Joseph Stalin: Lead the Way

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As World War II started to involve the United States, the Soviet Union, along with Great Britain, created the Grand Alliance.

Through his leadership, Stalin relied on the idea of unity in order to create hope for the Soviet Union in a time of war. While the country faced the reality of a possible invasion, Stalin mainly focused on trying to unite the nation as a whole in order to motivate citizens to fight against the Germans. And as a result, the Soviets were successful as unifying together in order to save their nation, as well as their national identity.

So how is it possible that Stalin was victorious during the war? Well, it all starts with leadership and trickles down from there. While it is important to make note of the Soviet’s success, it is also important to note that their victory also was because of German failures. However, this was not a quick triumph for the Soviets and the battle of Moscow demonstrated just that. Hitler believed that if he could conquer Moscow, then he would have the ability to weaken and eventually collapse the Soviet Union. This was a significance turning point during the war because of the comradery that overwhelmed the Soviet nation.

On page 385, Freeze writes, “Although the blunders of the Soviet leadership had enabled a surprise attack and a summer of catastrophic defeat, certain characteristics of the regime helped the country weather those initial shocks.” This specific passage refers to the previous defeats that the country had faced due to the upheavals and turbulence of the 1930s. Because of these defeats, however, it strengthened policies and military strategies for future battles. Freeze continues to write, “This psychic capital, combined with an immediate tightening of the monopoly on information enabled the regime to insulate the population from knowledge of the military debacle and to combat rumour and panic.” Specifically here, Stalin used the past as a learning canvas in order to increase his chance of victory in a time of war. Leadership here was key because they created an objective in order to set up future success, while trying to keep motivation and morale high.

Sources:

Freeze, Gregory L. Russia: A History. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

6 thoughts on “Joseph Stalin: Lead the Way

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  1. I think you did a great job examining how leadership trickles down and helped Stalin win the war effort. I would’ve liked to see some of your own examples though of how his leadership helped the Soviet win the war – such as moving factories East, etc.

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  2. I really like the image you used at the top! You did a good job examining both the German and the Soviet role in the war. I think it is really important that you focused on Stalin’s leadership role as it was crucial to the success of the war. Good job!

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  3. It’s interesting to see how Stalin’s leadership played a role in Russia’s defense. Good job focusing on Stalin’s emphasis on unity and morale. Given the hardships the Russians went through it was critical that they could rally behind an ideal like that.

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  4. Your post makes a great point! Stalin’s authoritarian regime was crucial for Soviet victory in the war, as we talked a little about in class. His consolidation of power through purges, and regime/government structure only made him stronger as the USSR moved from the 1930s-1940s. I think the quote by Freeze you chose, “This psychic capital…” is a good overall summary of the important way Stalin handled the prospect of potential defeat. He didn’t only consolidate power and information for the sake of party and state success, but to also keep the military and population’s will to fight in tact. Thanks for your insightful post!

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  5. I thought it was interesting that you noted how Stalin’s repression of information ended up helping the Soviets. They were really taking it on the chin at the beginning, so I think there was some idea of the war not going the Soviets way, but minimizing the optics was obviously key to turning the situation around. Your post was very concise and informative

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