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History 24N: Stalin's Terror: Causes, Crimes, Consequences (Autumn 2021)

By: Simon Ertz


poster_rusu_02156 - Stalin standing in the background

(Poster RU/SU 02156)

Welcome! Students in History 24N are welcome to explore our collections featured in your class visit!

Select Archival Collections and Library Items for this Course

Archival Collections:

Dolot (Miron) papers - Correspondence, writings, notes, instructional materials, and printed matter relating to Ukrainian history and literature, the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, and the Ukrainian émigré community.

Archives of the Soviet communist party and Soviet state microfilm collection: State Archives of the Russian Federation (Gosudarstvennyĭ arkhiv Rossiĭskoĭ Federat͡sii - GARF) - Relates to political conditions in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991. Filmed from finding aids and holdings dating from 1903 to 1991 of the Gosudarstvennyĭ arkhiv Rossiĭskoĭ Federat͡sii.

Archives of the Soviet communist party and Soviet state microfilm collection: Russian State Archives of Social and Political History (Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyi arkhiv sotsialno-politicheskoi istorii - RGASPI) - Relates to political conditions in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991. Filmed from finding aids and holdings dating from 1903 to 1991 of the Rossiiskii gosudarstvennyĭ arkhiv sot͡sial'no-politicheskoi istorii.

Lakoba (N. A. (Nestor Apollonovich)) papers - Nestor Apollonovich Lakoba (1893-1936) papers document life and activities of the politician, revolutionary, party and government official, and victim of the purges.

Sergei L'vovich Sedov letters to Genrietta Mikhailovna Rubenshtein - Relates to conditions in the Soviet prison camp in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where S. L. Sedov was confined. Letters written to his wife. Includes typewritten translations. Also available on microfilm.

John Peters Grothe Collection - Soviet propaganda posters and other printed matter, relating to Soviet propaganda.

Philp (William R.) collection - The William Russell Philp collection consists of intelligence reports, interrogation reports, maps, and photographs relating to Adolf Hitler, the German military structure, national socialism, various aspects of German society during and immediately after World War II, various military campaigns of World War II (particularly preparation for the invasion of Normandy), denazification, and post-war reconstruction in Germany.

  • Item 5a. Two photograph albums of Joachim von Ribbentrop's trip to Moscow 1939 August: The photographs were taken by Gisela Pönzgen-Döhm and are of high quality. Includes shots of the signing of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact, as well as shots of Stalin, Molotov, Russian military personnel, Count von der Schulenburg (German ambassador), and Gustaf Hilger. Two negatives depicting the 1939 signing of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact by von Ribbentrop, Stalin, and Molotov can be found in Box 1.

Archives of the Soviet communist party and Soviet state microfilm collection: Russian State Archive of Contemporary History - Relates to political conditions in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1991. Microfilm copies of documents from the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History in Moscow, Russia. [Note that these materials are in Russian.]

Fond 89, Communist Party of the Soviet Union on Trial records, 1919-1992:

  • Opis 18, Reel 1.994, File 6 - Report to J. Stalin, V. Molotov, and L. Beria from V. Merkulov, People's Commissar of State Security, summing up the results of arrests and deportation of "anti-Soviet, criminal, and socially dangerous elements" from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, 1941 May.

  • Opis 18, Reel 1.994, File 7 - Report to J. Stalin, Molotov, and L. Beria from V. Merkulov, People's Commissar of State Security, summing up the results of arrests and deportation of "anti-Soviet, criminal, and socially dangerous elements" from western oblasts of Belorussia, 1941 June

  • Opis 55, Reel 1.1008, File 15 - Copy of an extract from the minutes of the TsK KPSS Secretariat directing that the Party Control Committee investigate materials about flagrant violation of Soviet law by General N. Yermolaev; memorandum to the TsK KPSS from V. Zolotukhin, Deputy Chief of the Department of Administrative Organs, re illegal actions of N. Yermolaev during his work as Chief of the Ministry of State Security (MGB) Directorate in 1951-1953, resulting in the arrest and expulsion from Leningrad of hundreds of innocent people, 1955 March-April

