Joseph Stalin

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Joseph Stalin dominated the soviet scene to a degree unequaled in the United States by Truman or even Roosevelt. Stalin was born in the Russian empire’s southern province of Georgia in 1879. He began studying for the priesthood but was thrown out of seminary for revolutionary activity and some believe because of laziness. After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution he climbed to prominence in the new ruling communist party thanks to his administrative skills and adroit political maneuvering and building up a following of supporters. Following Lenin’s death in 1924, Stalin made himself the dominant figure in the party. The concentration of power at the top made it easy for Stalin to fully consolidate his control by 1929 and to make the party0state serve, as an extension of his will and vision for almost a quarter-century. Stalin brought to his era of unchallenged control a variety of striking personality traits. Stalin was neither intellectually cultivated nor well traveled. He was domineering leader who insisted on making final decision on a wide range of issues. Comrades either turned into servile courtiers full of praise for the “Genius Leader” or fell victim to his mistrust. Paranoia drove him to fix blame for errors that h he regarded as serious whether in family matters or national affairs. (Hunt, 2003)

Starting in the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin launched a series of five-year plans intended to transform the Soviet Union from a peasant society into an industrial superpower. His development plan was centered on government control of the economy and included the forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture, in which the government took control of farms. Millions of farmers refused to cooperate with Stalin's orders and were shot or exiled as punishment. The forced collectivization also led to widespread famine across the Soviet Union that killed millions. Stalin ruled by terror and with a totalitarian grip in order to eliminate anyone who might oppose him. He expanded...
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