Joseph Stalin

December 18th 1878 - March 5th 1953

Background

Joseph Stalin was born December 18th 1878, he was a delicate child growing up. at the age of 7 Stalin got the brutal disease of small pox in which he survived. However the disease left his face scared and ultimately influenced how he wanted to be viewed when he eventually became a ruthless dictator. Stalin always wanted to be seen as a figure of Power in his later years.He wanted to be seen as a someone who symbolized power, Joseph Stalin eventually changed his first name to "Stalin" which means "Steel" in Russian. As Stalin got older he became introduced to Messame Dassy. which was a secret organization that supported independence in Russia. many of the member of this group where socialists and introduced Stalin to Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin and their socialist ideologies.This played a great role on how Stalin adopted the ideas of Marxism as well as socialistic ideas once he rose to power.Despite his high grades, Stalin was ultimately asked to resign from going to the school he was at due to his political views. this forced Stalin's hand to peruse his political goals in becoming a leader of Russia.

Political Ideology

Joseph Stalin had a goal of modernizing Russia's industry. this goal was to be brought forth with a 5 year pan in which Stalin would introduce collectivization in agriculture. this meant amalgamating farms and putting them under total control of the state. ultimately collectivizing agriculture did lead to more efficient farming and a increase in production. however in the short term the act of collectivization led to a conflict with the kulaks who where small farming peasants, who ran small personally owned farms.Stalin eventually wiped out the Kulaks and took their land in name of the state. this conflict was victim of Stalin's great purges that ranged from 1934-1939. during this time Stalin eliminated anyone who opposed industrialization and this ultimately meant the kulaks who opposed collectivization. along with the conflict of the Kulaks Stalin's 5 year plan also led to a disastrous fall in output which led to many people to the brink of famine. Alongside the 5 year plan Stalin introduced a type of secret police that struck fear into the people of Russia, this gave them a sense of being watched at all times. Stalin was strongly against religion. During his reign of power he had religious leaders imprisoned and many churches where closed down. as well he had a strong hold over the people of Russia, Stalin made sure that no one who opposed him in politics as well. Stalin made sure any rival political opponents had no chance against him. One of his few political rivals Kirov, was murdered. However most likely Kirov was assassinated by one of Stalin's people. He used this opportunity to Arrest hundreds if not thousands of his opposition. Joseph Stalin also used art of show trials on his political opponents were they would plead guilty to ridiculous acts of treason. These actions would only further cement Stalin as The sole leader of Russia.
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Russia Before Stalin

Before Joseph Stalin rose to power Vladimir Lenin was in command of Russia with his political party of the Bolsheviks. Lenin had overthrown the provisional government during the October revolution and established the USSR. This would lay the foundation later for Stalin who took over as the leader of the Bolsheviks and consequently the USSR. Before Stalin, Russia underwent many changes that set up Stalin to be the predecessor to Lenin. unlike Stalin, Lenin's main focus for Russia was to instill communism at all costs. during this period Lenin would initiate a civil war against the Whites, and the greens. This war was caused because Lenin's Red army wanted to ensue communism into Russia while the Whites and the greens opposed communist ideology. Lenin however eventually defeated them.this illustrates how Lenin was so narrowly focused on instilling communism in Russia and effects how Stalin approached Russia's situation once he rose to power. during Stalin's reign the focus becomes more so on his 5 year plan and revitalizing Russia's dire economy rather than ensuing communism. however admittedly Stalin does force communism on Russia with an "iron fist". Furthermore during Lenin's reign, the Bolsheviks signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk which opted Russia out of WW1. however this did not come without a cost, as in result Russia lost a large sum of land to Germany. the most notable loss was Ukraine in which 80% of Russia's grain supply was produced.Many people in Russia where upset at this outcome and would have rather stayed in the war. This is an monumental event that changes Stalin's time as leader of Russia. In result because Russia had lost land to Germany and their grain production had been severely lowered, Russia's economy was on the decline. this shows numerous reason's why Stalin had to ensue his 5 year plan as well as collectivizing Russia. alongside the reason that the people of Russia where displeased with losing land and getting out of the war, could have lead to the reasons Stalin tried to take back Russian territory in WW2. Aside from signing the treaty Lenin also impacted how Russia would be handed to Stalin. During Lenin's reign he instituted the New economic policy among Russia. This was where farmers would be taxed by the state and be allowed to distribute their product. however Stalin and many of his fellow Bolsheviks at the time opposed this policy even though Lenin assured them it was temporary. ultimately this lead to Stalin discarding the New economic policy once he rose to power and instituting the iconic 5 year plan. All in all many of Russia's events that took place before Stalin rose to power, heavily influenced his decisions in the future.

