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Great Purge – Wikipedia

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  • Summary: Articles about Great Purge – Wikipedia In 1934, Stalin used the murder of Sergey Kirov as a pretext to launch the Great Purge, in which about a million people perished (see § Number of people …

  • Match the search results: Two major lines of interpretation have emerged among historians. One argues that the purges reflected Stalin’s ambitions, his paranoia, and his inner drive to increase his power and eliminate potential rivals. Revisionist historians explain the purges by theorizing that rival factions exploited Stal…

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Russia Might Have Lost World War II If Stalin Killed His Best …

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  • Summary: Articles about Russia Might Have Lost World War II If Stalin Killed His Best … Beginning in 1936, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin set about deliberately murdering 700,000 people in the Great Purge, an act of mass killing that …

  • Match the search results: Beginning in 1936, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin set about deliberately murdering 700,000 people in the Great Purge, an act of mass killing that “constituted a form of rule” unto itself, as Stalin biographer Stephen Kotkin explained.

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Great Purge – HISTORY

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  • Summary: Articles about Great Purge – HISTORY Convinced they were plotting a coup, Stalin had 30,000 members of the Red Army executed. Experts estimate that 81 of the 103 generals and …

  • Match the search results: Stalin – Purges and Praises, BBC.
    Stalin’s Great Purge: Over A Million Detained, More Than Half A Million Killed, War History Online.
    New research reveals misconceptions about Joseph Stalin and his “Great Purge,” Business Insider.
    Sentenced to Death in Stalin’s Gre…

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Stalin Attacks the Red Army | HistoryNet

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  • Summary: Articles about Stalin Attacks the Red Army | HistoryNet Until recently, historians had estimated that the purge claimed as many as 50,000 out of an estimated 100,000 officers. Now, thanks to greater …

  • Match the search results: As commissar of defense, Voroshilov submitted to Stalin a list of some 300 officers to be repressed. Voroshilov wanted to put an end to the struggle over modernizing the Red Army that his cohorts were waging against Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskii’s group of rising professional officers, who wanted to…

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Rethinking Stalin’s Purge of the Red Army, 1937-38

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  • Summary: Articles about Rethinking Stalin’s Purge of the Red Army, 1937-38 On 11 June 1937, a Soviet military court sentenced a group of some of the most senior officers in the Red Army to execution.

  • Match the search results: A second – and related – explanation for the military purge points to Stalin’s paranoia: Stalin saw ‘enemies’ everywhere and the Red Army was no exception. In this way, the military purge was not a targeted removal of potential challengers to Stalin’s power, but instead a manifestation of the dictat…

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The Red Army and the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of … – JSTOR

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  • Summary: Articles about The Red Army and the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of … – JSTOR The arrest of the small group of former Trotskyist officers during the summer and autumn of 1936 was different in many respects from earlier cases of …

  • Match the search results: On June 11, 1937, a closed military court ordered the execution of a group of the Soviet Union’s most talented and experienced army officers, including Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskii; all were charged with participating in a Nazi plot to overthrow the regime of Joseph Stalin. There followed a massive…

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The Tukhachevsky Affair – JSTOR

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  • Summary: Articles about The Tukhachevsky Affair – JSTOR generals) derived from the tangled and often contradictory course of Soviet foreign policy over … What Stalin had in mind was something much more than a.

  • Match the search results: Wiley is a global provider of content and content-enabled workflow solutions in areas of scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly research; professional development; and education. Our core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, databa…

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Joseph Stalin – Role in World War II – Encyclopedia Britannica

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  • Summary: Articles about Joseph Stalin – Role in World War II – Encyclopedia Britannica Not only did his methods crush initiative among Soviet administrators, physically destroying many, but they also left a legacy of remembered fear so extreme as …

  • Match the search results: Stalin’s prewar defensive measures were exposed as incompetent by the German blitzkrieg that surged deep into Soviet territory after Hitler’s unprovoked attack on the Soviet Union of June 22, 1941. Khrushchev claimed that Stalin was shocked into temporary inactivity by the onslaught, but, if so, he …

