Joseph Stalin was ruler of the Soviet Union from 1929-1953. While he was in power the Great Depression devastated the world economy, the Nazis invaded the U. S. S. R. , Berlin was cut off from the rest of the world, and the Cold War began. In many countries his philosophies were believed to be highly effective, but some of his actions are just being uncovered, and denounced, in Western countries like the United States.
One part of Soviet history, only now being recognized for what it really was, is the Great Purge Stalin initiated to rid the Stalin(Groilers-Communism) ountry of all people who didnt support him as the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union.. Stalin was born on December 21, 1827 in Gori, Georgia, and given the name Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili. He adopted the name Joseph Stalin later in his lifetime. (World Book 825; Groilers-Stalin,Joseph) His father was an alcoholic, beat his wife, as well as, Stalin. Stalins father died in a fight when his child was only eleven.
His mother wanted Stalin to become a priest, so she sent him to seminary school when he was 14 years of age. Groilers-Stalin,Joseph) At the school, Stalin learned about revolutionaries and became one himself. Eventually he quit school and became a full-time revolutionary against the Czar and the Russian monarchy. He was arrested in 1904 and joined the Bolsheviks. Stalin was arrested and exiled four more times between 1906 and 1913. (World Book 825) When Stalin escaped from exile he met Lenin and joined the Bolsheviks. In 1912 he was appointed to the Bolshevik Central Committee.
Arrested and exiled by the Czar in 1913, he returned in 1917 after the November Revolution.. Groilers-Stalin, Joseph) Stalin was appointed secretary of the Central Committee in 1922 and became power hungry.. Before his death, in 1924, Lenin wrote a not saying that Stalin was reckless and needed to be removed from power. The leading Bolsheviks ignored the note and continued increasing the amount of power Stalin had. Between 1924 and 1928, Stalin used his position to remove his opposition from the Party; he was the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union by 1929.
As leader of the Soviet Union he ordered the creation of the collective farms o aid in the rapid industrialization of the country. Poor management of the farms caused thousands of people to die in a famine; Stalin continued collectivization at an increased r! ate after the famine. (World Book 826) Stalins purge began after the death of Sergei Kirov. It is believed that the murder was probably arranged by Stalin as a pretext for eliminating all opponents.
Stalin used Kirovs death as an excuse to charge Party members and Army generals with treason or conspiracy and sentence hem to death. Almost all of the members of the Central Committee and the 17th Congress were killed or arrested; some were sent to labor camps known as Gulags. At first, the purge was secret; show trials in Moscow were evidence of the purges existence, later on. The purge spread from high-ranking officials to people associated with Lenin and then to common workers and farmers. Anyone perceived as a threat to Stalins power was killed.
The officer-corps were so Stalin would have total support in the lower ranks of the armed forces. Groilers-Great Purge) Everyone was considered a suspect by the secret police. During this time Stalin began to produce his own personality cult.. Some people used this cult as a way to avoid being killed by the secret police. (Groilers-Stalin, Joseph) During the purge the secret police ordered spying on important industrialists. They also ordered neighbors to spy on each other, children to report on heir parents, children to watch their siblings, and adults to spy on their employers/employees.
With so may people being arrested or illed, or just disappearing, many began to lose faith in Stalins leadership. Not many spoke openly spoke out against Stalin for fear of their lives and Western nations did not find out the true extent of the purge because it was not discussed in public. (Soviet Political System 28) One of the most adverse affects of the purge was that when World War II began, many of the Soviet Unions best generals had been killed off. the lack of capable generals was a contributing factor in many of the Soviet Unions early defeats in the war.
Stalins purge disillusioned many devoted Communists, and rocked Western faith in the Socialist system that was used by the Soviets. The purge liquidated many faithful Communists and struck fear into the hearts of Stalins opponents. (Time Almanac-Man Of The Year) This fear prevented challenges to his rule of the Soviet Union, but to prevent challenges Stalin initiated atrocities that were wider ranging than the Nazis World War II Holocaust. the Great Purge is a bleak spot in Soviet history that many of the Soviet Unions leaders and citizens would like to put behind them.