Stalinism promoted the escalation of class conflict, utilizing state violence to forcibly purge society of claimed supporters of the bourgeoisie, regarding them as threats to the pursuit of the communist revolution. This policy resulted in substantial political violence and persecution of such people. "Enemies" included not only bourgeois people, but also working-class people accused of counter-revolutionary sympathies.
Stalinist industrialization was officially designed to accelerate the development towards communism, stressing the need for such rapid industrialization on the grounds that the Soviet Union was previously economically backward in comparison with other countries; and asserting that industry was needed in order to face the challenges posed by internal and external enemies of communism. Rapid industrialization was accompanied by mass collectivization of agriculture and rapid urbanization. Rapid urbanization converted many small villages into industrial cities. To accelerate the development of industrialization, Stalin imported materials, ideas, expertise and workers from Western Europe and the United States and pragmatically set up joint-venture contracts with major American private enterprises, such as the Ford Motor Company, that under state supervision assisted in developing the basis of the industry of the Soviet economy from the late 1920s to the 1930s. After the American private enterprises had completed their tasks, Soviet state enterprises took over.
The term came into prominence during the mid-1930s, when Lazar Kaganovich, a Soviet politician and associate of Stalin, reportedly declared: "Let's replace Long Live Leninism with Long Live Stalinism!". Stalin initially met this usage with hesitancy, dismissing it as excessively praiseful and contributing to a cult of personality.
Stalinism is used to describe the period, during which Stalin was acting leader of the Soviet Union while serving as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party from 1922 to his death in 1953.
Stalinism usually denotes a style of a government and an ideology. While Stalin claimed to be an adherent to the ideas of Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx, hence purported that his policies were merely a style of government, some critics say that many of his policies and beliefs diverged from those of Lenin and Marx.