Josef Stalin Essay, Research Paper
Josef Stalin was born in 1879, under the name Iosif
Vissarionich Dzhugashvili. He was born in Gori, which is now the Republic
of Georgia, and his parents were both Georgian peasants who did not know
how to speak Russian.
However, Stalin learned the Russian language at his school, a
Georgian church school, which he attended from 1888 to 1894. Here, he
earned a full scholarship to the Tbilisi Theological Seminary, where he
started reading and learning about the principles of Marxism. Stalin was
later expelled from the seminary for distributing Marxist propaganda, and
thus became a full-time revolutionary.
In 1899, Stalin began working as a propagandist for the Social-
Democratic party (A Marxist revolutionary group). He was caught and
arrested by the police in 1902, and spent more than a year in prison before
being exiled to Siberia. Stalin escaped in 1904, and married his first wife,
Yekaterina Svanidze. She died six years later, in 1910. After her death,
Stalin was subsequently arrested eight times, six in which he escaped. He
was last arrested in 1913, in which he spent four years in exile and was
released in 1917. He married for the second time in 1919, to Nadezhda
Alliluyeva, who later committed suicide in 1932.
Between 1905 and 1917, Stalin followed and supported the
Bolshevik party, and in 1907 he helped organize a bank holdup in Tbilisi to
expropriate funds for the Bolshevik cause.
He was selected by Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Central
Committee in 1912 and the following year he briefly edited the new party
newspaper, the Pravda (Truth). At Lenin’s request he wrote his first major
work, Marxism and the Nationality Question. However, before this article
appeared in 1914, Stalin was sent to Siberia.
Following the Russian Revolution of February 1917, Stalin
returned to Petrograd (now known as Saint Petersburg), where he resumed
the editorship of Pravda.
In 1922 Stalin became secretary general. After Lenin’s death,
he joined in a triumvirate with Grigory Zinovyev and Kamenev to lead the
country. With these temporary allies, Stalin acted against his arch-rival
Trotsky, having him and his supporters expelled from the Party and exiled.
At the age of 50 in 1929, Stalin became leader of the USSR and that year,
he expanded what had been a moderate collectivization program into a
nationwide offensive against the peasantry. Millions of peasant Russians
were displaced, and many others died in the massive collectivization. By
the mid ’30s he launched a major campaign of political terror and
deportations to labor camps which touched virtually every family.
The USSR suffered greatly in World War II and Stalin
personally directed the war against Nazi Germany, despite the fact that in
1938 he signed the Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler. This bought the
Soviet Union two years respite from involvement in World War II. But after
the German invasion (1941), the USSR became a member of the Grand
Alliance, and Stalin, as the war general, assumed the title of generalissimo.
He turned against the Germans, notably at the Battle of Stalingrad, and
participated in the Allies’ meetings at Tehran and Yalta in 1943, and
Potsdam during 1945. After the war he extended Communist domination
over most of the countries liberated by the Soviet armies.
In his last years, increasingly paranoid and physically weak, Stalin
was apparently planning another purge. In January of 1953, he ordered the
arrest of many doctors from Moscow, mostly Jews, charging them with
medical assassinations, but Stalin’s sudden death in 1953 forestalled
perhaps another bloodbath.