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Josef Stalin: What Is His Place in World History

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places

josef-stalin-what-is-his-place-in-world-history

Introduction

Joseph Stalin is a name that is well known all over the world. Many talk often derisively (mostly from the western powers) as a dictator and some accuse him of being a mass killer. We shall examine these aspects in light of his overall contribution to the development of Russia. Stalin was the president of the Communist Party, also referred to as the first secretary, and ruled Russia from 1924 to 1953. Over the years he had built up a personality cult and an aura of fear for others around him. He had a brain stroke and when people around him saw him lying prone on the carpet, they were scared to approach and precious time was lost in giving him medical help.

By the time Stalin was taken to hospital, he had passed away. Stalin was in power for 29 years and whatever people say about his rule, the fact is he was instrumental in taking the Russian state out of the clutch of obscurantism and backwardness to the modern age. It is no mean achievement as he propelled Russia to become the rival of the United States of America as a global power.

WWII and Stalin

One achievement of Stalin is his role in the defeat of Fascism personified by Hitler. Stalin is instrumental in winning the Second World War against Hitler. This is no mean achievement and grudgingly the western powers acknowledge it. When Germany invaded Russia in 1941, If at that time Russia had surrendered then the history of the world would have been different. The man who stood between Hitler and Glory, Hitler and victory was Joseph Stalin.

Most Western historians and statesmen are reluctant to concede that the victory of the allies was due to Stalin. But there are many eminent military historians like Major General JFC Fuller and Liddel Hart who have stated that if Stalin was not there, the war would have been lost. The mettle of the man can be seen from his action when in the winter of 1942, with the German Army just 30 miles short of Moscow, Stalin was advised to escape beyond the Urals. He refused and in his characteristic style took a decision to hold a victory parade in Red Square where he himself took the salute of Russian troops marching to the front to fight the Germans.



josef-stalin-what-is-his-place-in-world-history

Victory and the aftermath

This action by Stalin to remain on the battlefield had a catalytic effect on the common soldier. He was determined to fight and the German drive was halted.

Subsequently, the Germans put their best divisions as well bulk of their forces(160 divisions) to fight the Red Army. it is a known fact the Germans threw bare minimum forces( 60 Divisions) to fight on the western front, in addition, the troops facing General Ike Eisenhower were low-quality troops vis a vis what they threw against the Red Army. Stalin's hand in the victory over Germany in WWII is by itself enough to give pride of position to Stalin in world history.

Stalin and Russia.

At the end of the war, Stalin faced a great challenge from the western powers who were more industrially advanced. It was imperative for Russia to catch up with the west. He was the man who conceived of the five-year plan to Industrialize Russia.

The 5-year plans were a great concept for a planned increase in industrial output. The effect was soon visible as Russian scientists and engineers began making great advances in science. This resulted in the first man-made satellite Sputnik 1 which was launched in 1957. Russian army and Airforce were modernized and this so alarmed General Eisenhower, the US President that he ordered Russia to be ringed by bases. the TU 95 and the supersonic MIG appeared to rival American planes.

Stalin was not an intellectual like Lenin. In contrast, he had a lot of horse sense that even Winston Churchill commented upon favorably after his meetings with Stalin. There are many negative points against Stalin. He was a megalomaniac and there is no doubt that many persons were sent to the concentration camps. He also got Trotsky assassinated in 1940 in Mexico. Many writers have written that life in Russia during the time he was in power, only robot-like humans were created.

This does not stand to reason as Stalin was the first man who allowed the flowering of science. The greatest advances in science and technology took place when he was in power. The latest aircraft and bombers were produced. We must remember Robots cannot invent anything. We must also remember that the per capita income of a Russian which was low rose up under Stalin. In 1939, the per capita income was only 23% of a Britisher and this had doubled by 1950.

josef-stalin-what-is-his-place-in-world-history

Assessment


What is Stalin's place in history? He is no more and despite his faults, the Russians are nostalgic about him. I have observed this during my visits to Russia. They remember him with respect.

