Joseph Stalin Biography
Joseph Stalin was the first general secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party. He became the de facto leader of the erstwhile USSR after the death of Vladimir Lenin in the year 1924 and by getting rid of all the people that he viewed as his challengers.
Stalin was born in Georgia on 18 December 1879 when the Russian Empire existed in full bloom. His father was a cobbler, while his mother was a homemaker. Stalin initially joined a seminary with the intentions of becoming a priest. However, when he got involved in revolutionary activities, the seminary expelled him. This occurred in 1899. Thereafter, Stalin joined a revolutionary group.
It was while Stalin was a member of the revolutionary group that he came under the influence of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels’ ideas and views. In the year 1901, Stalin was made into a member of the Tbilisi chapter of the Russian Social Democratic Workers party. However, the next year, he was arrested for subversive activities and sent off to the gulags in Siberia. Stalin stayed in the gulags for a year, but managed to escape in the year 1904. After his escape, he once again joined the revolutionary party. Unfortunately the Marxist movement in the country had difference of opinion and the party divided into two. When this happened, Stalin lent his support to the Bolsheviks.
Initially, Stalin was given small posts in the party and came only to the forefront after the Russian revolution took place in the year 1917. The Bolsheviks took over power and he was made into the commissar for nationalities and state control. Later, he was elevated to a full-fledged member of the politburo and finally in the year 1922, he was made into the secretary general of the party. Stalin rose in stature in the party because of his close association with Lenin.
So, when Lenin passed away in 1924, Stalin brushed aside his rivals and assumed power. In the year 1928, Stalin introduced his 5-year plans to develop the nation. This changed the economic and social scene in the country. As the 1930s came along, Stalin slowly started getting rid of potential rivals by having mock trials and executing them. This ensured that he was the de facto leader without any challengers.
During the start of the Second World War, he signed a treaty with Germany so that both countries would not attack one another. However, the Russians launched a war against neighboring Finland and also began adding parts of Eastern Europe to USSR. When Germany saw this annexation, it launched an attack on Russia in 1941. To overcome the German attack, Stalin forged alliances with the US and the UK.
After the Second World War came to an end, Stalin was only interested in enhancing the geographical strength of his country and making USSR into a military power. He annexed entire Eastern Europe and set up Russian bases there to keep the country in check. During this period he continued to oppress any form of dissent and was planning to purge more detractors when he suffered from a brain hemorrhage and died on 5th March 1953.
After Stalin passed away, the USSR began the de-stalinization process. While Stalin helped USSR to become a major world power, it was at the cost of its people. The country’s military, social structure, health care and industries were in shambles. The people were repressed and not given basic care that the Bolsheviks had fought for during the Russian revolution. The next leaders had a task of rebuilding the country from scratch. In the year 1956, Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin and his policies openly as a part of the de-stalinization process.
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