The History Place - This Month in History

Josef Stalin, leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Short Biography

Josef Stalin (1879-1953) was born in the village of Gori in Georgia, Russia (as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili). He took part in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and by the late 1920's became supreme ruler of the Soviet Union. Stalin was a ruthless manipulator and mass murder who created a famine in 1932-33 in the Ukraine thereby liquidating 3 million kulaks (middle class farmers) through starvation. In 1936, he conducted deadly purges against Red Army officers and old Bolsheviks. Three years later, he approved a Non-aggression Pact with Nazi Germany, which encouraged Adolf Hitler to invade Poland and start World War II. After Hitler attacked the Soviet Union itself in 1941, Stalin took command of the army and allied himself with Britain and the U.S. Following the war, he sought to dominate Europe and spread Communism around the world, leading to the decades-long Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. After his death in 1953, Stalin was denounced by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev. His name was later removed from public buildings, streets, and factories.