Joseph Stalin Iosif Vissionaryevich Djugashvili
18?? - 1959
Premier of Soviet Union 1921-1959
2nd Most prolific mass-murderer in world
history, Stalin killed over 7 times as many people as Hitler. His predecessor,
Vladimir Illych Ulyanov, also known as Lenin, was killed by Stalin, as
well. A military and political leader during World War 2, Stalin ruined
his country in every way conceivable. He eliminated all political enemies,
including a revolutionary rival named Leonid Trotsky, all high commanding
officers in his army, all foreign ministers that had left the country and
returned, all religious leaders and priests, and an extra 40 random people
The son of a poor Georgian man, Iosif was commonly
abused by his father. He went to school to become a priest in a Seminary,
and whenever he prayed, his mother would beat him, "so that he would become
strict and serious." When attending school, however, he caught the talk
of revolutionaries, and he left the school to fight the Tsarist government.
His many articles and papers gained him access to
the "inner circle," where he met Lenin, Trotsky, and several others. The
revolution overthrew the Tsar, and in 1918, he and his family were shot
in a little house in the mountains. The war was not yet won, however. A
man named Alexander Kerensky had established a largely Republican government.
Kerenskyís major flaw, however, was that he wanted to continue fighting
in the First World War. This ruined his reputation, and in October, 1918
(November for us, the Russian Orthodox calendar is 13 days behind the Julian
calendar), he was forced to flee the country (he did so by dressing as
a woman and going to Finland).
Lenin set up a government he called "Communism,"
based on Karl Marxís original theories of equal living. He made the necessary
negotiations with Germany and ended the war for Russia, which then became
the RSFSR, or the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. In 1921,
however, he caught a form of pneumonia, and Stalin, hoping to quicken the
process, made it so that Lenin never got better.
Once Stalin took control, the countryís name was
officially changed to USSR, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
He made huge forces of brutal police forces, while removing high-ranking
military officers. He began the KGB, or the Commission of Government Security,
which would serve as a terror machine in Russia for the next 35 years.
Although a peace treaty had been signed with Germany
in World War 2, Germany invaded Russia in an operation Hitler dubbed "Operation
Barbarossa." Stalin knocked the army back onto its feet, and Russia gave
a performance not soon remembered. They fought Germany back and further
back still, and it was they who breached Hitlerís bunker, and it was they
who buried it.
However, Stalinís fight was not that easy. He had
to remove at least 40 thousand officers from labor camps to join the army.
Even so, the people did not put up a fight. They cheered when Germanyís
panzers came rolling through. It was then that Germany had them either
executed or sent to concentration camps. To make it a patriotic victory
for Russia, Stalin legalized religion, and churches were restored. He re-instituted
army ranks, and army glory was restored. He opened new information and
ability to the people, and to them, freedom was restored.
The people fought back hard and fast, and when the
war was won, Stalin was in his worst mood ever. Not only had his planned
surprise attack on Germany failed (his army had been set up to invade Germany
just weeks after the initial German betrayal, which he had not been expecting.
The Germans missed his army by miles, and upon the attack, Stalin went
into an "I donít believe it" coma, which ended only before the Germans
attacked Moscow. By then, his armies had died in the cold), but he had
had to make the sacrifices for the people.
He immediately closed all churches and had them demolished,
he had all high-ranking officers shot again, and he made security tighter
than before. He ordered a random list of 100 people to be made every day,
and the first 40 of them were to be killed. If number 37 wasnít there,
number 41 got it, as long as 40 were eliminated every day. He wiped out
a total of 60 million people in this time period (one third of present
day Russia, or one quarter of the current population of the US). And with
this began a legacy that would last another 10 years.
In 1959, Stalin announced his official Anti-Judaism
campaign. His cabinet was all Jewish, except for one man, whose wife was
Jewish. They saw what would happen to them. Stalin never saw the light
of the sun again. Whether he was poisoned, shot, or hung, we might never
know. The official story is that he died of a brain hemorrhage, but that
is known to be false. His reign of terror died, as Nikita Kruschev came
to power, and the people were, to a point, released from their prison.