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24 avril 2012 2 24 /04 /avril /2012 03:40

Joseph Stalin

Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин; born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, Russian: Иосиф Виссарионович Джугашвили; 18 December 1878[1] – 5 March 1953) was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. Sony VGN-CR42Z/R batterySony VPCB11X9E/B Battery

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He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about theOctober Revolution in Russia in 1917 and later held the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. Sony VPCB11V9E/B Battery

While the office of the General Secretary was officially elective and not initially regarded as the top position in the Soviet state, Stalin managed to use it to consolidate more and more power in his hands after the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924 and gradually put down all opposition groups within the Communist Party. Sony VPCF11C5E Battery

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This included Leon Trotsky, a socialist theorist and the principal critic of Stalin among the early Soviet leaders, who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929. Whereas Trotsky was an exponent of permanent revolution, it was Stalin's concept of socialism in one country that became the primary focus of Soviet politics. Sony vaio VPCF11M1E/H battery


In 1928, Stalin replaced the New Economic Policy of the 1920s with a highly-centralisedcommand economy and Five-Year Plans that launched a period of rapid industrialization and economic collectivization in the countryside. As a result, the USSR was transformed from a largely agrarian society into a great industrial power, the basis for its emergence as the world's second largest economy after World War II.[2] Sony vaio VPCF12F4E/H battery

As a result of the rapid economic, social and political changes of the Stalinist era, millions of people were sent topenal labor camps,[3] and millions were deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union.[3] Sony vaio VPCF12M1E/H battery

The initial upheaval in the agricultural sector disrupted food production in the early 1930s and contributed to the catastrophic Soviet famine of 1932–1933. In 1937–38, a campaign against alleged enemies of the Stalinist regime culminated in the Great Purge, a period of mass repression in which hundreds of thousands of people were executed, including Red Army leaders convicted of participating in plots to overthrow the Soviet government.[4]Sony vaio VPCF12S1E battery


In August 1939, after the failure to establish an Anglo-Franco-Soviet Alliance,[5] Stalin's USSR entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that divided their spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. This pact allowed the Soviet Union to regain some of the former territories of the Russian Empire in Poland, Finland, the Baltics, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina during the early period of World War II. Sony vaio VPCF12S1E/B battery

After Germany violated the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941 and opening an Eastern Front, the Soviet Union joined the Allies. Despite heavy human and territorial losses in the initial period of war, the Soviet Union managed to stop the Axis advance in the battles of Moscow and Stalingrad. Sony vaio VPCF12Z1E/BI battery

Eventually, the Red Army drove through Eastern Europe in 1944–45 and captured Berlin in May 1945. Having played the decisive role in the Allied victory against Germany,[6][7] the USSR emerged as a recognized superpower after the war.[8]Sony vaio VPCF13E4E battery


Stalin headed the Soviet delegations at the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences, which drew the map of post-war Europe. Communist-dominated leftist governments loyal to the Soviet Union were installed in the Eastern Bloc satellite states as the USSR entered a struggle for global dominance, known as the Cold War, with the United States and NATO. Sony vaio VPCF13E8E/H battery

In Asia, Stalin established good relations with Mao Zedong in China and Kim Il-sung in North Korea, and the Stalin-era Soviet Union in various ways served as a model for the newly-formed People's Republic of China and Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Sony vaio VPCF13J0E/H battery


In power until his death in 1953, Stalin led the USSR during the period of post-war reconstruction, marked by the dominance of Stalinist architecture. The successful development of the Soviet nuclear program enabled the country to become the world's second nuclear weapons power. Sony vaio VPCF13L8E/H battery

The Soviet space program was started as spin-off of the nuclear project. In his last years, Stalin also launched the so-called Great Construction Projects of Communism and the Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature. Sony vaio VPCF13M1E/B battery


Following his death, Stalin and his regime have been condemned on numerous occasions, the most significant of these the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956, when Stalin's successor Nikita Khrushchev denounced his legacyand drove the process of de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union. Modern views of Stalin in the Russian Federation remain mixed, with some viewing him as a tyrant,[9] others as a capable leader.[10Sony vaio VPCF13M1E/H battery


Stalin was born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili (Georgian: იოსებ ბესარიონის ძე ჯუღაშვილი) on 18 December 1878[1] to Ketevan Geladze and Besarion Jughashvili, a cobbler, in the town of Gori, Georgia. At the age of seven, he contracted smallpox, which permanently scarred his face. At ten, he began attending church school where the Georgian children were forced to speak Russian. Sony vaio VPCF13S1E/B battery

By the age of twelve, two horse-drawn carriage accidents left his left arm permanently damaged. At sixteen, he received a scholarship to a Georgian Orthodox seminary, where he rebelled against the imperialist and religious order. Sony vaio VPCF13S8E battery

Though he performed well there, he was expelled in 1899 after missing his final exams. The seminary's records suggest that he was unable to pay his tuition fees.[11] The official Soviet version states that he was expelled for reading illegal literature and for forming a Social Democratic study circle.[12]Sony vaio VPCF13S8E/B battery


Shortly after leaving the seminary, Stalin discovered the writings of Vladimir Lenin and decided to become a Marxist revolutionary, eventually joining Lenin's Bolsheviks in 1903. After being marked by the Okhranka (the Tsar's secret police) for his activities, he became a full-time revolutionary and outlaw. He became one of the Bolsheviks' chief operatives in the Caucasus, organizing paramilitaries, Sony vaio VPCF13V5002B battery

inciting strikes, spreading propaganda and raising money through bank robberies, ransom kidnappings and extortion. The infamy he gained from being associated with organizing the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, which resulted in several deaths and the stealing of 250,000 rubles (about US $3.4 million in modern terms), would trouble him politically for years later.[13]Sony vaio VPCF13Z1E/B battery

In the summer of 1906, Stalin married Ekaterina Svanidze, who later gave birth to Stalin's first child, Yakov. A year later she died of typhus in Baku. Sony VPCCA2S1E Battery


Stalin was captured and sent to Siberia seven times, but escaped most of these exiles. He eventually adopted the name "Stalin" from the Russian word for steel and used it as an alias and pen name in his published works. Sony VPCCA2S1E/D.G4 Battery


During his last exile, Stalin was conscripted by the Russian army to fight in World War I, but was deemed unfit for service because of his damaged left arm.[14]Sony VPCCA2S1E/L Battery


Revolution, Civil War, and Polish-Soviet War

After returning to Petrograd from exile, Stalin ousted Vyacheslav Molotov and Alexander Shlyapnikov as editors of Pravda. He then took a position in favor of supporting Alexander Kerensky's provisional government. However, after Lenin prevailed at the April 1917 Communist Party conference, Stalin and Pravda shifted to opposing the provisional government. Sony VPCCA2S1E/R Battery

