This question is on the specification paper, and so there is a good chance that an alternate (eg the economy's significance) will come up on the actual paper, 2010.
"Stalin's leadership was the most significant reason for the Soviet victory over Germany in the 1941-1945 war" - assess the validity of this statement
Pearson states that "as a highly centralised dictatorship, Joseph Stalin almost certainly played a pivotal part in every aspect of the Soviet war effort", suggesting that Stalin's leadership was crucial to the war effort, and that the USSR would not have been as strong were it not for him. Although this is certainly true, many other factors did contribute to the war victory, including the merits of the Soviet economy under Gosplan, and the GKO (general defence council) which was established in Stalin's absence early in the war, as well as the infamous Soviet winter of 1941. Despite this, however, many historians agree that the USSR would not have been so likely to win the Great Patriotic War were it not for Stalin's efforts.
STALIN'S LEADERSHIP - POSITIVES
- Establishment of Stavka - PEARSON: "At a critical moment he proved himself to be resolute and decisive"
- Order No 270, Aug 1941, "all deserters will be shot and their families imprisoned"
- allowing military leaders to flourish
- turning the war into one of attrition, to his advantage, eg at Stalingrad - DOCKRILL: "Stalingrad marked the beginning of the end for Germany"
STALIN'S LEADERSHIP - NEGATIVE
- PEARSON: "Stalin's first, most fatal error was not to allow his troops to mobilise in time before impending Nazi disaster"
- absence at start of war - debated as to whether this really happened
- military purge, 1937
- responsible for many fatal flaws such as Seige of Leningrad
- HARRISON: "If WW2 was a test then the Soviet Economy passed it" - & Overy's correlation argument (years when economy failed (1942-3) war effort failed; as economy improved, war effort did, too)
- Winter argument, 1941
- was critical to the war effort, and arguably the most important reason
Ta-da! My fifth essay plan of the say (I did two on paper before I ran out of paper... oops?)
I need a life/a break...
- HistGrrl x
- GKO est in his absence