Joseph Stalin: Man of Steel
Only a few years after the end of World War I, a new leader came to power in Russia. This man quickly became a threat to any potential enemies of the Soviet Union by showing his competence militarily. His military leadership would prove itself more admirable in World War II. Also, being a leader in a leader in an underground revolutionary group and a member of the Bolsheviks could only add to his intimidating persona. The name most commonly matched to said persona is that of an important, tyrannical former leader of the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin’s political reign is that of violence and war, but his story still influences politics today and influenced the ...view middle of the document...
Early on, however, Stalin was suspected of being a member of the Russian secret police. Even though he was, he denied the membership to avoid arrest or assassination. He continued to deny the same actions he would later incorporate into his rule. His denial in efforts to avoid arrest or assassination is ironic considering his reign of terror was made up of mostly those types events (Service 45).
Stalin’s next step up on the revolutionary scale was joining a political party. He chose the Bolsheviks, a party favoring a radical change in Russian government. A close colleague of his, known as Lenin, was a major revolutionary in this group (Volkogonov 17). Opposite the Bolsheviks were the Mensheviks, who wanted minimal change out of a revolution. Each party set up separate organizations. They were stationed in different states of Russia but were monitored by The Central Executive Committee (22). Author Dmitri Volkogonav describes The Central Executive Committee as: “The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, appointed by the first All-Russian Congress of Soviets..was not a Bolshevik body. It compromised..57 Bolsheviks, among them Stalin” (Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy 25).
Both parties were trying to overthrow the czar and something needed to be done. In 1913, Stalin, Lenin, and other prominent members of the Bolshevik party, were sentenced to exile (Service 102). Lenin would not even stop when exiled. Stalin went to Vienna to research for the party upon his request. Stalin was not considered an intellectual asset, so he used this as an opportunity to prove himself. Before, all he had done was study the basics of the association. Living among the peasants during exile only made Stalin’s craving for power and revolution even greater (Cunningham 11-13).
Stalin’s arrival in Turukhansk, the exile colony, differed from those of other arrivals. A typical arrival in Turukhansk consisted of the newcomer sharing news from Russia. Stalin, however, decided to ignore everyone and went to room immediately (46). This may have been because he was not planning on staying for long. Plans of smuggling identifications and money to Turukhansk were surfaced soon after his arrival. These plans were true; Lenin was working with his greatest escape artist Yakov Sverdlov. Sverdlov was also an old friend of Stalin, calling him by his real name sometimes saying “With me is the Georgian, Djugashvili, an old acquaintance whom I already know from another exile…A good fellow, but too much of an individualist in everyday life” (Schlesinger 47). The last sentence spoken by Sverdlov defines Stalin’s political focus in the near future.
By some lucky miracle or blessing or whatever the Bolsheviks would call it, Germany let the party back into Russia. Russia, however, was currently preoccupied with World War I. They paid little attention to the Bolsheviks while Stalin was in charge. When Lenin was readmitted to Russia, matters became very serious. Lenin began holding protests...