- NAME: Joseph Stalin
- OCCUPATION: Dictator
- BIRTH DATE: December 18, 1878
- DEATH DATE: March 05, 1953
- EDUCATION: Church school (Gori, Georgia, Russian Empire), Tiflis Theological Seminary
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Gori, Georgia, Russia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Moscow, Russia
- Originally: Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili
- Full Name: Joseph Stalin
- AKA: Iosif Dzhugashvili
Best Known For
Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union for more than two decades, instituting a reign of terror while modernizing Russia and helping to defeat Nazism.
As dictator of the Soviet Union, Stalin exerted full state control over the Russian people. Citizens were encouraged to accuse and turn-in each other.
As head of the Soviet Union, Stalin mobilized a sleeping nation to war. He utilized the full power of his modernization plan to fight Germany in World War II.
A short biography of Joseph Stalin whose rise to power began during the October Revolution. His forced industrialization of the Soviet Union caused the worst man-made famine in history.
Harry Truman came from modest beginnings and is the only 20th Century President to not have a college degree. Among his accomplishments as President were integrating the military, defeating Nazi Germany, and initiating the Berlin Airlift.
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Born on December 18, 1879, in Gori, Georgia, Joseph Stalin rose to power as General Secretary of the Communist Party, becoming a Soviet dictator upon Vladimir Lenin's death. Stalin forced rapid industrialization and the collectivization of agricultural land, resulting in millions dying from famine while others were sent to camps. His Red Army helped defeat Nazi Germany during WWII.
"History shows that there are no invincible armies."
"I believe in one thing only, the power of human will."
"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."
"In the Soviet army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance."
On December 18, 1879, in the Russian peasant village of Gori, Georgia, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (later known as Joseph Stalin) was born. The son of Besarion Jughashvili, a cobbler, and Ketevan Geladze, a washerwoman, Joseph was a frail child. At age 7, he contracted smallpox, leaving his face scarred and his left arm slightly deformed. The other village children treated him cruelly, instilling in him a sense of inferiority. Because of this, Joseph began a quest for greatness and respect. He also developed a cruel streak for those who crossed him.
Joseph's mother, a devout Russian Orthodox Christian, wanted him to become a priest. In 1888, she managed to enroll him in church school in Gori. Joseph did well in school, and his efforts gained him a scholarship to Tiflis Theological Seminary in 1894. A year later, Joseph came in contact with Messame Dassy, a secret organization that supported Georgian independence from Russia. Some of the members were socialists who introduced him to the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Joseph joined the group in 1898.
Though he excelled in seminary school, Joseph left in 1899. Accounts differ as to the reason; official school records state he was unable to pay the tuition and withdrew. It's also speculated he was asked to leave due to his political views challenging the tsarist regime of Nicholas II. Joseph chose not to return home, but stayed in Tiflis, devoting his time to the revolutionary movement. For a time, he found work as a tutor and later as a clerk at the Tiflis Observatory. In 1901, he joined the Social Democratic Labor Party and worked full-time for the revolutionary movement. In 1902, he was arrested for coordinating a labor strike and exiled to Siberia, the first of his many arrests and exiles in the fledgling years of the Russian Revolution. It was during this time that Joseph adopted the name "Stalin," meaning steel in Russian.
Though never a strong orator like Vladimir Lenin or an intellectual like Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin excelled in the mundane operations of the revolution, calling meetings, publishing leaflets and organizing strikes and demonstrations. After escaping from exile, he was marked by the Okhranka, (the tsar's secret police) as an outlaw and continued his work in hiding, raising money through robberies, kidnappings and extortion. Stalin gained infamy being associated with the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, which resulted in several deaths and 250,000 rubles stolen (approximately $3.4 million in U.S. dollars).
In February 1917, the Russian Revolution began. By March, the tsar had abdicated the throne and was placed under house arrest.
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