Joseph Stalin was a Russian dictator that ruled the USSR with an iron hand from 1929, the year he became Lenin’s successor, until his death in 1953. At the price of a bloody repression and immense sacrifices imposed on the population, Stalin managed to turn the semi-feudal Russia into an economic and military power able to contribute decisively to the Allies victory in World War II (1939-1945).
1. Joseph Stalin Was Nominated For The Nobel Peace Award. Twice.
His actions during World War II and the fierce leadership he shown during those times made Russia a force to be reckoned with, which was instrumental in defeating the Axis nations. In the end, he did not win, since the awards were won by the American politician Cordell Hull in 1945, and in 1948 it was declared deserted.
2. He Was Arrested Eight Times, Exiled, And Managed To Escape Four Times.
He was accused of collaborating with the royal secret political police, which was never confirmed by any documents. His father’s friends were helping him to escape. He was saved from his last exile sentence by the Revolution in February 1917.
3. Stalin Was Named “Man Of The Year” By Time Magazine In Two Different Occasions.
The first time was in 1939, after he had signed a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler in 1939, committing not to attack Germany if they did the same, and leaving Poland open for Germany’s attacks. This pact was broken when Hitler sent his troops to Russia in 1941. The second time was in 1942, now not for his “friendly” attitude towards Germany, who had betrayed him, but for surviving the first wave of the Nazi assault. This was, many consider, the first in Germany’s long list of blunders, because it left them exposed to the Allies attacks on one side, and Russia’s retaliation on the other.
4. Stalin Was a Supporter Of The Popular Democracies In Eastern Europe.
According to his ideas about Socialism, he supported the formation of popular democracies in the European Eastern bloc, which were under the tutelage of the USSR, with the exception of Yugoslavia. Although the results were less than stellar, it was the beginning of a new age for Eastern Europe.
5. Stalin Was Not Lenin’s Favorite, But He Ended Up Being His Successor.
Lenin made clear that he favored Trotsky over Stalin, who he considered to be too cruel, but when death came for Lenin in 1924, Stalin managed to ally himself with two of the most important men in the Communist Party, overthrowing Trotsky’s efforts. Stalin exiled Trotsky in 1929, and had him killed in 1940, getting rid of all manners of competition.
6. The USSR Flourished Under Stalin’s Regime.
Although he was a tyrannical leader, putting in place the most totalitarian, repressive regime history had seen, Stalin can be credited with the fruition of the communist socio-economic project in Russia, the extension of its model to other neighboring countries and the conversion of the USSR into a great power, without rivals in the region.
Stalin imposed the forced collectivization of agriculture, and the entire production system was subjected to the strict discipline of a mandatory central planning. With huge human losses he managed, however, spectacular economic growth through five-year plans: in them he gave priority to rapid industrialization, based on the development of energy and sectors of heavy industry at the expense of sacrificing the welfare of the population, subjected to harsh working conditions and great hardship for consumer.
7. He Promoted Artistic Creation In Russia.
Arts and culture were an important part for the Communist leader, and he perceived that the popular expressions of nationalism were proof of the effectiveness of his leadership. The dominant style during his regime was Socialist realism, which is known for its depiction of communist values.
8. Joseph Stalin Was Responsible For At Least 20 Million Of Deaths.
Stalin was a ruthless dictator who stopped at nothing to guarantee that he remained in power. He imprisoned and killed at least a million people for political reasons, and his industrialization plans came at ginormous human cost (at least 7 million people died of starvation due to his exporting all the grain produced in the country). In addition, millions more died in the war, where his not-so-careful laid plans were to shoot tanks with rifles. After his death, his predecessor, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced the ideological deviations and crimes committed by Stalin, and his remains were removed from Lenin’s Mausoleum and were buried in the Kremlin Wall Necropolis.
9. His Plan Was To Industrialize Russian, And He Did It.
One of Stalin’s most important contributions was making energy cheap, available and abundant throughout the territory. In his mind, for communism to work as it should, everything produced needed to be low-cost and functionally adequate, so he needed power to make things work. He managed to harness hydro-electric potential from Russia’s great rivers Ob, Yenisei and Lena, to obtain electricity, which were a staple for industries and employment, and consequentially, for prosperity.
10. Stalin Achieved Power And Status For Russia After World War II.
In a meeting known as Yalta Conference, and sometimes referred to as the Crimea Conference, Stalin met with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill to discuss the after-effects of World War II, and plan the actions that would relieve nations of the disasters they had suffered. During this conference, Stalin obtained membership in the United Nations for Russia, and managed to get veto power over decisions that were against Russia’s interests, as well as power over Poland (which he had promised to relinquish after allowing them free, democratic elections, but stalled until his death) and Russia’s reputation as one of the Big Three went a long way in solidifying their status as a power in the world.