Stalinism promoted the escalation of class conflict, utilizing state violence to forcibly purge society of alleged supporters of the bourgeoisie, whom Stalinist doctrine regarded 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 socialist society needed industry in order to face the challenges posed by internal and external enemies of communism. Rapid industrialization was accompanied by mass collectivization of agriculture and by 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 from the United States and pragmatically set up joint-venture contracts with major American private enterprises, such as the Ford Motor Company, which 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.
While some historians view Stalinism as a reflection of the ideologies of Leninism and Marxism, some argue that it stands separate from the socialist ideals it stemmed from. After a political struggle that culminated in the defeat of the Bukharinists, Stalinism was free to shape policy without opposition, ushering forth an era of harsh authoritarianism that soldiered toward rapid industrialization regardless of the cost.