Born Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili on December 21, 1879, in Gori, Georgia, the future leader of the Soviet Union attended the Tbilisi Theological Seminary. However, instead of graduating, he gravitated to extremist politics, becoming a Marxist. He joined the Social Democratic Party in 1899, before joining with the Bolshevik faction in 1907. Three years later he changed his name to Stalin or Steel Man. Thus began a career that would see Stalin become the strong man of the Soviet Union by the late 1920’s. He would see to the industrialization of the Communist State, the collectivization of the peasantry, and the purging of the Bolsheviks during the terrible trials of the 1930’s, strengthening his grip on the world’s largest country.
Then on June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler hurled 3,300,000 German troops against the Soviet monolith. In the greatest land war in modern times, Generalissimo Stalin would lead the Soviets in the Great Patriotic War; and in so doing, win the land campaign for the entire Second World War. And by 1945, the Soviet Union emerged from man’s greatest conflict as the globe’s number two power. Joseph Stalin died March 5, 1953. He had many legacies; but one the most defining was that he took a nation from a backward peasant economy to an atomic bomb in 21 years.
Mark Albertson is the historical research editor at Army Aviation magazine and the historian for the Army Aviation Association of America. He has authored several books, including On History: A Treatise.
Wednesdays, January 10, 17, 24 & 31, at 1:10pm to 2:50pm, Room W105
This is a paid course, requiring advance registration & payment.