Ernst Thälmann was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany during much of the Weimar Republic. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1933 and held in solitary confinement for eleven years, before being shot in Buchenwald on Adolf Hitler's personal orders in 1944. Ernst Thälmann's father was Johannes Thälmann, born in Weddern in Holstein, working there as a farmworker. Thälmann's mother, Mary-Magdalene, was born in Kirchwerder; the wedding took place in 1884 in Hamburg. There, Johannes Thälmann earned his first money as a coachman. Ernst's parents had no party affiliation. Ernst Thälmann was born in Hamburg. After his birth, his parents took a pub near the Port of Hamburg. On 4 April 1887, his sister Frieda was born. In March 1892, Thälmann's parents were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison, because they had bought stolen goods or had taken them for debt payment. Thälmann and his younger sister Frieda were placed for care in different families. Thälmann's parents were released early, his parents' offense would be used 36 years in the campaign against Ernst Thälmann.
From 1893 to 1900, Thälmann attended elementary school. He described history, natural history, mathematics and sports as his favorite subjects. However, he did not like religion. In the mid-1890s, his parents opened a vegetable and wagon shop in Eilbek, a suburb of Hamburg. In this business, he had to help after school. Thälmann did his schoolwork in the morning. Despite this burden, Thälmann was a good student, his desire to become a teacher or to learn a trade was not fulfilled because his parents refused to give him the necessary money. He had to continue working in his parents' business, causing much sorrow and conflict with his parents. Therefore, he sought a job as an unskilled worker in the port. Here the ten-year-old Thälmann came in contact with the port workers on strike from November 1896 till February 1897, the bitter labor dispute known as the Hamburg dockworkers strike 1896/97. At the beginning of 1902, he left home, he first he lived in an emergency shelter in a basement apartment, in 1904 he was fireman on the steam engine freight ship AMERIKA which traveled to the USA.
He was a Social Democratic Party member during 1903. On 1 February 1904, he joined the Central Union of Trade and traffic workers of Germany and ascended to the chairman of the'Department carters'. In 1913, he supported a call of Rosa Luxemburg for a mass strike as a means of action of the SPD to enforce political demands. From 1913 to 1914, he worked for a laundry as a coachman. In January 1915, one day before he was called up for military service in World War I, he married Rosa Koch. At the beginning of 1915, he was posted to the artillery on the western front, where he stayed till the end of the war, during the course of which he was wounded twice, he said that he fought in the following battles: Battle of Champagne, Battle of the Somme, Second battle of the Aisne, Battle of Soissons, Battle of Cambrai and Battle of Arras. Thälmann received several awards: Iron cross second class Hanseatic Cross Wound BadgeTowards the end of 1917, he became a member of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany.
In October 1918, Thälmann deserted together with four fellow soldiers. He did not return from home to the front. On the day of the German Revolution, 9 November 1918, he wrote in his diary on the Western Front, "...did a bunk from the Front with 4 comrades at 2 o'clock." In Hamburg, he participated in the construction of Soldiers. From March 1919, he was chairman of a member of the Hamburg Parliament. At the same time he worked as relief worker in the Hamburg city park he found a well-paying job at the employment office, he rose to Inspector. When the USPD split over the question whether to join the Communist International, Thälmann sided with the pro-Communist faction which in November 1920 merged with the KPD. In December Thälmann was elected to the Central Committee of the KPD. In March 1921 he was fired from his job at the employment office due to his political activities; that summer Thälmann went as a representative of the KPD to the 3rd Congress of the Comintern in Moscow and met Vladimir Lenin.
