Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1922-1953, when he died. He was responsible for one of the most notable and devastating genocides, the Great Purge. His vicious reign took the lives of around 20-60 million people by his rigid and cruel treatment. Through his exploitation of the lower class and his manipulative abuse of power, Stalin created one of the worst examples of leadership in history. It takes an interesting character to be able to execute the cruelties displayed in his regime and the traits that Stalin developed into his cult of personality were likely acquired as a child and adolescent.
This paper will discuss how Stalin’s background helped build the qualities of a ruthless leader and how he displayed them at the time of his power. His destruction of the citizens’ rights and his failure to maintain his responsibilities as ruler will also be reflected upon throughout this writing.
Stalin’s Childhood and Background
Stalin was born December 18, 1878 in Gori Georgia. His mother was named Ketevan Geladze. His biological father is not accurately known, although, there are many theories as to whom his paternal father is. It could’ve been that Stalin is the descendant of a Gregorian prince or count. Another theory is that Stalin is the son of General Nikolai Przhevalsky who was one of the great scientific explorers of the 19th century. Stalin could have been the son of a Jewish wine merchant named Yaakov Egnatashvili. His mother did laundry in his household. This is one of the most likely theories due to the fact that he paid for Stalin’s seminary education and Stalin named his first son Yaakov in Egnatashvili’s honor. Stalin also could have been the son of a priest. It is even possible that his father was Vissorian Dzhugashvili, who married his (16 year old) mother on May 17, 1874. Dzhugashvili was age 24 at the time of the marriage. Stalin had two wives; Ekaterina Svanidze (m. 1906–1907) and Nadezhda Alliluyeva (m. 1919–1932). He had three children with his first wife; Vasily Dzhugashvili, Svetlana Alliluyeva, and Yakov Dzhugashvili. He adopted a fourth son, Artem Sergeev.
Stalin had an incredibly similar attitude to Vissorian as a child. He had a very cold personality and lacked a sense of empathy, especially towards his peers. One of his classmates reported that he had never seen him cry and that he greeted his peers with a snide chuckle instead of showing sympathy or compassion when he saw they were suffering. He was top and center in his school portrait. (This bared an unusual similarity to Adolf Hitler who took the same position in his school portrait). Stalin was born into poverty and suffered a series of health complications growing up. He suffered from small pox at a young age and his face was left permanently marked, resulting in nicknames like ‘pocky’ and ‘pock-marked-joe’. He was born with his second and third toe conjoined and due to blood poisoning; his right arm was made shortened and stiff. Stalin...