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During the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, Joseph Stalin used different methods in his bid for power, when being the leader of the Soviet Union. In this essay I will try to examine the what kind of methods were used, as well as how and why they were used.

The first method used by Stalin in his successful bid for power can be seen very clearly during the cold war. Propaganda was a method that was widely used by Joseph Stalin during his leadership in the Soviet Union.

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The Cold War led to a new way of using propaganda than during World War II. Back then it was usually about putting the Germans in a bad position and making them seem as horrible people. During the Cold War, hidden propaganda became much more important than before. Now the propaganda was used to change the opinions of the people so that they supported you in the fight against the enemies.

Stalin, who was the leader of the Soviet Union during parts of the Cold War, realized that the truth could be manipulated with propaganda. He would often use posters with brave messages as part of their propaganda. As well as using posters, Stalin also produced a propaganda film where he made himself the leader behind the victory over the Nazis during World War II. Using this film, he builds up his personality to become a war hero and the Soviet Union’s father. He received lots of media attention and was soon portrayed to be the “all-knowing leader” by propagandists of the Soviet Union. He became “Europe’s liberator”.

The main reasons for why Stalin used Propaganda was to control the people’s opinion, to expand and gain more power for the Soviet Union and furthermore, make it look like a superior nation.

Another method that was used by Stalin was terror and purges. Stalin initiated the purges during the 1930s, and anyone who was considered a threat or was disloyal towards him or the Soviet Union, would be either denounced, arrested, sent to the Gulags or executed. People from all over the Soviet Union were afraid at all times of the purges and show trials. These purges and show trials were a way for the government to afflict the Russian people, as well as scare them.

The main reasons that purges were used this often, was because Stalin was always paranoid. Since he was always having some kind of a paranoia at all times, it led to him not trusting a lot of people and executing or sending millions to labor camps. Using purges was a way for Stalin to control the society by using fear towards the people, and to get rid of people that were going against him. It was easy for him to get rid of whoever was against his beliefs, and form a new government or party.


By using propaganda, Stalin could glorify and idealize himself, in the way that he wanted to be portrayed towards the people. When people started to believe in him, and started seeing him as this “father figure” of the Soviet Union, Stalin was capable of forging loyalty from everyone towards not only him but also the Soviet Union. Whilst when using purges and terror, he was able to strengthen his position in the communist party. They were initiated due to Stalin’s fear of opposition and sabotage in productivity. Nonetheless, Stalin’s plans of creating fear and suspicion by using these purges, worked in the end.