Analysis of Joseph Stalin as a LeaderJesse GarayMr.LisaGHG/10-2/E415 January 2018Joseph Stalin was born Josef Vissarionovich Djon December 18, 1878 in the small town of Gori, Georgia, then part of the Russian empire. When he was in his 30s, he took the name Stalin, from the Russian for “man of steel.”In 1925, the Russian city of Tsaritsyn was renamed Stalingrad. In 1961, as part of the de-Stalinization process, the city, located along Europe’s longest river, the Volga, became known as Volgograd.
Today, it is one of Russia’s largest cities and a key industrial center. As a teen, he earned a scholarship to attend a seminary in the nearby city of Tblisi and study for the priesthood in the Georgian Orthodox Church. While there he began secretly reading the work of German social philosopher and “Communist Manifesto” author Karl Marx, becoming interested in the revolutionary movement against the Russian monarchy. In 1899, Stalin was expelled from the seminary for missing exams, although he claimed it was for Marxist propaganda.After leaving school, Stalin became an underground political agitator, taking part in labor demonstrations and strikes. He joined the more militant wing of the Marxist Social Democratic movement, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin. Stalin also became involved in various criminal activities, the proceeds from which were used to help fund the Bolshevik Party. He was arrested multiple times between 1902 and 1913, and subjected to imprisonment and exile in Siberia.
In 1912, Lenin, then in exile in Switzerland, appointed Joseph Stalin to serve on the first Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party. Three years later, in November 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia. The Soviet Union was founded in 1922, with Lenin as its first leader. During these years, Stalin had continued to move up the party ladder, and in 1922 he became secretary general of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, a role that enabled him to appoint his allies to government jobs and grow a base of political support. After Lenin died in 1924, it became to the point that “.
..we’re dealing with two devils who both want to rule hell.”(Ruta Sepetys). Stalin eventually outmaneuvered his rivals and won the power struggle for control of the Communist Party.
By the late 1920s, he had become dictator of the Soviet Union.Starting in the late 1920s, Joseph Stalin launched a series of five-year plans intended to transform the Soviet Union from a peasant society into an industrial superpower. A notable depiction can be seen here “Stalin goes to visit one of the collectives outside of Moscow,” began Kolya in his joke-telling voice. “Wants to see how they’re getting on with the latest Five-Year Plan. ‘Tell me, comrade,’ he asks one farmer. ‘How did the potatoes do this year?’ ‘Very well, Comrade Stalin. If we piled them up, they would reach God.’ ‘But God does not exist, Comrade Farmer.
‘ ‘Nor do the potatoes, Comrade Stalin.” (David Benioff). His development plan was centered on government control of the economy and included the forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture, in which the government took control of farms.
Millions refused to cooperate with Stalin and were shot or exiled as punishment. The forced collectivization also led to widespread famine across the Soviet Union that killed millions.During the second half of the 1930s, Stalin instituted the Great Purge, a series of campaigns designed to rid the Communist Party, the military and other parts of Soviet society from those he considered a threat. Additionally, Stalin built a cult of personality around himself in the Soviet Union, cities were renamed in his honor. Soviet history books were rewritten to give him a more prominent role in the revolution and mythologize other aspects of his life. He was the subject of flattering artwork, literature and music, and his name became part of the Soviet national anthem though it tended to be much different.So even when he seemed to be straining in harness, Abakumov was pulling at half-strength—and so was everyone else. “Just as King Midas turned everything to gold, Stalin turned everything to mediocrity.
” (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 112) His government also controlled the Soviet media.In 1939, Joseph Stalin and German dictator Adolf Hitler signed a nonaggression pact. Then, in June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the USSR. Stalin had ignored warnings from the Americans and the British, as well as his agents, about a potential invasion, and the Soviets were not prepared for war.
As German troops approached, Stalin remained there and directed a defensive policy ,doing this they ended up destroying any supplies or infrastructure that might benefit the enemy. The tide turned for the Soviets with the Battle of Stalingrad, from August 1942 to February 1943, during which the Red Army defeated the Germans and eventually drove them from Russia. As the war continued, Stalin participated in the major Allied conferences, including those in Tehran and Yalta. His iron will and deft political skills enabled him to play the loyal ally while never abandoning his vision of an expanded postwar Soviet empire. He prosecuted through a reign of terror, with purges, executions, exiles to labor camps and persecution in the postwar USSR, suppressing all dissent and anything that smacked of foreign–especially Western–influence.
He established communist governments throughout Eastern Europe, and in 1949 led the Soviets into the nuclear age by exploding an atomic bomb, which influenced a dissent between it and the USA, the two superpowers to arise from the second World War, leading to the Cold War which has it’s own parts as to which are impacting today’s world . In 1950, he gave North Korea’s communist leader Kim Il Sung permission to invade United States-supported South Korea, an event that triggered the Korean War. Stalin had great influence on Central Asia as shown by “Even under Stalin, Soviet state power, acting through law and the courts, confronted serious limits in its efforts to govern, much less transform, its colonial Central Asian periphery.” (Douglas Northrop). Stalin, who grew increasingly paranoid in his later years, died on March 5, 1953, at age 74, after suffering a stroke. His body was embalmed and preserved in Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square until 1961, when it was removed and buried near the Kremlin walls as part of the de-Stalinization process initiated by Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev. Along with this, it lead to much commentary on his life and his mindset of communism, shown by the western stereotyping of Russians being tied to the belief along with it influencing literature.
