Joseph Stalin was responsible for heinous acts such as the killing and exiling of millions of farmers who opposed his measures to seize and institutionalize agriculture in the Soviet union. During World War II, Stalin also invaded and subjugated several countries in northern and eastern Europe.
Joseph Stalin was born into poverty, but as a teen, he earned a scholarship in order to study for priesthood in the Georgian Orthodox Church. It was in the city of Tblisi that Stalin became interested in and was exposed to the works of social philosopher Karl Marx.
Eventually, Stalin was expelled from the seminary institution for missing exams, and he became involved with a contentious faction of the Marxist Social Democratic movement. In order to aid in funding in this political organization, Stalin was responsible for a series of bank robberies for which he was arrested, imprisoned and exiled to Siberia.
Stalin's rise to power began in 1912 when the Bolshevik party, in which he had risen in ranks, came to power in Russia. Stalin's rise steadily increased as the Soviet Union was founded under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin seized political control of the Communist Party.
Under Stalin's dictatorship, which began in the late 1920s, his plan was to centralize control of the entire Soviet economy. Anyone who opposed Stalin's political measures was killed, imprisoned or exiled.
In World War II, a pact with Germany was made with the Soviet Union under Stalin's rule, but Germany broke this pact and invaded Soviet lands. The Soviets almost lost control of their territory, but finally turned back the German army.
In his later years, Stalin's reign of totalitarian dictatorship continued with more imprisonments, exiles and killings of those who politically opposed his regime. He died from a stroke in early 1953, at age 74.Learn More
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