Joseph Stalin (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Stalin succeeded Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union. During Stalin’s twenty-five years in power, the Soviet Union was transformed from a backward agricultural society into one of the world’s superpowers. This was achieved through a combination of Marxist-Leninist ideology, police terror, and sheer political will.
Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, known by his revolutionary name of “Stalin,” was born in Gori in the Russian province of Georgia on December 21, 1879. His father worked in a shoe factory, expecting his son to follow in his footsteps. His mother, Ekaterina Geladze, pious and hardworking, was determined that her only surviving child should escape the family’s cycle of poverty, labor, and ignorance. Since education was to her the key to success, she enrolled Joseph in a Russian Orthodox church elementary school, hoping that he would become a priest. Upon graduation in 1894 he was enrolled in a theological seminary located in the Georgian capital of Tiflis. There he was converted to Marxism, leading a Marxist study group among the local railway workers when he was only eighteen years old. His revolutionary activities caused growing friction with the clerical staff of the seminary and led to his expulsion in May, 1899.
Stalin then found employment as a clerk at the Tiflis Geophysical Observatory, continuing revolutionary agitation among the workers, which led...
(The entire section is 2018 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Joseph Stalin (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Stalin ruled the Soviet Union and commanded its armed forces for a quarter century, transforming it into a world power.
Born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, Joseph Stalin had several aliases. The one he used politically from 1912 was Stalin, “Man of Steel.” His father, Vissarion Dzhugashvili, a serf who became a cobbler upon gaining his freedom, was so violent that at age ten Iosif left home and lived in a rented room. His father died in a drunken brawl the following year.
Stalin’s mother, a washerwoman, struggled to make sure that Iosif received the best education available to one of his social class. His only reasonable option was to study for the priesthood, which he did until he was expelled from the seminary at Tiflis. A good student who graduated at the top of his secondary school class, he had a rebellious streak. His political views offended his teachers, who were czar loyalists.
Stalin was frequently arrested and imprisoned, but he usually escaped. Finally, he was incarcerated in Siberia. In 1917, when the revolution led by Alexander Kerensky resulted in the freeing of all political prisoners, Stalin went to St. Petersburg to assist Vladimir Ilich Lenin in preparing for the Bolshevik Revolution (1917-1921). He...
(The entire section is 683 words.)