One man that has gone down is history as one of the most cold-hearted, ruthless killers goes by the name of Joseph Stalin. Stalin, originally born with the name Iosif Dzhugashvili, was born in Gori, Georgia on December 21st 1879. At the time, the town where Iosif Dzhugashvili was born and raised was plagued by a lot of street violence. After demonstrating his devious way of thinking and his will to come to absolute power, Iosif Dzhugashvili eventually adopted the nickname “Stalin” from the Russian word “steel”.
Once he received his new nickname, he used it as a pseudonym in his published works. Many do not know the story of Stalin’s younger years and the effect it had to the way he carried himself as a dictator. After careful speculation, it is clear to see that the future dictator and killer was very coldhearted from a very young age. From a very young age, Joseph Stalin was subjected to a lot of violence. Some of the most prominent violent events that affected the young boy started with his mother.
Ekaterina Shubnaya in her piece “Prominent Russians: Joseph Stalin” states that “Some sources, however, claim that, as a strict and religious woman, she frequently resorted to physical punishment, which she believed was an integral part of child rearing. Stalin’s relationship with his mother was strained and he didn’t even attend her funeral in 1937” (1). Here, we see that violence was a natural way of Stalin’s mother to raise the youngest son of her 4 children. She would have never thought that this violence would have led her son to become one of the most violent human beings to ever live.
The psychological effects of violence that Joseph Stalin went through from a young age followed him for the rest of his life. After further research, it is seen that even as a young boy, Joseph Stalin felt very lonely and unloved. The reason for this was because even his father, caused him pain psychologically and physically. Ekaterina Shubnaya continues by explaining that “Joseph’s father, Vissarion, a shoemaker, was heavily addicted to drinking and had a drunken habit of beating up his wife and son. Stalin recalled getting so mad at his father that he once almost killed him by throwing a knife at him” (1).
His rough childhood only continued when at the age of twelve, two horse-drawn carriage accidents left his left arm permanently damaged. At the time, Joseph also caught small pox which left his face permanently scarred. The scarring on his face was a source of ridicule by the other children. As Joseph Stalin got older, he rose to power thanks to a man named Lenin. Lenin lead the Russian Communists to power in November 1917 and remained in power. With the help of Lenin, Joseph Stalin began to act ruthless and careless of others.
When Lenin became too sick to lead the country in a proper way, Stalin took over and went against Lenin’s ideas and ways of leading. Noticing that Stalin wasn’t showing the characteristics of a loyal and respectful leader, Lenin wrote a testament in which he stated that he suggested Stalin be removed. John Simkin, in his piece “Joseph Stalin” shares the testament written by Lenin. It states “Comrade Stalin, having become General Secretary, has concentrated enormous power in his hands: and I am not sure that he always knows how to use that power with sufficient caution.
I therefore propose to our comrades to consider a means of removing Stalin from this post and appointing someone else who differs from Stalin in one weighty respect: being more tolerant, more loyal, more polite, more considerate of his comrades”(2). However, Lenin died before any actual could be taken and Joseph Stalin became the new leader of the Soviet Union. Now as the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin became very paranoid and did not trust anyone. He went against anyone that disagreed with him and had them executed.
He executed journalists, and anyone else who had contact with him and who he disliked. Leon Trotsky was a man of a lot of power in the Soviet Union but Stalin made him step down from his position to gain even more power. John Simkin tells us that “In 1936 Nickolai Bukharin, Alexei Rykov, Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Krestinsky and Christian Rakovsky were arrested and accused of being involved with Leon Trotsky in a plot against Stalin. They were all found guilty and were eventually executed” (3).
The execution of these people and of many others was clear evidence that Joseph Stalin was killing people not because they were committing crimes or doing anything bad, but because he personally didn’t trust them and killed them from pure intuition and impulse. The absurd truth about Joseph Stalin is that he killed his own people. He killed people in his own country and in his own government. The people that helped him rise to power were the people he did not trust and who he had executed or made to disappear without any explanation given.
John Simkin explains to us that “In June, 1937, Mikhail Tukhachevsky and seven other top Red Army commanders were charged with conspiracy with Germany. All eight were convicted and executed. All told, 30,000 members of the armed forces were executed. This included fifty per cent of all army officers” (3). With all these executions, people lived fearful of Stalin and did not dare test his patience. The violence against his own people is direct evidence of the psychological effects that the beatings from his parents had on Stalin.