At this conference, Stalin was elected to the Bolshevik Central Committee. In October 1917, the Bolshevik Central Committee voted in favor of an insurrection. Sony VPCCB2S1E Battery

On 7 November, from the Smolny Institute, Trotsky, Lenin and the rest of the Central Committee coordinated the insurrection against Kerensky in the 1917 October Revolution. By 8 November, the Bolsheviks had stormed the Winter Palace and Kerensky's Cabinet had been arrested. Sony VPCCA3S1E Battery

Upon seizing Petrograd, Stalin was appointed People's Commissar for Nationalities' Affairs. Thereafter, civil war broke out in Russia, pitting Lenin's Red Army against theWhite Army, a loose alliance of anti-Bolshevik forces. Lenin formed a five-memberPolitburo, which included Stalin and Trotsky. Sony VPCCB2S1E/B Battery

In May 1918, Lenin dispatched Stalin to the city of Tsaritsyn. Through his new allies, Kliment Voroshilov and Semyon Budyonny, Stalin imposed his influence on the military.[citation needed]Sony VPCCB2S1E/W Battery

Stalin challenged many of the decisions of Trotsky, ordered the killings of many counter-revolutionaries and former Tsarist officers in the Red Army[citation needed] Sony VPCCB3S1E Battery

and burned villages in order to intimidate the peasantry into submission and discourage bandit raids on food shipments.[citation needed] In May 1919, in order to stem mass desertions on the Western front, Stalin had deserters and renegades publicly executed as traitors.[16]Sony VPCCB3S1E/B Battery



After the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War, Poland invaded Ukraine, starting what became known as the Polish–Soviet War, but the Bolsheviks pushed them back into Poland. As commander of the southern front, Stalin was determined to take the Polish-held city of Lviv. This conflicted with the general strategy set by Lenin and Trotsky, which focused on the capture of Warsaw further north. Sony VPCCB3S1E/W Battery


Trotsky's forces engaged those of Polish commander Władysław Sikorski at the Battle of Warsaw, but Stalin refused to redirect his troops from Lviv to help. Sony VPCCB4Z1E/B Battery

Consequently, the battles for both Lviv and Warsaw were lost, and Stalin was blamed. In August 1920, Stalin returned to Moscow, where he defended himself and resigned his military commamd. At the Ninth Party Conference on 22 September, Trotsky openly criticized Stalin's Sony VPCCB4Z1E Battery


Rise to power

Stalin played a decisive role in engineering the 1921 Red Army invasion of Georgia, following which he adopted particularly hardline, centralist policies towards Soviet Georgia. This led to the Georgian Affair of 1922 and other repressions.[17][18] Stalin's actions in Georgia created a rift with Lenin, who believed that all the Soviet states should stand equal. Sony VPCCB4Z1E/W Battery


Lenin nonetheless considered Stalin to be a loyal ally, and when he got mired in squabbles with Trotsky and other politicians, he decided to give Stalin more power. With the help ofLev Kamenev, Lenin had Stalin appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1922.[19] This post enabled Stalin to appoint many of his allies to government positions. Sony VPCCB4Z1E/W.G4 Battery


Lenin suffered a stroke in 1922, forcing him into semi-retirement in Gorki. Stalin visited him often, acting as his intermediary with the outside world,[19] but the pair quarreled and their relationship deteriorated.[19] Lenin dictated increasingly disparaging notes on Stalin in what would become his testament. Sony vaio VPCCW2S1E/B Battery

He criticized Stalin's political views, rude manners, and excessive power and ambition, and suggested that Stalin should be removed from the position of General Secretary.[19] During Lenin's semi-retirement, Stalin forged an alliance with Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev against Leon Trotsky. These allies prevented Lenin's Testament from being revealed to the Twelfth Party Congress in April 1923.[19]Sony vaio VPCCW2S1E/L Battery


Lenin died of a heart attack on 21 January 1924. Again, Kamenev and Zinoviev helped to keep Lenin's Testament from going public. Thereafter, Stalin's disputes with Kamenev and Zinoviev intensified. Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev grew increasingly isolated, and were eventually ejected from the Central Committee and then from the Party itself.[19] Kamenev and Zinoviev were later readmitted, but Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union. Sony vaio VPCCW2S1E/P Battery


The Northern Expedition in China became a point of contention over foreign policy by Stalin and Trotsky. Stalin followed a policy which ignored communist ideology. He told the Chinese Communist Party to stop their vocal advocacy for the lower classes and follow the Kuomintang's orders. Sony vaio VPCCW2S1E/R Battery

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Stalin believed that the KMT bourgeoisie would defeat the western imperialists in China and complete the revolution. Trotsky wanted the Communist party to complete an orthodox proletarian revolution and opposed the KMT. Stalin funded the KMT during the expedition.[20] Dell Inspiron M5030 battery


Stalin countered Trotsky's criticism by making a secret speech in which he said that Chiang's right-wing Kuomintang were the only ones capable of defeating the imperialists, that Chiang Kai-shek had funding from the rich merchants, and that his forces were to be utilized until squeezed for all usefulness like a lemon before being discarded.[citation needed] Sony VGN-FW31ZJ battery

However, Chiang quickly reversed the tables in theShanghai massacre of 1927 by massacring the membership of the Communist party in Shanghai midway through the Northern Expedition.[21][22]  Sony VGN-FZ38 battery

Stalin pushed for more rapid industrialization and central control of the economy, contravening Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP). At the end of 1927, a critical shortfall in grain supplies prompted Stalin to push for the collectivisation of agriculture and order the seizure of grain hoards from kulak farmers.[19][23] HP Pavilion dv7-4150ea Battery

Nikolai Bukharin and Premier Alexey Rykov opposed these policies and advocated a return to the NEP, but the rest of the Politburo sided with Stalin and removed Bukharin from the Politburo in November 1929. Rykov was fired the following year and was replaced by Vyacheslav Molotov on Stalin's recommendation. HP Pavilion dv7-4170eo Battery


In December 1934, the popular Communist Party boss in Leningrad, Sergei Kirov, was murdered. Stalin blamed Kirov's murder on a vast conspiracy of saboteurs and Trotskyites. He launched a massive purge against these internal enemies, putting them on rigged show trials and then having them executed or imprisoned in Siberian Gulags. HP Pavilion dv7-4180ea Battery

Among these victims were old enemies, including Bukharin, Rykov, Kamenev and Zinoviev. Stalin made the loyal Nikolai Yezhov head of the secret police, the NKVD, and had him purge the NKVD of veteran Bolsheviks. With no serious opponents left in power, Stalin ended the purges in 1938. Yezhov was held to blame for the excesses of the Great Terror. He was dismissed from office and later executed. HP Pavilion dv7-6000 Battery


