Leeds University Library

HIST5830M
Module Reading List 2015

Stalinist Terror, 2017/18, Semester 2
Dr JR Harris
j.r.harris@leeds.ac.uk
Tutor information is taken from the Module Catalogue

School of History

faculty of arts

Stalinist Terror

Dr. James Harris

2014/15

Office: MS321

Tel: 33591

Office hour: TBA

e-mail: j.r.harris@leeds.ac.uk

Semester Taught: 2

Credits: 20

Module aims and objectives

Aims: To study the evolution of historiographical debate surrounding the origins and causes of Stalin’s Great Terror of 1936-38; to analyse principle sources for the study of the Terror; to explore the limits of what we know and to set agendas for further study.

Objectives:

On completion of this module, students will be able to:

1. Analyse and evaluate conflicting historical interpretations, confronting the current limits of knowledge in the field

2. Reflect critically on the nature of the writing of Soviet history, the variety of theoretical and methodological approaches and political agendas

3. Think and write independently

Module content

Teaching Methods

11 two hour seminars

Required materials

None, but for those with little background in Russian/Soviet history, I would recommend Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution 3rd ed. (2008)

We’ll also work a fair bit with James Harris ed., The Anatomy of Terror: Political Violence under Lenin and Stalin (2013)

Assignments

Assessed work

2 x 3000 word assessed essay (50% each)

Essay Questions:

Essay 1: Choose one of the following

1. Why did the incidence of arrest and execution among Party members accelerate rapidly in the autumn of 1936?

2. What was the significance of the international situation to the unfolding of the Great Terror?

3. To what extent can the “mass operations” be understood as a phenomenon separate from the arrest and execution of the Party elite?

4. To what extent was the process of mass repression from 1936 to 1938 out of the centre’s control?

5. What, if anything, connected the repression of the former oppositions and the repression of the Party and state apparatus?

6. Why did the regime restrain the political police in the years immediately preceding the Great Terror?

7. What was the significance of the economy to the unfolding of the Terror?

Essay 2. Choose one of the following

1. Did the Party “self-destruct” (as Arch Getty has asserted in The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks)?

2. To what extent was there a climate of fear in the 1930s? (For this essay, please use the documents in the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online http://hcl.harvard.edu/collections/hpsss/)

For assessment deadlines and submission instructions, please see the School of History Taught Postgraduate Handbook.

Feedback Arrangements

Students will receive feedback on their assessed written work in accordance with the Taught Postgraduate Handbook. This is expected to involve the provision by the tutor of de-anonymised feedback sheets alongside a copy of your essay. You are strongly advised to attend a one-to-one feedback session scheduled and publicised by your tutor.

SEMINAR TOPICS AND THEMATIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Introduction

In the first seminar, the major themes of the course will be introduced. Students might want to read the following for background.

Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution (2008)

Top of page

2. General Interpretations

How has the study of the Great Terror evolved?

How has the source-base evolved (use footnotes and bibliographies)?

Leon Trotsky, Writings of Leon Trotsky, esp volumes covering 1937-8 and testimony before the 1937 international commission of inquiry into the Moscow trials

Isaac Deutscher, Stalin: A Political Biography (1949) ch. 9 The Gods are Athirst. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Victor Kravchenko, I Chose Freedom (1950) esp sections on Terror, 1936-1938

F. Beck and W. Godin, Russian purge and the extraction of confession (1951)

Merle Fainsod, How Russia is Ruled (1954) ch. 13 Terror as a System of Rule Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (1956) ch. 13 “Terror and the Passion for Unanimity” Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Robert Conquest, The Great Terror (1967)

J. Arch Getty, Origins of the great purges : the Soviet Communist Party reconsidered 1933-1938 (1985)

Gabor Tamas Rittersporn, Stalinist simplifications and Soviet complications : social tensions and political conflicts in the USSR, 1933-1953 (1991) chs. 1-3

P. Holquist, “State Violence as Technique: The Logic of Violence in Soviet Totalitarianism” in David L. Hoffmann ed., Stalinism : the essential readings (2003)

Top of page

3. Precursors

How far back should we trace the origins of the Great Terror? The events of 1936-1938 were not the first use of mass repression by Soviet leaders. For that, we can look to the Red Terror of the Civil War or collectivisation. But what made Bolshevik leaders so violent? Was the violence rooted in ideology? In the experience of war from 1914-1921? In Russian culture?

Arno Mayer, The Furies : violence and terror in the French and Russian Revolutions (2000) chs. 2, 3, 5, 15.

Peter Holquist, Making war, forging revolution : Russia's continuum of crisis, 1914-1921

Peter Holquist, “Violent Russia, Deadly Marxism: Russia in the Epoch of Violence,” Kritika 4, no. 3 (Summer 2003): 627-52. Available online: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/reees/SamplePublications/Holquist-Violent

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “The Civil War as a Formative Experience” in Abbott Gleason, Peter Kenez and Richard Stites eds., Bolshevik culture : experiment and order in the Russian Revolution (1989) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Erik Van Ree, The political thought of Joseph Stalin : a study in 20th century revolutionary patriotism (2002) chs. 9,10.

James Harris, The Great Fear (ms) ch. 2 (Not Yet Published. Tutor will supply relevant extracts - 04/02/15).

James Harris, “Intelligence and Threat Perception: Defending the Revolution, 1917-1937” in James Harris ed., The anatomy of terror : political violence under Stalin (2013)

Iain Lauchlan, Chekist Mentalité and the Origins of the Great Terror in James Harris ed., The anatomy of terror : political violence under Stalin (2013)

4. Did Stalin have Kirov Murdered?

The murder of Politburo member and Leningrad Party boss Sergei Kirov on 1 December 1934 is often considered the starting point for the Great Terror. It is still unclear why he was murdered and by whom. Many believe that Stalin was responsible, and that this murder was part of a carefully planned operation, the first of any steps towards eliminating potential and actual opposition to Stalin. According to this line, the purges that followed were the logical consequence of the murder. However, some ‘revisionist’ historians, notably Arch Getty, have offered very different explanations.

Did Stalin have Kirov murdered?

How did the Kirov murder contribute to the Great Terror?

Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (1990) chs. 1-3 (esp. ch. 2) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

J. Arch Getty, Origins of the great purges : the Soviet Communist Party reconsidered 1933-1938 (1985) appendix: the Kirov Assassination

J. Arch Getty, “The Politics of Repression Revisited” (section on ‘The Kirov Affair’) in J. Arch Getty and Roberta Manning, Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Amy Knight, Who killed Kirov? : the Kremlin's greatest mystery (esp. the later chapters dealing directly with the Kirov murder)

Robert McNeal, Stalin : man and ruler (ch. 9) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge (ch. 5 esp. pts. 1-4) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in power : the revolution from above, 1928-1941 (1990) (chs. 12-13, but esp. ch. 12) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Matthew Lenoe, “Did Stalin kill Kirov and does it matter?” The journal of modern history. v. 74 (2002) pp. 352-380 JSTOR

Matthew Lenoe, “Fear, Loathing, Conspiracy: The Kirov Murder as Impetus for Terror” in James Harris ed., The anatomy of terror : political violence under Stalin (2013)

Top of page

5. 1934-1936: The Calm before the Storm?

Was the apparatus of repression being restrained between 1934 and 1936?

Robert Thurston, Life and terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941 (1996)

Francesco Benvenuti, “The ‘Reform’ of the NKVD, 1934” Europe-Asia studies. 6 (1997) in JSTOR

Peter H. Solomon, Soviet criminal justice under Stalin (1996) esp. chs. 5-7 Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Gabor Tamas Rittersporn, Stalinist simplifications and Soviet complications : social tensions and political conflicts in the USSR, 1933-1953 (1991) ch. 1. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Jonathan Haslam, “Political Opposition to Stalin and the Origins of the Terror in Russia, 1932-1936” The historical journal. 2 (1986) in JSTOR

J. Arch Getty, “Afraid of the Shadows: The Bolshevik Recourse to Terror, 1932-1938” in Manfred Hildermeier ed., Stalinismus vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg : neue Wege der Forschung (Munich: 1998)

J. Arch Getty, “Trotsky in Exile: The Founding of the Fourth International” Soviet studies. 1 (1986) in JSTOR

Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in power : the revolution from above, 1928-1941 (1990) chs. 12-13

Robert Thurston, “The Stakhanovite Movement: The Background to the Great Terror in the Factories, 1935-1938” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives (1993)

Matthew Lenoe, The Kirov murder and Soviet history (2010) esp chs. 7-8. Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Top of page

6. The View From Below

What do “local” studies tell us about the dynamics and timing of the Terror?

Did social tensions in the 1930s magnify state repression?

Did the Terror escape the control of the centre?

Gabor T. Rittersporn, “The Omnipresent Conspiracy: On Soviet Imagery of Politics and Social Relations in the 1930s” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

Arch Getty, “The Politics of Repression Revisited” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

E. A. Rees, “Stalin as Architect of the Terror” in James Harris ed., The anatomy of terror : political violence under Stalin (2013)

Wendy Goldman, Terror and democracy in the age of Stalin : the social dynamics of repression (2007)

Lynne Viola, “The Second Coming: Class Enemies in the Soviet Countryside, 1927-1935” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

Gabor Tamas Rittersporn, Stalinist simplifications and Soviet complications : social tensions and political conflicts in the USSR, 1933-1953 (1991) chs. 1-3

Roberta T. Manning, “The Great Purges in a Rural District: Belyi Raion Revisited” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

David L. Hoffmann, “The Great Terror on the Local Level: Purges in the Moscow Factories, 1936-1938” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

Robert Thurston, “The Stakhanovite Movement: The Background to the Great Terror in the Factories, 1935-1938” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “How the Mice Buried the Cat: Scenes from the Great Purges of 1937 in the Russian Provinces” Russian review. 3 (1993) in JSTOR

Michael Ellman, “The 1937 Provincial Show Trials: Carnival or Terror” Europe-Asia studies. 8 (2001) in JSTOR

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “A Response to Michael Ellman” Europe-Asia studies.3 (2002) in JSTOR

Aleksandr Vatlin and Natalia Musienlo “Stalinist Terror in the Moscow District of Kuntsevo, 1937-1938” in Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott eds., Stalin's terror : high politics and mass repression in the Soviet Union (2003)

Denunciation

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “Signals from Below: Soviet Letters of Denunciation in the 1930s” The journal of modern history. 4 (1996) in JSTOR

Golfo Alexopoulos, “Victim Talk: Defense Testimony and Denunciation under Stalin” Law and Social Inquiry 3 (1999) in JSTOR

Sheila Fitzpatrick, Tear off the Masks: Identity and Imposture in Twentieth Century Russia (2005) esp. part IV Denunciations

Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in power : the revolution from above, 1928-1941 (1990) ch. 17

Catriona Kelly, Comrade Pavlik : the rise and fall of a Soviet boy hero (2005)

James Harris, “The Purging of Local Cliques in the Urals Region, 1936-1937” in Sheila Fitzpatrick ed., Stalinism : new directions (2000)

Top of page

7. The Economy

Roberta T. Manning “The Soviet Economic Crisis of 1936-1940 and the Great Purges” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

Robert Thurston, “The Stakhanovite Movement: The Background to the Great Terror in the Factories, 1935-1938” in J. Arch Getty and R. T. Manning eds., Stalinist terror : new perspectives (1993)

Francesco Benvenuti, “Industry and Purge in the Donbass, 1936-37” Europe-Asia studies. 1 (1993) in JSTOR

Gabor Tamas Rittersporn, Stalinist simplifications and Soviet complications : social tensions and political conflicts in the USSR, 1933-1953 (1991) chs. 1-3

James Harris, “The Purging of Local Cliques in the Urals Region, 1936-1937” in Sheila Fitzpatrick ed., Stalinism : new directions (2000)

Top of page

8. Foreign Policy

Was the fear of war the “reason” for the Great Terror?

Oleg Khlevniuk, “The Objectives of the Great Terror” in J. Cooper, M. Perrie, E. A. Rees eds., Soviet history, 1917-53 : essays in honour of R.W. Davies (1993) Available as an Online Course Reading in Minerva

Oleg Khlevniuk “The Reasons for the Great Terror: The Foreign-Political Aspect” in S. Pons and A. Romano eds., Russia in the age of wars, 1914-1945 (2000)

Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (1990) ch. 13.

Silvio Pons, Stalin and the inevitable war : 1936-1941 (2002) ch. 3 Internal Crisis pp. 77-126.

J. Erikson, The Soviet high command : a military-political history, 1918-1941 (1962)

William Chase, Enemies within the gates? : the Comintern and Stalinist repression, 1934-1939:

T. J. Uldricks, “Soviet Security Policy in the 1930s” in G. Gorodetsky ed., Soviet foreign policy, 1917-1991 : a retrospective (1994)

R. C. Tucker, Stalin in power : the revolution from above, 1928-1941 (1990) ch. 18

V. Pozniakov, “The Enemy at the Gates: Soviet Military Intelligence in the Inter-war Period and its Forecasts of the Future War, 1921-1941” in S. Pons and A. Romano eds., Russia in the age of wars, 1914-1945 (2000)

J. Arch Getty, “Trotsky in Exile: The Founding of the Fourth International” Soviet studies. 1 (1986) in JSTOR

Fridrikh Firsov, “Dmitrov, the Comintern and Stalinist Repression” in Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott eds., Stalin's terror : high politics and mass repression in the Soviet Union (2003)

James Harris, “Stalin on Capitalist Encirclement: Intelligence and Ideology in Soviet Foreign Policy, 1921-1936” (draft—I’ll give you a copy)

Top of page

9. Show Trials

Why put former oppositionists on trial?

Were the Moscow show trials peripheral or central to the unfolding of the Terror?

Why hold show trials in the regions?

William Chase, “Stalin as Producer: The Moscow Show Trials and the Construction of Mortal Threats” in J. Harris and S. Davies eds., Stalin a New History (2005)

Wladislaw Hedeler, “Ezhov’s Scenario for the Great Terror and the Falsified Record of the Third Moscow Show Trial” in Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott eds., Stalin's terror : high politics and mass repression in the Soviet Union (2003)

Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (1990) ch. 12.

Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge (1989) ch. 5.

Julie Cassiday, The enemy on trial : early Soviet courts on stage and screen (2000)

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “How the Mice Buried the Cat: Scenes from the Great Purges of 1937 in the Russian Provinces” Russian review. 3 (1993) in JSTOR

Arkadii Vaksberg, Stalin's prosecutor : the life of Andrei Vyshinsky (1990)

Arkadii Vaksberg The prosecutor and the prey : Vyshinsky and the 1930s' Moscow show trials

Michael Ellman, “The 1937 Provincial Show Trials: Carnival or Terror” Europe-Asia studies. 8 (2001) in JSTOR

Sheila Fitzpatrick, “A Response to Michael Ellman” Europe-Asia studies. 3 (2002) in JSTOR

Robert C. Tucker and Stephen F. Cohen, The great purge trial

Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in power : the revolution from above, 1928-1941 (1990) sections on the trials in chs. 15, 18.

Joel Carmichael, Stalin's masterpiece : the show trials and purges of the thirties, the consolidation of the Bolshevik dictatorship (1976)

Top of page

10. Mass Operations

How were the mass operations at once linked to, but separate from the repression of the Party elite?

T. Martin, “The Origins of Soviet Ethnic Cleansing” The journal of modern history. 4 (1998)

Paul Hagenloh, “’Socially Harmful Elements’ and the Great Terror” in Sheila Fitzpatrick ed., Stalinism : new directions (2000)

Golfo Alexopoulos, Stalin's outcasts : aliens, citizens, and the Soviet state, 1926-1936

David R. Shearer, Crime and Social Disorder in Stalin’s Russia: A Reassessment of the Great Retreat and the Origins of Mass Repression” Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. 1-2 (1998)

David R. Shearer, “Social Disorder, Mass Repression and the NKVD during the 1930s” Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. 2-4 (2001)

David R. Shearer, “Social Disorder, Mass Repression and the NKVD during the 1930s” in Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott eds., Stalin's terror : high politics and mass repression in the Soviet Union (2004)

Barry McLoughlin, “Mass Operations of the NKVD, 1937-1938: A Survey” in Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott eds., Stalin's terror : high politics and mass repression in the Soviet Union (2004)

P. Holquist, “State Violence as Technique: The Logic of Violence in Soviet Totalitarianism” in David L. Hoffmann ed., Stalinism : the essential readings (2003)

Top of page

11. The Modernity Argument

David Shearer, “Stalinist Repression, Modernity, and the Social Engineering Argument” in James Harris ed., The anatomy of terror : political violence under Stalin (Oxford: 2013)

David Hoffmann, “The Conceptual and Practical Origins of Soviet State Violence” in James Harris ed., The anatomy of terror : political violence under Stalin (Oxford: 2013)

Peter Holquist, ‘State Violence as Technique: The Logic of Violence in Soviet Totalitarianism’, Landscaping the human garden : 20th century population management in a comparative framework, ed. Amir Weiner (Stanford, 2003) pp. 19-45.

Republished in: David Hoffmann, Stalinism : the essential readings (New York:Blackwell, 2003).

Peter Holquist, “To Count, to Extract, To Exterminate: Population Statistics and Population Politics in Late Imperial and Soviet Russia” in Terry Martin and Ron Suny, eds., A state of nations : empire and nation-making in the age of Lenin and Stalin (Oxford, 2001), 111-144.

David Hoffmann, ‘European Modernity and Soviet Socialism’, in David Hoffmann and Yanni Kotsonis, Russian modernity : politics, knowledge, practices, (New York, 2000), 245-61. EBook available

Stephen Kotkin, ‘Modern Times: The Soviet Union and the Interwar Conjuncture’ Kritika : Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 2, no. 2 (2001).

Gijs Kessler, “The Passport System and State Control over Population Flows in the Soviet Union, 1932-1940” Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. 42/2-4 (2001), 477-504.

David R. Shearer, “Social Disorder, Mass Repression and the NKVD during the 1930s” Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique 42/2-4 (2001), 505-556.

This list was last updated on 13/01/2015