Joseph Stalin was the dictator of the Soviet Union for more than two decades. He was one of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history and millions of his own citizens died during his reign. Stalin modernised the Soviet Union and helped to defeat the Nazi’s during World War II.
Joseph Stalin (Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin) was born in Gori, Georgia in 1879. He was awarded a scholarship to study for the priesthood at the Tiflis Theological Seminary in Tblisi in 1894. Having been introduced to the writings of Karl Marx, Stalin left the seminary in 1899. He became involved in revolutionary and criminal activities. Following the Russian Revolution Stalin was appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party. When Lenin died in 1924 Stalin successfully outmanoeuvred other leading members to take control of the Communist Party.
Stalin ruled the Soviet Union from 1929 to 1953. He instituted a reign of terror which caused the death and suffering of tens of millions. During his reign the Soviet Union became an industrial and military superpower. In 1939 Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Nazi Germany. This allowed the two dictators, Hitler and Stalin, to invade Poland in September 1939 and divide it between them. Hitler, however, later broke the agreement. He began Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia, on June 22nd 1941. Stalin aligned the Soviet Union with the Allies to defeat the Nazis.
After the war Stalin was convinced that the Allies were a threat to the Soviet Union. This led him to establish communist regimes in several eastern European countries between 1945 and 1948. His activities in Eastern Europe led to the start of what became known as the Cold War. In 1949 the Soviet Union entered the nuclear age when it successfully exploded its first atomic bomb. In 1950 Stalin assisted the communist North Korean leader Kim il Sung in the invasion of South Korea leading to the Korean War.
In the early 1950’s Stalin’s health began to deteriorate and he became increasingly paranoid. He ordered a new purge of the Communist Party. However he died of a stroke in 1953 at the age of 74, before the purge could be carried out. He had been dictator of the Soviet Union for 24 years.
Joseph Stalin, one of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history, was born in the year 1879 On This Day.