Summary of Stalin from Book Chapter

Allied Victory or Stalin’s Victory? (Summary from Roberts, Geoffrey, Stalin's Wars: from World War to Cold War, 1939-1953 , Yale University Press, New Haven,
2006, Chapter One)

In the pantheon of twentieth-century dictators Joseph Stalin’s reputation for brutality and criminality is rivalled only by Adolf Hitler’s. Yet when he died in March 1953 his passing was widely mourned. In Moscow weeping crowds populated the streets and there were displays of mass public grief throughout the Soviet Union. At Stalin’s state funeral, party leaders queued up to eulogise their dead boss in reverential tones that suggested the passing of a saint, not a mass murderer.

  * Here’s a quote from the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov in praising Stalin after his death, he proclaimed:

  * ‘The deathless name of Stalin will always live in our hearts, in the hearts of the Soviet people and of all progressive humanity’– ‘The fame of his great deeds in the service and happiness of our people and the workers of the whole world will live forever!’

  * Stalin a Hero?

  * According to cult mythology Stalin was not just the great helmsman of the Soviet state and the political genius who had led his country to victory in war BUT he was indeed the ‘father of the peoples’.   He was, as the slogan went, the ‘Lenin of today’, and, fittingly, Stalin’s body was laid alongside that of the founder of the Soviet state in his mausoleum on Red Square. But Stalin’s reputation soon began to take a battering in the Soviet Union. Only three years later, in February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, the new Soviet leader, denounced the cult of personality as a perversion of communist principles and depicted Stalin as a despot who had executed his comrades, decimated his military commanders, and led the country to one disaster after another during the Second World War.

Rejection of Stalin

  * Khrushchev’s delivered a speech in secret to the congress of the Soviet communist party but...