In his 1946 speech, Joseph Stalin reflected on the events that occurred in Europe the last few years by ripping into the Capitalist system, praising the strength of the Soviet People, and discussing the positives of the war on the Soviet Union. Of the items that Stalin covered in his speech, his praising of the Soviet people stood out to me the most.
During his discussion of the second World War, he noted that the war “was the fiercest and most arduous ever fought in the history of our Motherland.” (Stalin Speech: http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/SS46.html)) Highlighting the fact that the Soviet state had endured so much death and destruction from the invasion of the Nazis, Stalin recognized the fact that the Soviet Union had survived because of the determination of its people. If we place his praising of the Soviet people into context of the late 1930s and early 1940s, one could theorize that the people either had no choice to Serve in the Red Army as a result of the fear of being purged or secondly to protect their families from Nazi occupation. It strikes me as interesting that Stalin would praise his own people considering the policies he had launched during the 1930s.
Another significant part of his praising was of the Red Army. He stated that “our victory signifies that the Soviet Armed Forces, our Red Army, was victorious, that the Red Army heroically withstood all the hardships of the war, utterly routed the armies of our enemies, and emerged from the war the victor.”1 Stalin used this statement within his speech to not only compliment the bravery of the Red Army, but he also used his speech to hide the blunders that he had made with the purging of his military leaders and the lack of militarization during the 1930s. When the Germans had invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 the Red Army had lacked any leadership as a result of these purges and had lacked military preparation. As a result, Stalin had to rely on help from western powers to defeat the Nazis.
Although some could argue that the Soviet Union and its system could not have won the war without help from western powers, it can also be argued that if Stalin had not purged his military leaders, had he prepared for the Nazis much sooner than he did, the Soviet Union would have held its own against the Nazis, perhaps winning the war on its own.
- Stalin Speech: http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/SS46.html [↩]