in the All about history issue 115, out now, learn how Stalin tightened his grip as dictator of the Soviet Union with a series of purges that imprisoned or murdered his greatest political enemies. How did the Great Terror begin? Who were his agents? Who were the victims? We want to answer all these questions and more.
Peter Whitewood, author of “The Red Army and the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Soviet Military” (University Press of Kansas, 2015) is your guide through one of the darkest chapters in the history of Russia, taking you from the mysterious murder that started the trial to the gulags where many political prisoners ended up.
Also discover in All About History 115 the story of the murderer queen of Kyiv, Saint Olga, and how she took revenge for the murder of her husband. You can also read about the origins of the UFO panic in the 1950s and what history has to teach us about how pandemics begin and how they end.
You can also learn all about the history of coffee, how women were erased from the Bible, the life of Miguel Hidalgo, the “Father of Mexico,” and more.
Stalin’s Purges: Inside the Great Terror
On December 1, 1934 former member of Soviet The Leonid Nikolaev Communist Party entered the party headquarters, the Smolny Building, in the city of Leningrad. After getting to the third floor, he shot Leningrad party leader Sergei Kirov in front of his office.
Kirov was killed instantly, murdered in the middle of the afternoon. Nikolaev was immediately arrested, and confusion quickly reigned in the Soviet press when the Soviet political police, the NKVD, launched a search for other suspected accomplices.
Before the shooting, Nikolaev was increasingly annoyed with the party, blaming it for his unemployment and the worsening of his personal circumstances. In addition, he became more and more convinced that his wife was having an affair with Kirov.
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Nikolaev’s motives aside, the ramifications of the shooting proved sensational in the months and years that followed, and was the main starting point for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s Great Terror. Before that dramatic day, Nikolaev was by no means a significant person in Leningrad. But his actions on December 1 had far-reaching consequences for hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens living under the Stalin regime in the late 1930s.
Read more in All About History 115.
Olga of Kiev’s revenge
Grand Princess Olga ruled Kyivan Rus as regent for her son Sviatoslav at a time when outsiders were actively trying to control the fast-growing, mercantile kingdom. She effectively used her armies and battle-maiden cunning to defend the realm against rebellious tribes that were invading Byzantine Kaiser and the nomadic Pechenegs, leaving her son with a condition vastly more severe than the one she had been unexpectedly charged with decades earlier.
Towards the end of her reign, Olga became the first member of the Riurikid dynasty to convert to Christianity, furthering the spread of the religion among the empire’s pagan Slavs, Finns and Scandinavians.
For this, Olga was canonized in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the first in a long line of Riurikid warrior saints, giving the state and its princes a growing line of devout warmongering role models to follow as they ruled northern Eurasia for 700 years. It is difficult to overstate Olga’s importance in the history of Eastern Europe.
Learn more about Olga and how she defended her family and kingdom All About History 115.
How America became possessed by flying saucers
“Keep watching, keep watching the skies!” proclaims Douglas Spencer in the closing moments of the 1951 sci-fi horror film The Thing From Another World. From 1947 America was doing just that, as the nation descended into a flying saucer frenzy was recorded.
The birth of the UFO phenomenon is one of the most fascinating moments in popular culture of the late 1940’s and 50’s. During this time, some of the most infamous UFO sightings of the 20th century occurred, and places like Roswell became synonymous with off-planet visitors and sinister conspiracies. But as the world entered one of the hottest times of the year Cold Warwhy was America obsessed with “watching the skies”?
As far as historians have been able to determine, the beginning of the flying saucer craze can be traced back to events on June 24, 1947, when businessman and amateur aviator Kenneth Arnold observed something strange in the airspace over Mineral, Washington.
Read the rest of this fascinating story in All about history 115.
How Stalin used The Terror to secure his iron grip on power Source link How Stalin used The Terror to secure his iron grip on power