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September 29, 2020, 01:12:42 am

Author Topic: Stalinism! Help greatly appreciated  (Read 648 times)  Share 

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Stalinism! Help greatly appreciated
« on: March 02, 2019, 08:08:03 pm »
Hey guys,

I was really hoping I could get some help structuring my essay on the impacts of Stalinism. Here's the question :):
"Assess the impact of Stalinism on Soviet society in the period to 1941." [25 marks]

So, I'm still not completely aware of how to properly structure a Modern essay:

  • If I were to have four paragraphs, should I have one each on social, political, economic impacts, and then one on foreign policy? I know this is quite a standard structure - my reasoning for this is that the task description states we must include the major social, political and economic changes in Soviet Russia under Stalin and make a judgement about the impact of Soviet propaganda, economic transformation, sociocultural changes etc. Additionally, we must make a judgement about the effect of Soviet foreign policy on the USSR. So, overrall, is this the most coherent approach to the question, or are there other ways of structuring my response?

  • Also, how do I really nail the 'Assess' verb in terms of Stalin's impact? What does 'Assess' entail? Could anyone weigh in on an assessment of Stalin + Stalinism's impact?
  • I also feel like I can write sophisticated essays, just my historiographical debate is lacking. How do I effectively judge historians' views and counterviews (say, within a paragraph)? I think I find myself just name-dropping historians to support my views, and just scratching the surface of the whole debate aspect.

Bonus leech question :D - would anyone know some important historians opinions' on Stalinism?

I know these are a lot of questions - I am really striving to improve. Thanks so much for the help! :)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 08:14:08 pm by cheytosh »


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Re: Stalinism! Help greatly appreciated
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 12:15:36 am »
Hey there!

Not saying to outright disregard the task description, but in general, when you want to 'assess' something you should ideally be fleshing it out completely as well as (most importantly) providing a judgement on the given question. The problem here (as you can probably tell) is that the impact of Stalinism on Soviet society doesn't cover as many spheres as you'd like it to (ie. forcing you to really focus on something, instead of talking about a ton of random stuff and stringing it all together to form an argument), considering that you need to primarily focus on Soviet society instead of deviating from the question a little and talking about economic growth like you would for a TWE question.

For this question, I did something along the lines of the various social impacts of Stalinism. Given that your notes should be chock full of info and stats you can drop, you can talk about the political impact on society ie. purges then the cultural impact on society ie. cult of personality then other impacts like censorship and gulag. Ultimately it hinges on what Stalinism really is (basically totalitarianism [something that might help is looking at the six points of a totalitarian society, then addressing how Stalinism meets each of the six criteria; applying those fulfillments should give you a relatively easy way to gauge the social impact of Stalinism on society]). And honestly, for the most part Stalinist foreign policy doesn't affect Soviet society to the extent the aforementioned factors have. Not saying this is the best method, but it's definitely something that worked out fine. Provided you stay on topic (remember: soviet society) and don't run around saying 'hey wow electricity went up 866% in 12 years under Stalin's series five year plans yay' you should be fine.

You also shouldn't have to effectively judge historians views and counterviews within a paragraph. If anything, it's more the old syllabus Section III (not sure how it works for the new syllabus w/o a personality study). In an essay, it's your view that needs to shine through; markers don't care if you can spout historian quotes, they care if you can develop and articulate a unique view on a topic. You can dump one or two to prove a point; but don't worry about debate; historians, in my opinion should only be used to assist you, not be the cornerstone of your entire essay. So basically name dropping is fine, but make it cohesive; in a nutshell debate is fine as long as you do it well and it doesn't derail your argument. Otherwise, stay well away from it.

Not really sure about historians opinions for Stalinism since I never really used them; the Russia topic for me was really statistics dominated, and I don't have any of my notes any more (donated them to some poor kid in the year below) sorry :(

Hope this helps :)
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