Josef Stalin was one of the most ruthless and cold-blooded leaders in recorded history.
Behind his bland dark eyes, the "man of steel" had a hard mechanical brain that never hesitated at mass murder in its driving ambition to dominate the world.
Millions of Russians- many of them Stalin's one-time friends- went to martyr's graves because they threatened his plans. Tens of millions more were consigned to living death in concentration camps.
Stalin was responsible for two particular waves or horror which will mark his name in blood forever. The first was the great Russian famine he brought about in 1932-33. The second was the series of purges by which he became Russia's uncontested master in the late 1930s.
Stalin decided about 1928 to eliminate private farming in Russia and organize the country's 25,000,000 peasants into Communist collectives. One of his chief aims was to get rid of the kulaks- some 2,000,000 well-to-do farmers who traditionally had owned most of the land.
"We must smash the kulaks, liquidate them as a class," Stalin said in one directive.
The first part of the collectivization campaign went as planned. Masses of Kulaks were deported, slain or simply turned loose in the countryside to struggle for a living. As a class, they disappeared.
Stalin had expected that the great mass of poorer farmers would welcome his collectivization scheme, but, stangely, they balked. Uneducated and accustomed to one way of life, they sullenly resisted the scholarly commissars and army officers who came to tell them how to work the fields.
Secret police and army units poured across the countryside, seized grain stocks, ransacked barns and surrounded rebellious villages with machine guns. Houses, barns, livestock and farm implements were turned over to the collectives.
When the stubborn peasantry continued to resist by burning their fields and destroying their animals, Stalin ordered their leaders shot. To starve the rest into submission, he moved grain and other foodstuffs into cities by the trainload.
How many men, women and children died of "starvation punishment" in the famine years of 1932-33 will never be known accurately, but conservative western historians put the toll at "several millions."
In addition, an estimated 30,000,000 sheep and goats were slaughtered.
By 1935, Stalin felt firmly enough entrenched to carry out the plan he had calculated from the start- the liquidation of every remaining Russian who posed a threat to his supreme power.
In a series of public "trials" that lasted into 1936, political and military adversaries were eliminated lot by lot. The most dangerous of the opposition were sentenced to death before firing squads. Hundreds of thousands of others were exiled or imprisoned.
The victims included most of the men who had been Nicolai Lenin's lieutenants- party organizers, propagandists, diplomats and other high officials. They were accused of treason of collaboration with Nazi Germany and Japan, of capitalist conspiracy, of numberless black plots.
Leon Trotsky, who had fled to Mexico, was tried in absentia as the chief criminal.
Each trial was as pat and carefully rehearsed as a stage script. Prosecutors reeled off lists of deadly indictments. Witnesses recited "testimony" as if by rote. And the accused, one by one, dutifully "confessed" their crimes before movie cameras.
Fantastic double-crosses devised by Stalin came to light as trials and executions progressed. One of the most startling developed after the execution of Marshal Tuchachevsky and a number of his fellow Russian generals who were convicted of treason.
Soon after the trial, Stalin ordered similar charges against most of the panel of military judges who had sentenced Tuchachevsky. The second batch of officers also was executed.
Stalin undoubtedly master-minded the wave of new purges which have swept Soviet satellite countries since 1946- including the execution of former Hungarian Foreign Minister Lazslo Rajk, the imprisonment in Hungary of Josef Cardinal Mindszenty and the recent hanging of 11 Red leaders in Czechoslovakia.
Stalin on Rapid Industrialization
The late 1920s brought to the Soviet Union both the consolidation of Joseph Stalin's authority as preeminant leader, and a "great break" in political and economic policy marked by forced collectivization and breakneck industrialization. In the speech below, Stalin addressed those who criticized the pace of industrialization and in so doing revealed his conception of Russian history.
It is sometimes asked whether it is not possible to slow down the tempo somewhat, to put a check on the movement. No, comrades, it is not possible! The tempo must not be reduced! On the contrary, we must increase it as much as is within our powers and possibilities. This is dictated to us by our obligations to the workers and peasants of the USSR. This is dictated to us by our obligations to the working class of the whole world.
