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Stalin's Terror of the 1930s has long been a popular subject for historians. However, while for decades, historians were locked in a narrow debate about the degree of central control over the terror process, recent archival research is underpinning new, innovative approaches and opening new perspectives. Historians have begun to explore the roots of the Terror in the heritage of war and mass repression in the late Imperial and early Soviet periods; in the regime's focus not just on former "oppositionists," wreckers and saboteurs, but also on crime and social disorder; and in the common European concern to identify and isolate "undesirable" elements. Recent studies have examined in much greater depth and detail the precipitants and triggers that turned a determination to protect the Revolution into a ferocious mass repression.
The Anatomy of Terror is an edited volume which brings together the work of the leading historians in the field, presenting not only the latest developments in the subject, but also the latest evolution of the debate. The sixteen chapters are divided into eight themes, with some themes reflecting the diversity of sources, methodologies and angles of approach, others showing stark differences of opinion. This opens up the field of study to further research, and this volume will proof indispensable for historians of political violence and of the era of Stalinist Terror.
James Harris is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Leeds.
Table of Contents
Introduction, James Harris Formative Influences 1. Chekist Mentalite and the Origins of the Great Terror, Iain Lauchlan 2. Terror from Lenin to Stalin, James Harris Stalin and the Party 3. Stalin as Architect of the Terror, Arfon Rees 4. The Rise and Fall of a Party First Secretary: Vainov of Iaroslavl', J. Arch Getty Practices of State Violence 5. Technologies and Practices of Soviet State Violence, David Hoffmann 6. Mass Repression, Modernity and the Social Engineering Argument, David Shearer Ideology 7. Terrors of Left and Right: 1937 in Comparative Perspective, David Priestland 8. Ideological Zig-Zag: Official Explanations for the Great Terror, 1936-1938, David Brandenberger Police, Justice and Terror 9. Mass Operations and Soviet Statecraft under Lenin and Stalin, Paul Hagenloh 10. Police, Justice and Terror before, during and after the Mass Purges of 1937-38, Gabor T. Rittersporn Precipitants 11. Fear, Loathing, Conspiracy: The Kirov Murder as Impetus for Terror, Matthew Lenoe 12. Pre-election Fever: The Origins of the 1937 Mass Operations, J. Arch Getty Victims and Perpetrators 13. Small Motors of Terror: The Role of Factory Newspapers, Wendy Goldman 14. Scapegoating One's Comrades in the USSR, 1934-1937, William Chase Statistics 15. The Great Terror in Historical Perspective: The Records of the Statistical Department of the Investigative Organs of OGPU/NKVD, Stephen G. Wheatcroft 16. The Great Terror in Leningrad: Evidence from the Leningradskii martirolog, Melanie Ilic