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The Great Terror

Modern History (Year 12) - Methods of Control

Ben Whitten

The Great Terror as a Method of Control

The Great Terror, also known as the Great Purge, was a period of intense political repression and violence in the Soviet Union that took place between 1936 and 1938. It was one of the most violent and brutal periods in Soviet history and was characterized by widespread arrests, show trials, and executions.

The Great Terror was used as a method of control by the Soviet government to eliminate political opponents and perceived enemies of the state. It was carried out under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, who believed that there were enemies of the Soviet regime lurking in every corner and that they needed to be rooted out and eliminated.

During the Great Terror, the Soviet government launched a massive campaign of propaganda and censorship to create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion among the population. The government encouraged people to denounce their neighbors, friends, and even family members as enemies of the state, leading to an atmosphere of paranoia and distrust.

The Soviet government also used the secret police, or NKVD, to arrest and detain anyone suspected of opposing the government. Many people were arrested and imprisoned without trial, and the NKVD used torture and other forms of violence to extract confessions and information from their prisoners.

The Great Terror also involved a series of show trials, where those accused of crimes were publicly accused, convicted, and executed. These trials were highly orchestrated and were used to justify the government's actions and to create an atmosphere of terror among the population.

The Great Terror was a brutal and effective method of control that allowed the government to eliminate political opponents and maintain its power through fear and intimidation. However, it also resulted in widespread human rights abuses and the suppression of basic freedoms, leading to a legacy of fear and mistrust in Soviet society.

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