Stalin's Rise from Insecurity to Position of Absolute Power
Stalin was a man who was very talented in the art of manipulating
large numbers of people. He used his calculative cunningness in order
to gain absolute influence over the people of Russia. He used
propaganda, censorship and fear in order to manipulate the Russian
people into how he wanted them to be.
Even before Hitler consolidated his control over Germany in the early
1930s, another European dictator had already come to power in Russia.
His name was Joseph V. Djugashvili, who became popularly known as
Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), a name which translates as "made of steel."
Having worked his way to the top through the early years of the
Communist Revolution of 1917, Stalin fought for control of the
revolution after Lenin's death in 1924. His main rival was another
high Communist Party official, Leon Trotsky. By 1926, Stalin had
driven Trotsky from his position as a Communist Party official. In
1929, Stalin ordered Trotsky to leave Russia altogether.
As Stalin prepared to take complete control of the further direction
of the Russian Revolution, he moved the Soviet people into an era
noted for abuse, absolute government control, and political murder.
To an extent, Joseph Stalin began what might be called the Second
Russian Revolution. It was much more extremist and reactionary than
the phase from 1917 to the late 1920s. Stalin was a man of caution,
cunning, and calculation. He was cruel and heartless, murdering anyone
who appeared to stand in his way or might prove a later threat.
(Stalin's agents probably arranged Trotsky's murder in Mexico City in
Not only did he order the deaths of those outside the Communist Party,
but occasionally purged, or ordered the removal and deaths, of party
officials whom he no longer trusted. During the 1930s alone, Stalin's
secret police killed hundreds of thousands of Communist Party members.
His dictatorship throughout the 1930s, 40s, until the 50s, helped to
create - in Russia and the Soviet republics - a state in which Stalin
embodied all power.
One of Stalin's great struggles during his years as Soviet premier was
the state's economy. He organized a series of Five Year Plans to help
create a productive communist state. During his first such plan,
Stalin hoped to increase the Soviets' base of industrialization. This
first Five Year Plan did manage to double the level of Russian
manufacturing. A second plan focused on increasing the Soviet Union's
level of technology. Stalin's involvement in World War II interrupted
his third plan. Such plans, however, were pursued with such vigor and
forcefulness that Stalin's Soviet Union managed, by 1940, to rise to a
position of third largest industrial producer in the world, behind the
United States and Germany. By 1939, all...