Impact of the Terror on Soviet Society in the Late 1930’s

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Student Number: 27048382 Modern History Essay ‘With reference to the quote and your own knowledge, assess the impact of the Terror on Soviet society in the late 1930’s. In the late 1930’s, the purges and show trials which comprised the Terror, had a significant impact on Soviet society. The Communist party was coerced in powerlessness, the working class suffered considerably, both physically and psychologically, and copious members of the intelligentsia were exiled or killed as a direct result of the Terror. Furthermore the military was damaged, as many of the leaders of the Party’s formerly powerful Red Army were purged. The purges and show trials aimed to terrorise Soviet society into compliance with Stalin’s regime, and ‘remove potential enemies,’ to allow Stalin to found an almost entirely ‘new’ Communist party, which comprised of ‘more dependable’ members. The Terror fundamentally had the impact of manipulating and destroying social norms, and disarranging the political and military structure which had formed in Russia following the Bolshevik revolution. During the purges and show trials which comprised the Terror, the Communist Party were forced into submission, which essentially impacted the party in an adverse manner. 90 per cent of the once established Bolshevik party members were purged, including Bukharin, Yagoda and Rykov at show trials, and the remaining members were exhausted of any power. The removal of these skilled and able members was detrimental for the Communist party, as it weakened them industrially and economically, and resulted in an endemic lack of experience across the party. In 1939, only 8 per cent of party members had been members in 1920. This made way for young beneficiaries of the Stalinist system, who ‘Stalin had reason to think he would find more dependable,’ as old revolutionaries were not as awed by Stalin as was the younger
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