Joseph Stalin

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Joseph Stalin
General secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
In office
3 April 1922 – 16 October 1952
Preceded by Vyacheslav Molotov
(as Responsible Secretary)
Succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev
(office reestablished)
Chairman of the Council of Ministers
In office
6 May 1941 – 5 March 1953
First Deputies Nikolai Voznesensky
Vyacheslav Molotov
Preceded by Vyacheslav Molotov
Succeeded by Georgy Malenkov
People's Commissar for Defense of the Soviet Union
In office
19 July 1941 – 25 February 1946
Premier Himself
Preceded by Semyon Timoshenko
Succeeded by Nikolai Bulganin
after vacancy
Personal details
Born 18 December 1878(1878-12-18)
Gori, Tiflis Governorate, Russian Empire
Died 5 March 1953(1953-03-05) (aged 74)
Kuntsevo Dacha, Kuntsevo, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Resting place Kremlin Wall Necropolis, Moscow (from 31 October 1961)
Nationality Georgian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Ekaterina Svanidze (1906–1907)
Nadezhda Alliluyeva (1919–1932)

Joseph Stalin (or Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin; 18 December 1878  – 5 March 1953) was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death. He was a totalitarian ruler, and stayed in power by removing anyone he thought might be a threat to him. His ideas and policies turned the Soviet Union into a powerful, modern nation, the largest on Earth. It also led to the deaths of millions of people.[1] His form of government was later called Stalinism. Stalin invaded Poland on 18 September 1939. In the subsequent World War II, Stalin stayed neutral but signed a deal of peace with Germany's leader Adolf Hitler. He then fought a bloody war after Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The end of the war saw Stalin gain control of all Eastern Europe including a part of Germany. There, a series of loyal Marxist-Leninist single-party states were set up, extending his power and determining the Soviet Union's position as a superpower.

Stalin replaced Vladimir Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union.

Stalin's name[change | change source]

Stalin was born as Ioseb Besarionis dze Jugashvili, or Iosif Dzhugashvili. He adopted the name "Stalin" later.

  • In Russian: Ио́сиф Виссарио́нович Ста́лин - Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin; born Джугашвили - Dzhugashvili.
  • In Georgian: იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი - Ioseb Jughashvili
  • Loudspeaker.png Joseph Stalin (info • help)

Early life[change | change source]

Ioseb Vissarionovich Jugashvili was born in a small one room house in Gori, Georgia (country). His father made and fixed shoes.[1] His father was often drunk and used to hit his wife and his son until his death in a fight in 1890. Joseph had smallpox when he was young. This left his face scarred. Later, photographs were often changed to hide the scars.[2] His left arm was also shorter because of an accident. He was educated at the Gori church school. Stalin studied to be a priest at a seminary (school for priests) in Tbilisi.[3] He was an active student reading many books, especially books that were not allowed by the seminary. This included books by Karl Marx. He joined a Marxist group in 1898, the Mesame Dasi, or Group Three.[2]

Revolutionary[change | change source]

He left school in 1899 and got a job at the Tbilisi Physical Institute.[2] He joined groups that were trying to start a revolution to remove the Tsar. They wanted a different type of government. The police raided his house in 1901 while hunting for people who opposed the government. Stalin escaped but went into hiding so the police could not find him. He organized anti-government activities such as May Day marches and protests. He became a Bolshevik. He supported a violent revolution, and did not support the Mensheviks. The secret police caught him in April 1902 and exiled him without trial to Siberia.[1] He lived in the village of Novaya Uda.[4]

He soon escaped from Siberia. This led to many later claims that he was a police spy. The arrest of another Bolshevik, Stephan Shaumyan, a rival of Stalin, increased these beliefs.[2] At the end of 1905, he went to a meeting in Finland and met Vladimir Ilich Lenin. Lenin was not what Stalin had expected.[2] The government arrested and exiled Stalin several times in the next ten years. This increased his power in the Bolshevik party and he was elected to the Central Committee of the party in 1912.[5] He was promoted to a position at St.Petersburg.

Secretary[change | change source]

Stalin was a member of the Bolshevik Party, but did not do much in the Russian Revolution of 1917.[1] He was writing and editing Pravda, the party newspaper.[6] He had a number of organizational jobs in the Communist Party. In 1922 he became General Secretary. He was able to give jobs to people he liked in the Communist Party.[1] These supporters helped him become the leader after Vladimir Lenin died in 1924.