  • Opis 69, Reel 1.1010, File 3 - Instruction of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs on the procedure for resettling Polish "osadniks" [Poles from the former territory of Poland that was annexed by the Soviet Union as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact] directing that the "osadniks" be forced to leave the Ukraine and Belorussia the same date (to be appointed by NKVD) without their property and be allowed to take with them only their personal belongings, and containing instructions to the related organizations re transportation, food supplies, and health care to the "osadniks," indicating the oblasts and krais where the "osadniks" are to perform timber cutting and the procedure for their settlement, 1939 December

  • Opis 69, Reel 1.1010, File 7 - Resolution of the TsK VKP(b) and the USSR Council of People's Commissars authorizing the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs to hand over to the Ministry of Nonferrous Metallurgy 5,000 families of special resettlers from the Ukraine and Belorussia to perform mining and timber-cutting labor, 1940 January

  • Opis 73, Reel 1.1011, File 46 - Extract from the minutes of the TsK VKP(b) Politburo allowing a troĭka consisting of S. Kirov, First Secretary of the VKP(b) Committee of Leningradskaia oblast, Medved, Chairmanof the Leningrad GPU, and Kadatskii, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Soviets of Leningradskaia oblast, to investigate cases related to insurrection and counterrevolution in Leningradskaia oblast, and to administer "the upper measure of social protection" [death penalty], 1933 April

  • Opis 73, Reel 1.1011, File 48 -  Extract from the minutes of the TsK VKP(b) Politburo directing that the death penalty be administered to all active participants in insurgent organizations of kulaks who were exiled to Western Siberia, and that a troĭka consisting of Mironov, Chairman of the Western Siberian NKVD, Barkov, Prosecutor for Western Siberia, and R. Eikhe, Secretary of the VKP(b) Committee of Zapadno-Sibirskii (Western Siberian) krai, be established to investigate the cases of participants in insurgent organizations, 1937 June

  • Opis 73, Reel 1.1011, File 66 - Extract from the minutes of the TsK VKP(b) Politburo approving Shchuchkin(?) (illegible) as member of the troĭka for repression of kulaks and criminals in the Crimea and approving Raikhman (instead of Shumskii) as member of the troĭka for repression of kulaks and criminals in Kharkovskaia oblast; brief handwritten note; register of the number of distributed ciphered documents, with a brief handwritten note, 1937 August

  • Opis 73, Reel 1.1011, File 110 - Extract from the minutes of the TsK VKP(b) Politburo appointing people's commissars of internal affairs of a number of union and autonomous republics as chairmen of troĭkas for repression of kulaks and other criminal elements in their republics, with a register of the number of distributed ciphered documents, 1937 November

  • Opis 73, Reel 1.1011, File 136 - Extract from the minutes of the TsK VKP(b) Politburo allowing the VKP(b) Committee of Leningradskaia oblast to have the special troĭka investigate 1,500 additional cases of kulaks, SRs (members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party), and habitual criminals in Leningradskaia oblast to be repressed "with the first category of punishment" (death penalty), 1938 Apri

  • Opis 73, Reel 1.1011, File 140 - Extract from the minutes of the TsK VKP(b) Politburo approving a request of the VKP(b) Committee of Irkutskaia oblast to increase by 4,000 the number of counterrevolutionary elements and kulaks, "to be repressed in Irkutskaia oblast with the first category of punishment" (death penalty), 1938 April

Leon Trotsky collection, 1917-1995 - Writings and correspondence of the Russian revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky, including drafts of articles and books, correspondence with John G. Wright and other leaders of the Socialist Workers Party of the United States, and typed copies of correspondence with V. I. Lenin

Okhrana records, 1883-1917 - Intelligence reports from agents of the Russian Tsarist secret police ("Okhrana") in the Paris office and the field, dispatches, circulars, headquarters studies, correspondence of revolutionaries, and photographs, relating to activities of Russian revolutionists abroad.

Sergei L'vovich Sedov letters to Genrietta Mikhailovna Rubenshtein - Relates to conditions in the Soviet prison camp in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where S. L. Sedov was confined. Letters written to his wife. Includes typewritten translations. Also available on microfilm.

