What was the significance of the international situation to the unfolding of the ‘Great Terror’?

The 1930s were an increasingly precarious time internationally for the Soviet Union. Hostility towards the regime had been commonplace in the previous decade; but the rise of the Nazis in 1933, who were outwardly and aggressively hostile to the USSR both in its anti-communism and in its pursuit of Anschluss (expansion eastwards), intensified the uncertain […]

Did the ‘Great Terror’ reflect the ‘Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks’, as J. Arch Getty has asserted?

J. Arch Getty is one of the leading historians of the Great Terror. In The Road to Terror, published in 1999, one of his fundamental arguments is that the Terror was a part of the the Bolshevik Party’s own self-destruction. This is tied into Getty’s overarching ‘revisionist’ argument, in which he argues that the Soviet […]

Lenin, Stalin and the ‘continuity theory’

Was Lenin any different to Stalin in terms of personality, policies and the way he governed the USSR? Parallels between Lenin and Stalin have been drawn time and time again by many scholars; the common charge is that Stalin’s path to dictatorship was paved by Lenin, each being equally as villainous. Indeed, this is essentially […]