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How Stalin’s Purge Beheaded the Red Army (1937) – Marxists …

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  • Summary: Articles about How Stalin’s Purge Beheaded the Red Army (1937) – Marxists … The following extracts are from an article written by Leon Trotsky in 1937, shortly after Stalin’s execution of the eight leading generals …

  • Match the search results: The following extracts are from an article written by Leon Trotsky in 1937, shortly after Stalin’s execution of the eight leading generals of the Red Army. Only now is the world beginning to understand that in murdering these men Stalin was destroying the supreme leadership of the armed forces…

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Joseph Stalin: National hero or cold-blooded murderer? – BBC

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  • Summary: Articles about Joseph Stalin: National hero or cold-blooded murderer? – BBC How did Stalin get away with murder? … Many in the party expect Red Army leader Leon Trotsky to be Lenin’s natural successor, but his ideas are too …

  • Match the search results: German forces sweep across the country and by December 1941 have almost reached Moscow. Stalin refuses to leave the city, deciding victory must be won at any cost. The Battle of Stalingrad is the turning point of the war. Hitler attacks the city bearing Stalin’s name to humiliate him, but Stalin tel…

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Stalin purges added to vast human cost of WWII – France 24

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  • Summary: Articles about Stalin purges added to vast human cost of WWII – France 24 The deadliest military engagement, the 1942-1943 Battle of Stalingrad, saw more than one million Soviet troops killed but proved a turning-point …

  • Match the search results: After Stalin’s death in 1953, his successor Nikita Khrushchev dismantled the personality cult and almost tripled the death figure to 20 million, blaming such huge losses on Stalin’s incompetence.

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Multi-read content how many generals did stalin kill

For years Stalin had purged his enemies – real and respectable – including military officers. Then the German invasion of 1941 revealed the real problems of the Red Army.

In late June 1941, without declaring war, the Axis powers of Germany, Hungary and Romania invaded the Soviet Union along a vast front stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Much of the Red Air Force was destroyed on land during the first week of the war, leaving the Army under Luftwaffe command. The Red Army leadership responded awkwardly and ineffectively to Germany’s blitzkrieg style, and by the end of September the Axis had conquered large parts of the Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine while killing, capturing and injuring millions of people. by Soviet soldiers and civilians. The Secretary General of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, responded to the German advance by blaming his generals and some of them for baseless cowardice as an example for the rest.

In October the Germans marched on Moscow and got within 12 miles of the Kremlin. Weather, exhaustion, heavy casualties (750,000 men) and lack of supplies were among the factors preventing their advance, but the Red Army, most notably, refused to give up the fight. After the war, during Stalin’s lifetime, discussions about who was responsible for the 1941 disaster were forbidden. But once he was gone, the military was quick to blame him, citing the ongoing purge of 1937–1939.

In the minds of people, and even scholars, Joseph Stalin’s terrorist purge of those years involved nightly arrests, prolonged torture leading to confessions, mistakes, and firing squads. Undoubtedly, the terrorist purge—commonly known as Ezhovshchina after Nikolai Ezhov, then Chief of Police (NKVD)—was a terrible tragedy for Soviet society in general and the Red Army officer corps in particular.

However, its potential impact on the Soviet Army was initially greatly exaggerated by Red Army apologists, in part to blame Stalin for the 1941 disaster. Even as the purge was underway, the armed forces exaggerated and misrepresented their losses, perhaps to convince Stalin to end Ezhovshchina. Until recently, historians estimated that the purge claimed the lives of 50,000 officers out of an estimated 100,000. Thanks to better access to Russian archives, we now know that less than 50% was lost, and even as officers were purged, new officers were added—nearly 14,000 in 1937 and 57,000 in 1938. After that, worst of all, no more . more than 12.5 percent of the officer corps was suppressed. We can legitimately question whether the purge had the dramatic impact on leadership and the military’s unreadiness for war, as has long been assumed.