Thomas Sgovio papers - Memoir relating to imprisonment in Soviet forced labor camps; photocopies of Soviet arrest records and summaries of judicial proceedings, and of United States Federal Bureau of Investigation reports on interviews after repatriation; and 44 original paintings and drawings depicting living and working conditions in Soviet forced labor camps.

Ukrainian pictorial collection - Photographs of various scenes from Ukraine, and especially of demonstrations for Ukrainian independence, and of Ukrainian government officials and governing bodies in session.

Soviet Union Collections Guide - the Hoover Archives hold a number of significant collections relating to Soviet dissidents and defectors, such as Andrei Siniavskii, Aleksandr Ginzburg, and Yuri Yarim-Agaev. The NTS Samizdat collection of illegal underground publications is one of the most extensive collection of this kind in the world.


Hoover Library items shown during class visit on October 20, 2021:

Mid-1920s: major political and socioeconomic issues visualized: Iudovskii, V.G. Atlas diagramm po ėkonomicheskim i politicheskim voprosam dli͡a shkol politgramoty i samoobrazova nii͡a (1925) – illustrated album featuring diagrams depicting data on recent historical, economic and political issues for use in political literacy schools and for self-study.

1930s Famine: Laubenheimer, Alfred. Die Sowjetunion am Abgrund! (1933) [The Soviet Union on the Precipice!] – report on famine in Soviet Union/Ukraine by German engineer and eyewitness, includes photographs with captions in German, English, French.

Industrialization: Pi͡atiletniĭ plan narodno-khozi͡aĭstvennogo stroitelʹstva SSSR (1929) – the first Five-Year Plan in print.

Industrialization: USSR in Construction (1930-1940, 1949) – Large-format illustrated monthly with large-scale photographs, many by noted Soviet photographers, each number devoted to one specific theme/project related to Soviet industrialization and economic development. Multiple boxes. Under a separate SearchWorks entry, you can also order some issues in French. This Russian-language publication, available at Green Library, contains reproductions of a (small) part of the visuals from different numbers.

Terror/Fight Against “Enemies”: N.V. Krylenko. Ekonomicheskai͡a kontr-revoli͡ut͡sii͡a v Donbasse : itogi shakhtinskogo dela : staty i dokumenti (1928) [Economic Counterrevolution in the Donbas: The Results of the Shakhty Affair - Articles and Documents]– narrative of the 1928 “Shakhty” trial of engineers in the Donbass area, the first major trial of alleged “wreckers” (vrediteli), published by Soviet People's Commissariat of Justice. Editor: state prosecutor Nikolai Krylenko. Includes excerpts of trial documents and some photographs.

Terror/Fight Against “Enemies”: Gleb Krzhizhanovskii. Vreditelʹstvo kak ono est’ (1930) -- English translation: Anti-Soviet Sabotage Exposed – Gleb Krzhizhanovskii, head of Soviet Planning Commission and "father of first Five-Year Plan," writes about “wreckers” in industry, their misdeeds, and what motivates them. Quotations from confessions woven into the narrative. 500,000 copies printed of Russian version.

Terror/Fight Against “Enemies”: V. Molotov. Uroki vreditelʹstva, diversii i shpionazha i͡apono-nemet͡sko-trot͡skistskikh agentov (1937) -- English translation: Lessons of the Wrecking, Diversionist and Espionage Activities of the Japanese-German-Trotskyite Agents – Molotov’s report to the Party’s Central Committee on the sabotage and terror in which the inveterate enemies of the Soviet Union engage. Quotations from testimonies and "confessions" are woven into master-narrative on the inevitable, predictable escalation of international class struggle. Russian brochure printed in one million copies (excerpts from this report were also published in multiple Soviet newspapers and elsewhere)

Forced Labor (GULAG): International Entente Against the Third International. Monthly Documentation. (1931). Special Issue February 1931: “Forced Labour in Soviet Russia” – based on information from various contemporary press reports and firsthand testimonies available at the time. Publication by international anticommunist organization based in Switzerland with chapters in many European countries.

Forced Labor (GULAG): Maksim Gorkii et al. Belomorsko-baltĭiskiĭ kanal imeni Stalina; istorii͡a stroitel'stva (1934) [The White Sea-Baltic Canal in the name of Stalin: the History of its Construction] – original edition of the (in)famous, collectively authored propaganda volume on the superiority of the Soviet system of “corrective labor” on the example of the construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal. Multiple photographs. Also available: English-language edition with, however, partially changed and shortened text and far fewer photographs.

