In All about story number 115, on sale now, find out how Stalin secured his grip as dictator of the Soviet Union with a series of purges that locked up or murdered his greatest political enemies. How did the Great Terror begin? Who were his agents? Who were the victims? We seek to answer all of these questions and more.
Peter Whitewood, author ofThe Red Army and the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Soviet Army(University Press of Kansas, 2015) is your guide to one of the darkest chapters in Russian history, taking you from the murder mystery that started the process to the gulags where many political prisoners are held. found.
Also in All About History 115, learn the story of Kyiv’s killer queen, Saint Olga, and how she got revenge for her husband’s murder. You can also read about the origins of the UFO panic in the 1950s and what history has to teach us about how pandemics start and end.
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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 much more.
Stalin’s purges: in the Great Terror
On December 1, 1934, former Soviet Communist Party member Leonid Nikolaev entered the party headquarters, the Smolny Building, in the city of Leningrad. After going to the third floor, he shot and killed Leningrad party boss Sergei Kirov outside his office.
Kirov was killed instantly, assassinated in the middle of the afternoon. Nikolaev was immediately arrested, and confusion soon abounded in the Soviet press when the Soviet political police, the NKVD, launched a search for other suspected accomplices.
Prior to the shooting, Nikolaev had grown increasingly resentful of the party and blamed it for his unemployment and worsening personal situation. Moreover, he was increasingly convinced that his wife was having an affair with Kirov.
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Nikolaev’s motives aside, the impact of the shooting in the months and years that followed proved sensational and was the main starting point for Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s Great Terror. Before this dramatic day, Nikolaev was by no means an important person in Leningrad. But his actions on December 1 had dire consequences for hundreds of thousands of Soviets living under Stalin’s rule in the late 1930s.
Learn more in All About History 115.
Revenge of Olga of Kyiv
Grand Princess Olga ruled Kyivan Rus as regent to her son Svyatoslav at a time when outsiders were actively seeking control of the rapidly expanding and trade-rich kingdom. She effectively used her armies and her battle acumen to defend the kingdom against the rebellious tribes, the Byzantine Emperor and the nomadic Pechenegs, giving her son a significantly stronger state than she was unexpectedly charged with. decades earlier.
Towards the end of her reign, Olga converted to Christianity, the first member of the Riurikid dynasty to do so, thus encouraging the spread of the religion among the pagan Slavs, Finns and Scandinavians of the kingdom.
For this, Olga was consecrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the first in a long line of holy Riurikid warriors who gave the state and its princes a growing line of pious warmongering role models to follow as they ruled. northern Eurasia for 700 years. It is difficult to overstate the importance of Olga in the history of Eastern Europe.
Learn more about Olga and how she defended her family and her kingdom in All About History 115.
How America Became Obsessed With Flying Saucers
“Keep searching, keep looking at the sky!” Douglas Spencer proclaims during the final moments of the 1951 sci-fi horror film “The Thing From Another World”. Beginning in 1947, this is exactly what America was doing as the nation was gripped by a flying saucer frenzy.
The birth of the UFO phenomenon is one of the most intriguing moments in popular culture of the late 1940s and 1950s. During this period, some of the most infamous UFO sightings of the 20th century occurred , and places like Roswell have become synonymous with visitors from other planets and sinister conspiracies. But as the world entered one of the hottest phases of the Cold War, why was America obsessed with “looking up at the sky”?
As far as historians can tell, the beginning of the flying saucer craze dates back to the events of June 24, 1947 when businessman and amateur aviator Kenneth Arnold witnessed something strange in the airspace above Mineral, Washington.
Read the rest of this fascinating story in All About History 115.