In June 1922, Thälmann survived an assassination attempt at his flat. Terrorists from the ultranationalist group Organisation Consul threw a hand grenade into his ground floor flat, his wife and daughter were unhurt. Thälmann participated in and helped to organise the Hamburg Uprising of October 1923; the uprising failed, Thälmann went to underground for some time. After the death of Lenin in January 1924, Thälmann visited Moscow and for some time maintained a guard of honour at his bier. From February 1924 he was deputy chairman of the KPD and, from May, a Reichstag member. At the 5th Congress of the Comintern that summer he was elected to the Comintern executive committee and a short time to its steering committee. In February 1925 he became chairman of the Rote Frontkämpferbund, the defence organisation of the KPD. In October 1925 Thälmann became chairman of the KPD and that year was a candidate for the German Presidency. Thälmann's candidacy in the second round of the presidential election split the centre-left vote and ensured that the conservative Paul von Hindenburg defeated the Centre Party's Wilhelm Marx.
In October 1926 Thälmann supported in person the dockers' strike in hi
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Khrushchevism was a form of Marxism–Leninism which consisted of the theories and policies of Nikita Khrushchev and his administration in the Soviet Union. Mao Zedong recognized "Khrushchevism" as a distinct ideology and from a positive perspective, though the term was used by the Chinese Communists as a term of derision against the politics of the Soviet Union. Khrushchevism involves the rejection of Stalinism and represents a movement away from Stalinist politics, including advocating a more liberal tolerance of some cultural dissent and deviance, a more welcoming international relations policy and attitude towards foreigners and a repudiation of Stalinist arbitrariness and terror tactics. Khrushchevism was not only a phenomenon in the Soviet Union as it was admired in China and Mao sought to model the Chinese Marxist–Leninist state upon principles developed by Khrushchevism, but disputes with the Soviet Union ended friendly relations between Mao and Khrushchev. Khruschevism is the name given to a broad series the Soviet Union undertook during the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev.
Khrushchev's goals were to reject the cult of personality around Stalin, liberalize the economy, allow for greater political freedoms for the citizens of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev denounced; this involved tearing down the various statues, made in honor of Stalin, allowing for arts and music that Stalin had banned. Khrushchevism rejects the strict adherence to the central planning that Stalin had used. Instead, Khrushchevism focuses less on heavy industry in the way that Stalin had, but more on consumer goods; this meant a reduction in the production of steel, military products, instead investment in things such as radios, televisions and appliances. Khrushchevism allows for minor amounts of private property to be held, to spur economic growth and to give people better quality services should they be able to afford it. Khrushchev allowed the creation of owned apartment blocks, different from the communal housing that Stalin had enforced; this meant. Khrushchevism allows for the citizens to view artwork from outside the country if it is not supportive of the regime.
Examples of this include Khrushchev letting books and movies from the west be shown in the Soviet Union, as he believed the quality of life portrayed in these works could be matched by the Soviet Union. Dudinstev's Not By Bread alone was allowed to be published despite its criticisms of bureaucracy. For the first time Khrushev allowed the people in the Soviet Union to travel in large groups outside of the Soviet Union. Critical of Stalin's travel restrictions, Khrushchev believed that the Soviet Citizens could see the quality of life in the west and that this would not be a problem as he would be able to match this quality of life in the Soviet Union. Over 700,000 soviet citizens traveled abroad in 1957
Earl Russell Browder was an American political activist and leader of the Communist Party USA. Browder is best remembered as the General Secretary of the CPUSA during the 1930s and first half of the 1940s. During World War I, Browder served time in federal prison as a conscientious objector to conscription and the war. Upon his release, Browder became an active member of the American Communist movement, soon working as an organizer on behalf of the Communist International and its Red International of Labor Unions in China and the Pacific region. In 1930, following the removal of a rival political faction from leadership, Browder was made General Secretary of the CPUSA. For the next 15 years thereafter Browder was the most recognizable public figure associated with American Communism, authoring dozens of pamphlets and books, making numerous public speeches before sometimes vast audiences, twice running for President of the United States. Browder took part in clandestine activities on behalf of Soviet intelligence in America during his period of party leadership, placing those who sought to convey sensitive information to the party into contact with Soviet intelligence.
