Stalin, Vol. II

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0718192990

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 1184

View: 2221


A SUNDAY TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 'A brilliant, compelling, propulsively written, magnificent tour de force' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard 'The second volume of what will surely rank as one of the greatest historical achievements of our age ... The War and Peace of history: a book you fear you will never finish, but just cannot put down' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Well before 1929, Stalin had achieved dictatorial power over the Soviet empire, but now he decided that the largest peasant economy in the world would be transformed into socialist modernity, whatever it took. What it took, and what Stalin managed to force through, transformed the country and its ruler in profound and enduring ways. Rather than a tale of a deformed or paranoid personality creating a political system, this is a story of a political system shaping a personality. Building and running a dictatorship, with power of life or death over hundreds of millions, in conditions of capitalist self-encirclement, made Stalin the person he became. Wholesale collectivization of agriculture, some 120 million peasants, necessitated levels of coercion that were extreme even for Russia, but Stalin did not flinch; the resulting mass starvation and death elicited criticism inside the party even from those Communists committed to the eradication of capitalism. By 1934, when the situation had stabilized and socialism had been built in the countryside too, the internal praise came for his uncanny success in anticapitalist terms. But Stalin never forgot and never forgave, with bloody consequences as he strove to consolidate the state with a brand new elite. Stalin had revived a great power with a formidable industrialized military. But the Soviet Union was effectively alone, with no allies and enemies perceived everywhere. The quest to find security would bring Soviet Communism into an improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain did not work out as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective countries, drew ever closer to collision. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler: 1929-1941 is, like its predecessor Stalin: Paradoxes of Power: 1878-1928, nothing less than a history of the world from Stalin's desk. It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of the biographer's art. Kotkin's portrait captures the vast structures moving global events, and the intimate details of decision-making.

Stalin

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin Classics

ISBN: 9780141027951

Category: Heads of state

Page: 1154

View: 4879


Stalin's life is one of the most extraordinary of the modern era and Stephen Kotkin's new biography is the first to do full justice, both to the man himself and to the world which he both dominated and ruined. This second volume is the story of the 'mature' dictator - a figure who had no precedent in ability to shape the USSR and its people. It is the great achievement of this book that it places Stalin both in the context of his day-to-day life in the Kremlin and in the far wider Communist world of which he was the apex. The terror state, the industrial state and the ideological state were all brought together by Stalin and no account of the inter-war world will be complete now without Kotkin's book. It ends when the 'waiting for Hitler' finally came to an end, transforming the nature of the threat faced by both Stalin and the whole society he had shaped.

Stalin, Vol. I

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0718192982

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 976

View: 5780


The magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world In January 1928 Stalin, the ruler of the largest country in the world, boarded a train bound for Siberia where he would embark upon the greatest gamble of his political life. He was about to begin the largest programme of social reengineering ever attempted: the root-and-branch uprooting and collectivization of agriculture and industry across the entire Soviet Union. Millions would die, and many more would suffer. How did Stalin get to this point? Where did such great, monstrous power come from? The first of three volumes, the product of a decade of scrupulous and intrepid research, this landmark book offers the most convincing portrait and explanation yet of Stalin's power, and of Russian power in the world. The book is as much about the Russia that Stalin inherits and reshapes as about the man himself. It gives a brilliantly nuanced picture of the sequence of catastrophes that disposed of the social structures, armies, rivals and close colleagues that should have stood in Stalin's way, as he emerged from obscurity to shoulder the terrifying responsibility of upholding Russian power in the world.

Reinterpreting Revolutionary Russia

Author: I. Thatcher

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0230624928

Category: History

Page: 219

View: 2320


This is a stimulating and highly original collection of essays from a team of internationally renowned experts. The contributors reinterpret key issues and debates, including political, social, cultural and international aspects of the Russian revolution stretching from the late imperial period into the early Soviet state.

Trotsky

Author: Geoffrey Swain

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317868757

Category: History

Page: 241

View: 4265


Without Trotsky there would have been no Bolshevik Revolution, but Trotsky was no Bolshevik. Providing a full account of Trotsky’s role during the Russian Civil War and concentrating on his time as an active participant in Russian revolutionary politics, rather than his ideological writings of emigration, Swain gives the student a very different picture of the Bolshevik Commissar of War. This radically new interpretation of Trotsky’s career spanning 1905-1917 incorporates the tense relationship between Trotsky and Lenin until 1917, and pays particular attention to the Russian Civil War and Trotsky’s military organisation and contribution to the war. Swain argues critically that Trotsky achieved where Lenin would have failed, suggesting that Trotsky was in the main part responsible for the Bolshevik Revolution.

