Stalin Bio World War 2

stalin-nazisStalin at the signing of
the pact with the Nazis
with Ribbentrop (above
left) and Molotov .

STALIN BIO WORLD WAR 2: Stalin joined a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany on August 23, 1939.
Known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, this agreement split Eastern Europe into German and Russian spheres of influence.

You keep out of the loser counties I want to dominate and I’ll keep out of yours, so to speak. After Hitler’s armies invaded western Poland in 1939, Stalin’s invaded the eastern half.

Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had an alliance in all but name. Stalin provided Hitler with raw materials and even allowed the Nazis to set up a naval repair base in Russia's far north.

“The fact is that for the time being Germany does not need forign help. And it is possible that in the future they will not need forign help either. However, if, against all expecttions, Germany finds itself in a difficult situation, then she can be sure that the Soviet people wil come to Germany's aid and will not allow Germany to be suppressed. A strong Germany is in the interests of the Soviet Union and she will not allow Germany to be thrown down to the ground.”
-Joseph Stalin, September 27, 1939

Stalin ordered the execution of 25,700 Polish intelligencia and Prisoners of War on March 5, 1940. The resulting bloodbath is called the Katyn massacre.

War with Germany broke out

Hitler broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941.

Though it was clear to the Soviet leadership that German forces were moving into position along the border, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler woud break the non-aggression pact.

Stalin denounced intelligence reports that a german invasion was imminent as "misinformation" and even, after the invasion had began, thought it was the work of a few rouge german generals rather than a direct order from Hitler himself.

eastern-front-battleA German soldier near a burning burning on the Eastern Front.

The Nazi steamroller got to within 20 miles (32 km) of the Moscow’s Kremlin before being beaten back. Stalin took a direct role in commanding the Soviet armies in the first part of the conflict, leading to disastrous defeats such as the Second Battle of Kharkov in May, 1942.

Stalin’s liason to his generals, Nikita Khrushchev, even claimed Stalin tried to make tactical decisions using a globe of the world.

The Soviets started winning

stalin-bio-world-war-II A German soldier taken prisoner at the Battle
of Stalingrad, January, 1943 .
@ Stalin Bio

Stalin gradually gave his generals more control.
He orchestrated the defense and tide-turning German defeat at Stalingrad with Marshall Georgy Zhukov, the most successful Soviet commander of the war.
You could say Stalin provided the iron will while his generals provided the brains, and Soviet soldiers provided their blood.

Stalin’s infamous Order No. 227 declared that Soviet solider retreating from battle would be shot, and those who had surrendered to the Germans were later sent to Gulags (forced-labor camps) in Siberia.

Stalin got what he wanted

Stalin proved his diplomatic deftness in meetings with the other “Big Three” Allied leaders at Tehran in 1943, Yalta in 1945 and at the postwar Postsdam Conference.

His stubbornness, and the eagerness of Churchill and Roosevelt to maintain the alliance, led the Western powers to recognize the Soviet “sphere of influence” in Eastern Europe.

stalin-time A Stalin on the front cover of Time
magazine in Janurary, 1943 .

@ Stalin Bio

After the war he became the first and only person to hold the puffed-up rank of “Generalissimo of the Soviet Union”. Stalin continued to rule the Soviet Union until his death from a stroke in 1953.

During the war, Time Magazine named Stalin Person of the Year twice. Stalin was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1948.

If you ask me this seems about as sensible as nominating Stephen Hawking for the Mr Universe prize. Though it’s impossible to say how many people died under Stalin, most estimates range from eight to 20 million.

Another view of Stalin?

Stalin’s Communist party heirs rejected the Man of Steel’s heavy handed approach. Stalin’s successor as First Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev denounced his form of leadership as a “personality cult” and attacked Stalin’s use of repression and the Gulags.

stalin-bioA surprising number of
Russians today believe
stalin was a good leader.

@ Stalin Bio

Ironicaly in post-communist Russia Stalin seems to be viewed a lot more favorably. A 2006 poll over 35 per cent of Russians would vote for Stalin if he were still alive.
A 2007 survey found more than half the Russian youth aged 16 to 19 thought Stalin was a good leader.

If that’s not scary I don’t know what is. Thankfully Russia’s current leaders seem to have more sense now than they did in the past.
In 2009 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev knocked Stalin’s resurgence of favour and said his mass exterminations were unjustified.
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Written by C. Anderson, 2010. Last updated 2011.

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References for Stalin Bio World War 2

Quote on German alliance, World War II, Behind Closed Doors, Laurence Rees, 2008. P.31

•  The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2008

•  World Encyclopedia, 2005

•  A Dictionary of World History, 2000


•  BBC History

• Khrushchev

• Stalin

Photo sources for Stalin Bio World War 2

• Molotov - Ribbentrop signing WikiCommons

• German soldier Eastern Front

• German prisoner German Federal Archive

• Stalin on Time cover

• Stalin portrait WikiCommons

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