a sham trial. [...] Other records suggest that Commander (kombrig) Alexei Vinogradov was sentenced in January ...


26

The main Wikipedia article on the Tito–Stalin split is not quite as definitive about the alleged invasion plans, saying simply that: Between 1948 and 1952, the Soviet Union encouraged its allies to rebuild their military forces—especially Hungary, which was to be the leading force in a possible war against Yugoslavia. The 2005 paper War on Tito's ...


21

It is clear that Stalin supported the creation of Israel. From the Wiki: For Soviet foreign policy decision-makers, pragmatism took precedence over ideology. Without changing its official anti-Zionist stance, from late 1944, until 1948 and even later, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be ...


21

Stalin took ideology seriously... He started the Soviet meme "на идеологии мы не экономим" ("we don't skimp on ideology"). He also believed that "Учение Маркса всесильно, потому что оно верно" ("The teachings of Marx is omnipotent because it is true"). He also understood the critical importance of science and technology. He also continued the age-old ...


20

David Glantz in his book Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 mentions several contributing factors. Stalin wanted to believe that Hitler would hold to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. This is the main one that usually gets brought out, but it's not the whole story. When German forces started building up on the Soviet border, Germany told the Soviets ...


19

Unlike other East European states, the Russians did not free Yugoslavia from the Axis, so they never had forces deployed in the country. An attack would be an invasion. Also, Yugoslavia was easy for the West to send support to, from the Adriatic, Greece and Italy. They had their own army, and it was a fairly good one. So you have a good army to fight, ...


16

It is impossible to tell for sure what was inside Stalin's brain. Historians can only speculate on this. I can outline some principal opinions stated in the process of this speculation: a) Stalin's primary goal was to consolidate his absolute power. Not only to remove any real, or potential or imaginary opposition, but to make sure that everyone was scared ...


16

It is worth noting that in 1917, in the midst of The Great War (as it was then commonly known) both the French and Russian armies mutinied. That the French mutiny ultimately amounted to little was in no small measure due to both a massive assault by British forces (the Battle of Passchendaele) that occupied German forces on the Western Front, and a ...


16

I don't know a ton about this topic, but in Molotov Remembers, a reprint of a bunch of conversations with Molotov in the 70s and 80s, the interviewer asks a lot of questions about this topic. Molotov said that Stalin knew there would be war with Hitler, and the whole point of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was to stall for time and prepare, and that Stalin ...


15

Of course. It wasn't much of a secret. Some 85% of the Soviet military's top positions were removed; the scale alone makes it rather impossible to hide. In fact, knowledge that Stalin had decapitated his own army's backbone was one of the factors motivating Nazi Germany to invade. But not only did [the Great Purges] do incalculable damage to the future ...


13

The policies of Soviet Union were never determined by "hate" or other emotions. They were always pragmatic. (For example, they "hated" Nazism when they found it useful, and then suddenly made a U-turn and started to support Nazi Germany, when they saw potential benefits of this. And did this until they were attacked themselves). Israel was founded by ...


12

Beria I think it would be extremely instructive to consider the anti-Beria coup. The conspirators discussed the plans in secret and Beria was arrested by Marshal Georgy Zhukov himself. This plan required an absolute devotion of participants since any leak to a Beria agent was deadly. This is why only high-level people were involved - a Marshal(!!) making an ...


12

Most people who are or want to be political leaders try to look like they love children, and children love them. The reason is very simple: Most adult people are parents. For almost all parents there is nothing more important in the world than their children. Hence, the best way to rise in the eyes of parents, and hence the best way to rise in the eyes of ...


12

The problem is the definition. Great Purge as itself wasn't a single event under Stalin's rule but waves of executions and convictions. In fact after Lenin's death in 1922 Stalin came to power. With increasing intensity he started to deal with rivals, first politically, then he had enough power to order uncontrolled massacre. The most famous period is the ...


12

Trotskyism, and by extension Trotsky himself (and vice versa) was definitely denounced in early Communist Chinese propaganda. Whether or not he was a "hate figure" depends on what criteria you use for that nebulous phrase. Since the question declined to define it, I'll focus on the government's general attitude instead - though personally, I would say it was ...


12

I found the answer: It’s thought that Stalin’s obsession with photo doctoring constituted a mini industry in the USSR. Publishers were contacted by Stalin’s minions and told to eliminate the enemy du jour from upcoming photos—and they did. According to art historian Peter King, who uncovered thousands of doctored photos and their original versions, the ...


11

Stalin developed Lenin's idea of absolute value of the power to the upper limit. Never was he interested in effectiveness for the sake of Russia or even "The Revolution". His only aim was his own power. He had annihilated the lead economists of the USSR, set by Lenin, because they were not his people. He annihilated millions of farmers because his way to ...


11

According to Trotsky (excrept from Коминтерн и ГПУ, published in Бюллетень оппозиции (большевиков-ленинцев) № 85, translation mine): In 1928 […] not only the shooting squad, but even arrest would be inconceivable: the generation, alongside which I went thorugh the October Revolution and the civil war, was still alive. Politburo felt it was under ...


10

There's not really a "specific reason" since he lost favour over some period of time, rather immediately in response to a single event. But some generally agreed factors were Stalin's paranoia and intolerance of dissent, as well as and Molotov's own personality. Vyacheslav Molotov is well known to be stubborn and independent minded. He argued with Stalin ...


9

Basically, this is a lot of tosh. This, ahem, quaint theory is a nice specimen of the modern neo-Stalinist cottage industry. Reality was much simpler: the purges were ordered and organized by Stalin; no alternative elections were ever held in the Soviet Union (till the late 1980s when the system was in its death throes). This was of course by design - the ...


9

It is difficult to characterize the reactions of whole organizations, and to separate out the reaction to the speech from the reaction to the 20th Party Congress as a whole, and to the other events of 1956. Many groups were internally split between those who saw it as a call for renewal and others as a betrayal. Because the Russian Revolution had progressed ...


9

The modern period was characterized by a belief that the world could be reinvented in light of the superior understanding provided by modern thinking. The communists were major proponents of this movement. The result of this ego-driven idea was that it attracted people who believed their understanding of the world was superior to a traditional view hewn from ...


9

What do you mean, 'legal mechanisms'? Putting "how tyrants hold power" and "legal or moral mechanism" in the same sentence is completely missing the point. Stalin didn't have power because being chairman of Politburo, but he was chairman of Politburo because he had power. I'm not completely sure, but I believe that legally the Politburo decisions actually ...


9

Yes, by 1936 Stalin was firmly in control. In fact, any non-underground opposition was officially finished by the XVII Congress of the CPSU in 1934 - there, all the leaders of the former opposition (like Bukharin, Zinoviev, Kamenev) basically submitted to Stalin, all their speeches can be briefly summed up as "We were wrong, Great Leader, please don't kill ...


8

First of all, Lysenko did not oppose genetics in general, he was against so-called "formal genetics". He was the director of the Institute of Genetics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1940. In 1939 he said in a speech: Unfairly comrades Mendelists allege that we profess closing of Genetics (...) Genetics is necessary and we struggle for its ...


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