To slacken the tempo would mean falling behind. And those who fall behind get beaten. But we do not want to be beaten. No, we refuse to be beaten! One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered because of her backwardness. She was beaten by the Mongol khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by the British and French capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her because of her backwardness, military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because to do so was profitable and could be done with impunity. Do you remember the words of the prerevolutionary poet: "You are poor and abundant, mighty and impotent, Mother Russia." Those gentlemen were quite familiar with the verses of the old poet. They beat her, saying: "You are abundant so one can enrich oneself at your expense. They beat her, saying: "You are poor and impotent '" so you can be beaten and plundered with impunity. Such is the law of the exploiters-to beat the backward and the weak. It is the jungle law of capitalism. You are backward, you are weak-therefore you are wrong hence, you can be beaten and enslaved. You are mighty-therefore you are right hence, we must be wary of you. That is why we must no longer lag behind.
In the past we had no fatherland, nor could we have one. But now that we have overthrown capitalism and power is in our hands, in the hands of the people, we have a fatherland, and we will defend its independence. Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence? If you do not want this you must put an end to its backwardness in the shortest possible time and develop genuine Bolshevik tempo in building up its socialist system of economy. There is no other way. That is why Lenin said on the eve of the October Revolution: "Either perish, or overtake and outstrip the advanced capitalist countries.
We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall be crushed.
Source: J. V. Stalin, Problems of Leninism, (Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1953) pp. 454-458.
Joseph Stalin Led a Life of Crime Before Becoming Russia’s Leader
When one mentions Joseph Stalin, it is impossible not to think of the monstrous crimes against humanity he committed during his role as the supreme leader of the Soviet Union. After the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Stalin consolidated his power in the most brutal ways imaginable. Before WWII even began, many millions died from political purges and intentional starvation.
But he was no mere mass murderer, indiscriminately butchering those getting in the way of his grandiose plans for a workers paradise &ndash he was much more. He was an aspiring priest, before he became a radical atheist. He was a romantic poet, before he became a criminal. And as a criminal, he excelled at extortion, kidnapping, assassination, arson, bank robbery, and straightforward thuggery for the sake of Marxist revolution, all before becoming Europe&rsquos greatest mass-murder, dwarfing even the otherwise incomparable Adolf Hitler.
The crimes Stalin committed before becoming known to the world as the leader of the Soviet Union are not nearly as well known as the ones committed after he ascended to his grand position, but they are just as fascinating, in an indecent sort of way. During his earlier years, Stalin subsisted as an unemployed hoodlum often living off the kindness of friends and strangers when not imprisoned for his unceasing criminal activities.
Though much of his early years are still shrouded in mystery, we do know a great deal about the audacious and elaborate crime he committed before the Bolshevik Revolution made him infamous.
A mug shot of Stalin after an arrest in Baku, Azerbaijan 1910. rarehistoricalphotos.com
In 1907, ten years before the revolution, Stalin, then still known by his real name, Joseph Jughashvili, and an assortment of other communist revolutionaries organized a daring bank robbery in the Russian city of Tiflis. While others in the group were busy making grenades and smuggling them into the city, Stalin convinced a civil servant, enamored by his earlier poetry, to provide secret schedules stating the exact time in which a stagecoach filled with millions of dollars in today&rsquos money, was to travel from a post office to a government bank.
This was the convoy&rsquos most vulnerable moment, and the opportunity Stalin and his thugs used to steal the cash they needed for their revolutionary agitations. It was not going to be easy, however, as the stagecoach was seriously protected by two armed guards riding inside, a carriage full of armed soldiers riding behind, and a fierce collection of mounted Cossack warriors surrounding the convoy on all sides. This robbery was not to be bloodless.
What were Stalin’s hobbies?
One of the most controversial figures in Soviet history, Joseph Stalin, is praised by some and hated by others. He was the leader of the nation that turned the tide against the Nazis, and at the same time was responsible for the deaths of a countless number of his own people.
One is free to choose how to remember him, but no one would deny that his life had had a long-standing influence on what came after. But what do we know about his personal life? How did this major controversial figure like to spend his spare time?
Thanks to his parents, Joseph Stalin was fond of reading since early years, and this passion remained with him throughout his life. He&rsquod allegedly had around 40,000 books in his possession, with 10,000 of them in his main personal residence &ldquoKuntsevo (or Blizhnyaya) Dacha&rdquo outside Moscow. He was a fast reader, often making a lot of notes on the margins. As a teenager, he also used to write poems but as his career developed he didn&rsquot have much time left to pursue that.
Sometimes Stalin liked to have a break from work and visit the Bolshoi Theatre for some opera, or his personal cinema room in the Kremlin. As we explained previously, the Soviet leader adored cinema, often inviting his fellow party members to private screenings, and acting as a sort of super-distributor of foreign films for the Soviet movie industry (many of these films never made it out of the room). The dictator himself would appoint and dismiss cinema bigshots, personally oversee the creation of &ldquoimportant&rdquo films, read scripts, and watch all the pictures.
