Joseph Stalin was a cold calculating man who would happily kill people for even the most minor of reasons. He was dictator of the Soviet Union, Russia’s most recent empire, and one of the most devastating dictators in human history. He killed millions of people without remorse, and whether he or Hitler were a more evil person is a fierce debate. Stalin only cared for two people in his life, his mother, and his wife. After both them died he said his heart turned to stone.
One of the most horrific things to take place under Joseph Stalin was the dreaded Gulag. A series of prison camps, where he would send “enemies of the working class”, to be imprisoned, sentenced to forced labour, or executed. The horror of the Gulag was revealed by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, an ex prisoner, when he wrote an account of it called The Gulag Archipelago. Solzhenitsyn described the camps as being like a series of islands where people were worked to death. Around 14 million people were imprisoned in the Gulag labour camps. Some of these people were petty criminals and some where political prisoners.
Murderous Obsession With Looks
Stalin suffered from smallpox when he was young, leaving his face badly scarred as a result. This left him feeling very insecure about his looks, so much so that he went to extreme measures to hide his scars. Whenever a picture of him was taken he would make sure it was airbrushed so he looked as good as possible. He would sometimes shoot photographers for not making him good looking enough.
In 1933 Joseph Stalin created an island in Siberia known as Cannibal Island, which is as terrifying as it sounds. 6,000 people were sent to an island with no food, and no chance of escape. Any prisoner who tried to leave was hunted by guards for sport. To avoid starving, prisoners began eating the dead, and eventually, out of desperation, killed and ate each other. More than 4,000 of them died in only four weeks. It’s no surprise they died so quickly as they were left with only flour for food, only a few tools, and barely any clothing. A third of the deportees were too weak to stand when they arrived at the swamp island, and 27 died on the way. The people sent were a mix of petty criminals and middles class peasants called Kulaks.
The Great Purge
Stalin initiated a six year long mass murder spree designed to purge the Soviet Union of people he felt were disloyal or a threat. 600,000 to 3 million people died in this purge, which killed off large portions of the military leadership. Killing so many leaders of the military led to serious setbacks when Hitler invaded later. The brutal period was from 1937 to 1938 which was named the Yezhov Phenomenon, after Nikolai Yezhov, head of the secret police. It was during this time that he sent 14 million, possibly closer to 20 million, people to the Gulag. Anyone who thought independently or had a will of their own was sent to the Gulag.
His Cult Of Personality
Stalin went to great lengths to enforce a cult of personality, and brainwash as many people as possible to loving him. He would be praised with any success, and people would stand up and applaud whenever his name was mentioned. Stalin created a cult of personality to stop any anti-Stalinist movements from forming to try and depose him. If people couldn’t even mutter a comment contrary to what was politically correct without being kidnapped, it would be hard for any counter movements to form. The press painted Stalin as an almost god like figure, and referred to him as the Father of Nations. The presses aim was to take traditions from Christianity and associate them with Stalin, to shift devotion from Jesus to him. Instead of priests being known as father, he was painted as the father of the country.
He Tried To Create A Monkey-Warrior
Stalin ordered one of his most respected scientists, Ilya Ivanov, to create a half human, half ape hybrid. He wanted to create a soldier with superior strength, and pain tolerance than a human one, but also dumb enough to be easily controlled. Ilya attempted to breed the humanzee but unfortunately it failed, and he was unable to create a manpanzee. Ivanov attempted to create one through artificial insemination. He took the sperm of male volunteers, but failed to impregnate a single chimp. Unfortunately Joseph Stalin never got his chuman.
His Upbringing Was Harsh
The childhood of Joseph Stalin, was a brutal, and religious one. His father was abusive, and would beat him, where as his mother was doting, and deeply religious. He deeply loved his mother, and deeply hated his father, his upbringing was similar to Hitler in that way. His mother sent him to a religious school in the hopes that he would become a priest, and escape the abject poverty they were forced to live in.
Purge Of Intelligentsia, 1920-1940
For 20 years anyone considered to be an intellectual was sent to prison if they didn’t please Joseph Stalin. Poets, playwrights, and other artists were sent to prison for creating anything that wasn’t communist propaganda. Mathematicians, scientists, and engineers were sent for not being able to make progress as quickly as he would have liked. He ended up sending 2000 intellectuals to these prison camps, and 1,500 of them died. Weathermen would be sent for inaccurately predicting the weather. Anyone with a dissenting opinion was sent to be worked almost to death, and often to their death.
The Iron Curtain
The Iron Curtain, was the name for the border, dividing Europe in half, between NATO States, and the Soviet Union, as well as the States under it’s control. Joseph Stalin forced countries on his side of the border to have communist governments, whether they wanted to or not, and didn’t respect their right to self determination. The Iron curtain was symbolised by the Berlin Wall, which split Germany in half, until it was torn down. The Iron Curtain referred not only to the physical border dividing them, but also to the metaphysical, ideological border dividing them. At some parts it was simply a chain link fence, at other parts it was a heavily guarded wall, which you could only approach with the proper identification.
The Holodomor was the intentional starvation of the Ukraine by Joseph Stalin. This genocide resulted in the deaths of 7.5 million ethnic Ukrainians. He stole food which the Ukrainians had grown themselves and distributed it to people in other parts of the country. This led to millions of people starving to death, and thousands turning to cannibalism. Propaganda convinced people that the famine was natural, and not planned by Joseph Stalin. Ukraine and 16 other countries now recognise it as a genocide. Why did Stalin so mercilessly kill the Ukrainian people like this when Ukraine was considered the breadbasket of the country? The Ukrainians wanted independence from the Soviet Union, consequently Stalin decided to crush their spirits.