Taking you through AQA A2 History of the Soviet Union in as little time and as little pain as possible... see you on results day!


16 June 2010, AM

6 June 2010

Themes: The Role of Stalinism

Assessing whether Stalinism was maintained after Stalin's death, and to what extent, is a very simple and somewhat likely exam question - and would definitely be my preferred thematic exam question!

(Remind yourself of how I define Stalinism HERE)

So, to what extent was it maintained after Stalin's death? This time, we're looking by element of Stalinism, not by leader.

Dictatorship of one man

- arguably all leaders post-Stalin lead in this way
- Khrushchev and Malenkov in the collective leadership
- the party's desire, post-Khrushchev, not to let any one leader hold so much power again
- Brezhnev chosen as a "man of the centre" (Tompson)
- Brezhnev's willingness to ask for advice
- Khrushchev's outsting
- Gorbachev's more liberal, Western viewpoint, and the fact that he had political opposition

Cult of personality

- Brezhnev arguably had one; "a personality cult without a personality" (Tompson)
- Khrushchev was accused of building one
- Khrushchev and Brezhnev's assumptions of all Stalin's old positions

Dominant ideology

- LAVER: "Ideology had simply lost its meaning to many within the USSR by 1982"
- not seen as so dominant in ever after Stalin's death

Command Economy

- Brezhnev's inability to remove Gosplain
- Khrushchev's separation of ind/ag
- Gorbachev's desire for "a free market within the confines of a state-controlled economy"
- the dominance of FYPs

Aggressive Foreign Policy

- Warsaw Pact
- "The Thaw"
- D├ętente
- Afghanistan
- Brezhnev Doctrine
- Helsinki
- Regan/Bush and Gorbachev
- USSR joining the UN
- end of the Cold War

Use of terror

- Khrushchev-era legal reforms
- Dissidence and Brezhnev
- End of "reign of fear" - Khrushchev ousted, for eg
- Purges on same scale never happened again

So, was Stalinism maintained in the USSR after Stalin's death? I think we can almost categorically agree not.

Now, have a break. I feel like I need one; you do too! :)

- HistGrrl x

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