It&rsquos believed that one of his favorite Soviet films was &ldquoVolga-Volga&rdquo (1938), a musical comedy directed by Grigori Aleksandrov, which tells the story of a group of amateur performers who head to Moscow to take part in a talent contest. Some say that Stalin knew all the dialogue and songs by heart.
3. Good food
The Soviet leader was also a big fan of large get-togethers with a variety of dishes, mainly of European, Russian and Georgian cuisine. It usually resembled a sort of buffet dinner - with home-cooked bread, beverages, starters, salads, soups, and hot dishes. The staff would serve the food and then leave the room - Stalin and his guests would then help themselves with everything they wanted to have, without any servants. Such dinners could last for six hours or longer.
Stalin had allegedly had three chefs at his estate, with one extra chef at the Kremlin, if needed. He didn&rsquot approve of any kind of canned foods and even had a special pool for live fish in his estate. He also had his own wine-making facility and even cooked occasionally - shashlik was one of his specialties.
4. Pranks and drinking game
As many of Stalin&rsquos contemporaries recall, the leader had an odd sense of humor - his jokes were sometimes quite vulgar and insulting. He also never missed an opportunity to prank and make fun of his guests, colleagues or even household staff. For instance, to clear his mind off state matters, he&rsquod often talk to his security guards and sometimes ask them how many degrees they think it is outside. The guards and Stalin would share their estimates and then they&rsquod check the real temperature. Stalin would then repeat the same with his guests during large dinners and make them drink as many shots of vodka as the number of degrees they were off by.
5. Playing pool and &lsquogorodki&rsquo
Stalin is playing gorodki. From the personal archive of Elena Kovalenko.
One of Stalin&rsquos favorite activities was playing pool - he was a gambler and a good player, and didn&rsquot like it when someone would lose to him intentionally. He even had a special tradition - those who&rsquod lose had to climb under the pool table. Nikita Khrushchev was often among them!
Another game he enjoyed a lot was &ldquogorodki&rdquo - a game in which players attempt to knock down wooden &lsquocities&rsquo by flinging batons down a court. Famous aviation constructor Sergei Ilyushin recalled in his memoirs that he was invited to Stalin&rsquos estate to take part in a certain discussion and when it stalled the leader decided to invite everyone to take a break. "Stalin listened, not uttering a word. For almost an hour. Having understood that a solution was nowhere to be found, he finally stopped the discussion and proposed to 'go and play gorodki instead.' Everyone agreed willingly and for four hours there was an enormous fuss on the gorodki court. Stalin was a keen player, skillfully knocked down the pieces, bantered with the losers&hellip"
6. Outdoor activities and household errands
Sergei Kirov, Joseph Stalin, and his daughter Svetlana. 1930s. From the personal archive of Elena Kovalenko.
The leader also tended to spend a lot of time outside, either on his open terrace in the winter or in the park during summer. In the peace and quiet, he&rsquod take care of his daily work duties, like signing official decrees or execution lists&hellip
Furthermore, he was actively involved in the everyday running of his estate - he&rsquod say where to build another flower bed or path, follow the latest agricultural news and experiment with planting various veggies and fruits. For example, in the autumn of 1948, some Moscow stores started to sell watermelons - as it turned out they came from Stalin&rsquos farm, which produced 8 tons of that year!
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The rise of Stalin
Today, we know Joseph Stalin as a ruthless dictator who ruled the Soviet Union from the late 1920s until his death in 1953. In the first years of the Bolshevik regime, however, few thought of Stalin as a potential leader. The rise of Stalin was as clever and manipulative as it was unexpected.
The contrasts between Stalin and his predecessor, Vladimir Lenin, were significant. Lenin was a product of the middle-class. He was well-educated, an intellectual who worked extensively, spoke fluently and wrote enormous volumes.
Stalin, in contrast, was a crude Georgian of peasant stock. He was short but physically strong, his face scarred by a bout of childhood smallpox. He spoke bluntly, often coarsely and could be dominating or overbearing.
Though a good student in his youth, Stalin was not an articulate speech maker and was not particularly worldly (according to one contemporary, for many years Stalin believed Holland and the Netherlands were different countries).
Attitudes and values
In his youth, Stalin trained for the priesthood. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, he had a chauvinistic disregard for women and a strong racial hatred of Russia’s Jews. This anti-Semitism, combined with competition for position in the Bolshevik party, contributed to Stalin’s intense dislike for Leon Trotsky (the pair loathed each other from their first meeting).