Changes to Soviet society, 1927–1939

Stalin vastly increased the scope and power of the state's secret police and intelligence agencies. Under his guiding hand, Soviet intelligence forces began to set up intelligence networks in most of the major nations of the world, including Germany (the famous Rote Kappelle spy ring), Great Britain, HP Pavilion dv7-6000sg Battery

France, Japan, and the United States. Stalin made considerable use of the Communist International movement in order to infiltrate agents and to ensure that foreign Communist parties remained pro-Soviet and pro-Stalin. HP Pavilion dv7-6001sg Battery


One of the best examples of Stalin's ability to integrate secret police and foreign espionage came in 1940, when he gave approval to the secret police to have Leon Trotsky assassinated in Mexico.[24]HP Pavilion dv7-6001xx Battery


Stalin created a cult of personality in the Soviet Union around both himself and Lenin. Many personality cults in history have been frequently measured and compared to his. Numerous towns, villages and cities were renamed after the Soviet leader (see List of places named after Stalin) and the Stalin Prize and Stalin Peace Prize were named in his honor. HP Pavilion dv7-6002sa Battery

He accepted grandiloquent titles (e.g., "Coryphaeus of Science," "Father of Nations," "Brilliant Genius of Humanity," "Great Architect of Communism," "Gardener of Human Happiness," and others), and helped rewrite Soviet history to provide himself a more significant role in the revolution of 1917. At the same time, according to Nikita Khrushchev, HP Pavilion dv7-6004ea Battery

he insisted that he be remembered for "the extraordinary modesty characteristic of truly great people." Statues of Stalin depict him at a height and build approximating the very tall Tsar Alexander III, while photographic evidence suggests he was between 5 ft 5 in and 5 ft 6 in (165–168 cm).[25]HP Pavilion dv7-6004tx Battery


Trotsky criticized the cult of personality built around Stalin. It reached new levels during World War II, with Stalin's name included in the new Soviet national anthem. Stalin became the focus of literature, poetry, music, paintings and film that exhibited fawning devotion. HP Pavilion dv7-6005sg Battery

He was sometimes credited with almost god-like qualities, including the suggestion that he single-handedly won the Second World War. The degree to which Stalin himself relished the cult surrounding him is debatable. The Finnish communist Arvo Tuominen records a sarcastic toast proposed by Stalin at a New Year Party in 1935 in which he said "Comrades! I want to propose a toast to our patriarch, HP Pavilion dv7-6005tx Battery

life and sun, liberator of nations, architect of socialism [he rattled off all the appellations applied to him in those days] – Josef Vissarionovich Stalin, and I hope this is the first and last speech made to that genius this evening."[26]HP Pavilion dv7-6006sg Battery


In a 1956 speech, Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's cult of personality with these words: "It is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics akin to those of a god."[citation needed]HP Pavilion dv7-6007sg Battery



Stalin, as head of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, consolidated near-absolute power in the 1930s with a Great Purge of the party that was justified as an attempt to expel "opportunists" and "counter-revolutionary infiltrators".[27][28]HP Pavilion dv7-6008eg Battery

 Those targeted by the purge were often expelled from the party, however more severe measures ranged from banishment to the Gulag labor camps to execution after trials held by NKVD troikas.[27][29][30]HP Pavilion dv7-6008sg Battery


In the 1930s, Stalin apparently became increasingly worried about the growing popularity of the Leningrad party boss Sergei Kirov. At the 1934 Party Congress where the vote for the new Central Committee was held, Kirov received only three negative votes, the fewest of any candidate, while Stalin received 1,108 negative votes.[31] HP Pavilion dv7-6011sg Battery

After the assassination of Kirov, which may have been orchestrated by Stalin, Stalin invented a detailed scheme to implicate opposition leaders in the murder, including Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev.[32]The investigations and trials expanded.[33] Stalin passed a new law on "terrorist organizations and terrorist acts" that were to be investigated for no more than ten days, with no prosecution, defense attorneys or appeals, followed by a sentence to be executed "quickly."[34]HP Pavilion dv7-6011tx Battery


Thereafter, several trials known as the Moscow Trials were held, but the procedures were replicated throughout the country. Article 58 of the legal code, which listed prohibited anti-Soviet activities as counterrevolutionary crime, was applied in the broadest manner.[35]HP Pavilion dv7-6012eg Battery

The flimsiest pretexts were often enough to brand someone an "enemy of the people", starting the cycle of public persecution and abuse, often proceeding to interrogation, torture and deportation, if not death. The Russian word troika gained a new meaning: a quick, simplified trial by a committee of three subordinated to NKVD -NKVD troika- with sentencing carried out within 24 hours.[34] HP Pavilion dv7-6012sg Battery

Stalin's hand-picked executioner, Vasili Blokhin, was entrusted with carrying out some of the high profile executions in this period.[36HP Pavilion dv7-6012tx Battery


Many military leaders were convicted of treason and a large-scale purge of Red Armyofficers followed.[38] The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a "river of blood" separated Stalin's regime from that of Lenin.[39] In August 1940, Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico, where he had lived in exile since January 1937; this eliminated the last of Stalin's opponents among the former Party leadership.[40]HP Pavilion dv7-6013eg Battery

With the exception of Vladimir Milyutin (who died in prison in 1937) and Joseph Stalin himself, all of the members of Lenin's original cabinet who had not succumbed to death from natural causes before the purge were executed. HP Pavilion dv7-6013tx Battery

Mass operations of the NKVD also targeted "national contingents" (foreign ethnicities) such as Poles, ethnic Germans, Koreans, etc. A total of 350,000 (144,000 of them Poles) were arrested and 247,157 (110,000 Poles) were executed.[23] Many Americans who had emigrated to the Soviet Union during the worst of the Great Depression were executed; others were sent to prison camps or gulags.[41]HP Pavilion dv7-6014tx Battery

 Concurrent with the purges, efforts were made to rewrite the history in Soviet textbooks and other propaganda materials. Notable people executed by NKVD were removed from the texts and photographs as though they never existed. Gradually, the history of revolution was transformed to a story about just two key characters: Lenin and Stalin. HP Pavilion dv7-6015eg Battery


In light of revelations from Soviet archives, historians now estimate that nearly 700,000 people (353,074 in 1937 and 328,612 in 1938) were executed in the course of the terror,[42] with the great mass of victims merely "ordinary" Soviet citizens: HP Pavilion dv7-6015sg Battery

workers, peasants, homemakers, teachers, priests, musicians, soldiers, pensioners, ballerinas, beggars.[43][44] Many of the executed were interred in mass graves, with some of the major killing and burial sites being Bykivnia, Kurapaty and Butovo.[45]HP Pavilion dv7-6025eg Battery


