Stalin's Impact on Society
Josef Stalin was complicated man who saw the way to changing a society was through a strong and forceful fist. He impacted society throughout the world by not just instilling fear in millions but by also making many beneficial reforms that in some ways help than hinder. Stalin was Premier of Russia, between 1949 and 1953. The confusing nature behind this man is the misconceptions the western knowledge has of him. Many see Hitler of Germany as a man that killed so many. However, statistics show that Stalin actually murdered, “Stalin himself is responsible for almost 43,000,000 of these. Most of the deaths, perhaps around 39,000,000 are due to lethal forced labor in gulag and transit thereto.” (Rummel). While Hitler, killed around, “murdered from 15,003,000 to 31,595,000 people, most likely 20,946,000…” (Rummel). Westerners due to the nature of the Russians do not generally remember Stalin’s impact on society of murdering millions during the Cold War as being completely secretive. However, even though Stalin killed millions, he is attributed to many reforms throughout the then Soviet Union that would last throughout the Soviet foothold and thereafter.
During the pre-Stalin era, the Soviets had an industrial system that lagged decades behind the other world powers. This lagging industrial system became so lagged that the workers were using completely outdated technologies of the late nineteenth century while western agriculturalists were using the most up to date possible industrial equipment. Under Stalin, he increased output of the industrial system, which would help to propel the Soviet Union from a backward nation of unintelligible industrial attempters to an actual superpower with a highly industrialized system.
Stalin also affected society through his much liberalization of the social services. The most viewed system of change under the Stalin regime was the equality of women. Under Stalin, “Girls were given an adequate, equal education and women had equal rights in employment…” (Montefiore). This was much different than many westernized cultures that did not view women in an equalized sense and more to the point did not have equal pay for both of the sexes; men still are paid statistically more than women are. From a country that had just pulled its head from another World War and from having such a backward stylized society to change to give women a sense of equality shows at least a tinge of a positive impact on society.
Another one of Stalin’s “positive” impacts on society was through the healthcare system. Those individuals that were not in the gulags in the slums in the Soviet Union, under Stalin brought on the need for prenatal care for women. (Montefiore). This was a widely unpracticed in many countries because prenatal care was not a viable option. Many of the infants that were born in this time did not have prenatal care. This introduction of prenatal care under Stalin, which was a complete difference to his sending of millions to the gulags, influenced society in a positive fashion.
Yet the most important impact Stalin created on society was from the general makeup of Russia, then Soviet Union. For many years, the Soviet Union was an extremely rural society. As already stated the Russian peoples did not posses advanced or moderate tools for them to use in their homes, farms, businesses etc. Yet Stalin influenced society by shifting from a completely rural nation in the many towns and cities to industrialized towns and cities.
Stalin has impacted society greatly. He set the stage for the region on how they view women in their society, something generally unheard of in this location of the globe in the period. He brought many changes to the culture of the Russian people of not staying rural peoples but as an industrialized people. Stalin impacted society on both sides of the spectrum; the completely egregious side of the millions of innocent people that he murdered to the positive side of the many social and health changes that he influenced. This is testament to how the Soviet Union was capable of staying in power for nearly 40 years past his death in 1953.
Montefiore, Simon. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar. New York City: Random House Digital, 2005. Web. 14 Feb. 2012. <http://books.google.com/books?id=f-HerzgvxssC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false>.
Rummel, R.J. "20,946,000 Victims: Nazi Germany." Nazi Genocide and Mass Murder. University of Hawaii, Nov. 1993. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. <http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM>.
Rummel, R.J. "How Many Did Communist Regimes Murder?." Murder by Communism. University of Hawaii, Nov. 1993. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. <http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.ART.HTM>.