Dramatic changes in Soviet society, culture and politics followed Stalin’s death in 1953. This week we consider Stalin’s final years before turning to the initial period of “De-Stalinization” and “The Thaw.” The modules on 1947, 1954 and 1956 from Seventeen Moments in Soviet History are good starting points. You might also be interested in the photographs and films from the Martin Manhoff Collection on Radio Free Europe’s website. These materials offer fascinating views of everyday life and a rare perspective on Stalin’s funeral.
Framing questions to consider for this post include:
- What were the key challenges facing Soviet society in the aftermath of WWII?
- How did Soviet society change in the aftermath of Stalin’s death?
- What were the main contours of “de-Stalinization”?
The section of Freeze that is relevant here is the last part of Ch. 12 and the first part of Ch. 13, pp. 406-433).You may focus on an event, a development or an individual. Your post should use (and cite) primary sources (texts, music, or images). You may also use a particular image or primary document as a focal point for your post.
We will do a hands-on introduction to the Current Digest of the Soviet Press in class next week, but if you’re at all brave, please go ahead and use if for your post this week. This is a proprietary database and a wonderful resource for Soviet history. It includes English translations of Soviet newspaper, magazine and journal articles from 1949 to the present. You will need to use the “off campus” log-in to access the data base from off campus. You need to set the date parameters and then search by key word. To cite or link to an article use the “persistent URL” (see screenshot) below.