Some Western experts believe the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated, incomplete or unreliable.[46][47][48][49][50]HP Pavilion dv7-6055ef Battery


Stalin personally signed 357 proscription lists in 1937 and 1938 that condemned to execution some 40,000 people, and about 90% of these are confirmed to have been shot.[51] At the time, while reviewing one such list, Stalin reportedly muttered to no one in particular: HP Pavilion dv7-6055sf Battery

"Who's going to remember all this riff-raff in ten or twenty years time? No one. Who remembers the names now of the boyars Ivan the Terrible got rid of? No one."[52] In addition, Stalin dispatched a contingent of NKVD operatives to Mongolia, established a Mongolian version of the NKVD troika, and unleashed a bloody purge in which tens of thousands were executed as "Japanese Spies." Mongolian ruler Khorloogiin Choibalsanclosely followed Stalin's lead.[53]HP Pavilion dv7-6065ef Battery


During the 1930s and 1940s, the Soviet leadership sent NKVD squads into other countries to murder defectors and other opponents of the Soviet regime. Victims of such plots included Yevhen Konovalets, Ignace Poretsky, Rudolf Klement, Alexander Kutepov,Evgeny Miller, Leon Trotsky and the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) leadership in Catalonia (e.g., Andreu Nin).[54]HP Pavilion dv7-6065sf Battery


Population transfer

Main article: Population transfer in the Soviet Union

Shortly before, during and immediately after World War II, Stalin conducted a series ofdeportations on a huge scale that profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million[55][56] were deported to Siberiaand the Central Asian republics. By some estimates up to 43% of the resettled population died of diseases and malnutrition.[57]HP Pavilion dv7-6070sf Battery


Separatism, resistance to Soviet rule and collaboration with the invading Germans were cited as the official reasons for the deportations, rightly or wrongly. Individual circumstances of those spending time in German-occupied territories were not examined.[58]HP Pavilion dv7-6081eg Battery

 After the brief Nazi occupation of the Caucasus, the entire population of five of the small highland peoples and the Crimean Tatars – more than a million people in total – were deported without notice or any opportunity to take their possessions.[58]HP Pavilion dv7-6090sf Battery


As a result of Stalin's lack of trust in the loyalty of particular ethnicities, ethnic groups such as the Soviet Koreans, the Volga Germans, the Crimean Tatars, the Chechens, and manyPoles were forcibly moved out of strategic areas and relocated to places in the central Soviet Union, especially Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia. By some estimates, hundreds of thousands of deportees may have died en route.[55]HP Pavilion dv7-6097ef Battery

According to official Soviet estimates, more than 14 million people passed through theGulag from 1929 to 1953, with a further 7 to 8 million being deported and exiled to remote areas of the Soviet Union (including the entire nationalities in several cases).[59]HP Business Notebook 2400 Battery


In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev condemned the deportations as a violation ofLeninism, and reversed most of them, although it was not until 1991 that the Tatars,Meskhetians and Volga Germans were allowed to return en masse to their homelands. HP Business Notebook 2510p Battery

The deportations had a profound effect on the peoples of the Soviet Union. The memory of the deportations has played a major part in the separatist movements in the Baltic States,Tatarstan and Chechnya, even today. HP Business Notebook 4200 Battery



Main article: Collectivization in the Soviet Union

Stalin's regime moved to force collectivization of agriculture. This was intended to increase agricultural output from large-scale mechanized farms, to bring the peasantry under more direct political control, and to make tax collection more efficient. HP Business Notebook 7400 Battery

Collectivization brought social change on a scale not seen since the abolition of serfdom in 1861 and alienation from control of the land and its produce. Collectivization also meant a drastic drop in living standards for many peasants, and it faced violent reaction among the peasantry. HP Business Notebook 8200 Battery


In the first years of collectivization it was estimated that industrial production would rise by 200% and agricultural production by 50%,[60] but these expectations were not realized. Stalin blamed this unanticipated failure on kulaks (rich peasants), who resisted collectivization. However, kulaks proper made up only 4% of the peasant population; HP Business Notebook 8400 Battery

the "kulaks" that Stalin targeted included the slightly better-off peasants who took the brunt of violence from the OGPU and the Komsomol. These peasants were about 60% of the population. HP Business Notebook 9400 Battery

 Those officially defined as "kulaks," "kulak helpers," and later "ex-kulaks" were to be shot, placed into Gulag labor camps, or deported to remote areas of the country, depending on the charge. Archival data indicates that 20,201 people were executed during 1930, the year of Dekulakization.[53]HP Business Notebook 8710p Battery


The two-stage progress of collectivization—interrupted for a year by Stalin's famous editorials, "Dizzy with success"[61] and "Reply to Collective Farm Comrades"[62]—is a prime example of his capacity for tactical political withdrawal followed by intensification of initial strategies. HP Business Notebook NC2400 Battery



affected other parts of the USSR. The death toll from famine in the Soviet Union at this time is estimated at between 5 and 10 million people.[63] The worst crop failure of late tsarist Russia, in 1892, had caused 375,000 to 400,000 deaths.[64] HP Business Notebook NC4200 Battery

Most modern scholars agree that the famine was caused by the policies of the government of the Soviet Unionunder Stalin, rather than by natural reasons.[65] According to Alan Bullock, "the total Soviet grain crop was no worse than that of 1931 ... it was not a crop failure but the excessive demands of the state, HP Business Notebook NC4400 Battery

ruthlessly enforced, that cost the lives of as many as five million Ukrainian peasants." Stalin refused to release large grain reserves that could have alleviated the famine, while continuing to export grain; he was convinced that the Ukrainian peasants had hidden grain away and strictly enforced draconian new collective-farm theft laws in response.[66][67] HP Business Notebook NC8200 Battery

Other historians hold it was largely the insufficient harvests of 1931 and 1932 caused by a variety of natural disasters that resulted in famine, with the successful harvest of 1933 ending the famine.[68] Soviet and other historians have argued that the rapid collectivization of agriculture was necessary in order to achieve an equally rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union and ultimately win World War II. HP Business Notebook NC8230 Battery

Alec Noveclaims that the Soviet Union industrialized in spite of, rather than because of, its collectivized agriculture.[citation needed]HP Business Notebook NC8430 Battery


The USSR also experienced a major famine in 1947 as a result of war damage and severe droughts, but economist Michael Ellman argues that it could have been prevented if the government had not mismanaged its grain reserves. The famine cost an estimated 1 to 1.5 million lives as well as secondary population losses due to reduced fertility.[69]HP Business Notebook NX4800 Battery


