After reading a book on Mao, I realized I did not know very much about the eastern part of the world. Mao idolized Stalin in some respects and so it intrigued me to go read about Stalin (I read a biography written by Robert Service). To get the full picture, I will also have to read about Lenin and Marx as well.

Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhughashvili, know as Stalin, was born on December 18, 1878 and died on March 5, 1953 at 9:50 AM. He reigned from the 1920's, after Lenin's death, to his death.  His Mom wanted to be a priest, but that was not to be. He had a gift or organization and editing. He was a workaholic and focused on making the USSR a economic and military power. His goals in large part where accomplished. Many people in Moscow mourned his death. However, his pension for terror and his uncontrolled suspicions caused untold misery.

The most telling part of this book came at the very beginning.
Stalin carried out campaigns of carnage which have been described with words outside the lexicon of our species: monstrous, fiendish, reptilian; but the lesson to be learned from studying several of the twentieth century's most murderous politicians is that it is wrong to depict them as beings wholly incomparable to ourselves. Not only is it wrong; it is also dangerous. If the likes of Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-tung and Pol Pot are represented as having been 'animals', 'monsters' or 'killing machines', we shall never be able to discern their successors (pg. 11).
Stalin in many ways was very normal and did not stand out among his peers until it was too late. The fact of the matter is that he acted very much in the same way that the other's around him acted in the early part of his life. He was violent then but so where the rest in the Bolshevik revolution. It was not until he had power that his defects became clear to those around him, but by then it was too late. The Great Terror between 1937 and 1938 largely cemented his absolute authority. "Roughly three quarters of a million people perished under a hail of bullets in that brief period of 2 years (pg. 256)."

Robert Service got it right when he said that Stalin seemed normal for the most part. However, since Stalin was an Atheist, he had nothing to control him. He did not think that he had to answer to anybody for the choices he made, which is what allowed him to indulge his appetite for violence. Although many people like to say that religion poisons everything, it is very clear that lack of religion causes untold misery. If there is not restraint to our desires, we could all be like Stalin. It brings to mind something that is found in the Bible.
None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom. 3:10-18).


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