What happened during Stalin's Great Terror?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"From 1929 to 1933, the urban population increased from some twenty-seven million to more than forty million, straining city services to the breaking point."  Stalin's plans of modernization and economic acceleration transformed Soviet society into a more urban condition.  Stalin's desire to consolidate power and eliminate all threats or potential threats resulted in purges and executions throughout Soviet society.  In constructing an atmosphere of fear and paranoia, Stalin was able to establish his own authority at the cost of others' safety and lives.  In the Great Terror, Stalin "projected totals of 177,500 exiled and 72,950 executed" and were eventually exceeded.  The Great Terror did much to confirm that Stalin was a dominant force in Soviet History.  The inauthentic trials, exiles, and executions were the main components of what happened during Stalin's Great Terror.  The Great Terror showed the political will of the Party in Soviet society.  The phrase "enemy of the people" became a euphemism for so much horror that happened during Stalin's Great Terror.