Stalin

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143127861

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 1009

View: 6024


A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world The product of a decade of intrepid research, Stalin is a landmark achievement. Stephen Kotkin offers a biography that, at long last, is equal to this shrewd, sociopathic, charismatic dictator in all his dimensions. We see a man inclined to despotism who could be utterly charming; a pragmatic ideologue; a leader who obsessed over slights yet was a precocious geostrategic thinker—unique among Bolsheviks—and yet who made egregious strategic blunders. Through it all, we see Stalin’s unflinching persistence, his sheer force of will—perhaps the ultimate key to understanding his indelible mark on history. Drawing on Kotkin’s exhaustive study of Soviet archival materials as well as vast scholarly literature, Stalin recasts the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself.

The Times, Life and Moral Dilemma of Beria

Author: Andrew Sangster

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 1527530469

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 336

View: 4389


There are some figures in modern history who stand out not just for their amoral conduct but their cruelty. This book explores the life of the notorious Beria, Stalin’s henchman. The first part provides an outline of the turbulent history of Russia from 1900 to 1953, in order to set the background from which Beria emerged. The second section presents a biography of Beria from his youth, his early education, and his obsequious behaviour towards Stalin to his rise to be the head of the NKVD (KGB) and later to be amongst the most senior leaders of the Communist structure in the USSR. He was responsible for the deaths of millions (and for organising the Katyń massacre), infamous for murdering colleagues, and a sexual predator, and became the most feared man in the USSR next to Stalin. The third and fourth parts move away from history and biography to moral philosophy, in order to understand from where such evil conduct arises. The question of free-will is explored in the light of human insight, and these sections also discuss the most recent scientific claims concerning human behaviour, as well as the factors which influence people in decision making.

Trotsky and the Russian Revolution

Author: Geoffrey Swain

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317812778

Category: History

Page: 172

View: 480


Supporters of Stalin saw Trotsky as a traitor and renegade. Trotsky’s own supporters saw him as the only true Leninist. In Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, Geoffrey Swain restores Trotsky to his real and central role in the Russian Revolution. In this succinct and comprehensive study, Swain contests that: In the years between 1903 and 1917, it was the ideas of Trotsky, rather than Lenin, which shaped the nascent Bolshevik Party and prepared it for the overthrow of the Tsar. During the autumn of 1917 workers supported Trotsky’s idea of an insurrection carried out by the soviet, rather than Lenin’s demand for a party orchestrated coup d’etat. During the Russian Civil War, Trotsky persuaded a sceptical Lenin that the only way to victory was through the employment of officers trained in the Tsar’s army. As well as examining Trotsky’s critique of Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s, this seminar reader probes deeper to explore the ideas which drove Trotsky forward during his years of influence over Russia’s revolutionary politics, exploring such key concepts as how to construct a revolutionary party, how to stage a successful insurrection, how to fight a revolutionary war, and how to build a socialist state.

Secret Services, 1918-1939

Author: Andrew Sangster

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 152755807X

Category: History

Page: 204

View: 1029


This book examines the nature of the secret services and the role of the secret police in Britain, Russia, and Germany during the interwar years. It traces the growth of the secret services and police in these countries, indicating how they differed in their development. The SIS (MI6), MI5 and Special Branch in England appeared more like a Gentleman’s Club from Eton and Oxbridge, especially when compared to the German Gestapo, SS-SD, and Abwehr in Germany, and the Cheka, GPU, NKVD and KGB in Stalinist Russia. The British were short of money and resources, while the Germans were interested in establishing their services, and the Soviet Union poured in money, but with the emphasis on internal repression. It was the emerging signals of another World War which defined the shapes of their secret services, which later had long-term consequences for the Cold War.

Stalin's Terror of 1937-1938

Author: Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin

Publisher: Mehring Books

ISBN: 1893638049

Category: History

Page: 526

View: 2965


This volume examines the bloodiest period of the Stalinist repression of political opposition in the Soviet Union, debunking the myth that the Great Purges were merely the product of Stalins paranoia and had no overriding political logic. Through a meticulous examination of original sources, including archival documents only made available for research in the 1990s, Professor Vadim Rogovin argues that the ferocity of the mass repression was directly proportional to the intensity of resistance to Stalin within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), particularly the opposition inspired by and associated with the exiled Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky.