1929-1945 was possibly the greatest transformative period of time in Soviet history; partly due to the occurrence of the Second World War lasting from 1939-1945 and partly due to its leadership. During this period, Stalin combined his hold on power and was allowed to rule with liberty, establishing his “revolution from above” on the Soviet people1. His rule extended from 1922-1952 and was therefore responsible for majority of the economic transformation at the time. He substituted the New Economic Policy (NEP) instituted by his predecessor with a highly centralised planned (command) economy. This launched a period of collectivization and industrialization that caused rapid transformation of the USSR into an industrial power from an agrarian society. The initial disruption in agriculture unsettled food production and contributed to the disastrous Soviet famine of 1932–1933, which in Ukraine was known as the Holodomor2. Afterwards, in a period that continued from 1936 to 1939, Stalin established a movement against suspected enemies within his administration - the Great Purge – during which hundreds of thousands were executed.
In August 1939, a non-aggression pact was signed by Stalin and Nazi Germany that distributed their power and territory within Eastern Europe, causing the invasion of Poland later in September of that year. Germany later dishonoured the agreement and in June 1941 initiated a substantial invasion of the Soviet Union. In spite of numerous territorial and human losses, Soviet forces succeeded in halting the Nazi incursion following the decisive Battles of Stalingrad and Moscow3.
After overwhelming the Germans on the Eastern Front, Berlin was captured in May 1945 by the Red Army, effectively ending the Second World War for the Allies in Europe. Consequently the Soviet Union arose as one of two acknowledged world super-powers, the United States being the other4. This aim of this paper is to analyse the events that occurred ...Show more