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Joseph Stalin was a communist revolutionary and the ruler of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). He served as the General Secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union for a period of 31 years between April 3, 1922, and March 5, 1953.

Joseph Stalin (1878 - 1953)
  • 1879: Joseph Stalin was born, as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, in the city of Gori, Georgia, on December 21.
  • 1894: He got enrolled in Tiflis Theological Seminary, where he rebelled against being coerced to speak in Russian.
  • 1899: After being expelled from the seminary, he came across Lenin's literature and decided to become a Marxist revolutionary.
  • 1903: Stalin joined the Bolsheviks, after the Social Democrats split into two groups―the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
  • 1905: He met Lenin for the first time at the Bolshevik conference in Finland in December.
  • 1906: Stalin married Yekaterina Svanidze.
  • 1907: Yekaterina gave birth to their first child, Yakov, in March. She died of typhus in October that year.
  • 1912: Lenin appointed Stalin to the Party's Central Committee after the Bolsheviks officially separated from the Social Democrats.
  • 1917: The Russian Revolution started in March. The provisional government took over after the fall of the Tsar's government. In November, the Bolsheviks seized power after overthrowing the provisional government.
  • 1918: Stalin married Nadezhda Alliluyeva―the daughter of the Russian revolutionary, Sergei Alliluyev.
  • 1918 - 1920: The Civil War began in Russia. Stalin commanded the forces in Tsaritsyn and St. Petersburg.
  • 1921: Stalin played a vital role in the invasion of Georgia by the Red Army. Meanwhile, Nadezhda gave birth to Vasily―Stalin's second child.
  • 1922: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) officially came into existence. Stalin was elected the General Secretary of the Communist Party in April.
  • 1923: On January 4, Lenin warned the Communist Party to dismiss Stalin from the top position. On March 7, Lenin suffered a major stroke and lost his ability to speak.
  • 1924: After Lenin's death on January 21, Stalin started to publicly root for his theory of 'Socialism in One Country'.
  • 1926: Stalin attacked the 'United Opposition' of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Trotsky at the 15th Party Congress. His third child, Svetlana, was born on February 28 that year.
  • 1927: Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Trotsky were expelled from the party, leaving Stalin with the total control of the organization. The year also saw the introduction of the 'five year plan' by Stalin.
  • 1929: Stalin removed Bukharin from the politburo in November.
  • 1932: Stalin's second wife, Nadezhda Alliluyeva committed suicide.
  • 1934: The beginning of the 'Great Purge' or 'Great Terror', Sergei Kirov was assassinated on December 1, 1934.
  • 1935: Zinoviev and Kamenev were arrested after being framed with the charges of Sergei Kirov's assassination.
  • 1936: Zinoviev, Kamenev, and others accused of Kirov's assassination were executed.
  • 1937: The Great Purge continued with the execution of army's top brass in June.
  • 1939: Stalin announced the end of the Great Terror at the 18th Party Congress in March. The Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed on August 23 in Moscow. This year was also marked by the beginning of the World War II.
  • 1940: On August 20, Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico.
  • 1941: German forces invaded the Soviet Union under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.
  • 1942: The Battle of Stalingrad began.
  • 1943: German forces were defeated in the Battle of Stalingrad in February, which turned out to be the turning point of the war. Stalin met the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and the American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in various conferences.
  • 1945: On April 31, Hitler committed suicide which ended the war in Europe. The Red Army gained control over most of eastern Europe. The United States used the Atom Bomb against Japan which ended the war in the Pacific.
  • 1948: Communists gained control over Czechoslovakia and tightened their grip over eastern Europe.
  • 1949: Soviets tested their first atomic bomb in September. Stalin celebrated his 70th birthday the same year.
  • 1950: The Sino-Soviet treaty was signed. The Korean War commenced. Stalin provided military help to Kim II Sung's North Korean army.
  • 1953: After a Jewish doctor's plot to slay him came to light, Stalin planned to reintroduce the wave of terror in January, but before the plan was brought in action, he suffered a stroke which paralyzed the right side of his body and he eventually died on March 5.
Stalin was a man with strong determination, who never allowed people to take advantage of his emotions. When the Germans captured his son, Yakov, and offered to free him in exchange of the German Field Marshal, Friedrich Paulus, Stalin declined the proposal saying, You have in your hands not only my son, Yakov, but millions of my sons. Either you free them all or my son will share their fate.