Ukrainian famine

Main article: Holodomor

The Holodomor famine is sometimes referred to as the Ukrainian Genocide, implying it was engineered by the Soviet government, specifically targeting the Ukrainian people to destroy the Ukrainian nation as a political factor and social entity.[70] HP Business Notebook NX7400 Battery

While historians continue to disagree whether the policies that led to Holodomor fall under the legal definition of genocide, twenty-six countries have officially recognized the Holodomor as such. On 28 November 2006, the Ukrainian Parliament approved a bill declaring the Soviet-era forced famine an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.[71]HP Business Notebook NX8200 Battery

 Professor Michael Ellman concludes that Ukrainians were victims of genocide in 1932–33 according to a more relaxed definition that is favored by some specialists in the field of genocide studies. He asserts that Soviet policies greatly exacerbated the famine's death toll. HP Business Notebook NX8220 Battery

HP Business Notebook NX8420 Battery

Although 1.8 million tonnes of grain were exported during the height of the starvation—enough to feed 5 million people for one year-the use of torture and execution to extract grain under the Law of Spikelets, the use of force to prevent starving peasants from fleeing the worst-affected areas, and the refusal to import grain or secure international humanitarian aid to alleviate conditions led to incalcuable human suffering in the Ukraine. HP Business Notebook NX9420 Battery

It would appear that Stalin intended to use the starvation as a cheap and efficient means (as opposed to deportations and shootings) to kill off those deemed to be "counterrevolutionaries," "idlers," and "thieves," but not to annihilate the Ukrainian peasantry as a whole. Ellman also claims that, while this was not the only Soviet genocide (e.g. The Polish operation of the NKVD), it was the worst in terms of mass casualties.[51]HP Business Notebook NX9500 Battery

  Current estimates on the total number of casualties within Soviet Ukraine range mostly from 2.2 million[72][73] to 4 to 5 million.[74][75][76]

A Ukrainian court found Josef Stalin and other leaders of the former Soviet Union guilty of genocide by "organizing mass famine in Ukraine in 1932–1933" in January 2010. However, the court "dropped criminal proceedings over the suspects' deaths".[77][78]HP Business Notebook TC4200 Battery



The Russian Civil War and wartime communism had a devastating effect on the country's economy. Industrial output in 1922 was 13% of that in 1914. A recovery followed under theNew Economic Policy, which allowed a degree of market flexibility within the context of socialism. HP Business Notebook TC4400 Battery

Under Stalin's direction, this was replaced by a system of centrally-ordained "Five-Year Plans" in the late 1920s. These called for a highly ambitious program of state-guided crash industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture. HP Business NX9100 Battery

With seed capital unavailable because of international reaction to Communist policies, littleinternational trade, and virtually no modern infrastructure, Stalin's government financed industrialization both by restraining consumption on the part of ordinary Soviet citizens to ensure that capital went for re-investment into industry, and by ruthless extraction of wealth from the kulaks. HP Business NX9600 Battery

In 1933 workers' real earnings sank to about one-tenth of the 1926 level.[citation needed]Common and political prisoners in labor camps were forced to perform unpaid labor, and communists and Komsomol members were frequently "mobilized" for various construction projects. HP NC6110 Battery

The Soviet Union used numerous foreign experts to design new factories, supervise construction, instruct workers and improve manufacturing processes. The most notable foreign contractor was Albert Kahn's firm that designed and built 521 factories between 1930 and 1932. As a rule, factories were supplied with imported equipment. HP NC6120 Battery


In spite of early breakdowns and failures, the first two Five-Year Plans achieved rapid industrialization from a very low economic base. While it is generally agreed that the Soviet Union achieved significant levels of economic growth under Stalin, the precise rate of growth is disputed. HP NC6140 Battery

It is not disputed, however, that these gains were accomplished at the cost of millions of lives. Official Soviet estimates stated the annual rate of growth at 13.9%; Russian and Western estimates gave lower figures of 5.8% and even 2.9%. Indeed, one estimate is that Soviet growth became temporarily much higher after Stalin's death.[79]HP NX5100 Battery


According to Robert Lewis, the Five-Year Plan substantially helped to modernize the previously backward Soviet economy. New products were developed, and the scale and efficiency of existing production greatly increased. Some innovations were based on indigenous technical developments, others on imported foreign technology.[80] Despite its costs, the industrialization effort allowed the Soviet Union to fight, and ultimately win, World War II. HP NX6110 Battery



Main articles: Science and technology in the Soviet Union and Suppressed research in the Soviet Union

Science in the Soviet Union was under strict ideological control by Stalin and his government, along with art and literature. There was significant progress in "ideologically safe" domains, owing to the free Soviet education system and state-financed research. HP NX6120 Battery

However, the most notable legacy during Stalin's time was his public endorsement of the Agronomist Trofim Lysenko, who rejected Mendelian genetics as "bourgeois pseudoscience" HP NX6125 Battery

and instead supported hybridization theories that caused widespread agricultural destruction and major setbacks in Soviet knowledge in biology. Although many scientists opposed his views, those who publicly came out were imprisoned and denounced. Some areas of physics were criticized.[81][82]HP Omnibook 4100 Battery



Under the Soviet government people benefited from some social liberalization. Girls were given an adequate, equal education and women had equal rights in employment,[23][page needed] improving lives for women and families. Stalinist development also contributed to advances in health care, which significantly increased the lifespan and quality of life of the typical Soviet citizen.[23][page needed] HP Omnibook 6000 Battery

Stalin's policies granted the Soviet people universal access to healthcare and education, effectively creating the first generation free from the fear of typhus, cholera, andmalaria.[83][page needed] The occurrences of these diseases dropped to record low numbers, increasing life spans by decades.[83][page needed]HP Omnibook XE Battery


Soviet women under Stalin were the first generation of women able to give birth in the safety of a hospital with access to prenatal care.[83][page needed] Education was also an example of an increase in the standard of living after economic development. The generation born during Stalin's rule was the first near-universally literate generation. Millions benefited from mass literacy campaigns in the 1930s, and from workers training schemes.[84][page needed] HP Omnibook XE2 Battery

Engineers were sent abroad to learn industrial technology, and hundreds of foreign engineers were brought to Russia on contract.[83][page needed]Transport links were improved and many new railways built. Workers who exceeded their quotas, Stakhanovites, received many incentives for their work;[84][page needed] they could afford to buy the goods that were mass-produced by the rapidly expanding Soviet economy. HP Omnibook XE3 Battery


The increase in demand due to industrialization and the decrease in the workforce due to World War II and repressions generated a major expansion in job opportunities for the survivors, especially for women.[84][page needed]HP Omnibook XT1000 Battery



Main article: Socialist Realism

Although he was Georgian by birth, Stalin became a Russian nationalist[85] and significantly promoted Russian history, language, and Russian national heroes, particularly during the 1930s and 1940s. He held the Russians up as the elder brothers of the non-Russian minorities.[86]HP Omnibook XT1500 Battery


