Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin was born on December 18th 1878 in Gori, Georgia in the Russian Empire to a poor family at age 7 he called smallpox leaving him with a pockmarked face Joseph’s mother was a devout Russian, Orthodox Christian and wanted him to become a priest. In 1895 she sent him to study in to Fleece the Georgian capital however He started reading the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin after joining a secret organization Which wanted Georgian independence from Russia? In 1901, he joined the Social Democratic Labour Party and organized protests and strikes for the revolutionary movement against Tsarism. A year later, he was arrested for coordinating a strike and sent to prison Stalin would join the Bolshevik Party and use guerilla warfare during the Russian Revolution of 1905. He impressed the party’s leader Vladimir Lenin and his ability to organize Meetings and strikes as well as his ruthless techniques to raise money for the party by kidnapping and robbery in 1907, he sold 250,000 rubles at a bank robbery into Fleece to fund the cause Around this time he adopted the name Stalin which means steel in Russian or “man of steel”. During the Russian Revolution in 1917, Stalin ran the Bolshevik newspaper, Pravda. by October the revolution was over and the Bolsheviks were in control. A civil war then followed with a Bolshevik victory. In 1922, Stalin was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party, and he manipulated his role so that he was in a powerful position Lenin died in 1924 and it was assumed that Leon Trotsky would be the next leader. But Stalin would make sure this wouldn’t happen, he had Trotsky and other threats to his future leadership removed from the Central Committee and exiled… …Eventually, Stalin was effectively dictator of the Soviet Union. In the late 1920s, Stalin would aim to turn the Soviet Union into a modernized industrialised country And he wanted it done rapidly, he developed three five-year plans between 1928 and 1938. Coal, oil, steel and electricity production massively increased. But workers who failed to achieve their ambitious targets for production were executed or sent to the gulags He also introduced collectivization to increase food production, seizing land originally given to the peasants and reorganizing it into collective farms. Mass famine was caused as a result and millions died. But Stalin saw this as a necessary evil to achieve the ambitions of his 5-year plans and transform the Soviet Union As Stalin created a cult of personality through culture he became more paranoid Everyone had to praise him and his portrait was everywhere from schools to factories! In 1934, Stalin had Party member Sergei Kirov killed because of the threat to his power throughout the 30s, Stalin purged Communist Party members in 81 of the 103 generals and admirals were executed in the Red Army 20 million citizens in the Soviet Union were sent to the gulags or executed in 1939 Stalin made a deal with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the Red Army was not prepared and suffered massive losses had Helped that Stalin had purged many talented officers during the 30s Stalin refused to leave Moscow as the German forces moved further east in 1942 the red army at Stalingrad were told not to give the city to German forces and to defend it at all Costs as the city bore Stalin’s name. This was the turning point in pushing the Nazis back and soon the Red Army was liberating Eastern Europe all the way to Berlin! the Elta and Potsdam conferences in 1945, between the Soviet Union, USA and Britain was tense With the use of the atom bomb, the allies did not need the help of the Soviet Union in defeating Japan Stalin felt betrayed and with the rivalry between the ideologies of capitalism and communism reignited he grew more suspicious and paranoid of the West. The Cold War had begun East Berlin and Eastern Europe, which were occupied territories by the Soviet forces were Transformed into satellite states forming a bulwark between the Soviet Union and Stalin’s former allies As his health deteriorated in the early 1950s and after an attempted assassination Stalin’s paranoia increased even to the doctors looking after him which he had tortured two confessions of poisoning He also ordered the head of the secret police, Lavrentiy Beria to investigate a new purge of the communist party Panicking members of the Politburo into wondering if they would be executed Before this could happen, Stalin died of a stroke on March 5th 1953 at his funeral huge crowds gathered to pay their respects and five hundred people were crushed as a result of people surging forward After a power struggle over who would be the next leader of the Soviet Union from the inner circle, Nikita Khrushchev. Succeeded Stalin while he was a Stalinist, he would denounce the dictator and reform Stalin’s policies of terror and fear during a de-stalinization process Subscribe for more history videos! Get simple history the cold war out today Thank you guys for all your support on the simple history YouTube channel, if you enjoyed please consider visiting our Patreon page, there: you can show us your support for the channel by donating and make a huge difference in what we’re able to create for you. Plus, you can get early access on upcoming videos, so let’s keep it growing, and thank you for being part of this amazing community!