Joseph Stalin Biography

Read about the ambition of Joseph Stalin, leader of the U.S.S.R. from 1928 to 1953, in this biography.
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Political Leader / World War II Figure

Born: 1879
Died: 5 March 1953
Birthplace: Gori, Georgia, Russia (now Republic of Georgia)
Best known as: Leader of the U.S.S.R. from 1928 to 1953

Name at birth: Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili

Ruthless and ambitious, Joseph Stalin grabbed control of the Soviet Union after the death of V.I. Lenin in 1924. As a member of the Bolshevik party, Stalin (his adopted name meaning "Man of Steel") had an active role in Russia's October Revolution in 1917. He maneuvered his way up the communist party hierarchy, and in 1922 was named General Secretary of the Central Committee. By the end of the 1920s Stalin had expelled his rival Leon Trotsky, consolidated power, and was the de facto dictator of the Soviet Union. In the 1930s Stalin summarily executed his political enemies and started aggressive industrial and agricultural programs that left untold thousands of peasants dead. During World War II Stalin was the commander of the Soviet military, and attended the postwar conferences at Yalta, Teheran and Potsdam. After Stalin's death he was denounced by his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, and "Stalinism" was officially condemned.

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