In the wake of public outrage over the 1939 Nazi–Soviet pact, Browder was indicted for passport fraud. He was convicted of two counts early in 1940 and sentenced to four years in prison, remaining free for a time on appeal. In the spring of 1942, the U. S. Supreme Court affirmed the sentence and Browder began what proved to be a 14-month stint in federal prison. Browder was subsequently released in 1943 as a gesture towards wartime unity. Browder was a staunch adherent of close cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union during World War II and envisioned continued cooperation between these two military powers in the postwar years. Coming to see the role of American Communists to be that of an organized pressure group within a broad governing coalition, in 1944 he directed the transformation of the CPUSA into a "Communist Political Association." However, following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Cold War and internal red scare sprouted up. Browder was expelled from the re-established Communist Party early in 1946, due to a refusal to modify these views to accord with changing political realities and their associated ideological demands.
Browder lived out the rest of his life in relative obscurity at his home in Yonkers, New York and in Princeton, New Jersey, where he died. He wrote numerous pamphlets on political issues, his three sons had academic careers. Earl Browder was born on May 20, 1891 in Wichita, the eighth child of Martha Jane and William Browder, a teacher and farmer, his father was sympathetic to populism. He joined the Socialist Party of America in Wichita in 1907 at the age of 16 and remained in that organization until the party split of 1912, when many of the group's members who supported the syndicalist ideal exited the party after it added an anti-sabotage clause to the party constitution and the recall of National Executive Committeeman William "Big Bill" Haywood. Historian Theodore Draper notes that Browder "was influenced by an offshoot of the syndicalist movement which believed in working in the AF of L." This ideological orientation brought the young Browder into contact with William Z. Foster, founder of an organization called the Syndicalist League of North America, based upon similar policies and James P. Cannon, an IWW adherent from Kansas.
Browder moved to Kansas City and was employed as an office worker, entering the AFofL union of his trade, the Bookkeepers and Accountants union. In 1916 he took a job as manager of the Johnson County Cooperative Association in Kansas. Browder was aggressively opposed to World War I and publicly spoke out against it, characterizing the fighting as an imperialist conflict. After the United States joined the war in 1917, Browder was arrested and charged under the Espionage Act conspiring to defeat the operation of the draft law and nonregistration. Browder was sentenced to 2 years in prison for conspiracy and 1 year for nonregistration, sitting in jail from December 1917 to November 1918. In 1919, Browder and their Kansas City associates started a radical newspaper, The Workers World, with Browder serving as the first editor. In June of that year Browder was jailed again on a conspiracy charge, with Cannon taking over as editor. Browder's second prison stint, served at Leavenworth Penitentiary, lasted until November 1920, putting him out of circulation during the critical interval when the Left Wing Section of the Socialist Party quit the SPA to form the Communist Party of America and the Communist Labor Party of America.
A series of splits and mergers followed, with the two Communist parties formally merging in 1921. Released from prison at last, Browder lost no time in joining the United Communist Party, as well as the fledgling Trade Union Educational League being launched by his old associate William Z. Foster. Browder found employment as the managing editor of the monthly magazine of The Labor Herald. In 1920 the Communist International headed by Grigory Zinoviev decided to establish an international confederation of Communist trade unions, the Red International of Labor Unions. A founding convention was planned to be held in Moscow in July 1921 and an American delegation was gathered, including members of the American Communist Parties and the Industrial Workers of the World. Earl Browder was named to this delegation, ostensibly representing Kansas miners, with the non-party man Foster attending as a journalist representing the Federated Press; this trip to Soviet R
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, by Vladimir Lenin, describes the function of financial capital in generating profits from imperialist colonialism as the final stage of capitalist development to ensure greater profits. The essay is a synthesis of Lenin's modifications and developments of economic theories that Karl Marx formulated in Das Kapital. In his Prefaces, Lenin states that the First World War was "an annexationist, plunderous war" among empires, whose historical and economic background must be studied "to understand and appraise modern war and modern politics". In order for capitalism to generate greater profits than the home market can yield, the merging of banks and industrial cartels produces finance capitalism—the exportation and investment of capital to countries with underdeveloped economies. In turn, such financial behaviour leads to the division of the world among monopolist business companies and the great powers. Moreover, in the course of colonizing undeveloped countries and government will engage in geopolitical conflict over the economic exploitation of large portions of the geographic world and its populaces.
