Stalin's USSR 1928-53

Click on the photo above to access interactive BBC timeline of Stalin

Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) was the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower. However, he ruled by terror, and millions of his own citizens died during his brutal reign.


Born into poverty, Stalin became involved in revolutionary politics, as well as criminal activities, as a young man. After Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) died, Stalin outmaneuvered his rivals for control of the party.


Once in power, he collectivized farming, accelerated the rate of industrialisation via his 5 Year Plans and had potential enemies executed in purges or sent to forced labor camps.


Stalin aligned with the United States and Britain in World War II (1939-1945) but afterward engaged in an increasingly tense relationship with the West known as the Cold War (1946-1991). After his death, the Soviets initiated a de-Stalinization process.


Rise to Power 1924-29

Using these podcasts, videos and lectures create a timeline of Stalin's rise to power from 1924-29 - include his policies, his changes of direction, and how he defeats each of his rivals in his rise to power..... 

(click right to access

student-led googledoc)

Stalin RTP essay work


Key terms for Stalin RTP

- see left

Strengths of Stalin

- see below in red

- see below in red box

Weaknesses of others and circumstances

- see below in blue

+ Quick Stalin RTP diagram

Consolidation of Power 1929-39....or is it?

Consolidation of Power

  • Economic

  • Political

  • Social

 Stalin by 1929 had complete control of the party leadership - but now he had to extend that to the Party at large and ultimately the whole of the was he to achieve this and which methods were most effective?

Stalin and the Economic transformation of the USSR
Who was Sergei Kirov?  Why was his murder so important?
                 Stalin's Great Terror - interview with J Arch Getty (UCLA)
                  Summary                                                     Full interview

Stalinist social policy

- podcast (left)

- article (above)

- powerpoint (below)

Stalin's Russia - Society + Culture
Foreign Policy 1928-53


  • Pre-war efforts to secure alliance

  • Faculties podcasts

  • pt I on the left  

  • pt II on right


  • WWII or Great Patriotic War

  • Interview on the left with producer of alt US history TV

  • Short summary on right + BBC documentary underneath


  • Podcasts left and right explaining the start of the Cold War b/w USA/USSR

  • BBC documentary underneath about the Grand Alliance of WWII collapsed 

Legacy of Stalin and Stalinism

Perspectives on Stalin and the USSR


Paper 1 style questions on Stalin's collectivisation

1a) What are the hoped for effects of Lenin's order in Source B?                                                                      (3)

1b) What is the message of Source A?                                                                                                                  (2)

2)   With reference to the origin, purpose and highlighted content, assess the values and limitations of

      Source A to historians studying Stalin's policies in the countryside in 1930.                                             (4)

3)   Contrast and compare the views expressed in the highlighted sections of reports in Sources C + D.    (6)  

Source A - 1930 Bolshevik propaganda poster
Source B - Lenin's infamous 1918 order to hang kulaks....
Source C - 1932 Report from SW Siberia on effects of collectivisation
Source D - 1932 Report from W Siberia on effects of collectivisation
Source E - 1922 order from Lenin to deal with religious opposition in Petrograd

Series of podcasts examining russian history AII to Khruschev 185-1964

Stalin  (Revolutionary; Despot; Generalissimo)

- 1990 series based on Soviet citizens accounts

Karl Marx & Marxism

Karl Marx - In Our Time - BBC Radio 4

Vladimir Lenin - In Our Time - BBC Radio 4

look at Stalin`s early years in Georgia & the childhood that helped make the man 

Stephanie Shakhireva's article - Re-printed with permission.
Swaddled Nation: Modern Mother Russia and a Psychologival Reassessment of Stalin,
First appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of The Journal of Psychohistory

Dizzy with Success

Holomodor or Ukranian famine of 1932/33

Stalin, Industrialisation & 5YPs

Stalin - Inside the Terror BBC documentary

Stalin "Red Terror" - archival footage

shostakovich v stalin doc

Stalin's expulsion orders of 1944

stalins railway of death

Russia's War, Blood on the Snow 

ep 9 Cult of Personality - High Stalinism & Cold War