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Joseph Stalin

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1941 War propaganda portrait of Stalin.
Joseph Stalin (or Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin; 18 December 1878  – 5 March 1953) was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death.[1] He was a totalitarian ruler, and stayed in power by removing anyone he thought might be a threat to him. His ideas and policies turned the Soviet Union into a powerful, modern nation, the largest on Earth. It also led to the deaths of millions of people. His form of government was later called Stalinism. Stalin invaded Poland on 18 September 1939. In the subsequent World War II, Stalin stayed neutral but signed a deal of peace with Germany's leader Adolf Hitler. He then fought a bloody war after Germany invaded the Soviet Union. The end of the war saw Stalin gain control of all Eastern Europe including a part of Germany. There, a series of loyal Marxist-Leninist single-party states were set up, extending his power and determining the Soviet Union's position as a superpower.

World War II[edit | edit source]

Stalin cooperated with Hitler before the World War II and finally in 1939 they both made an agreement to conquer Poland and divide it between themselves. This is how World War II broke out.

But later on, in 1941, Hitler turned against Stalin and attacked the Soviet Union, trying to conquer it. After this happened, the USSR began working with the Allies to defeat Germany. In the end, Germany lost, but the USSR had more casualties than any other country during the war.

When the World War II was over, the Soviet army ended up occupying many countries in Europe, such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and part of Germany, imposing Marxism-Leninism on these countries.

Stalin continued to rule over the Soviet Union until he died. Stalin also militarized Russia by focusing the country's time and energy towards weapons, vehicles, and the armed forces.

Stalin died on March 5, 1953. It was officially said to be because of a stroke. In 2003, however, a group of Russian and American historians said that they believed Stalin had been poisoned with warfarin, possibly by the men who took over the government after Stalin died.[2] Led by Lavrentiy Beria, these were Nikita Khrushchev and Georgi Malenkov. The three of them began a process called "De-Stalinization", which meant taking apart much of the political system that Stalin made. Stalin was denounced as a tyrant, however, after outsmarting and defeating his rivals, Krushchev established a personal control over the government comparable to Stalin's own, even if he never went as far in murdering millions of people.

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