The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 2 of 5 - Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin was the second leader (the first being Vladimir Lenin) of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1953. When opportunity arose, Stalin did all he could to grab and consolidate more power. Stalin is infamous for having purges within the communist party and in general. He gradually put down all opposition groups within and external to the communist party.
Stalin expelled many from his own party and banished them to remote parts of the country. He had stacked trials to unfairly convict people and even had his own hand picked executioner. Many allies of Stalin within the communist party would later be executed. Stalin always eliminated anyone he even remotely considered a threat.
Stalin greatly expanded the powers of the secret police which terrorized so many. During his reign millions of people in general were sent to labor camps and to remote areas of the Soviet Union. Some of his policies led to terrible famine in which many hundreds of thousands died. Stalin had villages burned to intimidate peasants. He executed many of those who had served under the former Tsarist regime. Deserters of the communist party, once found, were publicly executed as traitors.
Many Poles, Hungarians, Germans, and Koreans within the USSR were arrested and executed for manufactured reasons. In a cruel twist of fate, Americans who went to the USSR to escape the great depression were executed via Stalin.
Those banished frequently died of disease and malnutrition. Stalin saw to it that the state took over farms. Farmers who resisted the takeover were executed. Grain reserves were often exported to provide more money to the state instead of using it to feed the citizens.
Stalin wanted to develop a sphere of influence so participated in conflict in Poland and invaded nearby Georgia. At the end of WWII countries bordering the Soviet Union were taken hostage. These countries formed what was referred to as the Iron Curtain. Many years later these countries were freed when the USSR collapsed...though Georgia is still being held. He heavily armed North Korea who later invaded South Korea.
Under Stalin, religion was greatly persecuted. Churches and other religious edifices were razed to the ground. Many religious clergy were murdered or made to suffer greatly. Stalin, as is typical with communism, promoted atheism. Under this type of system the government is God.
As was typical of his cult of personality, Stalin had towns and prizes named after him and assigned grandiose titles to himself. Statues of him portrayed him as much taller and majestic than he really was. He in fact was only five feet 4 and had several physical anomalies. Several artists who did not portray him to his liking were executed. He had his name inserted into the national anthem, poetry, music, etc.
Stalin was such a hypocrite; he owned many dachas...top notch residences he could go to whenever he pleased to get away, relax, etc. After all, murdering the masses was exhausting and stressful.
Despite his great evil, Stalin was appreciated by many Russians for helping to fight off the invading German army of WWII.
20 million is a number often quoted for those who died as a result of Stalin's rule and policies. 15 million seems a more solid estimate. The exact number will never be known.
Many would rate Stalin as the number 1 most terrible villain of the past 100 years and Hitler as number 2 but I did not see it that way. I rated Hitler as # 1 and Stalin as # 2.
Was Joseph Stalin one of the five worst villains of the past 100 years?
Related Hubs That I Have Authored
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 1 of 5 Adolf Hitler
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 3 of 5 - Mao Zedong
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 4 of 5 - Pol Pot
- The Most Terrible Villains of the Past One Hundred Years: Part 5 of 5 - Heinrich Himmler (Includes S
- Basic Theoretical Principles of Karl Marx: Historical and Social Context