- 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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For a time, the revolutionaries supported a provisional government, believing a smooth transition of power was possible. In April 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin denounced the provisional government, arguing that the people should rise up and take control by seizing land from the rich and factories from the industrialists. By October, the revolution was complete and the Bolsheviks were in control.
The fledgling Soviet government went through a violent period after the revolution as various individuals vied for position and control. In 1922, Stalin was appointed to the newly created office of general secretary of the Communist Party. Though not a significant post at the time, it gave Stalin control over all party member appointments, which allowed him to build his base. He made shrewd appointments and consolidated his power so that eventually nearly all members of the central command owed their position to him. By the time anyone realized what he had done, it was too late. Even Lenin, who was gravely ill, was helpless to regain control from Stalin.
After Lenin's death, in 1924, Stalin set out to destroy the old party leadership and take total control. At first, he had people removed from power through bureaucratic shuffling and denunciations. Many were exiled abroad to Europe and the Americas, including presumed Lenin successor Leon Trotsky. However, further paranoia set in and Stalin soon conducted a vast reign of terror, having people arrested in the night and put before spectacular show trials. Potential rivals were accused of aligning with capitalist nations, convicted of being "enemies of the people" and summarily executed. The purges eventually extended beyond the party elite to local officials suspected of counterrevolutionary activities.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Stalin reversed the Bolshevik agrarian policy by seizing land given earlier to the peasants and organizing collective farms. This essentially reduced the peasants back to serfs, as they had been during the monarchy. Stalin believed that collectivism would accelerate food production, but the peasants resented losing their land and working for the state. Millions were killed in forced labor or starved during the ensuing famine. Stalin also set in motion rapid industrialization that initially achieved huge successes, but over time cost millions of lives and vast damage to the environment. Any resistance was met with swift and lethal response; millions of people were exiled to the labor camps of the Gulag or were executed.
As war clouds rose over Europe in 1939, Stalin made a seemingly brilliant move, signing a nonaggression pact with Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. Stalin was convinced of Hitler's integrity and ignored warnings from his military commanders that Germany was mobilizing armies on its eastern front. When the Nazi blitzkrieg struck in June 1941, the Soviet Army was completely unprepared and immediately suffered massive losses. Stalin was so distraught at Hitler's treachery that he hid in his office for several days.
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