top-rated free essay

Joseph Stalin Biography

By nellysm Sep 13, 2012 652 Words
Sanmiguel 2
Joseph Stalin served as the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. Stalin assumed the leading role in Soviet politics after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924, and gradually marginalized his opponents until he had become the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union. Stalin was son of a cobbler, he studied at a seminary but was expelled for revolutionary activity in 1899. He joined an underground revolutionary group and sided with the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party in 1903. A disciple of Vladimir Lenin, he served in minor party posts and was appointed to the first Bolshevik Central Committee in 1912. He remained active behind the scenes and in exile until the Russian Revolution of 1917 brought the Bolsheviks to power. Having adopted the name Stalin from the Russian war stal, meaning steel, he served as commissar for nationalities and for state control in the Bolshevik government from 1917 to 1923. He was a member of the Politburo, and in 1922 he became secretary-general of the party's Central Committee. After Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin overcame his rivals, including Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinovyev, Lev Kamenev, Nikolay Bukharin, and Aleksey Rykov, and took control of Soviet politics. In 1928 he inaugurated the Five-Year Plans that radically altered Soviet economic and social structures and resulted in the deaths of many millions. In the 1930s he contrived to eliminate threats to his power through the purge trials and through widespread secret executions and persecution. In World War II he signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in 1939, attacked Finland kown as the Russo-Finnish War, and annexed parts of eastern Europe to strengthen his western frontiers. Stalin's absolute insistence upon Soviet domination of Eastern Europe following the war's end was not entirely without justification; after all, Germany had invaded Russia Sanmiguel 3

via Eastern Europe during both World Wars, at a cost of tens of millions of Soviet lives. In Stalin's view, only Soviet control of the nations of Eastern Europe, including East Germany, could ensure that there would not be another repeat. Americans, however, viewed Stalin's power grab in Eastern Europe as proof of Soviet aspirations for world domination, and began to take measures to contain Soviet influence. The Cold War was on. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941, Stalin took control of military operations. He allied Russia with Britain and the U.S. at the Tehrn, Yalta, and Potsdam conferences, he demonstrated his negotiating skill. After the war he consolidated Soviet power in eastern Europe and built up the Soviet Union as a world military power. As Stalin neared death, his paranoia intensified. There is evidence that during his last days he was planning another great purge, this one to be directed against Molotov, Beria, Malenkov, and others. Meanwhile, his anti-Semitic campaign continued throughout the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc, and as 1952 drew to a close, he hatched a plot to eliminate all Jews from western Russia. This was to begin with the "discovery" of the so-called "Doctors' Plot" his (Jewish) doctors would be accused of collaborating with a foreign power and plotting to kill him. From there, Stalin planned to have leading Jewish Communists "request" resettlement in the east, a request that would of course be granted. The Doctors' Plot was "detected" in January of 1953, and a wave of anti-Semitic hysteria swept the country. But by now Stalin's health was failing rapidly. As late as February 28, he was able to dine with a group that included Beria, Malenkov, and Nikita Krushchev, who would ultimately emerge as his successor. But the next day he suffered a stroke. He wavered between life and death, before finally passing from this life, on March 5, 1953. It was, for Russia and the world, the end of an era.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Rise of Stalin

    ...statement in relation to the rise of power of either Joseph Stalin or Benito Mussolini? Joseph Stalin’s rise to power in relation to the statement “People can be swept along by events, whilst others use events to their advantage” is that of the latter when taking a look at how he was able to rise to the position of dictator of the Sov...

    Read More
  • Why Did Stalin Win?

    ...Why did Stalin win? Throughout the summer of 1923 it was apparent that Lenin’s reign was coming to an end and this overshadowed the political struggle however in the Politburo and central committee battle lines were forming. They all thought that they were deserving candidates with so thinking that they were untouchable and were destined to l...

    Read More
  • Stalin and Trotsky

    ...Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as the leader of the USSR in 1929? Beginning of 1924 Vladimir Ilvich Lenin died at the age of 53 and the major struggle for power began in the Soviet Union. A triumvirate led by Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin. By 1928 Stalin had all the power, by ruling as an often really brutal dictator until he died ...

    Read More
  • Why Did Stalin Come to Power and Not Trotsky

    ...History Essay: Why Stalin Not Trotsky Stalin’s race to become the all mighty ruler fully started after Lenin died of a stroke on the 21st of January 1924. With Lenin gone, Stalin started to eliminate the other members of the Communist Party: Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov, Tomsky and Bukharin. He very cleverly switched between the left wi...

    Read More
  • Stalin and Purges

    ...A: Plan of the Investigation How were the Purges of 1934-1938 successful in helping Stalin maintain his autocratic power? The aim of this investigation is to assess how the purges of 1934-38 helped Stalin preserve his power in the Soviet Union. In order to evaluate this, the investigation assesses Stalin’s role in relation to the purges,...

    Read More
  • “Stalin Won Because Trotsky Lacked a Power Base”: How Far Does This Statement Explain Why Stalin, Rather Than Trotsky, Succeeded Lenin as Leader of the Soviet State?

    ...“Stalin won because Trotsky lacked a power base”: How far does this statement explain why Stalin, rather than Trotsky, succeeded Lenin as leader of the Soviet State? A power base is the source of a person’s organisation power or influence. The statement “Stalin won because Trotsky lacked a power base” does not explain the actual rea...

    Read More
  • “to What Extent Was the Rise to Power of Stalin Due to Personal Appeal and Ability”?

    ...“To what extent was the rise to power of Stalin due to personal appeal and ability”? Lenin died in January 1924 and Stalin emerged to power in 1929. Stalin has been described as a “grey blur” that rose to power. It’s quite hard to pin point the main reasons how Stalin got to power. Some historians may say that Stalin was lucky that he...

    Read More
  • The Rise of Joseph Stalin

    ...The rise of Joseph Stalin. Joseph Stalin was the authoritarian leader of the Soviet Union for 31 years between 1922 and his death in 1953. During this time, he revolutionised the Russian economy with a combination of rapid industrialisation and centralised economic collectivism, reforms that in some instances caused massive devastation in rur...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.