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Write an essay of 4-5 pages in length that carefully analyzes both your verdict in the particular Stalin trial for which you served as a juror AND your evaluation of Stalin’s guilt or innocence as a more general matter.
Your essay should specifically address the charges brought in the Stalin trial for which you served as juror and look at the evidence provided in that trial. Evaluate the extent to which the verdict was a result of choices made by the prosecution and defense teams in preparing the trial, and the extent to which it was the specific historical circumstances that contributes to the verdict. (That is, do you think Stalin was found guilty or innocent as a result of the specific evidence presented (or not presented) in the trial, or as a more general matter?) After doing so, you should address the issue of Stalin’s culpability in general. Would you advocate for Stalin to be put on trial? (Assume for these purposes that he is still alive.) If so, what specific charges would you bring against Stalin and what would be the evidence in favor of or against his guilt? Do you have all the evidence that you would like to have? What other evidence would be useful, and do you think such evidence would be available? Is there a difference in attributing guilt from the point of view of a historian and in a court of law? In what ways does the use of evidence differ for historians and courts? [NOTE: YOU DO NOT NEED TO ANSWER ALL THESE QUESTIONS. IN FACT, YOU SHOULD NOT TRY TO ANSWER ALL THESE QUESTIONS. PICK THOSE THAT ARE USEFUL IN PREPARING A COHERENT ESSAY.]
Your essay should have a paragraph that introduces very explicitly the question(s) you will try to answer and provides a thesis statement (a one-sentence answer to the essay’s main question). The body of your essay then provides detailed discussion of evidence, including BOTH materials presented during the trial for which you served as a juror AND materials that you have read throughout the course. Be sure to address possible counterarguments to your thesis statement. Do not be afraid to be uncertain. Historians spend entire careers grappling with these kinds of questions and searching for sources to answer them. You are not expected to have THE final, definitive answer based upon what you have read in one semester of an undergraduate course. The key is to understand what you can and cannot answer based on the evidence you have at hand. The conclusion sums up earlier points and gives the significance of the information. You may also make use of any other readings done for this class, lectures, and films. You may use one textbook source to fill in details of historical context where necessary. You MAY NOT use other sources whether published or from the internet without explicit permission from the instructor, unless those materials were used in preparing for the trial.
Re-read your essays for grammar and spelling. Essays with more than four spelling mistakes will be returned without a grade for re-submission. Please type and double-space the essays with margins no greater than 1 inches using 12-point Times New Roman font.
Also please do no use outside sources unless using one of the following films or textbooks.
Eugenia Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind, Mariner Books, 2002, ISBN
Vasily Grossman, A Writer at War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945, Vintage, 2007, ISBN .
Valentin Kataev, Time, Forward!, Northwestern University Press, 1995, ISBN .
Hiroaki Kuromiya, Stalin: Profiles in Power, Longman, 2005, ISBN .
John Scott, Behind the Urals: An American Worker in Russia’s City of Steel, Indiana University Press, 1989, ISBN .
Ivan the Terrible, dir. Sergei Eisenstein, 1944.
Tractor Drivers, dir. Ivan Pyrev, 1939.
The Bright Way, dir. Grigorii Aleksandrov, 1940. (October 23)
Volga Volga, dir. Grigorii Aleksandrov, 1938.
Circus, dir. Grigorii Aleksandrov, 1936.
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