Joseph Stalin: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Joseph Stalin.

  • Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. He is considered to be one of the most murderous dictators ever.
  • Stalin was born in 1879 in Georgia. He devoted much of his early years to trying to overthrow the Russian monarchy and was exiled to Siberia several times.

  • Stalin was only 160 inches tall and went to great lengths to make himself look taller. Photos of him were often taken looking up at him.
  • In 1922, he was appointed General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party. When Lenin died in 1924, Stalin was able to seize power of the entire country.
  • Stalin successfully led the Russian people through World War 2. Russia originally sided with Germany, but when Germany invaded Russia, Stalin hid in his office for several days.
  • After the war, Stalin helped to form Communist governments in several eastern European countries. The phrase ‘iron curtain’ was used to describe the division between east and west Europe.
  • Stalin devised several five year plans, to help bring Russia financial and industrial might. The first 2 plans helped Russia to survive World War 2.
  • It is estimated that Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions of people, as he eliminated threats to his rule, forced people to work in labour camps, and purged the population.
  • He was actually born with the name Losif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. He took the name of Joseph Stalin in about 1910, which translates as ‘man of steel’.
  • Stalin was insecure about his physical appearance. As a boy he had smallpox which left him scarred, and his left arm was also a lot shorter than his right arm due to an abnormality.
  • Stalin loved fishing and hunting, as well as watching Westerns. He also had a library of 20,000 books and often read 500 or more pages in a day.
  • Stalin may have been assassinated. Although his death was said to be from a stroke, recent research suggests that he may have died from taking rat poison.