Stalin and Stalinism

Stalin and Stalinism

Stalin and Stalinism

Stalin and Stalinism


One of the most successful dictators of the twentieth century, Stalin believed that fashioning a better tomorrow was worth sacrificing the lives of millions today. He built a modern Russia on the corpses of millions of its citizens.

First published in 1983, Stalin and Stalinismhas established itself as one of the most popular textbooks for those who want to understand the Stalin phenomenon. Written in a clear and accessible manner, and fully updated throughout to incorporate recent research findings, the book also contains a chronology of key events, Who's Who and Guide to Further Reading.

This concise assessment of one of the major figures of twentieth century world history remains an essential purchase for students studying the subject.


The demise of the Soviet Union revealed one truth about Stalinism: it was flawed and its internal contradictions led to its own destruction. However, elements of this extraordinary phenomenon survive in post-1991 Russia and provide inspiration to many communists. Stalin appears a great leader, given the modest role being played by Russia in the modern world. Over 70 per cent of the present Russian population lived better under communism, the foundations of which were laid by Stalin. Given the political, economic and social problems of Russia today, how did Stalin achieve what he did? After all, it was number two to America when he died in 1953. Fascinating aspects of Stalinism are its brutality and cruelty, but this is counterbalanced by its magnificent and stunning scientific and military achievements.

Since the second edition of this book, there has been an explosion of published materials. Very revealing are the documents which permit a greater insight into the day-to-day decision making of the Stalinist state. The blood and brutality are there on show. Also there have been some revealing glimpses into Stalin the man, on which this study draws. The Soviet dictator was careful to destroy evidence which could have thrown too much light on him personally and on his policies. Vyacheslav Molotov and Andrei Gromyko have provided memoirs which, unfortunately, only dispel part of the mystery which still surrounds Stalin. An aspect which has come to the fore recently is culture. Personal memoirs provide some remarkable insights into what it was like to live and struggle to build a socialist society in the 1930s. A wave of young scholars is expanding Stalinist studies and the fruits of their labour are being eagerly digested by the expanding community of Stalin watchers.

Martin McCauley

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