Origins of the Great Purges
The Soviet Communist Party Reconsidered, 1933–1938
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- Author: John Archibald Getty
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This is a study of the structure of the Soviet Communist Party in the 1930s. Based upon archival and published sources, the work describes the events in the Bolshevik Party leading up to the Great Purges of 1937–1938. Professor Getty concludes that the party bureaucracy was chaotic rather than totalitarian, and that local officials had relative autonomy within a considerably fragmented political system. The Moscow leadership, of which Stalin was the most authoritarian actor, reacted to social and political processes as much as instigating them. Because of disputes, confusion, and inefficiency, they often promoted contradictory policies. Avoiding the usual concentration on Stalin's personality, the author puts forward the controversial hypothesis that the Great Purges occurred not as the end product of a careful Stalin plan, but rather as the bloody but ad hoc result of Moscow's incremental attempts to centralise political power.
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- Date Published: April 2011
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9780511868962
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
List of tables
Introduction: the Great Purges as history
1. The Communist Party in the thirties
2. What was a purge?
3. The Verification of Party Documents of 1935: a case study in bureaucratic ineptitude
4. Radicalism and party revival
5. Radicalism and enemies of the people
6. The crisis matures:
7. Epilogue: the Ezhovshchina
Conclusion: some observations on politics in the thirties
Appendix: the Kirov assassination
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