Stalin and the Soviet Union

By Stephen J. Lee | Go to book overview

8

AN OVERALL SUMMARY

This book has attempted to establish an alternative to the way in which Stalin and Stalinism are usually presented to students. It might be helpful to review the overall perspectives.


THE TRADITIONAL OVERALL INTERPRETATION

Stalin's regime was ruthless and efficient, creating an effective totalitarian state during the 1930s, although with enormous suffering. The result was a form of totalitarianism that was more complete than that of Nazi Germany. Stalin was in control of internal developments and pursued a foreign policy which, with occasional changes in tactics, had a strategy of dividing the Western powers.

Because of these developments, and despite the suffering of its own population, the Soviet Union was able to inflict defeat on Nazi Germany. This followed a disastrous initial response, in which Stalin completely misinterpreted Hitler's intentions. But Stalin's subsequent recovery interacted with long-term economic and military preparation, along with the established centralisation, to overcome the much more limited military and economic base of Nazi Germany.

As a result of eventual victory, Stalin's position was greatly strengthened after 1945. He was therefore able to reimpose the type of constraints that had existed during the 1930s in a new set of purges. He also spread Soviet influence across Eastern Europe and set the pace in the development of the ColdWar. In all respects, this was the period of 'mature dictatorship'.

AN OVERALL SUMMARY

-110-

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Stalin and the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Stalin's Rise and Rule 1
  • 2 - Stalinist Politics and Terror 16
  • 3 - Stalin's Economic Policies 35
  • 4 - Society and Culture 54
  • 5 - Stalin's Foreign Policy, 1929-41 65
  • 6 - The Soviet Union at War, 1941-5 79
  • 7 - Stalin's Post-War Regime, 1945-53 96
  • 8 - An Overall Summary 110
  • Notes 113
  • Bibliography 118
  • Index 121
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