Stalin and the cult of personality

Essay by Aly_KHigh School, 11th gradeA-, May 2005

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The real, full-blown cult really got going around 1933-1934. Before that, in around 1929, Stalin was actually seen as rather cold and distant. He tried to assume a modest image, and wanted to be seen by the people as a hard-working man of moderation. After Lenin died, the party members knew it was essential that the party stick together if it were to accomplish the huge task of transforming an unwilling population into good socialists. They therefore did not want a leader who might cause divisions among the different wings of the party and split it into warring factions. That's why they feared Trotsky and believed that Stalin would play a good role, as he was always silent, never argued and always did his job as it should have been done. The people actually started saying that "Stalin is the Lenin of today". However it wasn't enough for Stalin to just get the likings of the people, he wanted more.

That's why "the cult of the personality" was developed and was fully established between 1933-1934.

The most likely explanation for the development of the cult lays in the economic and political circumstances of the Soviet Russia in the mid-1930's. The disruption and disorientation brought about by the Five-Year Plan and the purges meant that this was a bewildering and confusing time. Former heroes were revealed as traitors; wreckers and saboteurs were everywhere. The image of Stalin reassured the people that they had a strong leader to take them through these difficult and momentous times. Therefore we can say that the cult of the personality was useful in holding Soviet society together.

There were paintings, poems and sculptures to promote the Stalin cult. At the beginning of the cult the regime did not want people to be alienated...