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Russia: The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938

5. Industrialization, 1928-38

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In this module, we think about Stalin's policy of rapid industrialisation in the period 1928-38, focusing in particular on the imbalance in the efforts to industrialise, e.g. the enormous increase in the labour force relative to other factors of production, and the transformation of Russian society and culture. At the end of the module, we think once again about the enormous human cost of Stalin's policies in this period, and consider the extent to which the famine of 1931-32 should be considered a deliberate act of genocide.


In this course, Professor Christopher Read (University of Warwick) examines the rise of Joseph Stalin from his birth in 1878 to the eve of the Second World War in 1938. We begin in the first module by thinking about his early life, including upbringing in Georgia, his early education, and – later – his involvement with industrial workers in Tiflis and Baku. In the second module, we trace Stalin's political rise from his appointment to the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1912, up to Lenin's death in 1924. In the third module, we follow Stalin as he becomes undisputed leader of the Communist Party, before moving on in the fourth and fifth modules to consider two major strands of Stalinst policy: Collectivization and Industrialization. In the sixth module, we think about the period of Stalin's rule known as the Terror – what caused it, how it proceeded, why it ended, and what it achieved – before moving on in the seventh module to consider how Stalin might have seen himself and the state of Russia in 1938, and what (if anything) held the policies of the previous ten years together.


Christopher Read is Professor of Twentieth-Century European History at the University of Warwick. He specialises in the intellectual history of the Russian intelligentsia in the crucial years between 1900 and 1925 and the social history of the Russian Revolution. His recent publications include Lenin: A Revolutionary Life (2005) and War and Revolution in Russia: 1914-22 (2013).

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APA style

Read, C. (2019, January 22). Russia: The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938 - Industrialization, 1928-38 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Read, C. "Russia: The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938 – Industrialization, 1928-38." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Jan 2019,

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