Describe some of the consequences of Joseph Stalin's three decades of control of the Soviet Union.
Under Stalin's leadership, which began in earnest in 1929, the Soviet Union was transformed from a powerless underdeveloped agrarian state into a giant of industry in the 1930's, and a player on the stage of world powers in the 1940's. This was, however, achieved at a great cost, as Stalin had to force the monumental change he desired on the population as he endeavored to speed things up; the Soviet Union was surrounded by countries that were leaving it, economically speaking, in the dust. A complete overhaul of the economy forced on an unwilling population necessitated drastic measures such as government repression of ideas and words, as well as useful tools of the police state such as repression of ideas and words through imprisonment, torture, banishment to Siberia, even death. These terror tactics were directed not only at individuals, but at institutions, and were aimed at thwarting resistance to Stalin's plans. This forced economic overhaul also disrupted the production of food to such an extent that a famine resulted, further eroding the quality of life of the average Soviet.