An example would be George Orwell’s 1984 with depictions of a complete world under such a belief,though it is shown in more of his works as shown by “Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”(Orwell, 447)Stalin claimed to have embraced Marxism at the age of fifteen, and it served as the guiding philosophy throughout his adult life; according to Montefiore, it held a quasi-religious value for Stalin. Although he never became a Georgian nationalist, during his early life elements from Georgian nationalist thought blended with Marxism in his outlook. The historian Alfred J. Rieber noted that he had been raised in a society where rebellion was deeply rooted in folklore and popular rituals.
In 1917, Stalin wrote that there are 2 kinds of Marxism, there is dogmatic Marxism and there is creative Marxism. I stand on the ground of the latter. Volkogonov however believed that Stalin’s Marxism was shaped by his “dogmatic turn of mind”, suggesting that this had been instilled in the Soviet leader during his education in religious institutions. According to scholar Robert Service, Stalin’s “few innovations in ideology were crude, dubious developments of Marxism”. Some of these derived from political expediency rather than any sincere intellectual commitment; Stalin would often turn to ideology post hoc to justify his decisions.
Stalin referred to himself as a praktik, meaning that he was more of a practical revolutionary than a theoretician.As a Marxist, Stalin believed in an inevitable class war between the world’s working and middle classes. He believed that the working classes would prove successful in this struggle and would establish a dictatorship of the proletariat, regarding the Soviet Union as an example of such a state. He also believed that this proletarian state would need to introduce repressive measures to ensure the full crushing of the propertied classes, and thus the class war would intensify with the advance of socialism. The new state would then be able to ensure that all citizens had access to work, food, shelter, health care, and education, with the wastefulness of capitalism eliminated by a new, standardised economic system. According to Sandle, Stalin was committed to the creation of a society that was industrialized, collectivized, centrally planned and technologically advanced. Stalin claimed to be a loyal Leninist. Nevertheless, he was according to service not a blindly obedient Leninist.
Stalin respected Lenin, but not uncritically, and spoke out when he believed that Lenin was wrong. During the period of his revolutionary activity, Stalin regarded some of Lenin’s views and actions as being the self-indulgent activities of a spoiled émigré, deeming them counterproductive for those Bolshevik activists based within the Russian Empire itself. After the October Revolution, they continued to have differences. Whereas Lenin believed that all countries across Europe and Asia would readily unite as a single state following proletariat revolution, Stalin argued that national pride would prevent this, and that different socialist states would have to be formed; in his view, a country like Germany would not readily submit to being part of a Russian-dominated federal state. Nevertheless he believed that the pair developed a strong bond over the years, and after Lenin’s death, Stalin relied heavily on Lenin’s writings far more so than those of Marx and Engels to guide him in the affairs of state. Stalin adopted the Leninist view on the need for a revolutionary vanguard who could lead the proletariat rather than being led by them. Leading this vanguard, he believed that the Soviet peoples needed a strong, central figure much like a Tsar—whom they could rally around.
In his words, the people need a Tsar, whom they can worship and for whom they can live and work. He read about, and admired, two Tsars in particular: Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great.Grutas Park is home to a monument of Stalin, originally set up in Vilnius. Stalinism was a development of Leninism, and while Stalin avoided using the term Marrxism-Leninism-Stalinism, he allowed others to do so. Following Lenin’s death, Stalin contributed to the theoretical debates within the Communist Party, namely by developing the idea of socialism in one country. This concept was intricately linked to factional struggles within the party, particularly against Trotsky. He first developed the idea in December 1924 and elaborated upon in his writings of 1925–26. Stalin’s doctrine held that socialism could be completed in Russia but that its final victory there could not be guaranteed because of the threat from capitalist intervention.
For this reason, he retained the Leninist view that world revolution was still a necessity to ensure the ultimate victory of socialism. Although retaining the Marxist belief that the state would wither away as socialism transformed into pure communism, he believed that the Soviet state would remain until the final defeat of international capitalism. This concept synthesised Marxist and Leninist ideas with nationalist ideals, and served to discredit Trotsky—who promoted the idea of “permanent revolution”—by presenting the latter as a defeatist with little faith in Russian workers’ abilities to construct socialism.Stalin viewed nations as contingent entities which were formed by capitalism and could merge into others. Ultimately he believed that all nations would merge into a single, global human community, and regarded all nations as inherently equal. Stalin argued that the Jews possessed a “national character” but were not a “nation” and were thus unassimilable. He argued that Jewish nationalism, particularly Zionism, was hostile to socialism. In his work, he stated that “the right of secession” should be offered to the ethnic-minorities of the Russian Empire, but that they should not be encouraged to take that option.
He was of the view that if they became fully autonomous, then they would end up being controlled by the most reactionary elements of their community; as an example he cited the largely illiterate Tatars, whom he claimed would end up dominated by their mullahs. Khlevniuk therefore argued that he reconciled Marxism with imperialism. According to service, Stalin’s Marxism was imbued with a great deal of Russian nationalism. However, according to Montefiore, Stalin’s embrace of the Russian nation was pragmatic, a choice of logic, as the Russians were the core of the population of the USSR; it was not a rejection of his Georgian origins. Stalin’s push for Soviet westward expansion into eastern Europe resulted in accusations of Russian imperialism. Works CitedNorthrop, Douglas. Veiled Empire: Gender and Power in Stalinist Central Asia. 2004Sepetys, Ruta.
Between Shades of Gray. 22 March 2011Benioff, David. City of Thieves. 2008Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. The First Circle. 1968Orwell, George. In Front of Your Nose. 1945-1950Picture 1: The appearance of Joseph Stalin.
Picture 2:The Yalta conference Picture 3: The Potsdam conferencePicture 4: The Tehran conference Picture 5:A forced labor camp otherwise known as a Gulag