Stalin as a continuation of Lenin
Communism is like a mining town. The government owns the people. They are forced to buy government food, work for the government, and follow what the government says, or else. No one can escape because their pachecks come from the same people they pay, causing them to did themselves deeper and deeper into debt. And they are forced to breath the cancerous air, just as the Russians were forced to endure the terror. Russia experienced communism in a horrible way: first through Lenin and his Cheka, then through Stalin and his concentration camps.How far would they go to achieve their goals? They would stop at nothing. Stalin’s personality was so similar to Lenin’s, tha although they may have had separate motivations, Stalin finished what Lenin started by gaining influence through power and using the first Five Year Plan.
Lenin and Stalin were of the same personality. Both were extreme activists with an obsession with violence. This quote from A Concise History of the Russian Revolution, by Richard Pipes (pp. 104) describes the character of both Lenin and Stalin: “He knew of only two categories of men: friend and enemy-those who follwed him, and all the rest.” The two agreed on the point that anyone who did not agree with them was an enemy. They both used this as an excuse to kill thousands of people. The reason they were able to do this was because both wanted power and neither were afraid to act on their desires. “Lenin was an activist, indeed a hyper-activist, and it was this which made him such a violent figure.” This is also what made Stalin so horrible. In the way Lenin acted on behalf of the revolution, Stalin acted on behalf of himself.
Although their personalities were similar, it can be argued that they had different ideals. Lenin lived for the revolution and had a long-term goal of worldwide revolution. Stalin, on the other hand, was more interested in seeing revolution on the home front. Another difference between the two was that Stalin would kill just about anyone, no matter who they were, whereas fellow communists would not die by Lenin. The number of people Stalin murdered was in the millions: communists and non-communists. Stalin wanted worship, and anyone who didn’t worship him was doomed.
Their motivations may have been different, but the fact that Lenin and Stalin both used mass terror to gain power is indisputable. Lenin killed for the revolution. He used the Cheka as his aid. He used it “with complete ruthlessness and on a very large scale.” (Pipes pp. 104) Through this secret police force, Lenin exterminated anyone whom he thought was not dedicated to the revolution. “Believing…that violence was an essential element in the revolution, Lenin never quailed before the need to employ terror.” (Johnson, pp. 165) Stalin thought the same, that to gain as much power as possible, one must exterminate all enemies. He also used a secret police to help him out. Stalin would stop at nothing to gain personal power. He became so hard that when Lenin found out that Stalin wanted Trotsky removed, he strongly requested that Stalin be taken out of any powerful position. This did not happen. Stalin got control over Lenin’s health and took all revolutionary power.
Stalin succeeded, through the Five Year plan, in achieving Lenin’s goal of collectivization of the peasantry. It started out as Lenin’s ideals and “under Stalin the system expanded, first slowly, then with terrifying speed.” (Johnson, pp. 274) Even though at first, the system was a bit disaterous, Stalin went on. He used the communist party as his personal instrument, forcing the peasantry into collective farms. The workers became slaves, which is more or less what Lenin wanted, and production increased greatly. Russia was especially productive in the tractor, steel, and coal industries.
These two men, driven by the same passion, used complete horror to boost the industrial growth of Russia. The slave-labor camps that were created became a model for other cultures: especially Hitler. The horror that Lenin started was continued in an even more disasterous way to cause the deaths of millions of innocent people.