On this day in 1879 the future leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, was born in Georgia. In his youth Stalin read works by Marx and became active in the revolutionary movement against the Russian Tsar. After the 1917 revolution by the Bolshevik Party, Stalin quickly rose through the party ranks, becoming general secretary in 1922. After the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Stalin established himself as dictator of the Soviet Union. Under his rule, millions died due to his forced collectivisation policies and his ‘purges’ of political rivals claimed thousands of lives. He worked with the other Allied powers to defeat Nazi Germany in World War Two. Stalin died of a stroke in 1953.
Stalin is a major figure in world history, and on his birthday we remember the impact he had on the world stage and the thousands who died under his brutal regime. Stalin’s dictatorship ranks among the deadliest in history, along with the likes of Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong.