Joseph Stalin Quotes
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian-born Soviet revolutionary and political leader. Governing the Soviet Union as its dictator from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953, he served as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952 and as Premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1953. Ideologically a Marxist and a Leninist, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies became known as Stalinism.
Born to a poor family in Gori, Russian Empire, as a youth Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He edited the party newspaper Pravda and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies, kidnappings and protection rackets. Repeatedly arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks gained power in the October Revolution of 1917 and established the Soviet Russian Republic, Stalin sat on the governing Politburo during the Russian Civil War and helped form the Soviet Union in 1922. Despite Lenin's objections, Stalin consolidated power and a cult of personality developed around him. During Stalin's tenure, the concept of "Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of Soviet society and Lenin's New Economic Policy was replaced with a centralised command economy, industrialisation and collectivisation. These rapidly transformed the country from an agrarian society into an industrial power, but disrupted food production and contributed to the famine of 1933–34, particularly affecting Ukraine. Between 1934 and 1939, Stalin organised the "Great Purge", in which millions of alleged "enemies of the working class"—including senior political and military figures—were interned in prison camps, exiled or executed.
Stalin's government promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported anti-fascist movements throughout Europe in the 1930s, particularly in the Spanish Civil War. However, in 1939 they signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in their joint invasion of Poland. Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army halted the German incursion and captured Berlin in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe. The Soviet Union annexed the Baltic states and supported the establishment of pro-Soviet Marxist governments throughout Eastern Europe as well as in China, North Korea and North Vietnam. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as the two world superpowers and a period of tensions began between the Soviet-backed Eastern Bloc and U.S.-backed Western Bloc known as the Cold War. Stalin led his country through its post-war reconstruction, during which it developed a nuclear weapon and initiated major construction and land development projects in response to another major famine. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who denounced his predecessor and initiated a de-Stalinisation process throughout Soviet society.
Stalin is widely considered to be one of the most significant figures of the 20th century. Stalinism influenced Marxist–Leninist groups and governments across the world, for whom Stalin was a champion of socialism and the working class. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as an effective wartime leader who established the Soviet Union as a major world power. Conversely, his autocratic government has been widely denounced for overseeing mass repressions, hundreds of thousands of executions and millions of deaths through famines and labour camps.