Forced Labor (GULAG): Greife, Hermann. Zwangsarbeit in der Sowjetunion (1936) [Forced Labor in the Soviet Union] – brochure on forced labor in Stalinist camps. Uses pictures from Gorkii et al., Belomorsko-baltiiskii... (cf. volume above), and embeds them in fiercely anti-Bolshevik and anti-Semitic narrative. Appeared in series of anti-Bolshevik publications published by “Institute on the Scholarly Research on the Soviet Union” in Berlin.

Forced Labor (GULAG): American Federation of Labor, Free Trade Union Committee. Slave Labor in the Soviet World (1951?) – includes historical overview, reproductions and partial translations of original documents smuggled out of Soviet Union, map showing the dislocation of camps, and references to contemporary literature and testimonies.

Stalin Cult/Military Propaganda: Voroshilov, Kliment Efremovich. Stalin i Krasnai͡a Armii͡a (1937) [Stalin and the Red Army] – illustrated folio volume, extolling Stalin’s role and leadership in the Russian Civil War. Official author: K. Voroshilov, People’s Commissar of Defense and Civil War veteran.

Military Propaganda: The Red Army and Navy (1939) – English language illustrated folio volume, showing the might of the Red Army as well as the happy, wholesome life in Socialist society in which it is embedded.

(Military) Propaganda: Soviet aviation (1939) – (famous) illustrated folio volume, featuring pictures and artwork by photographer and visual artist Aleksandr Rodchenko, celebrating Soviet aviation and aviators in peaceful and military contexts.

Stalin Cult: Stalin (1949) – no. 12/1949 of the illustrated monthly USSR in Construction (see above). Devoted entirely to Stalin, whose 70th birthday was celebrated in December 1949. This is the German edition. The same issue in English should be available here.

Holmes, Walter M. The Wreckers Exposed in the Trial of the Counter-Revolutionary Industrial Party. Workers' Library, 1931.

Forced Labor (GULAG) [EXTERNAL RESOURCE]: Interactive Online Map of Corrective Labor Camps during Stalinism, created by Russian Gulag Museum (Russian and English language options). Visualizes and maps data on the numbers and mortality of prisoners in “Corrective Labor Camps” from the archival collection r-9414 at the Russian State Archive (GARF), most of which is available on microfilm at the Hoover Archives. Circles are centered on the headquarters of camp complexes and therefore do not show how camp departments were often spread over large territories. Also, data on "Special Camps" (existed from 1947–1953) and “Corrective Labor Colonies” (camps that housed prisoners with terms of less than three years) is not included.

Forced Labor (GULAG) [EXTERNAL RESOURCE]: Virtual Gulag Museum – webpage created by Russian NGO “Memorial” in St. Petersburg 15 years or so ago. English language option available. Not all sections include content, and apparently the page has not been updated in a long time, yet the “Museum Exhibit” section still contains pictures and descriptions of several hundred artifacts recovered from former prison camps.



Poster RU/SU 569: Drawing of two Soviet workers marching hand in hand.

Poster RU/SU 571: Drawing of an irresponsible peasant in the middle of a farm field losing his money to the animals surrounding him and engaging in idleness.

Poster RU/SU 581: Drawing shows tractor in center of poster. Angels and representatives of the old regime flee this glorious sight in terror.

Poster RU/SU 597: Fist labelled "Rot Front" smashing capitalist's head. Includes English translation of Russian text.

Poster RU/SU 602: Poster shows Soviet worker and soldier greeting foreign workers who are trampling representatives of capitalist world including religious figures. Appears to be English version of Soviet propaganda poster.

Poster RU/SU 628: Painting shows "kulak" with gun crossing himself and being blessed by priest as he is about to attack "New Soviet Man."

Poster RU/SU 641: Drawing of a male and female farm worker. Woman is calling out.

Poster RU/SU 1072: enemies of the Five-Year Plan (1929) depicts those categories of citizens who were particularly hard-hit by the Terror: priests, former "capitalists" (i.e. rich and middle class), officers and political opponents (Mensheviks)

Poster RU/SU 1318: Communist Spider - Poster depicts map of famine stricken area. Text urges confiscation of church property for the benefit of the hungry.