During Stalin's reign the official and long-lived style of Socialist Realism was established for painting, sculpture, music, drama and literature. Previously fashionable "revolutionary"expressionism, abstract art, and avant-garde experimentation were discouraged or denounced as "formalism".HP Pavilion DV1000 Battery


The degree of Stalin's personal involvement in general, and in specific instances, has been the subject of discussion.[citation needed] Stalin's favorite novel Pharaoh, shared similarities[citation needed] with Sergei Eisenstein's film, Ivan the Terrible, produced under Stalin's tutelage. HP Pavilion DV2000 Battery


In architecture, a Stalinist Empire Style (basically, updated neoclassicism on a very large scale, exemplified by the Seven Sisters of Moscow) replaced the constructivism of the 1920s. Stalin's rule had a largely disruptive effect on indigenous cultures within the Soviet Union, though the politics of Korenizatsiya and forced development were possibly beneficial to the integration of later generations of indigenous cultures. HP Pavilion DV2100 Battery



Main article: Religion in the Soviet Union

Stalin followed the position adopted by Lenin that religion was an opiate that needed to be removed in order to construct the ideal communist society. His government promotedatheism through special atheistic education in schools, anti-religious propaganda, HP Pavilion DV2200 Battery

the antireligious work of public institutions (Society of the Godless), discriminatory laws, and a terror campaign against religious believers. By the late 1930s it had become dangerous to be publicly associated with religion.[87]HP Pavilion DV2300 Battery

Stalin's role in the fortunes of the Russian Orthodox Church is complex. Continuous persecution in the 1930s resulted in its near-extinction as a public institution: by 1939, active parishes numbered in the low hundreds (down from 54,000 in 1917), HP Pavilion DV2400 Battery

many churches had been leveled, and tens of thousands of priests, monks and nuns were persecuted and killed. Over 100,000 were shot during the purges of 1937–1938.[88] During World War II, the Church was allowed a revival as a patriotic organization, HP Pavilion DV2500 Battery

and thousands of parishes were reactivated until a further round of suppression during Khrushchev's rule. The Russian Orthodox Church Synod's recognition of the Soviet government and of Stalin personally led to a schism with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. HP Pavilion DV2600 Battery

Just days before Stalin's death, certain religious sects were outlawed and persecuted. Many religions popular in the ethnic regions of the Soviet Union including the Roman Catholic Church (including the Eastern Catholic Churches), Baptists, HP Pavilion DV2700 Battery

Islam, Buddhism,Judaism, etc. underwent ordeals similar to the Orthodox churches in other parts: thousands of monks were persecuted, and hundreds of churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, sacred monuments, monasteries and other religious buildings were razed. HP Pavilion DV4 Battery

Stalin had a different policy outside the Soviet Union, he supported the Communist UyghurMuslim separatists under Ehmetjan Qasim in the Ili Rebellion against the Anti CommunistRepublic of China regime. He supplied weapons to the Uyghur Ili army and Red Army support against Chinese forces, and helped them establish the Second East Turkestan Republic of which Islam was the official state religion. HP Pavilion DV4T Battery


Main article: Stalinism

Stalin and his supporters have highlighted the notion that socialism can be built and consolidated by a country as underdeveloped as Russia during the 1920s. Indeed this might be the only means in which it could be built in a hostile environment.[89] HP Pavilion DV5 Battery

In 1933, Stalin put forward the theory of aggravation of the class struggle along with the development of socialism, arguing that the further the country would move forward, the more acute forms of struggle will be used by the doomed remnants of exploiter classes in their last desperate efforts – and that, therefore, political repression was necessary. HP Pavilion DV5T Battery


In 1936, Stalin announced that the society of the Soviet Union consisted of two non-antagonistic classes: workers and kolkhoz peasantry. These corresponded to the two different forms of property over the means of production that existed in the Soviet Union: state property (for the workers) and collective property (for the peasantry). HP Pavilion DV7T Battery

In addition to these, Stalin distinguished the stratum of intelligentsia. The concept of "non-antagonistic classes" was entirely new to Leninist theory. Among Stalin's contributions to Communist theoretical literature were "Dialectical and Historical Materialism," "Marxism and the National Question", "Trotskyism or Leninism", and "The Principles of Leninism." HP Pavilion DV4000 Battery


Calculating the number of victims

Before the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, researchers who attempted to count the number of people killed under Stalin's regime produced estimates ranging from 3 to 60 million.[90] After the Soviet Union dissolved, evidence from the Soviet archives also became available, HP Pavilion DV5000 Battery

containing official records of the execution of approximately 800,000 prisoners under Stalin for either political or criminal offenses, around 1.7 million deaths in the Gulags and some 390,000 deaths during kulak forced resettlement – with a total of about 3 million officially recorded victims in these categories.[91]HP Pavilion DV6100 Battery


The official Soviet archival records do not contain comprehensive figures for some categories of victims, such as those of ethnic deportations or of German population transfers in the aftermath of World War II.[92] Eric D. Weitz wrote, "By 1948, according toNicolas Werth, the mortality rate of the 600,000 people deported from the Caucasus between 1943 and 1944 had reached 25%."[93][94] HP Pavilion DV6300 Battery

Other notable exclusions from NKVDdata on repression deaths include the Katyn massacre, other killings in the newly occupied areas, and the mass shootings of Red Army per

sonnel (deserters and so-called deserters) in 1941. HP Pavilion DV6500t Battery

The Soviets executed 158,000 soldiers for desertion during the war,[95]and the "blocking detachments" of the NKVD shot thousands more.[96] Also, the official statistics on Gulag mortality exclude deaths of prisoners taking place shortly after their release but which resulted from the harsh treatment in the camps.[97] HP Pavilion DV8000 Battery

Some historians also believe that the official archival figures of the categories that were recorded by Soviet authorities are unreliable and incomplete.[98][page needed][99] In addition to failures regarding comprehensive recordings, as one additional example, Robert Gellately andSimon Sebag-Montefiore argue that the many suspects beaten and tortured to death while in "investigative custody" were likely not to have been counted amongst the executed.[23][100]HP Pavilion DV8002ea Battery

nion's dissolution have estimated victim totals ranging from approximately 4 million to nearly 10 million, not including those who died in famines.[101] Russian writer Vadim Erlikman, for example, makes the following estimates: executions, 1.5 million; gulags, 5 million; HP Pavilion DV9000 Battery

deportations, 1.7 million out of 7.5 million deported; and POWs and German civilians, 1 million – a total of about 9 million victims of repression.[102]HP Pavilion DV9100 Battery