Stalin was a minor player in the Bolsheviks until the 1920s. Prior to World War I, he organised and conducted robberies to fund the party’s activities. He orchestrated and supervised a 1907 bank robbery in Tiflis that killed 40 people and netted the Bolsheviks more than 340,000 rubles.
Prior to 1917, Stalin was also involved in inciting strikes and protests, gang violence, running protection rackets and possibly arson and sabotage attacks on government buildings.
At the time of the February Revolution, Stalin was co-editor of Pravdaand one of the higher-ranking Bolsheviks in Russia (though only by default, since a dozen other higher-ranked Bolsheviks were in exile.
Stalin’s initial response was to write and publish articles that called on the Bolsheviks to support for the Provisional Government. He maintained this position until the return of Lenin in April 1917.
Through the course of 1917, Stalin’s position within the party began to rise, chiefly because of his work for Lenin. He assisted Lenin’s flight to Finland after the failed July Days uprising and for a time served as the nominal Bolshevik leader within Russia. Stalin earned Lenin’s trust by carrying out instructions reliably, effectively and discretely.
In 1922, Stalin was appointed as the party’s general secretary. This was a seemingly minor position but one that allowed him to oversee and manipulate party appointments.
Stalin used this office to build personal support. He filled the Orgburo and key leadership positions with friends and acolytes, while working behind the scenes to forge alliances within the Politburo itself.
Lenin, by now desperately unwell, effectively housebound and participating less in government, became suspicious of Stalin. The Bolshevik leader became critical of Stalin’s personal qualities (a view famously expressed in his political testament). Aware of Lenin’s high position in the party, Stalin publicly affirmed his obedience and loyalty, while working behind the scenes to isolate the Bolshevik leader.
Assumption of power
In mid-1922, Stalin formed a troika (three-person leadership group) with fellow Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev. One of the functions of the troika was to marginalise Stalin’s arch-rival, Trotsky.
On Lenin’s death, Stalin took a leading role at public commemorations, organised Lenin’s funeral and ordered his body be embalmed and placed on public display (against Lenin’s personal wishes).
By 1925, Stalin had acquired enough power to dissolve the troika and move against Kamenev and Zinoviev. Both formed an opposition against Stalin and his supporters but were
The rise of Stalin ushered in the bloodiest period in Russia’s history. The Georgian dictator ruled the Soviet Union for more than 25 years, a period marked by war, class war, rapid industrialisation, the collectivisation of farms and deadly famines. These events led to the death of as many as 20 million people.
Stalin’s rule is widely known for its political repression, its purges of potential rivals and brutal treatment of civilians. Stalin was notoriously paranoid and thousands suspected of threatening his power were eliminated. People, groups, even entire populations that stood in the way of his economic program were targeted.
Whether Stalin and his brutality were deviations from Lenin’s example, or continuations of it, is a hotly disputed question among historians of Russia.
10 Reasons Stalin Might Be Worse Than Hitler
On June 11, 1937, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin had 8 of his top army generals executed as part of The Great Purge. From 1934 to 1940 Stalin had vast numbers of government, party, and army officials murdered to satisfy his paranoid delusions that everyone was out to get him. This purge left his military in bad shape when war came, stripped of many of its most capable officers, but just another day for “The Man of Steel.” Stalin was a bad person indeed, and although Hitler is generally regarded as the most evil man in history, Uncle Joe gives him a run for his money.
10. The Great Purge, 1934-1940.
As stated above, Stalin was a paranoid that ruthlessly clung to power. In order to upset any budding power bases or alliances that might work against him, he went on a spree of executing, imprisoning, and firing many officials at many levels, especially the highest levels. With the military, it is shocking to see the facts: Officers removed from office one way or another: 3 of 5 Marshalls, 8 of 9 Admirals, 13 of 15 Army Commanders, 50 of 57 Corps Commanders, 16 of 16 Army Commissars, and 25 of 28 Corps Commissars. His stripping of the military leadership cost the Soviets dearly when they tried to invade Finland and when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.
9. Purge of Intelligentsia, 1920-1940.
Pianist Khadija Gayibova, executed in 1938, was one of among at least 2000 of the best and brightest minds in the Soviet Union who were sent to prisons where at least 1500 of them died. Writers, poets, philosophers and playwrights were jailed for producing anything other than pure propaganda, astronomers were jailed for studying sun spots, and weathermen were jailed for failing to make accurate predictions! Scientists and engineers that failed to solve problems according to Stalin’s schedule were also purged, especially during the war.
