One of the most bloodthirsty tyrants
of the 20th century, right next to Mao Zedong
and Adolf Hitler
. Together with Mao Zedong
they were together directly responsible for the deaths of well over 75 million people, a figure that dwarfs any other tyrant
in the history of mankind
, at the hands of Marxism
and their deviants
Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvilli was born in 1879 in small town of Gori near the border of Turkey in Georgia, then part of the old Russian Empire and now an independent state. His father, a shoemaker, beat him badly, then died when Stalin was just 11. At his mother's encouragement, Stalin attended a theological seminary in the city of Tiflis as a teen, but being drawn toward Marxism and away from Christianity, was thrown out in 1899.
He joined the Marxist movement and when it split in 1903, he went with the more radical Bolsheviks. In 1904 he married but his wife died of tuberculosis after three years. He married again in 1919, but his second wife killed herself (or maybe he killed her, as some suspect), leaving him with a son and daughter. The son became an alcoholic and his daughter Svetlana defected to the United States in 1967.
During Stalin's underground career he was arrested at least six times and spent time as an exile in Siberia. He engaged in robbery, murder, and labor agitation in the industrial center of Baku, and served as editor and writer for various Bolshevik newspapers, where he first used the pen name of "Stalin," meaning "man of steel."
In 1922, after the communists had come to power, Stalin was appointed as Secretary General of Communist Party, which practically gives him power over not just the present reality, but the past, for he can alter records at will. Before he died in 1924, Lenin wrote that he wanted Leon Trotsky to succeed him. Stalin, he thought, was too vicious.
But Stalin had Lenin's note suppressed and joined with two other members of the Politburo to defeat Trotsky, who was later assasinated in Mexico. Stalin turned on the two who helped him defeat Trotsky and by 1928 had made himself dictator of the Soviet Union. With power fully in his hands, Stalin began the first of numerous "five-year plans," in this case a six-volume program on how to industrialize the country, a program that went hand-in-hand with a plan to bring all agriculture under state control.
This initial attempt to industrialize the country (as compared with later attempts) was generally successful, but collectivization was extremely unpopular and was resisted by the peasants. In response Stalin had millions of them killed, or allowed them to starve. In 1934 Stalin began a massive slaughter of party members and military leaders, and in 1939 entered into the famous "nonagression pact" with Adolf Hitler, which allowed Germany and the Soviet Union to divide Poland and gave the Soviet Union a free hand to take over Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, part of Romania and bit of Finland.
Hitler ignored the pact and attacked the Soviet Union. Though initially successful, his armies were eventually beaten back and at the end of the war the Soviet army occupied much of Eastern Europe, where Stalin installed communist governments that ruled the area until the early 1990's. In January 1953, the Soviet government arrested a group of doctors for allegedly plotting the deaths of high-ranking officials. It seemed like the beginning of another purge, but in March 1953 Stalin finally died. He was buried with honor but was almost immediately denounced by his successors. His body was removed from its site next to Lenin's and is now buried in some common grave. A fitting end.