Stalin will always be bracketed with Roosevelt and Churchill on an equal footing. I wonder if he deserves the title "the Great" in world history. Ivan the terrible is classified as 'great' though he killed many people and so is Genghis Khan. The only ones who differ with this assessment are western historians who focus not on his achievements but on the negatives adduced to his name.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 27, 2021:

Thank you, Mike, I appreciate your comment. Ii is all very sad.

Readmikenow on May 27, 2021:

I will make one more comment and then let it go.

The starvation in the Ukraine was intentional and man-made by Stalin. The harvest did not fail. Farmers were forced to plant crops they knew would not grow in their soil. Holodomor has been recognized by 15 countries as a genocide. Food was taken directly from Ukrainian homes. Young Russian thugs would take food directly from the homes of the old and families. They couldn't move to areas where there was food, help from the outside was not permitted to given to the Ukrainians. Starving Ukrainian farmers were still forced to continue working in their fields or face death or the death of their families. Children were shot if they tried to steal grain from field to eat. I could go on, but I will always believe Stalin was an evil man.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 27, 2021:

Thank you, Mike, for your incisive comment. I had thought of mentioning the Holodomor massacre in Ukraine. In 1932-33 the situation is pretty bad and the harvest had failed in most Russian states and it should not be forgotten about 3 million Russians also died of starvation. There was nothing much Stalin could’ve done at that time as there were also threats to his regime. Nevertheless, it was a very sad event that’s so many people should die in Ukraine.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 27, 2021:

Thanks, Chitra for voicing your opinion.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 27, 2021:

Pamela, I'm so glad you commented. At that particular time Stalin came as it was a historical necessity.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 27, 2021:

Umesh, thank you for commenting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on May 27, 2021:

Tom thanks for your comment. You have such a lot of points that I will be only able to reply to a few of them do I will answer most of these points in the article later on. Firstly Stalin did not control condole Gandhi’s deat. The reason is simple he did not approve of the policy of non-violence and ahimsa initiated by Gandhi. Secondly we must remember that millions of Indians were also happy that Gandhi was killed and that was the reason Godse shot him dead for his policy of appeasement. Katyn massacre is true but you have to see from Stalin’s point of view. He was out to make Russia a super power and control Poland and so he let the free officers be killed. It was a game of power. Stalin got Trotsky killed but mind you had Trotsky got the chance he would have got Stalin killed. Trotsky set up the concentration camps under Lenin and he was also responsible for the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his family. I have tried to focus on the fact that Stalin raised Russia from an agrarian society to advanced military power to arrival to US. He did commit atrocities but then if he had not kept discipline Russia would not have come up as it is now. It is sad that Gorbachev fritted away everything Stalin had built. Stalin’s personal life is a mess but that is outside the purview of his achievement

Readmikenow on May 27, 2021:

You've written a good article.

It's a shame you didn't include information about Stalin and Holodomor. As someone who is Ukrainian, I know all too well how the world has tried to forget this event that killed between 7 - 10 million Ukrainians under Stalin's rule. The world needs to realize Stalin is responsible for this genocide. I think maybe the world is too embarrassed and ashamed to realize millions of Ukrainians were permitted by those around the world to die at the hands of this dictator. Russians don't like talking about it.

I encourage people to read about Holodomor.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 27, 2021:

An interesting read, and a reminder of my history lessons.

There can be difference of opinion with regard to Stalin, as a World leader, or as a human being. But, he has left a mark in history, and that can’t be denied.

It’s not the ordinary, but the extraordinary, who make or create history—Whether for good reasons or bad reasons.

Thank you for sharing this excellent article.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 27, 2021:

I always enjoy reading your historical articles. I do not think Stalin was a good man, but I can see that he led Russian in several important advancements. I think WWII was a horrible time for all, and the U.S. was fighting the Japanese also. I am glad Russia played such an important role in this world war.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 27, 2021:

Name of Stalin is always taken with respect and awe. There are some leaders who make a place for themselves in History and he was definitely one of them. You have brought out this sketch nicely. Thanks.

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