Collectivization[change | change source]

Stalin tried to collectivize farms. Collectivization meant taking the land from owners of all farms and joining it into large farms run by the government. Communist officials then let farmers work the new farms and told them to turn the harvest over to the government. They did not work well.[7] Because they were not paid much money, and whatever they grew went to the state, the workers did not try their best. The best farming worked on very small bits of land given to the peasants to grow what they liked. On these pieces of land, farmers could keep what they grew. In 1938 these parts of land were 4% of Soviet farmland.[7] However, they gave 20% of its produce.[7]

World War II[change | change source]

1941 War propaganda portrait of Stalin.

Stalin cooperated with Hitler before the World War II and finally in 1939 they both made an agreement to conquer Poland and divide it between themselves. This is how World War II broke out.

But later on, in 1941, Hitler turned against Stalin and attacked the Soviet Union, trying to conquer it. After this happened, the USSR began working with the Allies to defeat Germany. In the end, Germany lost, but the USSR had more casualties than any other country during the war.

When the World War II was over, the Soviet army ended up occupying many countries in Europe, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and part of Germany, imposing Marxism-Leninism on these countries.

Stalin continued to rule over the Soviet Union until he died. Stalin also militarized Russia by focusing the country's time and energy towards weapons, vehicles, and the armed forces.

Stalin died on March 5, 1953. It was officially said to be because of a stroke.[1] In 2003, however, a group of Russian and American historians said that they believed Stalin had been poisoned with warfarin, possibly by the men who took over the government after Stalin died.[8] Led by Lavrentiy Beria, these were Nikita Khrushchev and Georgi Malenkov. The three of them began a process called "De-Stalinization", which meant taking apart much of the political system that Stalin made. Stalin was denounced as a tyrant, however, after outsmarting and defeating his rivals, Krushchev established a personal control over the government comparable to Stalin's own, even if he never went as far in murdering millions of people.

Stalin is a very controverisal figure in history. Many historians see him as a ruthless dictator, while others praise him as the Father of the Soviet State.[9] He has been criticized for his role in the Holodomor. A recent poll in Russia (2008) listed him as the third most popular person in Russian history.[10] In 2006, a poll stated that almost half the adults in Russia thought Joseph Stalin was a good person.[11][12]

Other pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Joseph Stalin (1879 - 1953)". Historic Figures. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/stalin_joseph.shtml. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Blundell, Nigel (1996). A Pictorial History of Joseph Stalin. London: Promotional Reprint Company Ltd.. ISBN 1856483266.
  3. "Biography: Joseph Stalin". pbs.org. http://www.pbs.org/redfiles/bios/all_bio_joseph_stalin.htm. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  4. "Joseph Stalin. Biography of the great Russian Communist Leader. 1879-1904". www.stel.ru. http://www.stel.ru/stalin/young_joseph_1879-1904.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  5. "Stalin, Joseph. Biography and photos". www.stel.ru. http://www.stel.ru/stalin/. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  6. "CPGB: Stalin: Slander and Truth". www.marxists.org. http://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sections/britain/periodicals/communist_review/1950/01/x01.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Koontz, Terri; Mark Sidwell, S.M.Bunker. World Studies. Greenville, South Carolina 29614: Bob Jones University Press. ISBN 1-59166-431-4.
  8. "Secret documents reveal Stalin was poisoned". PRAVDA.Ru. 29 December 2005. http://english.pravda.ru/history/29-12-2005/9457-stalin-0/.
  9. "CPGB: Tribute to Stalin". www.marxists.org. http://www.marxists.org/archive/gallacher/1953/04/stalin.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  10. "Dictator Josef Stalin third most popular Russian figure". www.news.com.au. http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24852196-5013016,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  11. "Failing the Stalin Test". foreignaffairs.com. http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/61367/sarah-e-mendelson-and-theodore-p-gerber/failing-the-stalin-test. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  12. Walker, Shaun (14 May 2008). "The Big Question: Why is Stalin still popular in Russia, despite the brutality of his regime?". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-big-question-why-is-stalin-still-popular-in-russia-despite-the-brutality-of-his-regime-827654.html. Retrieved 23 August 2008.
Preceded by
Post created
Previous party leader: Vladimir Lenin
General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party
1922–1953
Succeeded by
Nikita Krushchev
Preceded by
Vyacheslav Molotov
Prime Minister of the Soviet Union
1941–1953
Succeeded by
George Malenkov