8. Wife’s Suicide/Murder, 1932.
Stalin was a bad father and a bad husband. One of his sons shot himself and lived, causing Stalin to complain, “He can’t even shoot.” When that son was captured by the Germans, Stalin refused a trade for a German general and his son died. At a dinner in 1932 where Stalin and his wife argued, Stalin was seen flicking cigarettes at her (quite classy) and later that night she either committed suicide or was murdered by Stalin. (Hitler’s wife committed suicide with him and Hitler’s previous lovers also committed suicide. What a coincidence!)
7. Self-Serving Relations with China, 1940-1953.
Stalin at first betrayed his fellow communists in China by supporting Chiang Kai Shek instead of Mao tse Tung and the communists, because he believed that Chiang had a better chance of keeping the Japanese from invading Siberia, and he ignored the mass murder of communists by Chiang. Stalin further hurt the Chinese communists by supporting the Turkic Muslims in their quest for an independent state. By 1950, when it was prudent to do so, Stalin became best buddies with China and now had a major ally in the Cold War. In a similar manner, Stalin at first supported the creation of Israel and then later withdrew his support. For the most part, Stalin was another anti-Semite at heart.
6. Scorched Earth Policy, 1941-1943.
Absolutely uncaring about his own population, Stalin ordered everything in the path of advancing Germans to be burned, leaving no food or useful supplies of any type for them. Of course, this policy was hard on the peasants who lost everything, and led to more starvation.
5. Shooting and Imprisoning Soldiers, 1941-1945 .
Just as Hitler was killing his own people left and right for “defeatism,” Stalin gave orders to shoot deserting or unauthorized retreating troops on sight. He went so far as to set up “blocking detachments” to gun down troops fleeing from the front. In this time frame, well over 400,000 soldiers were sent to “penal battalions” where they would be deployed in areas almost certain to get them killed.
4. Katyn Massacre, 1940.
After stabbing Poland in the back by invading after the Polish military was completely engaged with the Nazi invasion, Stalin took his big chunk of Poland for himself. In early 1940 on Stalin’s personal orders, over 25,000 of Poland’s best military officers were executed. When the Soviets retook Poland in 1944 the Soviets pretended the Nazis had committed the atrocity. The Soviets finally admitted guilt in 1990.
3. Censorship and Propaganda, 1924-1953.
During the entire tenure of Stalin’s reign no free press or freedom of much of anything was enjoyed in the Soviet Union or any country controlled by it. People were bombarded with government propaganda and denied access to information or cultural influences from other (western) countries. Just as Hitler and the Nazis, Stalin and the Soviets jailed or killed anyone that spoke contrary to his preferred viewpoint.
2. The Iron Curtain, 1945-1991.
After World War II Stalin failed to live up to the understanding that European countries would have the right of self determination and he imposed the rule of the Soviet Union upon them. Making these countries have communist governments whether the people wanted it or not, and restricting movement in or out of the “communist bloc” made this mass of people little more than slaves, creating an even bigger Soviet empire than that of before the war.
1. Starvation of the Ukraine, 1932-1933 .
Hitler is notorious for killing as many as 6 million Jews and another 5 million assorted people, but in the Holodomor, intentional starvation of the Ukraine Stalin killed as many as 7.5 million Ukrainians. (Added with his other murders and genocides this definitely puts him in Hitler’s class.) Although the Ukraine is considered the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union where the most productive farms are, the food produced was removed for residents of other parts of the country and Ukrainians were left to starve. The widespread and horrible scale of the starvation led people to eat the dead, and 2500 were convicted of cannibalism. The independence minded people of the Ukraine were starved into submission, pure and simple. Soviet propaganda denied the famine for many years, refusing to admit Stalin’s psychotic willingness to kill people or allow the world to think people in the “workers’ paradise” could possibly starve. Soviet propaganda also insidiously spread into western countries with false messages that the famine was natural and not planned. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian and Ukrainian officials were somewhat more forthcoming, but the issue remains a hot topic between Russia and Ukraine.
Question for students (and subscribers): Who else do you think is as bad or worse than Hitler? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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18 Little Known Facts About Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin, or Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, is a man who, unfortunately, needs no introduction. He was one of World War II’s most infamous leaders, next to Adolf Hitler. Stalin’s legacy has been one as a Communist icon and a mass-murdering tyrant.overty
Stalin was born into poverty at the tail-end of the 19 th century. He worked his way up the ranks of the Communist Party and became General Secretary, ultimately installing himself as dictator in the wake of Vladimir Lenin’s death. He then began dragging Russia into the modern era with rapid industrialization, which inadvertently sparked a famine that killed millions, before putting his famed Red Army to work defeating the Nazis.
