The Great Purge was a period of systematic political repression and targeted elimination of suspect individuals that was carried out in the Soviet Union between 1934 and 1940. It took the form of warrantless arrests and lavish show trials at which the accused confessed to outrageous crimes.Continue Reading
The Soviet dictatorship began under Vladimir Lenin as a "temporary" measure, and was later inherited by Joseph Stalin. By the early 1930s, with peace and relative economic security, many in the Communist Party had begun to question the continuing need for such dictatorship. To cement his power, Stalin implemented a series of purges, beginning in 1934, that entailed the creation of a mythical army of "saboteurs" and "wreckers" who had infiltrated the party and had to be expelled, arrested and shot. The mechanisms of the Great Purge were extremely effective in breaking both the left-leaning faction of Trotsky supporters and the right-leaning supporters of Bukharin.
The terror began with the 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov, a notable critic of Stalin's regime. Stalin was heavily implicated in the murder, but he used it as a pretext to initiate a round of arrests and show trials against his opponents. The pace of the repression accelerated for years until, by 1939, all of the admirals in the navy and half of the army's general officers had been imprisoned or shot, and whole nationalities, notably the Chechens, had been deported. By that time, the leader of the secret police, Yezhov, had himself been purged.Learn more about Modern History
Albert Einstein was targeted as a potential spy for the Soviet Union by conservative critics of his liberal political beliefs. Einstein was a supporter of socialist policies and civil rights for people of all races, which was apparently enough to raise suspicion. Other factors, including Einstein's strong opposition to war, his German heritage and his public criticism of Senator Joseph McCarthy, caused U.S. government officials such as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to regard Einstein with strong suspicion.Full Answer >
The stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent financial panic that followed marked the beginning of the Great Depression. The stock market crash caused consumers to panic and banks to fail.Full Answer >
After being granted autonomy in most of its affairs by the 1931 Statute of Westminster, Canada achieved complete independence from Great Britain through the 1982 Canada Act. The passage of the 1982 act by the Parliament of the United Kingdom granted Canada full authority to amend its own constitution without first requesting an approval from the British Parliament and effectively made Canada a sovereign state and independent nation.Full Answer >
Alexander the Great's conquests led to a new era known as the Hellenistic Age, because the Greek culture was spread to the conquered lands. Without Alexander the Great to conquer those lands, the Greek culture may have remained within Greece.Full Answer >