Joseph Stalin (Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) born December 18, 1879 was one of the most dominant dictators in history. Stalin was the ruler of the Soviet Union for over a quarter of a century and his regime of terror caused the death of millions. Stalin was a key part, however, in the overthrown of Nazism.
Stalin rose through the ranks of the Communist Party to become general secretary in 1922. He had control over party selections which layered the Communist party with his own people. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin decreed himself the political heir and outsmarted his rivals. By the end of the 1920, Stalin was effectively the dictator of the Soviet Union.
His programs of rapid industrialism and collectivization of agriculture cost millions of Russian citizens their lives. During the Great Terror of the 1930s Stalin eliminated the Communist party of those he perceived were "enemies". This act banished millions to the prison system and slave labor camps. Stalin effectively depleted his Red Army and was not prepared for Hitler's attack in 1941. Stalin persevered by conscripting prisoners and citizens into the army and he eventually defeated Hitler. The cost to his country in time, money, and people was enormous. He did not care.
Stalin began the nuclear age for the Soviets, but his paranoia cost him dearly. He died of a stroke on March 5, 1953. He married Nadezhda Alliluyeva in 1919-1932 and Ekaterina Svanidze from 1906-1907. Stalin left behind four children.
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