Stalin, the Mental.

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Joseph Stalin was domestically known as the father of Soviet Russia, even if is policies had led to the deaths of millions of Soviet citizens. His economic policies served the Russian people well, by some accounts. Nevertheless, because of Stalin's paranoia, narcissism, and fear of Western governments his foreign policy suffered. His paranoia and fear led to the failure international relationships that were necessary for the Soviets. His narcissism continued to create more enemies within the Soviet Union. The fear that Stalin felt derived from the uncertainty of his leadership, not questioned by others from fear of being killed, but by Stalin himself. This paranoia can be traced back to his youth as a Georgian cobbler's son.

First understanding the paranoid personality as it develops from childhood through adolescence and in its adult manifestations is necessary for understand the nature of Stalin's personality and his foreign policy (Birt 611).

Stalin's personality is reflected in his foreign policy. The way Stalin's personality was formed resulted from his childhood and his relationship with his father. Joseph Stalin was born to a mother who had been a serf and a father who was shoemaker and a storeowner. Stalin's father became an alcoholic, which gradually led to his business failing and to him becoming violently abusive to his wife and children. "Paranoia often originates in the development of the object relationship with the father and in the need to maintain personal autonmy in the face of threats and destruction" (Birt 612). In Stalin's case, because he wanted to be his father, Stalin began to identify with his father. As Raymond Birt stated in his work, Personality and Foreign Policy: The Case of Stalin, when some future stimulus produces anxiety reminiscent of the earlier attacks, the paranoid projects the preserved threats back outward and takes on the role of the aggressor (612). This was evident in Stalin's relationship with the Third Reich Germans.

In the summer of 1939, Adolf Hitler sent a convoy to Russia to negotiate the famous Ribbentrop-Molotov nonaggression pact. This nonaggression pact included a private protocol for the division of certain countries between Russia and Germany. Each country would fall under each country's sphere of influence. It also isolated Russia from any Western nations. Stalin also may have signed the pact because he admired Adolf Hitler and was in "awe of the more ruthless and efficient terror mechanism of the German state and sought to emulate it" (Birt, 618). This is the first part of paranoia, love and emulation of the aggressor. Both Germany and Russia had different motivations behind signing the pact. Russia wanted to create a buffer zone between itself and Germany, and this stemmed from Stalin's own thoughts. "Stalin made his odious Pact with the German devil as a reaction to what he understood as Western efforts to deflect Hitler's aggression eastward" (Raack, 215). Because of this fear, Stalin went ahead and signed this agreement with Germany, despite the Western nations urging Stalin not to trust Hitler. The Germans had their own reasoning for not wanting to fight Russia. Hitler did not want to have a two-front war, such as the Germans had had to fight in the First World War. Second, Russia was supplying Germany with supplies through this pact. In 1941 however, the Germans decided to end the pact with Russia and they invaded the Soviet Union. Adolf Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union was no surprise to those observers outside of Moscow.

Joseph Stalin did not believe that Hitler and the Germans would attack him. To Stalin, Hitler and the Germans were an ideal to him. Stalin was in such disbelief that he thought that reports from the front line were fabrications and lies placed by German officers who wanted the two nations to fight (Birt 619). Once the reports of the attack were proved to be true, Stalin next assumed the role of the victim of paranoia. Stalin went into hiding for a few weeks following the attacks. He later surfaced to give a radio speech, but his speech was less than motivating. As a result of "the slight to his narcissism and the collapse of self-esteem, the state was in danger of being overrun" (Birt 619). But he returned as the reflected aggressor, he began to plot his revenge (Birt 620). Stalin began to bother generals and he urged the people to protect the Motherland against the Germans, who were going to turn Russians into slaves. This argument to the Russian people by Stalin was part of his narcissism.

In fact, this idea that Germans were attacking the Soviet was directly attacking him as person. This played into the policies implemented by Stalin. "Stalin had 'painfully sensitive self esteem' and an 'idealized self' that he closely associated with the Soviet government to such a degree that to be perceived as an enemy of Stalin was to be considered an enemy of the state" (Birt 610). So Stalin believed that those who were backstabbers and out to get him were enemies of the state, and they were charged with treason against Russia. To play into his narcissism, Stalin gave himself many different titles after the invasion of the Germans. Some of the titles included chairman of the Supreme Command Headquarters. Narcissism is also a part of the cycle of a paranoid personality.

For a short time Stalin's foreign policy was pleasant and was agreeable by all nations. After the invasion by the Germans, the Soviet Union joined the side of the Allied powers. The leaders of the Allied powers met many times during the war, including in Tehran, Iran. In this meeting the powers decided to invade southern France in the beginning of the war and Stalin promised to join and fight the Japanese once Germany was defeated. The second meeting in Yalta concluded with decisions that American conservatives alleged were a betrayal of the Eastern European nations that resulted in their domination by the Soviet Union after World War II. The Soviet Union now had a planned buffer zone between itself and the Western nations. By the time of the third meeting, in Potsdam, America had still not used the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, so Stalin, with a huge military presence in the east of Europe, could afford to be influential and confident of getting what he wanted (Zubok 296). All Truman, who had replaced President Roosevelt, would say at Potsdam was that America had a weapon of breathtaking power- but that meant little to a leader who had millions of soldiers stationed in Eastern Europe. Also to be noted here, is that Roosevelt and Churchill were no longer the representatives of their nations, and so Stalin was the only returning member of the Big Three.

