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Joseph Stalin Essay

2244 words - 9 pages

Joseph Stalin ruled the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1954. He is widely recognized as a dictator, an oppressor, and a ruthless ruler who took the Soviet Union from economic shambles to a superpower, but with the high cost of human sacrifice and his paranoia of opposition. Stalin saw himself as the natural successor of Leninism-Marxism, but in actuality he created a system of his own which did not go according to the philosophy of Karl Marx and Engels. Stalin’s early political career began just like everyone else who gained prominence in the Bolshevik takeover of the Russian Empire. Lenin had successfully launched his revolution in October, 1917 and became the leader of the Russian Communist Party until his death in January 1924. Stalin played only a minor role in the October Revolution and a relatively inconspicuous part in the Civil War (Lee 1). Stalin was sent to exile in Siberia for committing crimes in Russia, and after his return he became a member of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in 1912. Stalin worked to gain support in the Communist party during its early stages. He created close contacts that he would later betray, and others which he would use to help him become the next leader of the Soviet Union. He accumulated the posts of People’s Commissar for Nationalities in 1917, liaison official between the Politburo and the Orgburo in 1919, and General Secretary of the Party in 1922 (Lee 1). Soviet books and propaganda always portrayed Stalin having a close relationship with Lenin, as seen in textbooks, propaganda posters, and Stalin himself who always spoke highly of his friendship with Lenin. However, Lenin and the Bolsheviks thought differently of Stalin.
The 1920s and early 1930s saw the rise and early rule of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. His reign became known as Stalinism. Many critics of Stalinism stress that it was a separate ideology from the original context of Socialism and Communism. Stalin’s form of Marxism was based on a totalitarian system of power in the hands of one leader, Stalin and the Communist Party which was run by him. The economic policies of Stalinism forced industrialization and collectivization as the two main tools for boosting the Soviet Union onto the world stage. Also, the population of the Soviet Union was controlled by the party and Stalin with the use of propaganda, and Stalin’s cult of personality. Any opposition would be repressed, including deportation to gulags which were labor camps in Siberia and other republics of the Soviet Union and most of the time, the opposition would face death by Stalin’s purges and the NKVD, the secret police organization lead by Lavrentiy Beria. An example of Stalin’s economic policies was the five year plans that were bestowed upon the large peasantry class of the Soviet Union. Unlike Stalinism, Karl Marx and Engels explained in their works such as the Communist Manifesto that popular revolution would be key to economic, social, and...

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