Joseph Stalin

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What was the significance of Stalin and the Purges?

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Some of your focus would have to be on the Great Purge that took place from 1936- 1938.  I think that the significance of such an action exists on a couple of planes.  On one hand, the Great Purge shows to what extent Stalin goes through to eliminate anyone potentially seen as a threat.  It is significant because while Hitler and Mussolini were seen as dangerous threats to the world balance of power, Stalin could claim the dubious distinction as being worse than both of them in terms of what he did to his own people.  Stalin's Purges are also significant because it shows to what extent Stalin viewed political power.  He did not see his own occupation of power as an extension of the Bolshevik Revolution.  Rather, he saw it as a reflection of himself, making sure that his own opposition would be wiped out in the Purge.  The "trials" of those accused of subversive activity against Stalin's government came about in 1936, specifically targeted at Stalin opponents such as Trotsky, with accusations against members of the "Red Army" in 1937.  These dates become significant as they show a consistent and through approach to Stalin eliminating his own enemies and those he saw as potential threats to his power.

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