Moscow Show Trials III

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.

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Moscow Show Trials – II

            Lead: During the late 1930s in a series of Show Trials and secret trials and executions Josef Stalin at last eliminated all opposition to his personal domination of political life in the Soviet Union.

            Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

            Content: Having eliminated his rivals in the Politburo and crushed resistance to agricultural collectivization through the Terror Famine in which as many as 15 million peasants were either starved or slaughtered, Joseph began to find himself under quiet attack from within the party. In 1932 his critics began circulating a long and detailed critique of his economic policies and incompetent leadership. Stalin struck back and directed the secret police to find out who wrote the document, determined who had even read the document and purge them all from the party. In 1934, Serge Kirov, the party boss in Leningrad and a rising star in party politics was assassinated, probably by agents of Stalin. The dictator used the crisis as an excuse for a severe nation-wide cleansing, that has come to be known as the Great Purge.

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Moscow Show Trials – I

Lead: To eliminate opposition to his personal domination of the Communist party indeed, all of the Soviet state, Stalin perfected a new twentieth century art form: the show trial.

 

                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 

                Content: V.I. Lenin, author of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet state, after a series of incapacitating strokes, died in January 1924. Already the struggle for succession was under way. This struggle would last until the eve of World War II. The leading candidate for leadership was Leon Trotsky, but Trotsky had problems. He was not a modest man, was a relatively late convert to Bolshevism, and his strong ties to the Red Army, which he had sculpted nearly from scratch in the early 1920s, made the rest of the party clan very nervous. His chief rival was Josef Vissarionovich Stalin, who, after abandoning seminary preparation for the Orthodox priesthood, made his initial mark in party circles as a bank robber. Lenin had given Stalin charge over the central party machinery and the Georgian bureaucrat took to this less than desirable task with relish. He gradually came to dominate the secret police and re-shaped the party in his own image, removing allies of his rivals and installing his own supporters in places of authority.

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