Therefore, imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, requiring monopolies and the exportation of finance capital to sustain colonialism, an integral function of said economic model. Furthermore, in the capitalist homeland, the super-profits yielded by the colonial exploitation of a people and their economy permit businessmen to bribe native politicians, labour leaders and the labour aristocracy to politically thwart worker revolt. Lenin's socio–political analysis of empire as the ultimate stage of capitalism derived from Imperialism: A Study by John A. Hobson, an English economist, Finance Capital by Rudolf Hilferding, an Austrian Marxist, whose synthesis Lenin applied to the new geopolitical circumstances of the First World War, wherein capitalist imperial competition had provoked global war among the German Empire, the British Empire, the French Empire, the Tsarist Russian Empire, their respective allies. Three years earlier, in 1914, rival Marxist Karl Kautsky proposed a theory of capitalist coalition, wherein the imperial powers would unite and subsume their nationalist and economic antagonisms to a system of ultra-imperialism, whereby they would jointly effect the colonialist exploitation of the underdeveloped world.
Lenin countered Kautsky by proposing that the balance of power among the imperial capitalist states continually changed, thereby disallowing the political unity of ultra-imperialism, that such instability motivated competition and conflict, rather than co-operation: Half a century ago, Germany was a miserable, insignificant country, if her capitalist strength is compared with that of the Britain of that time. Is it "conceivable that in ten or twenty years' time the relative strength will have remained unchanged?" It is out of the question. The post-War edition of Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism identified the territorially punitive Russo–German Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the Allied–German Treaty of Versailles as proofs that empire and hegemony—not nationalism—were the economic motivations for the First World War. In the preface to the French and German editions of the essay, Lenin proposed that revolt against the capitalist global system would be effected with the "thousand million people" of the colonies and semi-colonies, rather than with the urban workers of the industrialised societies of Western Europe.
He proposed that revolution would extend to the advanced capitalist countries from the underdeveloped countries, such as Tsarist Russia, where he and the Bolsheviks had seized political command of the October Revolution of 1917. In political praxis, Lenin expected to realise the theory of Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism via the Third International, which he intellectually and politically dominated in the July and August conferences of 1920; the core–periphery model of global capitalist exploitation, developed by Lenin in the early 20th century, exerted much intellectual influence upon world-systems theory. World-systems theory was developed by the social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein and emphasises world systems of international labour, that divide the world into core countries, semi-periphery countries, periphery countries; the core–periphery model influenced dependency theory, whose proponents Raúl Prebisch, Andre Gunder Frank and Fernando Henrique Cardoso propose that natural resources flow from a periphery of poor and underdeveloped countries to a core of wealthy and developed countries, enriching the latter at the expense of the former, because of how the poor countries are integrated to the global economy.
In 1916, Lenin wrote Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, in Zürich, during the January–June period. The essay was first published by Zhizn i Znaniye Publishers, Petrograd, in mid 1917. After the First World War, he added a new Preface for the French and German editions, first published in the Communist International No. 18. Editions Владимир Ленин, Империализм, как Высшая Стадия Капитализма, Петроград: Жизнь и Знание. Vladimir Lenin, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, London: Lawrence and Wishart. Vladimir Lenin, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, with Introduction by Prabhat Patnaik, New Delhi: LeftWord Books Vladimir Lenin, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Penguin Classics. Vladimir Le
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh, born Nguyễn Sinh Cung known as Nguyễn Tất Thành, Nguyễn Ái Quốc, Bác Hồ or Bác, was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader, Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Vietnam. He was Prime Minister and President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, he was a key figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 at the Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi as well as the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Hồ Chí Minh led the Việt Minh independence movement from 1941 onward, establishing the Communist-ruled Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and defeating the French Union in 1954 at the battle of Điện Biên Phủ, he stepped down from power in 1965 due to health problems. After the war, the former capital of the Republic of Vietnam, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Any description of Hồ Chí Minh's life before he came to power in Vietnam is fraught with ambiguity, he is known to have used at least 50 and as many as 200 pseudonyms.
