“Joseph Stalin”

Abby Black, Staff Writer

On December 18, 1879, Losif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, later known as Joseph Stalin, was born.  He was born in the Russian village of Gori, Georgia.  Stalin eventually rose to power as the General Secretary of the Communist Party and later became the Soviet dictator when Vladimir Lenin died.  However, Stalin ruled by terror and killed many during his reign.

Stalin began to rise to power in 1912 when Lenin, then leader of Russia, was in exile in Switzerland.  While in exile, Lenin appointed Stalin to serve on the first Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party.  Three years later, that same party seized power in Russia.  The Soviet Union was then formed with Lenin as its leader.  Stalin continued to rise up the power chain and became the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.  This enabled him to appoint his allies to government jobs and gain more political power.  When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin outsmarted his rivals and won control over the Communist Party.  He then became the dictator of the Soviet Union.

Stalin ruled his people by terror and had a tight grip on anyone who opposed him.  He kept eyes on everyone and convinced citizens to spy on each other.  Stalin arranged the Great Purge to rid the Communist Party of those who he considered a threat.  The Great Purge was a time of extreme persecution and oppression in the Soviet Union during the 1930s.

During World War II, Stalin and Hitler signed a nonaggression pact.  In 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the USSR.  Stalin had ignored warnings, and his army was not prepared for war.  He set everything on fire that might benefit the enemy and fled.  Later, his Red Army was able to defeat the Germans and forced them out of Russia.  He then helped the Allies to defeat the Nazis.

There are many things that the world will never know about Stalin.  One very interesting thing is that he was responsible for the deaths of over twenty million people.  One thing he said was that one death is a tragedy but one million is a statistic.  During WWII, he was responsible for the death of twenty million soldiers and civilians.  He also imprisoned, tortured, exiled, starved, and forced people into labor.  Another story is that he was a very small man.  He was only 5’4.  This earned him the nickname “Little Squirt” from President Truman.  He was actually super self-conscious because he had a shorter left arm and scars from smallpox.

Stalin died on March 5, 1953 from a stroke.  Stalin did more to pursue a worldwide communist empire of satellite states than anyone else.  His ideas of human rights, capitalism, and freedom resulted in the Truman Doctrine.  The Truman Doctrine is the principle that the US should give support to countries or people threatened by Soviet forces or Communist insurrection.  This was seen by Communists as an open declaration of the Cold War.