Joseph Stalin was born Ioseb Djugashvili in Gorgi, Georgia. He was the third son of Yekaterina and Vissarion Djugashvili, and the only one to survive past infancy. His parents had a violent marriage, with Vissarion beating hos wife and son. His parents had very different ambitions for Stalin, with his mother encouraging him to become a Russian Orthodox priest and his father believing that a working class life was good enough for Stalin. When his father returned from Tiflis to bring Stalin back to the factory, in which he worked, to become an apprentice cobbler brought the argument to a head. His mother brought Stalin back to Gorgi, and got him back on the path of attending seminary. After this incident, Vissarion ended the marriage.
Stalin excelled in school and earned a scholarship to the Tiflis Theological Seminary in 1894. Despite his intelligence, there were many signs that Stalin was not was simply no suited for priesthood. For example, before entering seminary, Stalin was both a choirboy and the leader of a young street gang. While at the seminary, Stalin discovered the work of Karl Marx. Shortly after, he joined a local socialist party and soon his interest in overthrowing the current czar outweighed any desire he once had to become a priest. This resulted in him dropping out a few months short of graduating to become a revolutionary.
Shortly after joining the revolutionary underground, Stalin went into hiding and began using the alias “Koba.” Despite this, the police caught Stalin in 1902, exiling him to Serbia until 1903. Once released from prison, Stalin continued to support the revolution and helped recruit peasants for the Russian Revolution in 1905. This revolutionary behavior caused the police to begin a manhunt, which resulted in Stalin being arrested and exiled, again. It was during this exile that he changed his last name to ‘Stalin’, which means steel in Russian.
After going underground and helping to recruit peasants, Stalin helped to teach middle class children and give private lessons. This job was not regular, so this gave Stalin time to help motivate workers and assist peasants in organizing strikes and business shutdowns. This helped Stalin become very popular among the lower class.
The first few years after the revolution were spent building his post as general secretary into a very powerful communist party. Before Lenin's death, a triumvirate of Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev was created. But soon after, Stalin switched sides and decided to join Bukharin to start an opposition towards Trotsky, Kamenev, and Zinoviev. By 1928, Stalin’s supremacy was completed and he exercised complete control over both the party and his country.
Stalin's last rise to power was the order to assassinate Trotsky in Mexico. Before the order, due to friction between the two, Stalin had frequently requested that Trotsky be relieved of his position, but it was believed that Trotsky would be a better leader than Stalin. After his death, only...