Joseph Stalin:Bllod Thriving Dictator Essay, Research Paper
Imagine yourself in the midst of the end of WWII, out in the streets of Stalingrad where Joseph Stalin will be parading. The masses of people seem to continue in all directions like a vast ocean of supporters for him. As he comes down the street your ears are overwhelmed with the screaming of praise as the people fall to their knees to show their undaunted love and respect for him. You don?t know what to do as you are lost in a sea of everlasting supporters, so you go along with his cause. His large figure and military uniform glisten in the sunlight as he waves to his supporters from the convertible that he is riding in. The name ?Stalin? which means ?man of steel? suddenly takes a new meaning as he portrays his physical strength. You feel a sense of pride and strength for the Russian cause after viewing him.
This was a typical scene at a communist rally during the reign of Joseph Stalin. His goal was to gain supporters by showing them his power through the support of his fellow communists.
Although Stalin had many supporters, and people perceived him to be very powerful and trustworthy, he was also a highly disliked man. He had many enemies and made many bad decisions regarding leadership throughout his life. These bad leadership decisions can be directly attributed to earlier parts of his life that were influential in his upbringing, and the formation of his values as a human being.
On a cold day in Gori, Georgia in the middle of December, 1879 a young Russian boy was born. Iosif (Joseph) Vissarionovich Ozhugashvili, as he was called when he was born, had that special twinkle in his eyes. He was the kind of child that you knew was not only intelligent, but was going to become very successful or famous using his intelligence. The only surviving son of two Georgian peasants, he was forced to learn Russian because it was the language that they used at the Gori church school, which he attended from 1888-1894. Despite the lack of necessary family support that he received at home, which made him a very bitter person at heart, he emerged as the best student in the entire school in Gori. His lack of parent support and abundance of school work, caused him to become dangerously independent. He had the tendency to take matters into his own hands. He felt that he could handle anything. In his school years, this was true but it served to be very detrimental in later parts of his life. Because of his intelligence and success at the school, he earned a full scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary. (?Stalin, Joseph? New)
During his early years at the seminary he proved to be interested in the curriculum, and was doing very well in terms of his marks. Then, near the end of his schooling there he read forbidden literature. This literature included Karl Marx?s ?Das Kapital? and he soon developed the ideals and values of Russian Marxism. Before he graduated, he quit school to become a full time revolutionary, and began his career in the Social-Democratic party as a propagandist. He was arrested in 1902 and spent over a year in prison before he was exiled to Siberia. He escaped from exile in 1904, and was sent back into exile the next year. This became a fairly routine practice. Between the years of 1902 and 1913 he was arrested eight times; he was exiled seven times; and he escaped six times. This constant battering by the police led him to resent certain aspects of society, and he had an uncontrollable thirst for revenge. This is one of the reasons that he wanted to become powerful, so that one day he could turn on the people, and seek revenge. (?Stalin, Joseph? Famous)
Stalin became noticed by Lenin through his tact, and successful bank robberies and his successful ploys in obtaining funds for the party by using whatever means were necessary. Stalin?s first glimpse of power came when Lenin ?took Stalin under his wing? and appointed him to the Bolshevik Central Committee. The next year he edited the party newspaper, Pravda (Truth), and was encouraged by Lenin to write a major work about his views on socialism and communism. Stalin published his first major work, Marxism and the Nationality Question, in 1914. (?Stalin, Joseph? New)
Stalin then became the full time editor of the Pravda. With this new position he was able to control appointments, set agendas, and he could transfer thousands of officials from post to post whenever he wished. He began to hate intellectuals and developed a thirst for power. (?Joseph Stalin? Marxist)
After Lenin?s death, Stalin joined in a troika (threesome) with Grigory Zinovyev, and Mr. Kamenev to lead the country. Stalin used these temporary allies to eliminate the power of his rival, Trotsky. Once the threat of Trotsky taking power was eliminated, Stalin turned on the members of his troika. He then took total power, and had all of the previous members exiled in order to eliminate any possible opposition for the throne. By his 50th birthday, Stalin had successfully established himself as the heir to Lenin?s power, and he had become the sole leader of Russia. (?Joseph Stalin? Marxist)
