From World History Wiki
What was Joseph Stalin's role in Russian history?
Joseph Stalin is a very notorious person in Russian history. Even though he was not as well known as Hitler, he did the same amount of damage, if not more than he did. Stalin was often underestimated, he soon proved everyone wrong when he showed how he used his power. Not only did he help the start of the Cold War and Korean War, he killed an outrageous number of innocent people in labor and death camps.
Early Life: "The Man of Steel", Joseph Stalin the great revolutionary was born on December 21, 1879 to Catherine and Vissarion Djugashvili. His father was a cobbler by professor and wanted Joseph to take up his profssion. Joseph grew up in a poor family that lived in a cheap home. They live din the town of Gori in the Caucasus, an imperial Russian colony. At the age of seven Joseph developed small pox which left him with marks on his face. He suffered a childhood full with ridicule and criticism. At the age of 15, Stalin became a revolutionary. He quoted "I joined revolutionary movement. At the age of 15, when i established connection with certain underground groups of Russian Marxists then living in Transcaucasia. There groups exerted a great influence on me and instilled in me a taste for illegal Marxian literature."
After leaving the Seminary in 1899, he joined the Social Democrats, a Russian Marxist political party, and became a professional revolutionary.This is when Joseph became interested in the city's active revolutionary circles. The revolutionary activity, put him at risk for 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. During this time Joseph met Vladimir Lenin. Although Lenin found Stalin's boldness offensive at times, he valued his loyalty, and appointed him after the Revolution to various low-priority leadership positions in the new Soviet government. Joseph worked in Tiflis, and then in the Black Sea port of Batumi, organizing worker protests, which led to his arrest in 1902. Exiled to Siberia, he soon escaped, setting a pattern for the next ten years: from 1902 to 1913 he would be arrested and exiled six times, escaping almost every time. (Siberian exile, in Tsarist Russia, was very easy to escape from.) During this period, the Social Democrats split into two sides, the Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Lenin, and the Mensheviks. Stalin joined the more dangerous Bolsheviks, and by the time World War I came around, in 1914, he had attended a number of Party Congresses and became forced by Lenin, who appointed him to the Bolshevik Central Committee. It was at this time that he received the name "Stalin," meaning "steel one."
After the war, the Bolsheviks renamed themselves the Communist Party, and declared Russia the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Stalin was elected General Secretary of the Party in 1922, and although he quickly began to increase his personal power, no one realized how dangerous he was at this time. As he neared a 1924 death, Lenin began to become cautious of his former sidekick, and wrote a Testament warning against Stalin's influence. But the other members of the Politburo, Lenin's circle of advisers, ignored the Testament and allowed Stalin to remain in a position of power. At this point, Stalin began his rise to power by destroying his rival Trotsky, expelling him from the party in 1927 and taking him out of the Soviet Union in 1929. Meanwhile, he played the Politburo's factions off one another, first allying with Nikolai Bukharin and his "Rightists" to destroy the "Leftists," and then, when his position was secure, turning on Bukharin and destroying his power. By 1930, he stood alone on top of the Party and the Soviet Union.
Once in power, Stalin had a drive to industrialize and modernize the Soviet Union, with a Five-Year Plan (1927-32) based on Marxist principles conquering government control of the economy. Relating to his program was the gathering of agriculture, in which the government would redistribute the land by taking over the land of the "kulaks", the wealthiest peasants. But the kulaks were only a piece of Marxist propaganda (there was no real difference between these "wealthiest" peasants and all other peasants), and disaster began--the government persecuted and killed the peasantry, famine swept the country, and as about ten million may have died. But Stalin's grip on power was not effected, safe in his home, where his wife Nadezhda committed suicide in 1932.
Meanwhile, World War II was fast approaching. As Hitler rose to power in Germany, Stalin first thought about forming a defensive alliance with Britain and France against the Nazis. But he wanted to avoid war at all costs, and in 1939 he signed the Nazi- Soviet Pact, which pledged that the two dictatorships would not attack one another, and granted Stalin permission to take over the Baltic States and eastern Poland, and prosecute a war in Finland. But in June of 1941 Germany invaded the Soviet Union breaking the rules of their pact. At first, the Red Army suffered horrible defeats, but they recovered, and after crushing the Nazis at Stalingrad in 1942-43, they were on their way to winning the war.
As victory came closer, Stalin seemed determined to make the Soviet Union dominant in Europe. Even during the war, he made inflexible demands of his new allies, Prime Minister Winston Churchill from Britain and President Franklin Roosevelt from the United States. After Germany fell, he used Red Army troops to install Communist governments in Eastern Europe and further his country's interests around the world. Meanwhile, he launched a new wave of repression in the Soviet Union. By 1949, Soviet scientists had exploded an atomic bomb, giving them nuclear parity with the United States. The Cold War had begun.
Stalin remained dangerous. He gave Kim Il Sung of North Korea the go-ahead to start the Korean War in 1950, and launched a new series of persecutions at home, this time against the Jews. He sent millions of people lives to misery in forced labor camps. Stalin used methods that would have appalled Lenin. The Georgian had no trace of human sentiment. Starting with Kirov's assassination (in 1934), the Soviet Union went under a bloodbath, starting of the Revolution killing its own sons. Stalin, said Deutscher, offered to the people a regimin made of terror and illusions. Although, this lasted for many years (1936-1939). It was the time terrible purges, of that . Terrible series of trials started. The main source of all these trials was Trotsky. He continued to lead the struggle against Stalin, showing his methods and telling his collusion with Hitler. During this time of distress and killings almost 20 million were murdered in the camps that were created. Stalin was planning on another wave of mass arrests and executions, and possibly a purge of his associates in the Party, But he never got the chance to go through with his thought due to his death on March 5, 1953.
Stalin was the one to rise in the Soviet Union. Once he gained his power, he did not let a second of it go to waste. With his determined mindset nothing was going to stop him from going through with his vision. Even though he used his power for negative reasons he marked his territory in Russian history as "The Man of Steel". Meaning he was very stubborn and what he says goes. Not only did he help in the start of wars but he took many lives. If it were not for his sudden death many more innocent people would have lost there lives to his horrible ways.
This man was a very dangerous and determined person. After going through agony throughout his youth his aggression was released once he became part of the Soviet Union. If Hitler was thought of the worse mass murderer of this time, that is incorrect. Stalin somehow fell into the shadow of Hitler, but he defiantly made alot more damage than he did.
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