Some have also included the deaths of 6 to 8 million people in the 1932–1933 famineamong the victims of Stalin's repression. This categorization is controversial however, as historians differ as to whether the famine was a deliberate part of the campaign of repression against kulaks and others,[51][103][104][105][106] or simply an unintended consequence of the struggle over forced collectivization.[67][107][108]HP Pavilion DV9500 Battery


Accordingly, if famine victims are included, a minimum of around 10 million deaths—6 million from famine and 4 million from other causes—are attributable to the regime,[109]with a number of recent historians suggesting a likely total of around 20 million, citing much higher victim totals from executions, gulags, deportations and other causes.[110]HP Pavilion DV9600 Battery

Adding 6–8 million famine victims to Erlikman's estimates above, for example, would yield a total of between 15 and 17 million victims. Researcher Robert Conquest, meanwhile, has revised his original estimate of up to 30 million victims down to 20 million.[111]HP Pavilion N3200 Battery

 In his most recent edition of The Great Terror (2007), Conquest states that while exact numbers may never be known with complete certainty, the various terror campaigns launched by the Soviet government claimed no fewer than 15 million lives.[112] Others maintain that their earlier higher victim total estimates are correct.[113][114]HP Pavilion N5100 Battery


World War II, 1939–1945

After a failed attempt to sign an anti-German military alliance with France and Britain[115][116][117] and talks with Germany regarding a potential political deal,[118][119][120][121] on 23 August 1939, the Soviet Union entered into a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, negotiated by Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop.[122] HP Pavilion N5200 Battery

Officially a non-aggression treaty only, an appended secret protocol, also reached on 23 August 1939, divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.[123][124]HP Pavilion N5250 Battery


The eastern part of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and part of Romania were recognized as parts of the Soviet sphere of influence,[124] with Lithuania added in a second secret protocol in September 1939.[125] Stalin and Ribbentrop traded toasts on the night of the signing discussing past hostilities between the countries.[126]HP Pavilion N5290 Battery



On 1 September 1939, the German invasion of its agreed upon portion of Poland started World War II.[122] On 17 September the Red Army invaded eastern Poland and occupied the Polish territory assigned to it by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, followed by co-ordination with German forces in Poland.[127][128] HP Pavilion N5300 Battery

Eleven days later, the secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was modified, allotting Germany a larger part of Poland, while ceding most of Lithuania to the Soviet Union.[129]HP Pavilion N5340 Battery


After Stalin declared that he was going to "solve the Baltic problem", by June 1940, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were merged into the Soviet Union, after repressions and actions therein brought about the deaths of over 160,000 citizens of these states.[129][130][131][132]HP Pavilion N5350 Battery

 After facing stiff resistance in an invasion of Finland,[133] aninterim peace was entered, granting the Soviet Union the eastern region of Karelia (10% of Finnish territory).[133]HP Pavilion N5390 Battery

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After this campaign, Stalin took actions to bolster the Soviet military, modify training and improve propaganda efforts in the Soviet military.[134] In June 1940, Stalin directed the Soviet annexation of Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, proclaiming this formerly Romanian territory part of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic.[135] But in annexing northern Bukovina, Stalin had gone beyond the agreed limits of the secret protocol. HP Pavilion N5415 Battery


After the Tripartite Pact was signed by Axis Powers Germany, Japan and Italy, in October 1940, Stalin traded letters with Ribbentrop, with Stalin writing about entering an agreement regarding a "permanent basis" for their "mutual interests."[136] After a conference in Berlin between Hitler, Molotov and Ribbentrop, Germany presented Molotov with a proposed written agreement for Axis entry.[135][137]HP Pavilion N5420 Battery

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 On 25 November, Stalin responded with a proposed written agreement for Axis entry which was never answered by Germany.[138]Shortly thereafter, Hitler issued a secret directive on the eventual attempts to invade the Soviet Union.[138] In an effort to demonstrate peaceful intentions toward Germany, on 13 April 1941, Stalin oversaw the signing of a neutrality pact with Axis power Japan.[13HP Pavilion N5430 Battery

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During the early morning of 22 June 1941, Hitler broke the pact by implementing Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of Soviet held territories and the Soviet Union that began the war on the Eastern Front.[140] HP Pavilion N5440 Battery

Already in autumn 1940 Stalin received a warning of the Dutch communist party, via the network of the Red Orchestra (espionage), that Hitler was preparing for a winter war by letting construct thousands of snow landing gears for theJunkers Ju 52 transport planes.[141] Although Stalin had received warnings from spies and his generals,[142][143][144][145][146] HP Pavilion N5445 Battery

felt that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union until Germany had defeated Britain.[142] In the initial hours after the German attack commenced, Stalin hesitated, wanting to ensure that the German attack was sanctioned by Hitler, rather than the unauthorized action of a rogue general.[23][page needed]HP Pavilion N5455 Battery


Accounts by Nikita Khrushchev and Anastas Mikoyan claim that, after the invasion, Stalin retreated to his dacha in despair for several days and did not participate in leadership decisions.[147] However, some documentary evidence of orders given by Stalin contradicts these accounts, leading some historians to speculate that Khrushchev's account is inaccurate.[148]HP Pavilion N5470 Battery

 By the end of 1941, the Soviet military had suffered 4.3 million casualties[149] and German forces had advanced 1,050 miles (1,690 kilometers).[150]HP Pavilion N5490 Battery



While the Germans pressed forward, Stalin was confident of an eventual Allied victory over Germany. In September 1941, Stalin told British diplomats that he wanted two agreements: (1) a mutual assistance/aid pact and (2) a recognition that, after the war, HP Pavilion N6000 Battery

the Soviet Union would gain the territories in countries that it had taken pursuant to its division of Eastern Europe with Hitler in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.[151] The British agreed to assistance but refused to agree upon the territorial gains, which Stalin accepted months later as the military situation deteriorated somewhat in mid-1942.[151]HP Pavilion N6195 Battery

 By December, Hitler's troops had advanced to within 20 miles of the Kremlin in Moscow.[152] On 5 December, the Soviets launched a counteroffensive, pushing German troops back 40–50 miles from Moscow, the Wehrmacht's first significant defeat of the war.[152]HP Pavilion n6400 Battery


In 1942, Hitler shifted his primary goal from an immediate victory in the East, to the more long-term goal of securing the southern Soviet Union to protect oil fields vital to a long-term German war effort.[153] While Red Army generals saw evidence that Hitler would shift efforts south, HP Pavilion N6490 Battery

Stalin considered this to be a flanking campaign in efforts to take Moscow.[154] During the war, Time magazine named Stalin Time Person of the Yeartwice[155] and he was also one of the nominees for Time Person of the Centurytitle.[citation needed]HP Pavilion XF100 Battery



