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What are the key aspects of Stalin's personality and his personal life history that...

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binhbeo | Student, Undergraduate

Posted September 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM via web

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What are the key aspects of Stalin's personality and his personal life history that might have led him to order the Katyn massacre?

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 6, 2011 at 1:07 AM (Answer #1)

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Stalin is generally considered by historians to suffer from paranoid personality disorder. He trusted no one, and believed that anyone close to him planned to either harm or kill him. This has been offered as an explanation of the Great Purges (as well as the political benefit he derived from it) and the fact that almost all persons who were close to him were ultimately disgraced and executed. As a child, his father beat him mercilessly. He had been rejected for service in the Czarist Army because of a number of physical defects, including the fact that one arm was shorter than the other. These physical conditions may well have contributed to his personality disorder. It should also be noted that Stalin was an exceptionally short man; he never stood taller than five feet five inches his entire life. Most pictures show him either seated, behind a podium, or standing well forward of others in the picture to disguise his lack of height. This is another factor that might well have contributed to the savagery which he exhibited on occasion. An excellent psychological analysis of Stalin is contain in Donald Bullock's Hitler and Stalin; Parallel Lives.

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level80 | Student, Undergraduate

Posted September 8, 2011 at 3:08 PM (Answer #2)

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Stalin is generally considered by historians to suffer from paranoid personality disorder. He trusted no one, and believed that anyone close to him planned to either harm or kill him. This has been offered as an explanation of the Great Purges (as well as the political benefit he derived from it) and the fact that almost all persons who were close to him were ultimately disgraced and executed. As a child, his father beat him mercilessly. He had been rejected for service in the Czarist Army because of a number of physical defects, including the fact that one arm was shorter than the other. These physical conditions may well have contributed to his personality disorder. It should also be noted that Stalin was an exceptionally short man; he never stood taller than five feet five inches his entire life. Most pictures show him either seated, behind a podium, or standing well forward of others in the picture to disguise his lack of height. This is another factor that might well have contributed to the savagery which he exhibited on occasion. An excellent psychological analysis of Stalin is contain in Donald Bullock's Hitler and Stalin; Parallel Lives.

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