Death of Stalin (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The death of Stalin ends several decades of dictatorial rule and terminates the initial stages of a new wave of purges in the Soviet Union.
Summary of Event
On March 4, 1953, Radio Moscow announced that on March 1, Joseph Stalin had suffered a stroke, which had led to partial paralysis with heart and breathing difficulties. On the morning of March 6, it reported that Stalin had died on the evening of March 5. He was seventy-three years old at the time of his death.
The news aroused consternation throughout the country that Stalin had ruled for more than a quarter of a century. Following Lenin’s death in January, 1924, Stalin had become the most powerful figure in the party and governed the nation until his own death nearly three decades later.
He had led his people victoriously through World War II, which brought death and destruction to the Soviet Union on an unprecedented scale as a result of the Nazi invasion, and he seemed to be the indispensable center about which all Soviet life revolved. Despite the terror, bloodshed, and suffering associated with his policies, Stalin provided the security of the familiar in Soviet citizens from the poorest collective farmers to the top leaders of the Communist Party. It was logical that his associates feared the possible disruptive consequences in the aftermath of his death and the removal of his dominating and guiding hand.
(The entire section is 1226 words.)
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