Lead: The Moscow Show Trials in the 1930s were just the public feature of the Great Purge that eliminated all opposition in the Soviet Union to the totalitarian dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: The public trials were the outward display of a widespread elimination of potential dissidents from Soviet society.  The secret police, under Stalin’s personal direction, received the power of summary execution of anyone. This power was essential because the evidence in the trials was pried from the prisoners by torture and intimidation. Old Bolsheviks such as Yevseyevich Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev and Nicholai Buhkarin were forced to confess, convicted of crimes they most certainly did not commit, and then executed. Yet the real damage to Soviet society was done in secret. Mensheviks, revolutionaries, foreign engineers, Trotskyites, parasites, spies were simply hauled out of their homes and shot. It was death by category, anyone who had a memory or dared to profess independent thought was eliminated. Then Stalin turned on the Red Army. When the generals refused to cooperate and confess he had them executed in the summer of 1937.