Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Joseph Stalin: The Early Years

On  the 3rd of April 90 years ago Joseph Stalin cemented his place in history by becoming the supreme leader of the Soviet Union, But do you really know who he was? Where he came from? Well today we will be taking a look at his life right up to the time he become a dictator in all but name.

Joseph Stalin was born in 18th December 1878 although there are many dates thrown about because he changed the date to avoid conscription. He was born in the small town of Gori in Georgia to an abusive alcoholic father and highly protective mother, His father beat him constantly which led to Stalin despising his father. The town of Gori was a lawless place and had a very strong gang culture which Joseph was very much apart of he was forever in trouble for fighting and stealing. At the age of 7 he contracted smallpox and his face was highly scarred. Later on in life he had all his portraits and photos retouched so he didn't look so god damn ugly, the joys of having absolute power I guess.

His mother was deeply religious and in 1888 managed to get him into theological school (that's church school for all you cretins!) Unfortunately his dad was adamant that he was going to have a trade. So when he found out the sh*t hit the fan, and in a drunken rage Stalin's father beat up the priest and vandalised the local pub. As was protocol of the times he was told never to return to the town, he ventured off to Tbilsi in search of work. At the age of 12 Stalin was hit by a horse drawn carriage and had to go to Tbilsi Hospital to recover. Whilst there his father kidnapped him and forced him to work in the cobbler trade, don't ask me what the hell a cobbler is because I don't know!! Luckily his mother and the local priests rallied together and got him back into church school where he graduated first in his class. To which his dad cut off all financial support and left his family to fend for themselves.

At the age of 16 he enrolled in  a super church school in Tbilsi. There he and other students started reading forbidden Marxist literature and even started to write poetry! In 1898 he joined the first Bolshevik parties. Just before his Final exams the seminary decided to raise the school fees ridiculously high, the Stalin's were unable to pay so he was expelled and never finished his exams. Shortly after leaving school he found the writings of one Vladimir Lenin and decided to become a revolutionary.

He then took a part time job in an observatory but spent most of his time in revolutionary activities, He soon drew the attention of the Russian secret police and managed to avoid capture on several occasions but it meant he had to leave the normal life behind and go underground, during this time he wrote articles for radical newspapers. In 1902 Stalin was involved in an arson attack and sentenced to 3 years exile in Siberia (also known as the sweaty asshole of the world!) . In  1903 he officially joined the Bolsheviks and in 1905 started to go across Georgia spreading discontent.

In 1906 Stalin met Lenin in Finland for the first time and although impressed by him was not afraid to stand against him on issues dear to his heart. He went back to Georgia and raised money for the Bolsheviks by extortion and bank robberies. He then met Leon Trotsky for the first time his rival as Lenin's successor he hated him instantly calling him pretty but useless. In 1907  Stalin pulled off a massive heist that brought alot of money to the cause but killed 40 people in the process, this act caused him problems for years to come. In 1910 he was finally arrested by the secret police and exiled for 5 years.

In 1912 he moved to St Petersburg but was caught again by the secret police and he was exiled to Siberia again, but he escaped just over a month later. He spent the next 5 years being upto no good, then caught  and exiled and repeat! In 1917 Lenin finally started the revolution and took power of Russia. During this time Stalin ordered the burning of towns just show his power, a clue to the future he had ahead of him. In 1922 Lenin suffered a stroke and was forced into semi-retirement, Stalin visited him often and acted as an intermediary to the outside world. Lenin criticised Stalin's brutality  ruthlessness and ambition and tried to have him removed from his high position, unfortunately for Lenin Stalin blocked this at every turn, he forged with alliances with other strong members of the communist party all to make his position against Trotsky stronger.

I will leave it there for now as this is a bit of an information overload! The next part of the Stalin series will be from 1922 to the end of world war 2. Cheers for now.

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