Joseph Stalin

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“The man who turned the Soviet Union from a backward country into a world superpower at unimaginable human cost (Joseph Stalin).” “Stalin was born into a dysfunctional family in a poor village in Georgia (Joseph Stalin).” Permanently scarred from a childhood bout with smallpox and having a mildly deformed arm, Stalin always felt unfairly treated by life, and thus developed a strong, romanticized desire for greatness and respect, combined with a shrewd streak of calculating cold-heartedness towards those who had maligned him. “He always felt a sense of inferiority before educated intellectuals, and particularly distrusted them (Joseph Stalin).”

Sent by his mother to the seminary in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), the capital of Georgia, to study to become a priest, the young Stalin never completed his education, and was instead soon completely drawn into the city's active revolutionary circles. “Never a fiery intellectual polemicist or orator like Lenin or Trotsky, Stalin specialized in the humdrum nuts and bolts of revolutionary activity. Risking arrest every day by helping organize workers, distributing illegal literature, and robbing trains to support the cause, while Lenin and his bookish friends lived safely abroad and wrote clever articles about the plight of the Russian working class (Lenin & Stalin).” “ Although Lenin found Stalin's boorishness offensive at times, he valued his loyalty, and appointed him after the Revolution to various low-priority leadership positions in the new Soviet government(Lenin & Stalin).”

In 1922, Stalin was appointed to another such post, as General Secretary of the Communist Party's Central Committee. “Stalin understood that "cadres are everything": if you control the personnel, you control the organization. He shrewdly used his new position to consolidate power in exactly this way--by controlling all appointments, setting

agendas, and moving around Party staff in such a way that eventually everyone who counted for anything owed their position to him(Stalin Biography).” By the time the Party's intellectual core realized what had happened, it was too late--Stalin had his people in place. While Lenin, the only person with the moral authority to challenge him, was on his deathbed and incapable of speech after a series of strokes, and besides, Stalin even controlled who had access to the leader. The General Secretary of the ...

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.... “This ambitious plan brought hardship and met resistance as he purged the kulaks (wealthy peasant farmers) (Stalin: The Man and His Era).” This was followed in 1932 by the second, equally ambitious Five-Year Plan. In 1936, Stalin developed a new Soviet constitution, which was seen as a democratic document. “However, the following elections were marred by purge trials from 1934 to 1938 in which Stalin systematically eliminated his opposition(Stalin: The Man and His Era).” Stalin further hurt his international image when he signed a nonaggression pact with Adolf Hitler in 1939. The Nazi leader soon broke this agreement and invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

“In Allied negotiations after the war, Stalin succeeded in obtaining control of half of Europe, and the following year the Iron Curtain descended over the Soviet Union and its "satellites" in Eastern Europe as Stalin consolidated his gains (Joseph Stalin).” This began the cold war, which continued throughout Stalin's rule. He died in Moscow in 1953 and was entombed in Red Square alongside Lenin. “However, his character was later attacked by Nikita Khrushchev and his body removed from the Lenin mausoleum (Stalin Biography)”.

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