After receiving power, in 1928, Stalin established a strict policy of farm collectivization beginning with the ordering of the expropriation of the lands of the middle-class farmers. He was able to eliminate the farmers, and take control of enough farmland in order to fund his massive industrialization drive. He exported the majority of the grain from the seized lands and refused to listen to the helpless cries of his failing peasants. There was a famine in 1932, but he demanded that the pace of industrialization be kept up. There was unrest within his own political party, but he continued with persistent efforts to industrialize. Although he lost many supporters and killed many peasants, his efforts towards industrialization through the funds of seized farm land proved to work. Russia underwent a period of rapid industrial growth by means of three 5-year plans lasting from 1928 until WWII interrupted the last one in 1941. (?Stalin, Joseph? New)
After industrialization, due to his desire to seek revenge, he felt it necessary to turn on all of those who had doubted him during the periods of famine and poverty. This originated from his desire to seek revenge upon those people who had wronged him. Stalin had Kirov murdered, and then used that murder to arrest almost all of the party members involved as saboteurs. From 1936 to 1938 he staged the Moscow Show Trials, at which important old Bolshevik army officials were convicted of absurd, monstrous crimes. By 1937 Stalin?s blood purge extended throughout every party in the country, and by 1939 a total of 98 central committee members elected in 1934 had been shot, and 1,108 delegates to the congress were arrested. Stalin, like many other leaders, had a secret police. This police force extended his reign of terror to all aspects of the Russian society. The deaths numbered well into the millions, including those who died in Concentration camps. By the time the brutality eased in 1938, Stalin had successfully eliminated all opposition and was the sole leader of Russia. He had no other organizations associated with him, and he had to answer to no-one. This was because of his upbringing, where he was taught to become independent, and he thought that he could single handily deal with everything that went on concerning Russia. Although he was able to control himself and his responsibilities very well when he was a child in school, he became a power hungry leader that did not know how to seek the help of others. (?Stalin, Joseph? Famous)
When WWII came around, he did not want the help of anyone. He took complete control of the army by himself, and had absolutely no hesitations about sparing Russian lives in battle. He failed to seek the advise of others, or even to listen to other peoples ideas concerning the military strategies being used. He was able to negotiate a nonaggression treaty with Nazi Germany, but it proved to be short-lived when German forces invaded Russia in June, 1941. (Olfinoski 23)
Stalin became a good general because of his ruthless willingness to expend soldiers like he did his people during the Great Purges. The USSR?s industrial plants were turning out vast quantities of sophisticated weaponry. This was more than Britain and the U.S., and Stalin also commanded his army directly on a day-to-day basis, impressing everyone with his knowledge of detail. Once again, he used his skillful ways to be a tactful negotiator at the major Allied conferences. (?Joseph Stalin? Marxist)
At this time Stalin was at the height of his power. The sense of pride in Russia was very large, and people were pleased with the way that Stalin was ruling. By millions he was regarded as the country?s savior. But, between this time and his death, he made many bad leadership decisions, which resulted in a decline of his supporters. He killed many returning Russian prisoners of war, and placed new duties on peasants which lowered many of them to the status of serf. He kept troops in eastern European countries and tried to spread communism. This created the Cold War atmosphere, which ultimately led to the Russian downfall. The Russian downfall and his attempt to eliminate all other opposing forms of government can be attributed to his desire to seek revenge, but also to his nature of wanting make things better than they already were. He couldn?t deal with the fact that he was a well liked leader in Russia, but rather he wanted to spread his ideas even further. (Meyer 174-75)
As if to say that he had given up, Stalin suddenly died on the beautiful spring day of March 5, 1953.
Although Stalin is depicted as a large, ?man of steel? he was actually a fairly small person. His personality is one of the most interesting parts of his life, but it still remains very controversial and can be interpreted in many different ways. He was a crude and cruel man. His cunning, distrust, and vindictiveness were very serious. He was cautious and slow moving in his political life. His style of speaking and writing was blunt, to the point, and lacked the flowing quality of that of a poet. He was a very intelligent person though, and he had the ability to ?think on his feet? very well. In debates he was a ?force to be reckoned with?. (Meyer 175)
Stalin led a very interesting life. He was a ruthless person from the beginning because his parents showed little compassion towards him. He learned to be very independent during his early years, and this caused him to take matters upon himself. He did not develop any group skills, and felt responsible for everything that went wrong. Through his frequent arrests as a younger man he felt like a victim of society and became very vindictive. He had a strong desire to get back at anyone and everyone that had ever wronged him. Taking all of these matters into account, it easier to see why Stalin was such a ruthless and cruel man. From the bowels of society, out of a life of neglect, hatred, and unfairness, emerged one of the most feared, ruthless, and malevolent dictators that our world has ever seen.