was born on December 21, 1879, in Gori, a town near Tbilisi. His real name was Iosif Vissarionovich Djugashvili.
But, in 1913, he changed it to Stalin, which meant ďman of
steelĒ in Russian. Not much
is known about Stalinís childhood.
His father was an unsuccessful village shoemaker.
He is said to have been a drunkard who was mean to Stalin.
Stalin grew up as an only child.
Stalin caught smallpox around the age of 7, and the sickness marked
his face for life. In 1888,
Stalinís mother sent him to a little church school in Gori.
He spent 5 years there, and was a very smart kid.
Then he got a scholarship at the religious seminary in Tbilisi.
He entered in 1894 to study for the priesthood in the Georgian
After Stalin left the seminary, he got a job as a clerk at the
Tbilisi Geophysical Observatory. In
a year, he began his career as an active revolutionist.
In 1900, Stalin helped
organize a small May Day protest near Tbilisi.
This protested working conditions.
In 1902, Stalin was arrested and put into jail for his
revolutionary activities. In
1903, he was transferred from jail and put into exile in Siberia.
However, he escaped from Siberia in January, 1904.
He returned to Tbilisi and joined the Bolsheviks.
Stalin and Vladimir Lenin met in Finland in 1905.
Most of the time between 1906 and 1917, he was either in jail or
in exile. And in 1917, the
Bolsheviks took over Russia, which was called the October Revolution.
Lenin became head of the new government after the revolution and
named Stalin commissar of nationalities.
Within a few months, opposition of this new government grew in
parts of the country. Soon
this turned into a civil war.
The Bolsheviks won the war in 1920.
They began to re-build to country because of the war.
But while this was happening, Stalin was creating a plan that not
even Lenin knew about. But by
the end of 1922, Lenin was getting pretty uneasy by Stalinís rise to
power. Before Lenin was
attacked by a series of strokes, he wrote a note saying that Stalin must
be removed from office. But,
because of his illness, Lenin couldnít remove Stalin.
Lenin died in 1924. The
leading Bolsheviks finally discovered Leninís note, but they simply
ignored it. And Stalin
continued destroying his opponents. In December, 1929, Stalin became the dictator of Russia.
In 1929, Stalin began to seize control of agriculture.
He ended private farming and
transferred the control of farms, farm equipment, and livestock to the
government. But the farmers
protested his order and destroyed about half of the U.S.S.Rís livestock
and much of its produce.
By the late 1930ís, Hitler was ready to conquer Europe.
And in 1939, the U.S.S.R and Germany signed a treaty agreeing not
to go to war to each other. Stalin
and Hitler also planned to divide
Poland between themselves. Germany
quickly conquered western Poland, and the Soviet Union siezed the eastern
side. Germany and the Soviets
signed another treaty setting the borders for the division of Poland.
In March, 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Stalin
agreed that the U.S., the U.K. and the U.S.S.R. would work together
nonstop until Germany was defeated.
Early in 1953, Stalin prepared to replace the top men in the Soviet government. Apparently he was planning a great purge. Then on March 4, 1953, the Central Committee of the Communist Party announced that Stalin had suffered a brain hemorrhage on March 1. Stalin died on March 5, 1953.
Web Sites & Other Media
Thompson, Carol L. "Stalin, Joseph," The World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Chicago: World Book Inc., 1998.
"Stalin, Joseph," World Book Online Americas Edition,
Photograph of Joseph Stalin from "ArtToday.com" <http://members.clipart.com/en/index> (2003).
All other images from "Microsoft Office Design Gallery Live" <http://dgl.microsoft.com/?CAG=1> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (December-April, 2003).
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