Stalin’s role in WWII is well-documented his politics and his values well-known. There are some facts, however, that are not as widely discussed. He was a man deeply in love with the arts, who had desires for a more spiritual profession, and had dreams of leading an army of mutant half-human hybrids. Joseph Stalin committed atrocities, but that does not make him a one-dimensional human. Keep reading and discover a more complex man.
He Changed His Own Birthday
It was mentioned earlier that Stalin was born in the latter part of the 19 th century. Official Russian records state that he was born on the 18 th of December in 1878. An Old Style Julian Calendar which was used at the time, however, lists Stalin’s birthdate as the 6 th of December. Furthermore, Stalin himself changed his birthdate (the day to the 21 st of December and the year to 1881), in a move to confuse the Tsarist Officers. The idea was that it would remove him from their official documents and records. What actually happened was that it created more confusion over the issue.
Stalin at the Tehran Conference in 1943.
A Man Of Many Names
Joseph Stalin was a man of many names, but one of the stranger nicknames he acquired was “Comrade Index Card”. This nickname was awarded to Stalin by his former Communist Party rival Leon Trotsky. The story goes that when Stalin took his first major political position as General Secretary of the Communist Party, he was merely serving as little more than a secretary. His duties included sorting and organizing files. Thus, the name “Comrade Index Card”.
He went photoshopping before it got fashionable
Before the days of airbrushing models on the cover of Vogue and Cosmopolitan, Joseph Stalin was managing his personal image with clever photo manipulation. As a child, Stalin suffered from smallpox, which left scars on his face. He was self-conscious about these scars and would request that alterations be made during the processing of all his photos. It was also reported that he would have portrait artists shot for creating unflattering images of him.
He never said his most famous words
The quote “A single death is a tragedy, a million dead is a statistic” is largely attributed to Joseph Stalin, but this is surely not the case. On top of that, the quote was initially reported by a German writer named Erich Maria Remarque, who would have almost certainly never met Stalin. So, it is a safe bet that Stalin never uttered that quote.
The half human soldiers
World War II was full of “out there” ideas and innovations. One of Stalin’s ideas was to create an army of half-human soldiers. Human soldiers are weak, feel pain, and require food. Stalin wanted soldiers who were strong, ferocious, cheap to look after, and without any of those troublesome feelings of morality and conscience. It should be noted that the nature of Stalin’s role in this is debated today, but the program itself is well-documented, with a scientist named Ilya Ivanov performing some very real and horrifying experiments, to create mutant soldiers.
He wanted to become a priestFrom left: Friedrich Gaus from Germany, Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Joseph Stalin, Soviet head of state and his Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov pose 23 August 1939 in Kremlin in Moscow after signing the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, making the outbreak of a European war virtually inevitable.
It is not well known that Joseph Stalin almost did not go into politics. Had his first ambition been realized, he would have been an ordained priest in the Russian Orthodox Church. Such was his passion that he attended the Tbilisi Theological Seminary on a full scholarship. However, the corruption and lack of religious feeling he witnessed led him to doubt then lose his faith.
He was a family man
At odds with his reputation as a brutal tyrant, Stalin was a family man, and he doted on his daughter. For his politics activities, Stalin was regularly exiled to Siberia. It was on such exile that he met an orphan named Lidia Pereprygina, who apparently looked much older than her actual age. She was, in reality, thirteen, and the two had a brief affair. She even became pregnant but lost his child. This information would have been catastrophic to his reputation and the story was thoroughly buried. It would be eighty years later before the truth was discovered.
He was run over and beaten as a child
When Stalin was twelve, he had the unfortunate experience of being run over by a horse-drawn carriage. His childhood was not an easy one to start with, as he was relentlessly beaten by his father in his early years. His accident required that extensive surgery be performed on his arm, the result of which was that his left arm was left significantly shorter than his right. In the long run, his accident actually saved his life. Stalin was considered unsuitable for military service and therefore was not sent to the front lines, which would have certainly resulted in his death, like so many other Russians.
He had brain damage
Stalin’s viciousness might not have been entirely voluntary – not that this excuses his actions and their consequences. The Russian leader suffered from a brain condition called atherosclerosis. This condition causes build-up of fatty tissue in the brain and has been linked to a number of severe mental conditions. It was this condition that was likely partially responsible for the paranoia and malice which made him infamous and so cruel.