The Soviets repulsed the important German strategic southern campaign and, although 2.5 million Soviet casualties were suffered in that effort, it permitted the Soviets to take the offensive for most of the rest of the war on the Eastern Front.[156]HP Pavilion XZ100 Battery


Germany attempted an encirclement attack at Kursk, which was successfully repulsed by the Soviets.[157] Kursk marked the beginning of a period where Stalin became more willing to listen to the advice of his generals.[158] By the end of 1943, HP Pavilion ZD7000 Battery

the Soviets occupied half of the territory taken by the Germans from 1941–1942.[158] Soviet military industrial output also had increased substantially from late 1941 to early 1943 after Stalin had moved factories well to the East of the front, safe from German invasion and air attack.[159]HP Pavilion ZD7300 Battery

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In November 1943, Stalin met with Churchill and Roosevelt in Tehran.[160] The parties later agreed that Britain and America would launch a cross-channel invasion of France in May 1944, along with a separate invasion of southern France.[161] Stalin insisted that, after the war, the Soviet Union should incorporate the portions of Poland it occupied pursuant to theMolotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Germany, which Churchill opposed.[162]HP Pavilion ZE2000 Battery

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In 1944, the Soviet Union made significant advances across Eastern Europe toward Germany,[163] including Operation Bagration, a massive offensive in Belorussia against the German Army Group Centre.[164]HP Pavilion ZT1125 Battery

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By April 1945, Nazi Germany faced its last days with 1.9 million German soldiers in the East fighting 6.4 million Red Army soldiers while 1 million German soldiers in the West battled 4 million Western Allied soldiers.[165]HP Pavilion ZT1145 Battery

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 While initial talk existed of a race to Berlin by the Allies, after Stalin successfully lobbied for Eastern Germany to fall within the Soviet "sphere of influence" at Yalta, no plans were made by the Western Allies to seize the city by a ground operation.[166][167]HP Pavilion ZT1155 Battery

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On 30 April, Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide, after which Soviet forces found their remains, which had been burned at Hitler's directive.[168] German forces surrendered a few days later. Despite the Soviets' possession of Hitler's remains, Stalin did not believe that his old nemesis was actually dead, a belief that remained for years after the war.[169][170]HP Pavilion ZT1170 Battery

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Fending off the German invasion and pressing to victory in the East required a tremendous sacrifice by the Soviet Union.[171] Soviet military casualties totaled approximately 35 million (official figures 28.2 million) with approximately 14.7 million killed, missing or captured (official figures 11.285 million).[172] HP Pavilion ZT1180 Battery

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Although figures vary, the Soviet civilian death toll probably reached 20 million.[172] One in four Soviets was killed or wounded.[173] Some 1,710 towns and 70,000 villages were destroyed.[174][175] Thereafter, Stalin was at times referred to as one of the most influential men in human history.[176][177]HP Pavilion ZT1190 Battery

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In 1945, he was mentioned by Halvdan Koht among seven candidates that were qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize. However, he did not explicitly nominate any of them. The person actually nominated was Cordell Hull.[178]

In 1948, he was officially nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Wladislav Rieger.[179]HP Pavilion ZT1200 Battery



After taking around 300,000 Polish prisoners in 1939 and early 1940,[180][181][181][182][183]25,700 Polish POWs were executed on 5 March 1940, pursuant to a note to Stalin fromLavrenty Beria,[184][185] in what became known as the Katyn massacre.[186][184][187]HP Pavilion ZT1210 Battery

While Stalin personally told a Polish general they'd "lost track" of the officers inManchuria,[188][189][190][190] Polish railroad workers found the mass grave after the 1941 Nazi invasion.[191] The massacre became a source of political controversy,[192][193] HP Pavilion ZT1230 Battery

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with the Soviets eventually claiming that Germany committed the executions when the Soviet Union retook Poland in 1944.[184][194] The Soviets did not admit responsibility until 1990.[195]HP Pavilion ZT1260 Battery


Stalin introduced controversial military orders, such as Order No. 270, requiring superiors to shoot deserters on the spot[196] while their family members were subject to arrest.[197]Thereafter, Stalin also conducted a purge of several military commanders that were shot for "cowardice" without a trial.[197] HP Pavilion ZT1270 Battery

Stalin issued Order No. 227, directing that commanders permitting retreat without permission to be subject to a military tribunal,[198] and soldiers guilty of disciplinary procedures to be forced into "penal battalions", which were sent to the most dangerous sections of the front lines.[198] From 1942 to 1945, 427,910 soldiers were assigned to penal battalions.[199] The order also directed "blocking detachments" to shoot fleeing panicked troops at the rear.[198]HP Pavilion ZT1290 Battery

In June 1941, weeks after the German invasion began, Stalin also directed employing ascorched earth policy of destroying the infrastructure and food supplies of areas before the Germans could seize them, and that partisans were to be set up in evacuated areas.[148]He also ordered the NKVD to murder around one hundred thousand political prisoners in areas where the Wermacht approached,[200] while others were deported east.[98][page needed][201]HP Pavilion ZT3000 Battery


After the capture of Berlin, Soviet troops reportedly raped from tens of thousands to two million women,[202][page needed] and 50,000 during and after the occupation ofBudapest.[203][204] In former Axis countries, such as Germany, Romania and Hungary, Red Army officers generally viewed cities, villages and farms as being open to pillaging and looting.[205]HP Pavilion ZT4000 Battery


In the Soviet Occupation Zone of post-war Germany, the Soviets set up ten NKVD-run "special camps" subordinate to the gulag.[206] These "special camps" were formerStalags, prisons, or Nazi concentration camps such as Sachsenhausen (special camp number 7) and Buchenwald (special camp number 2).[207] According to German government estimates, "65,000 people died in those Soviet-run camps or in transportation to them."[208]HP Pavilion ZV5000 Battery

According to recent figures, of an estimated four million POWs taken by the Soviets, including Germans, Japanese, Hungarians, Romanians and others, some 580,000 never returned, presumably victims of privation or the Gulags.[209] Soviet POWs and forced laborers who survived German captivity were sent to special "transit" or "filtration" camps to determine which were potential traitors.[210]HP Pavilion ZV5200 Battery


Of the approximately 4 million to be repatriated 2,660,013 were civilians and 1,539,475 were former POWs.[210] Of the total, 2,427,906 were sent home and 801,152 were reconscripted into the armed forces.[210] 608,095 were enrolled in the work battalions of the defense ministry.[210] HP Pavilion ZV6000 Battery

272,867 were transferred to the authority of the NKVD for punishment, which meant a transfer to the Gulag system.[210][211][212] 89,468 remained in the transit camps as reception personnel until the repatriation process was finally wound up in the early 1950s.[210]HP Pavilion ZX5000 Battery

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