Following Stalin's miscalculation of Hitler's intentions and his mistrust of Western nations he began strategic moves to secure his place as leader of the Soviet Union. "The Soviet policy aimed to expand trade relations with capitalist countries, to work for peace, to pursue rapprochement with countries defeated in the World War, and to strengthen Soviet ties with the colonial countries and dependencies" (Tucker 565). For Stalin began to believe that the Western nations were out to get him. This most unquestionably derived from the old Bolshevik days, when the party believed that Russia was isolated in an "unfriendly international environment" (Tucker 563). These thoughts began to arise during the talks between the Allied powers during World War II. During the war, "Stalin was inclined to transform the internationalist Communist ideology into an imperial, statistic one, rooted more in Russian history than in the Comintern slogans" (Zubok 296). However, that was quickly changing, because the Western nations did not want to have another Hitler trying to take over Europe. Stalin envisioned a Europe so weakened and fragmented that none of its people would be able to resist Soviet wishes. Stalin soon learned that a proactive approach along these lines would not be tolerable, however. Instead openly forcing countries to be subservient to Russia, Stalin's security and military agencies worked hard for example to build up a Polish state that was very subservient to Soviet interests (Zubok 299). Those in Moscow expected to have all their Soviet satellites be obedient and follow whatever the generals and Stalin wanted them to do. Stalin expected in this way to achieve complete Soviet domination in Eastern Europe without provoking a direct confrontation with the United States (Zubok 299). Stalin would tolerate "people's democracies" (Zubok 298). The fear of the United States and its military force scared Stalin. He was not just afraid of the United States; any potential confrontation placed fear in Stalin. Moreover, because of this, Stalin was clever and scheming, and he regarded the Western powers as dangerous rivals (Zubok 296). In addition, because he felt that the West was out to get him, Stalin began the "expansion" of the Soviet Union, which he considered to be justified out of self-defense.

In his defiance toward the West, Stalin continued to push the boundaries of his power. Stalin knew that the Western Allied powers of World War II were watching him, and so he decided to take his sphere of influence in another direction, east. Stalin and his foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, worked on a Soviet-Turkish agreement. This was done in secret and without the approval of the Allies. Stalin believed that the West would have sabotaged his plans if they had participated in the process. The Western nations, especially the United States, believed that Stalin's actions were a war scare tactic. Having an alliance with the former partner of the Axis powers would have made the Soviets a virtual master of the Eurasian continent (Zubok 296). However, in places such as Iran, the fear of American interventions left many of Stalin's plans behind. In Northern Iran, the Soviets placed troops to secure an oil agreement from the Iranian government. With these troops, the Soviets created "the Azerbaijan Democratic Party" but after international pressure, Stalin withdrew Soviet influence. Stalin had left the party he had created high and dry when he realized he was risking a clash with the United States. A few years earlier, the KGB, the Soviet secret police and intelligence service, had warned the Kremlin that after the death of President Roosevelt there would be a change in the United States' foreign policy that would diverge from cooperation with the USSR (Zubok 300). This was true, because the United States soon after bombed Japan with nuclear weapons, not only once but twice. This definitely placed fear into Stalin, for he did not have the same capabilities as the United States. In his closest encounter with the United States, the Soviet blockade of West Berlin, Stalin acted in such a way that the "trend towards militarization of the Cold War became irreversible" (Masnty 126). Stalin at some points in his career "respected and envied American technological and economic superiority" (Zubok 301). Yet he also thought of the United States as inferior for their failure to take control of the small nation of Korea during the Korean Conflict. However, at the same time Stalin wanted the failure of any capitalist country. Secretly Stalin wanted the contradictions between Great Britain and the United States and to blossom into the imminent final economic crisis of capitalism (Zubok 301). This ideology allowed the Soviet Union to believe it was an international force to be reckoned with and prohibited it from ever becoming just another status quo power.

Paranoia and fear, that's what drove Stalin's foreign policy. Included in his paranoia besides thinking people were after him was the fact that he had been abused as a child and that those characteristics carried over into his adulthood. His fearful thoughts that the "West is after me" kept him in constant movement away from the West and against capitalist ideas. Moving away from capitalist ideas was fine, but when his actions tested the most powerful nations he placed not only himself in international tensions but also his citizens. His narcissist beliefs kept him thinking that he was greater than he really was, testing the United States but never taking the next step to fight Americans. The Soviet Union was never as powerful or influential as it thought, especially under the leadership of Joseph Stalin.