Mary Leder's My Life In Stalinist Russia

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Stalinist Russia during the late 1930’s experienced extreme changes and suffering in all sectors of society, including the military. The weakening of Russia’s military strength under Stalin’s rule is aptly described by Mary Leder in the novel “My Life in Stalinist Russia.” “No matter what the answer may be, it is an irrefutable fact that the Soviets did not use the two-year break to build up their defenses. On the contrary, Stalin continued to undermine the army by arresting its most talented leaders. He strengthened Germany by selling it the raw materials it needed to conduct the war.[1]” Through sources such as first hand accounts like the statement above, along with in-depth textbooks, I was able to understand the linear timeline of the Red Terror, and how the Red Terror was inextricably tied to the Russian casualties and suffering in World War II. In this essay I will outline the history of the Red Terror and the motivation behind Stalin’s murderous acts. By analyzing elements such as the controversial show…show more content…
The climax of the Red Terror is often described as “Yezhovshchina” because of Yezhov’s extreme violence and maliciousness throughout the purges. The period in which the purges were at their peak was the spring of 1938 – the pinnacle of Yezhov’s career[9]. From January 23 to 30, 1937 the trial of Seventeen took place[10]. The key players involved were Karl Radek, Yuri Piatakov and Gregory Sokolnikov, each of whom was accused of plotting against Stalin. Once again, through increased persecution and torture, confessions surfaced[11], 13 out of the 17 defendants were shot, and the rest were put into labor camps and eventually died from the severe conditions. Similar to the case of Sixteen, these forced confessions incriminated another group of people, the so-called right wing opposition, only adding fuel to the
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