He changed the spelling of his name too
As briefly mentioned, Joseph Stalin’s full name was Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili. He eventually changed the spelling of his first name, and then adopted “Stalin” as his surname. Although “Stalin” literally translates as “man of steel”, he was hardly Superman.
Stalin the weatherman
One of Stalin’s less horrific achievements has been buried in the annals of history. Joseph Stalin was, at one point, a weatherman. He worked at the Tiflis Meteorological Observatory, which provided a great expanse of Russia with weather reports. His main duties were to record data such as rainfall and atmospheric pressure.
He enjoyed Westerns
The leader’s affinity for cinema and film is well-documented. His favorite genre? American Westerns. Specifically, he liked the films of John Wayne. He was reportedly also fond of Clark Gable and the director John Ford. Surprisingly, Stalin had a penchant for the written word as well. He would write poetry in his spare time under the pen name os Soselo. Some of it was even published. Here is an example:
The pinkish bud has opened,
Rushing to the pale-blue violet
And, stirred by a light breeze,
The lily of the valley has bent over the grass.
Bad health or no money for school?
Stalin’s health in his younger years was not great, which probably explains why he never finished school. It could also be that his family was unable to afford to pay for his education. Of course, official Communist Party doctrine states that it was his love for the party’s ideology that drew him away from school. Whatever the reason, Joseph Stalin never completed his education before becoming the leader of the Communist Party.
Nobel Peace Price
Stalin was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. To be fair, his nominations came before the full extent of his murders and brutal policies were widely known to the Western world. It was his role in bringing the Second World War to an end which landed him on the shortlist in both 1945 and 1948.
He was a vain man
Recall the portrait artists that Stalin had shot and the photos he airbrushed? It didn’t stop there. Stalin insisted on being photographed only from angles which disguised the fact that he was only 5’4”. In fact, U.S. President Harold Truman gave Stalin the nickname “The Little Squirt”, which is a bit rich, considering Truman was only about 5’7” himself!
His son died in Nazi Germany
Joseph Stalin took the phrase “tough love” very seriously. During World War II, Stalin’s son Yakov was taken prisoner by Nazis, and Hilter, realizing who exactly he had captured, made a ludicrous demand for ransom. Despite almost constant negotiation for the release of Yakov, Stalin refused to accede to any of the demands. Yakov would later die in prison.
He caused death and destruction, at home
Going back to the more tragic side of history, Joseph Stalin was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. This includes citizens of his own country, soldiers in the war, and captives who were mistreated, exiled, starved, and worked to death. He was never held accountable for any of his actions. This was because he was an absolute rule and one of the most powerful men in the world.
Stalin wasn’t Russian
Finally, Joseph Stalin, despite being one of Russia’s most famous political figures and the man most responsible for the shape of the country over the century, wasn’t even Russian. His beginnings were in Georgia, one of Russia’s neighbors. His mother never left that country. Stalin moved to Russia, as a young man to find more opportunities.
Stalin is a complex figure but ultimately, we must judge him to be a tyrant and mass murderer.
The book was commissioned by Stalin in 1935.  Regarding the motives for compiling it, Robert Service quoted a Bolshevik official who said there was a need for a book which "instead of the Bible" would "give a rigorous answer [. ] [t]o the many important questions". At the time, the party was concerned with the abundance of publications about the AUCP (B)'s history and sought to have a single, simple and authoritative book on the subject. The book was written by a team of historians and party members, with the principal authors being Vilhelm Knorin, Pyotr Pospelov and Yemelyan Yaroslavsky. Stalin wrote the chapter about dialectical materialism.
In 1937, a draft of the Short Course was submitted to Stalin, who in turn requested several revisions to the text, including more historical background. On 16 April, the Politburo decreed that Knoriņ, Pospelov and Yaroslavsky would be relieved from all their other party obligations for a period of four months in order to complete the Short Course. 
Between 8 September and 17 September 1938, Pospelov, Yaroslavsky, Vyacheslav Molotov and Andrei Zhdanov (Knorin was arrested in the Great Purge and executed on 29 July 1938) met daily with Stalin in his office at the Kremlin to make the last edits to the manuscript. The first chapter appeared in Pravda on 9 September 1938 and the rest of the text was published in serial form, the last chapter on 19 September. On that day, the Politburo decided to have a first edition of six million copies, to be sold at a particularly low price—three rubles a copy, equivalent to the price of a liter and half of milk at the time.  On 1 October, the book was released. 
On 14 November, the Central Committee issued a resolution On Conduct of Party Propaganda in Connection with the Publication of the Short Course,  stating it "ends all arbitrariness and confusion in the presentation of Party history" and turning the book into mandatory reading in the curriculum of all university students and attendants of party schools. 
Until Stalin's death in March 1953, the Short Course was reprinted 301 times and had 42,816,000 copies issued in Russian alone.  In addition, it was translated to 66 other languages.  In Hungary, 530,000 copies were printed between 1948 and 1950.  In Czechoslovakia, over 652,000 copies were printed from 1950 to 1954.  It was the most widely disseminated work in Stalin's time and no communist publication broke its record until Quotations from Chairman Mao. 
In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev formally repudiated the Short Course in his "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences" speech. A new authoritative history of the party written by a team headed by Boris Ponomarev was published in 1962 under the name The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. 
The version of the history of the party described in the first edition of 1938 was significantly changed to match Stalin's preferences and it changed during subsequent reprints, following the changes in party leadership.
Veteran Bolshevik leaders like Nikolai Bukharin, Lev Kamenev, Alexei Rykov, Leon Trotsky and Grigory Zinovyev, who conflicted with Stalin and were killed in the 1930s were described as "mensheviks" who from the very beginning "opposed Lenin and the Bolshevik party". The names of Filipp Goloshchyokin and Nikolai Yezhov, initially described as "experienced leaders engaged in enlightening the Red Army" in 1938, were deleted from the book after both were arrested in 1939.
Although the Short Course was eventually rejected by the Soviet leadership during the Khrushchev Thaw, its formulations, especially the idea that class struggle not only continued, but intensified as the state moved towards socialism, continued to be of fundamental importance in China, where Mao Zedong repeatedly attacked his opponents in the Communist Party of China as "capitalist roaders" and agents of bourgeois, counter-revolutionary and Kuomintang conspiracies.  Mao felt that the Short Course best combined the teachings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin as well as being a blue print to applying communist ideals in the real world.  China was continuing to grow into a Marxist–Leninist state and that fully happened in 1949, making almost one third of the population of the world under the rule of Marxism–Leninism. 
Joseph Stalin’s Early Years
Joseph Stalin, like Hitler, was very protective about his early years. Stalin used the might and fear of the NKVD (secret police) to ensure that no one ever questioned his past – or those who were brave enough to even hint that they might be interested were suitably warned off. However, recent research shows that Stalin did not fully eradicate the history of his early years and the post-Stalin era was keen to build on Stalin’s denunciation by Nikita Khrushchev. In 1956 the Politburo launched an investigation into Stalin’s years before he came to political prominence and General Ivan Serov, head of the KGB, was put in charge of this investigation.
His report was handed to the Politburo, signed by them and consigned to the Kremlin vaults marked ‘top secret’. It only came to light in 2007.
It states quite clearly that:
1) Stalin fathered a child while in forced exile in Kureika, Siberia.
2) He had got pregnant a thirteen years old girl called Lidia Pereprygin in this remote village that was home to just 67 people when Stalin was there during his exile.
3) If their relationship started in 1914 as the records indicate, then Stalin would have been 35 and Lidia 13.
4) The statutory age of consent in Russia then was 14.
5) According to Serov’s report, Stalin moved in with Lidia in the Pereprygin family’s household – a two-room shack.
6) The police were thinking of prosecuting Stalin for getting an under age girl pregnant. It seems Stalin only escaped this by promising to marry Lidia once she came of age.
7) Around December 1914, Lidia gave birth to a boy but the baby died shortly after birth.
8) In 1916, Lidia became pregnant for a second time.
9) Serov believed that Stalin became engaged to at least 3 women while in exile. All three engagements were broken.
10) “Women must have been enamoured by him because he was successful with them. He had honey-coloured eyes. They were beautiful.” Molotov
11) “He was a thin man, strong and energetic (with) an incredible shock of hair and shining eyes.” Zhenya Alliluyeva, Stalin’s sister-in-law
12) In October 1916, Stalin was conscripted into the army. He was bound to fail the medical because of a stiff arm he had since birth – but it seems that Stalin went along with the conscription to avoid any further entanglements with Lidia.
13) Probably around April 1917, Lidia gave birth to a son, Alexander. Stalin never contacted her once he left Kureika and she later married Yakov Davydov, a peasant fisherman.
Alexander was eventually told Stalin was his father by Lidia. This was confirmed by Yury, the son of Alexander. However, when Stalin achieved power any mention of this even in remote Siberia would have been enough to effectively sign your own death warrant.