Both his place and date of birth are subjects of academic debate since neither is known with certainty. At least four existing official biographies vary on names, dates and other hard facts while unofficial biographies vary more widely. Hồ Chí Minh was born and given the name of Nguyễn Sinh Cung in 1890 in the village of Hoàng Trù, his mother's village. Although this is his accepted birth year, at various times he used five different birth years: 1890, 1891, 1892, 1894 and 1895. From 1895, he grew up in his father Nguyễn Sinh Sắc's village of Làng Sen, Kim Liên, Nam Đàn, Nghệ An Province, he had three siblings: a clerk in the French Army. As a young child, Cung studied with his father before more formal classes with a scholar named Vuong Thuc Do. Cung mastered Chinese writing, a prerequisite for any serious study of Confucianism, while honing his colloquial Vietnamese writing. In addition to his studious endeavors, he was fond of adventure and loved to fly kites and go fishing. Following Confucian tradition, his father gave him a new name at the age of 10: Nguyễn Tất Thành.
Thành's father was a Confucian scholar and teacher and an imperial magistrate in the small remote district of Binh Khe. He was demoted for abuse of power after an influential local figure died several days after having received 102 strokes of the cane as punishment for an infraction. Thành's father was eligible to serve in the imperial bureaucracy, but he refused because it meant serving the French; this exposed Thành to rebellion at a young age and seemed to be the norm for the province where Thành came of age. In deference to his father, Thành received a French education, attended lycée in Huế, the alma mater of his disciples, Phạm Văn Đồng and Võ Nguyên Giáp and his enemy, Ngô Đình Diệm, it was believed that Thành was involved in an anti-slavery demonstration of poor peasants in Huế in May 1908, which endangered his student status at Collège Quốc học. However, a document from the Centre des archives d'Outre-mer in France shows that he was admitted to Collège Quốc học on 8 August 1908, several months after the anti-corvée demonstration.
The exaggeration of revolutionary credentials was common among Vietnamese Communist leaders, as shown in North Vietnamese President Tôn Đức Thắng's falsified participation in the 1919 Black Sea revolt. In life, he would claim the 1908 revolt had been the moment when his revolutionary outlook emerged, but his application to the French Colonial Administrative School in 1911 undermines this version of events, he chose to leave school. Because his father had been dismissed, he no longer had any hope for a governmental scholarship and went southward, taking a position at Dục Thanh school in Phan Thiết for about six months traveled to Saigon. Thành worked as a kitchen helper on a French steamer, the Amirale de Latouche-Tréville while using the alias Văn Ba; the steamer departed on 5 June 1911 and arrived in Marseille, France on 5 July 1911. The ship left for Le Havre and Dunkirk, returning to Marseille in mid-September. There, he applied for the French Colonial Administrative School, but his application was rejected and he instead decided to begin traveling the world by working on ships and visited many countries from 1911 to 1917.
