Joseph Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia on 21st December 1879. He was his mother's fourth child to be born in less than four years. The first three died and as Joseph was prone to bad health, his mother feared on several occasions that he would also die. Understandably, given this background, Joseph's mother was very protective towards him as a child.
As ruler of the U.S.S.R. from 1929 to 1953, Joseph Stalin was in charge of Soviet policies during the early phase of the Cold War. Born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili on December 21, 1879, he adopted the name Stalin, which means "Man of Steel," while still a young revolutionary.
Stalin first rose to power in 1922 as secretary general of the Communist Party. Using administrative skills and ruthless manoeuvring, Stalin rid himself of all potential rivals in the party, first by having many of them condemned as "deviationists," and later by ordering them executed.
To ensure his position and to push forward "socialism in one country," he put the Soviet Union on a course of crash collectivisation and industrialization. An estimated 25 million farmers were forced onto state farms, Stalin carried out these actions for what he thought was best for the country. Unfortunately, Collectivisation alone killed as many as 14.5 million people, and Soviet agricultural output was reduced by 25 percent, according to some estimates.
In the 1930s, Stalin launched his Great Purge, ridding the Communist Party of all the people who had brought him to power. Soviet nuclear physicist and academician Andrei Sakharov estimated that more than 1.2 million party members -- more than half the party -- were arrested between 1936 and 1939, of which 600,000 died by torture, execution or perished in the Gulag.
Stalin also purged the military leadership, executing a large percentage of...