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To What Extent Did Stalin Lead a Totalitarian Regime in the Years 1945-53

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To what extent did Stalin lead a totalitarian regime in the years 1945-53/

A totalitarian regime is absolute and total dominance, politically, economically and socially. The government regulates and has complete control over everything. Political scientist, Carl Friedrich argues that a totalitarian regime has the following features; a powerful ideology, a single bass based party, charismatic leaders, a system of terror, a secret police, centralised economy and a mass media. Stalin lead a totalitarian regime politically, socially and economically although socially it was much more totalitarian. This essay will argue that social Stalin led a totalitarian regime through a system of terror, universal culture and charisma. Politically, he lead through fear, which could suggest not complete totalitarian. Lastly the centralise economy suggest totalitarianism

Stalin enforced a system of terror, which as suggested by Friedrich is a key characteristic of a totalitarianism regime. Stalin wanted to reinforce the isolation of the SOviet Union away the non-soviet world, he feared ideological contamination. He purged returning prisoners of war in fear that they brought non-soviet ideas. For example Leonard Trepper, a Polish Communist, returned as war hero to Russia but was soon arrested and sent to a gulag. Furthermore Stalin monitored hotels, restaurants and embassies to prevent Russia girls meeting up with foreign men, with developed into a law being passed in 1947 that prevented marriages to foreigners. This system of terror created fear amongst the Soviet people which prevented them disobeying Stalin. The restriction of freedom suggests that Stalin was leading a totalitarian regime. However the SOviet UNion was made up of 175 million people thus it is unconcing to argue that Stalin could have led a totalitarian regime over all of them as its too many people to control. Nevertheless Stalin's use of terror was strong especially through the use of the secret police.

Stalin extended the use of terror which links to features of a “secret police” and political control. The NKVD[secret police] was controlled by Beria, who was head of security in the post-war years and deputy PM. The NKVD was strengthened as it was reorganised and split into two separate institutions. The MVD which was the minister of internal affairs, it controlled internal domestic security and the MGB which was the ministry of state security with dealt with counter-intelligence. Their control is evident as tens of thousands were arrested for counter-revolutionary activities. In total 1 million wartime survivors were sent to prison camps. These figures suggests that Stalin's regime was totalitarian as he the NKVD grew in power and he was preventing any potential resistance to the Bolsheviks in advance. However Stalin did not lead this aspect of the totalitarian regime, it was Beria who was in charge of the NKVD which is significant as the NKVD was a key instrument in the regime which Stalin did not have direct control over. Despite this, Stalin would have had ultimate control over the NKVD as he could have dismissed Beria or taken over the role himself if he had wishes to do so.

Stalin used the mass media to launch a cultural purge and control the ideolica of the SOviet people. NEw controls over intellectual life were put in place. THis was known as Zhadvoschnia which was a cultural purge which started in 1946. It promoted right idealism and depressed individuals. For example there was a purge of literary works published in Leningrad with the authors being expelled from the SOviet of Writers. Furthermore Einstein was attacked for for his film as he portrayed the Tsars bodyguards as thugs instead of military commanders. NOtably Stalin limited any influence from the west. For example he controlled the mass media by making non-soviet newspaper unobtainable, foreign radio transmission were ignored and only a few foreign books were translated into Russia. This control of the media agrees with the argument the Stalin did lead a totalitarian regime as he only allowed soviet-approved media which served also as an ideological purpose. Despite this, especially after the extensive use of NKVD and the revival of terror it would suggest that the Russian people would know not to produce anything non-sovet however as other works were still being produced it suggests that Stalin was not able to control the whole of Russia which means he did not have “total control”. For instance Bons Pasternak produced an apolitical poem, which despite him being condemned for it, its mere existence suggest that Stalin was not leading a fully Totalitarian rehome. On the most part, however, it is clear that Stalin's regime was totalitarian.

The existence of Stalin's cult of personality suggests total rains as Stalin was leading a regime which portrayed charismatically. During this period Stalin's cult of personality reached new heights, his



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