Since the people who supposedly loved him, beat him, it became second nature for Joseph Stalin to do the same with the people of his country when he rose to power. It is said that Joseph Stalin has killed over 20 million people during the time of dictatorship but there were even more killed during World War II. Palash Ghosh in her piece “How Many People Did Joseph Stalin Kill? ” writes that “an amoral psychopath and paranoid with a gangster’s mentality, Stalin eliminated anyone and everyone who was a threat to his power – including (and especially) former allies.
He had absolutely no regard for the sanctity of human life”(1). There were another 20 million people killed during World War II amounting to a total of 40 million Soviet troops and civilians killed. The ruthlessness Joseph Stalin showed had become vividly present with his own family. Stalin had a son named Yakov who was an artillery lieutenant in the 14th Howitzer Regiment of the 14th Armored Division. Yakov refused to withdraw when German forces overran his men near Smolensk. Stalin had the expectation that no Soviet soldier was expected to be captured.
He preferred his troops to commit suicide than to be captured by the opponent. This rule also applied to his son, who was captured. Brenda Haugen, writer of “Joseph Stalin Dictator of the Soviet Union” describes that “German authorities proposed a trade. They expected the Soviet leader would welcome his son’s return. A message was sent to Stalin that said the Germans would release Yakov if the Soviets freed a German officer. Stalin refused. ‘I cannot do it,’ Stalin said. ’War is war’”(11). This decision cost Yakov his life who was later believed to be killed or may have commited suicide.
He died in April 1943 after running into an electric fence surrounding the camp where he was held. It is said that Joseph Stalin never felt any remorse for his son’s death and told people he had no son named Yakov. It is a clear indication that Stalin didn’t have a special bond with his family or any type of value for human life in itself. It seems that Stalin grew to be a coldhearted man who didn’t value anyone but himself. Brenda Haugen continues by stating that “In times of war, most leaders would find it difficult to justify offering special treatment to their own children.
How could they spare their own childrens lives while others died fighting for the same cause? But Stalin was different than other leaders of his time. Not only did he refuse to provide special treatment to his family, he also didn’t value human life”(11). The ruthlessness of Stalin is astonishing that he would let his son be killed without any type of remorse. There’s an old saying that says that family comes first but this saying doesn’t seem to apply to Joseph Stalin’s way of thinking. Even though Stalin was one of the most well-known villains in history, he was still a very mysterious man.
There is very little known about his childhood and his family. The records that have been recorded are not concrete because as Stalin gained power, he had the tendency to make things be the way he wanted them to be and no one could question him. This being said, some facts of his life seem to be produced by his fictional events created by him and not what may have really happened. Scott Ingram writes in his piece “Historys Villains Joseph Stalin” that “ Another reason Stalin’s life remains shadowy is that he ordered his biography to be rewritten several times.
With each of these rewrites, older records were destroyed. The more powerful Stalin became, the more he was able to take credit for things he had not done. His Communist biographers were forced to revise twentieth-century Russian history books to go along with Stalin’s orders. The aim was to present to the world the most flawless possible account of the great leader”(8). These lies brainwashed people into thinking that Stalin was a different person than who he really was. He made people see him as a perfect leader and not as a person who was killing the people that supported him.
In conclusion, it is very easy to see that Stalin was influenced by his childhood experiences to become the person he was. The ruthless leader took the experience of the beatings his parents gave him and in a way beat his own country when he rose to power. He was and still is the most ruthless leather to ever live. He used fear to keep people controlled and to make people do exactly what he wanted them to do. He had people in such fear that before every speech, people were afraid to be the first to stop clapping because they’d be killed.
The audience would clap for over 10 minutes in fear of being the first one to stop. This type of control is what let Joseph Stalin do anything he wanted without having anyone tell him it is wrong or to stop him from doing it. During his last days, he fell into a comma and in his last moments, in an attempt to keep living, he cursed everyone near his death bed and finally died. Joseph Stalin was a ruthless dictator and human being who had no type of remorse for anything he ever did.
Subject: Joseph Stalin,
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 November 2016
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