The Secret Speech

The “Secret Speech” was a very informative and interesting read. Khrushchev basically criticized every little thing Stalin did while in power. It was interesting to hear Khrushchev’s feelings on Stalin and his Cult of personality. It makes perfect sense to me why the title of today’s class is De-Stalinization: taking away everything Stalin put in place and made a mess of and Khrushchev’s speech did exactly that. I am sure a lot of people are already aware of the atrocities Stalin committed throughout his entire life, but the speech really convinced me to despise him. The basis of Stalin’s Cult of Personality was to reinvent the way Stalin was viewed into a God-Like figure and to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Lenin. It turns out though, Stalin was nothing like Lenin and if anything went against everything he stood for. While reading I kept wondering, if he was as bad as everyone said he was then how did he reach such a powerful position. It seemed to me that there were warning signs that were dismissed. My question was addressed later in the speech as Stalin first seemed to follow the ideals set in place by Lenin then started to transition into his own. “Some comrades may ask us: Where were the members of the politburo? Why did they not assert themselves against the cult of the individual in time? And why is this being done only now? First of all, members of the politburo viewed these matters in a different way at different times. Initially, many backed Stalin actively because he was one of the strongest Marxists and his logic, his strength and his will greatly influenced party work. After Lenin’s death, especially during the first years, Stalin actively fought for Leninism against the enemies of Leninist theory and against those who deviated. At that time the party had to fight those who tried to lead the country away from the correct Leninist path”(Khrushchev, 1956). Like I mentioned previously, this speech did a great job of further blackening the character of Stalin, but was it too much? I’m not trying to defend any of the actions of Stalin, but this speech was made 3 years after his death so it makes me wonder how big of an issue it was at the time.

*Fun Fact- Comrade(s) was said 16 times throughout the course of the speech!!

One Reply to “The Secret Speech”

  1. As I mentioned in my own blog post, I researched Stalin’s mannerisms to better understand his political ideology. To nobody’s surprise, I found him to be very manipulative with Soviet citizens as well as other politicians. I believe that the speech was justified to start to undo years of oppression and human rights violations instituted by the regime. Specifically, something that I didn’t learn about until recently was how Stalin authorized mass deportations and imprisonment of more wealthy peasants because they were not properly contributing to his collectivization plan. All in all, I think this speech which aims to demoralize Stalin was delivered at the perfect time to begin repairing a suffering Union.

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