Poster RU/SU 1417.16: Red Army propaganda poster attempts to portray Soviet Union in a positive light. Poster consists of 16 photographs of Soviet leaders and scenes of everyday life in the Soviet Union.

Poster RU/SU 1431: Painting shows young peasant woman with book under her arm striding toward kolkhoz in the background. She is being pulled back by miniature figures of drunken kulak and priest.

Poster RU/SU 1434: Poster consists of caricatures illustrating various types of sabotage and dishonesty on the part of "reformed kulaks" working in the kolkhozes.

Poster RU/SU 1618: Drawing of U.S., Soviet, and British flags on a pedestal over a treaty signed in Crimea, 1945, with a pen on a table; below a carricature of Hitler's head being cut off by a bayonet bearing the flags of the U.S., Soviet Union, and Great Britain; text in middle and at bottom.

Poster RU/SU 1622: Drawing of women workers harvesting grain in the field; large sheaves of grain; tractors and threshing machines; group of counter-revolutionaries being crushed by sheaves of grains overhead; text at bottom left.

Poster RU/SU 1708: Drawing of a map of the world with the Soviet Union colored in red and a quotation from Stalin across it; numerous countries have statistical symbols in the form of human figures; statistical information and explanation of symbols at bottom; text at top.

Poster RU/SU 1810: Two drawings: on left a giant hand holding up a typewriter with various representatives of fascism and the West as keys; titles of bourgeois press and skyscraper in background; on right hand with a pen crossing through enemies of the Soviet state in red; titles of Soviet press on red banners.

Poster RU/SU 1823: Photograph of a sculpture of a man and woman holding up a hammer and sickle on a pedastal; wreath with red ribbon drawn encircling the photograph; text in red lettering.

Poster RU/SU 1833: Drawing of a man and woman farm worker standing on a pedestal holding up stalks of grain; red banner with hammer and sickle and star behind them; wreath out of red ribbon and fruits and vegetables encircling man and woman; hammer and sickle superimposed on globe encircled by wreath; text at bottom.

Poster RU/SU 1844: Photographs of: Stalin waving, military demonstration on Red Square in front of Lenin Mausoleum, Red Army soldier on horseback, masses of people with placards and banners marching, airplanes overhead; text at bottom and on three of the red banners.

Poster RU/SU 1850 depicts a counterrevolutionary "wrecker" being hit by lighting in the form of the acronym "GPU" (Soviet secret police). Dated 1930: perfect for the display.

Poster RU/SU 1899: Paintings, drawings and photographs depicting: Stalin with a group of Stakhanovites; female farm worker holding up vegetables; A. Stakhanov with a group of workers; factory workers receiving classroom instruction; metro station; builders of new city before city gates; Stalin with group of leaders.

Poster RU/SU 2082: Photo-like drawing of a woman-teacher and four boys with red scarves around their necks. They are all standing next to a globe, on which USSR stands out in bright red. Looking through the window, they see a town beyond a river.

Poster RU/SU 2151: Poster commemorating the opening of the Moscow-Volga Canal, 1937.

Poster RU/SU 2237: Painting of Stalin at a podium surrounded by young people of various ethnic and national backgrounds.

Poster RU/SU 2288: Drawing of the Soviet Union and, above at the top of the globe, an airplane on the North Pole. Commemmorates the conquest of the North Pole.

Poster RU/SU 2337: Figure carrying hammer and red flag chases "enemies of the people."

Poster RU/SU 2402 (OS): Hand painted picture of a Soviet soldier holding a red banner in his right hand and a rifle in his left; soldier wearing heavy military overcoat and helmet with red star; group of soldiers in background.

Poster RU/SU 2408 (OS): Drawing of a woman, a soldier and a peasant holding Soviet emblems, red flag in the back.

Poster RU/SU 2510 (OS): Hand painted picture of a large red dagger held by a hand piercing a large Nazi swastika insignia; Soviet red star on dagger; A. Hitler, German officers, and bandaged Axis leaders under the insignia. Similar to RU/SU 2512 (OS).