While working as the cook's helper on a ship in 1912, Thành traveled to the United States. From 1912–1913, he may have lived in New York City and Boston, where he claimed to have worked as a baker at the Parker House Hotel; the only evidence that Thành was in the United States is a letter to French colonial administrators dated 15 December 1912 and postmarked New York City and a postcard to Phan Chu Trinh in Paris where he mentioned working at the Parker House Hotel. Inquiries to the Parker House management revealed no records of his having worked there. Among a series of menial jobs, he claimed to have worked for a wealthy family in Brooklyn between 1917–1918 and for General Motors as a line manager, it is believed that while in the United States he made contact with Korean nationalists, an experience that developed his polit
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet politician who led the Soviet Union from the mid–1920s until 1953 as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Premier. While presiding over a collective leadership as first among equals, he consolidated enough power to become the country's de facto dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin helped to formalise these ideas as Marxism–Leninism, while his own policies became known as Stalinism. Born to a poor family in Gori, Russian Empire, Stalin joined the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party as a youth, he edited the party's newspaper and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik faction via robberies and protection rackets. Arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks seized power during the 1917 October Revolution and created a one-party state under Lenin's newly renamed Communist Party, Stalin joined its governing Politburo.
Serving in the Russian Civil War before overseeing the Soviet Union's establishment in 1922, Stalin assumed leadership over the country following Lenin's 1924 death. During Stalin's rule, "Socialism in One Country" became a central tenet of the party's dogma. Under the Five-Year Plans, the country underwent agricultural collectivisation and rapid industrialization, creating a centralized command economy; this led to significant disruptions in food production that contributed to the famine of 1932–33. To eradicate accused "enemies of the working class", Stalin instituted the "Great Purge", in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939. By 1937, he had complete personal control over the state. Stalin's government promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported anti-fascist movements throughout Europe during the 1930s in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, it signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in the Soviet invasion of Poland.
Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army repelled the German incursion and captured Berlin in 1945, ending World War II in Europe; the Soviets annexed the Baltic states and helped establish Soviet-aligned governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe and North Korea. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged from the war as the two world superpowers. Tensions arose between the Soviet-backed Eastern Bloc and U. S.-backed Western Bloc which became known as the Cold War. Stalin led his country through its post-war reconstruction, during which it developed a nuclear weapon in 1949. In these years, the country experienced another major famine and an anti-semitic campaign peaking in the Doctors' plot. Stalin died in 1953. Considered one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement which revered him as a champion of the working class and socialism.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as a victorious wartime leader who established the Soviet Union as a major world power. Conversely, his totalitarian government has been condemned for overseeing mass repressions, ethnic cleansing, hundreds of thousands of executions, famines which killed millions. Stalin was born in the Georgian town of Gori on 18 December 1878, he was the son of Besarion "Beso" Jughashvili and Ekaterine "Keke" Geladze, who had married in May 1872, had lost two sons in infancy prior to Stalin's birth. They were ethnically Georgian, Stalin grew up speaking the Georgian language. Gori was part of the Russian Empire, was home to a population of 20,000, the majority of whom were Georgian but with Armenian and Jewish minorities. Stalin was baptised on 29 December, he was nicknamed "Soso", a diminutive of "Ioseb". Besarion owned his own workshop; the family found themselves living in poverty, moving through nine different rented rooms in ten years.
Besarion became an alcoholic, drunkenly beat his wife and son. To escape the abusive relationship, Keke took Stalin and moved into the house of a family friend, Fr. Christopher Charkviani, she worked as launderer for local families sympathetic to her plight. Keke was determined to send her son to school, something that none of the family had achieved. In late 1888, aged 10 Stalin enrolled at the Gori Church School; this was reserved for the children of clergy, although Charkviani ensured that the boy received a place. Stalin excelled academically, displaying talent in painting and drama classes, writing his own poetry, singing as a choirboy, he got into many fights, a childhood friend noted that Stalin "was the best but the naughtiest pupil" in the class. Stalin faced several severe health problems. Aged 12, he was injured after being hit by a phaeton, the cause of a lifelong disability to his left arm. At his teachers' recommendation, Stalin proceeded to the Spiritual Seminary in Tiflis, he enrolled at the school in August 1894, enabled by a scholarship that allowed him to study at a reduced rate.
Here he joined 600 trainee priests who boarded at the semina