Rise to Power

Stalin conducted activities for the Bolsheviks for 12 years before the Russian revolution which occurred in 1917. through a gritty fight of spreading propaganda and raising money through criminal activities. Stalin was able to get into Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin's "inner circle". eventually Lenin and Stalin became very close, Stalin even played a substantial role in the Red army's invasion of Georgia. through connections Stalin was able to climb the ladder and achieve the role of general secretary in 1922. as a result Lenin became judgmental of Stalin along with many of the other Bolshevik members. however on May 25th, 1922 Lenin suffered a stroke due to surgery that he received for a failed assassination. after which Stalin and his Bolshevik counter part Trotsky were concerned about who would be the successor to Lenin. Trotsky was Stalin's primary competition for leader of the Bolshevik party. Trotsky was one of Lenin's right hand men who had a very close personal relationship with Lenin. While on the other hand Stalin had a more political Relationship with Lenin. However Stalin soon found himself in a quarry with Lenin. Stalin had Swore at Lenin's wife due to anger of her not following procedure correctly. Soon after Lenin wrote a note to his secretary that Stalin should be relieved of Duty from the Bolshevik party and ultimately not be the Successor to him. fortunately for Stalin he intercepted the note due to the secretary notifying him of it and Stalin was able to act on it before it could hurt him. Lenin shortly after had a heart attack and became completely incapacitated. Stalin then proceeded to Make arrangements and behind the scene deals with fellow Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev. the arrangement was to conceal the true wishes of Lenin wanting Stalin to be removed. in consequence of this action Stalin stepped up as Lenin's successor. However Trotsky was aware of the trickery that was behold however he kept his voice unheard in respect for Lenin and his untimely health problems. this was a immensely important event in Stalin's rise to power because by the time Trotsky did want to act on Stalin's wrong doings it was too late and Stalin had cemented himself as the Bolshevik leader. Ultimately the events that lead up to Stalin's rise to power illustrate a man who will not be stopped no matter the circumstances. and who is willing to do anything to accomplish his agenda. Stalin hid the truth and made underground deals to achieve his goal of being leader of the Bolsheviks and ultimately the USSR.

Stalin and Totalitarianism

Joseph Stalin was the face of Russia during his reign. Stalin ruled with a iron fist and let no one stand in his way. if they did stand is his way they would meet severe punishment. He represented a totalitarian regime that instilled absolute terror into its people. Stalin would have secret police following and spying on his own people and if he or his spies where even skeptical they would torture and ultimately execute the suspect. Stalin also sent many people to harsh labor camps where they were treated with horrifying conditions and worked for nothing. this illustrates how Stalin implemented fear into the USSR and how he used this fear to make the people of Russia stay inline. alongside Stalin's use of fear and terror he used propaganda to create a image of him that was inaccurate. During Stalin's reign of terror there were many posters, signs and slogans. Stalin would portray himself to be a good man and a family man towards his people. many of his posters show himself with a happy family or even holding a baby. furthermore once Stalin became the leader of the Bolsheviks he quickly gutted his own party. members of the party were arrested for many reasons such as political crimes that they did not do. they would end up being executed or sentenced to hard labor at one of Stalin's ruthless work camps or even exiled. this demonstrates Stalin having absolute power in being able to eliminate anyone who had a voice that could tarnish his name or act against him was dealt with. Stalin suppressed anyone who supported traditional social institutions or organizations. Stalin's main goal for the USSR was to industrialize and no one was going to stand in his way.
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