Dictatorship and conflict in the USSR, 1924–53 Edexcel IGCSE Resources

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Dictatorship and conflict in the USSR, 1924–53

For this history module, students need to learn about:

The leadership struggle, 1924-29

  • The rivals for the leadership, including Stalin, Trotsky, Kamenev, Bukharin and Zinoviev;
  • Strengths and weaknesses of Stalin and Trotsky;
  • Stalin’s steps to power (1924–29), his emergence as the leader of the USSR and the reasons for his success.

Five-year Plans and collectivisation

  • Stalin’s economic aims;
  • Reasons for industrialisation, including the failings of the NEP;
  • The nature of industrialisation, including Gosplan, the first three Five-year Plans, Stakhanovites;
  • Success and failures of industrialisation;
  • Reasons for and nature of collectivisation (1928);
  • Kolkhoz and Motor TractorStations;
  • Opposition of and removal of kulaks;
  • Success and failures of collectivisation, including the Great Famine (1932–33).

Purges and show trials, the cult of Stalin and the revision of history

  • Reasons for purges including the murder of Kirov;
  • Key features of the purges of the 1930s;
  • Control of the populace, including the roles of Yezhov, the NKVD and the gulags;
  • The conditions in the gulags;
  • Reasons for and features of the Moscow Show Trials (1936–38);
  • Purges of the armed forces;
  • Impact of the purges on the Soviet Union;
  • Reasons for and methods of the cult of personality;
  • Censorship, propaganda, ‘socialist realism’, control of education and the Soviet interpretation of history.

Life in the Soviet Union, 1924-41

  • Effects of Stalin’s policies on living and working conditions in town and countryside;
  • The differing experiences of social groups;
  • Changes in family life and employment and in the political position of women;
  • Changes in education;
  • Reasons for, and features of, the persecution of ethnic minorities.

The Second World War and after, 1941-53

  • The reasons for and extent of Soviet setbacks (1941–42), and the reasons for the survival of the USSR and success in driving back the German invasion, including war production;
  • The significance of Stalingrad;
  • Post-war recovery and the Fourth Five-year Plan;
  • Stalin’s popularity;
  • Post-war purges;
  • The strength of the USSR on the death of Stalin in 1953 and the impact of his period in power.

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