No doubt Stalin wanted to eliminate certain top officers and commissars whom he had no reason to suspect were grossly disloyal to him, unsupportive of his policies, or unreliable in a crisis. Among the purged were some of his best officers, notably Robert Eideman, Iona Iakir, Innokentii Khalepskii, August Kork, Aleksandr Sediakin, Aleksandr Svechin, Mikhail Tukhachevskii and Ieronim Uborevich, while the other men were Stalin’s incompetent leg – Marshals Semen Budenny, Grigory Kulik Voroshilov survived.

As Defense Commissar, Voroshilov presented Stalin with a list of about 300 officers who needed to be suppressed. Voroshilov wanted to end the Red Army’s struggle for modernization that his comrades were waging against Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevskii’s burgeoning group of career officers who wanted to emphasize armaments and aviation at the expense of cavalry. In addition, Stalin and Voroshilov also harbored a personal grudge against some officers. However, none of this explains the extent of the repression, which extended not only to the military but to all areas of Soviet society and government. Also, none of the proposed theories for the terrorist attack have fully explained all of its variations. The best we can do is accept that Stalin carried out the purge of Ezhovshchina because he was afraid of losing his own political power. We may never know how he decided who posed a threat to him, or why he allowed his murderous measures to extend to people who might not pose a threat.

Ezhovshchina’s advances in the army showed that the army itself was at least partly to blame: Stalin initiated the purge by ordering the arrest of several genuinely professional Tukhachevsky group officers who were falsely accused by the security services of being traitors to the Nazi Payment. Voroshilov then urged all military personnel to be vigilant, to report suspicious activity and to turn in the enemies of those hidden within their ranks. Officials and employees followed these orders enthusiastically, especially those in Communist Party organizations. As a result, a wave of denunciations spread throughout the armed forces. Between June and December 1937, 2,238 officers were arrested and 15,426 released. When Ezhovshchina ended, two-thirds of the more than 9,500 arrests ordered by special detachments of Ezhov’s NKVD were assigned to the army. The People’s Committee for National Defense (NKO), playing Stalin’s game, ordered the arrest of the remaining third.

In particular, the military district personnel played an important role in the size of Ezhovshchina, since the NKO gave them wide leeway. In October 1937, the NKO authorized the military districts to expel suspected communists from the party without consulting the central authorities in Moscow and to release the deported officials on the spot for military service. The reasons for release or arrest are not always clear. A man can be denounced for any form of the military that is ineffective or politically unreliable, from criticizing certain aspects of party politics to supporting the policies of Stalin’s former opponents to the slightest contact with foreign countries. Six months earlier, in March 1937, the Politburo had ordered the demobilization of all senior officers expelled from the party. Many men got into trouble simply because they were not Russian: in 1938 the military districts ordered the expulsion of all officers of German, Polish, Latvian, Estonian, Korean, Finnish and Lithuanian origin. , Romania, Turkey, Hungary or Bulgaria. Accordingly, the NKO leadership initiated the demobilization of 4,030 military officers and politicians and demobilized the other 7,148 military regions.

In September 1938, however, Voroshilov attempted to put an end to Eshovshchina by promulgating an order prohibiting military districts from submitting additional personnel lists to the NKVD for ethnic background checks. However, the submissions continue. It took a joint NKO/NKWD command in August 1939 to finally start operations.

The conventional wisdom is that the army – and the Soviet people in general – felt terrorized by Yezhovshchina. Some lived in terror, and the suicides of famous officers bear witness to this, but there is evidence that some, and perhaps many, Soviets believed that Ezhovshchina was just and necessary. The state bombarded the population with the idea that traitors and spies threatened the security of the Soviet Union and had to be eliminated. Therefore, people in good conscience denounce each other, thinking that they are doing patriotic deeds. Boris Starinov, captain in 1938, recalls thinking Tukhachevsky and his “gang of shipbreakers” had committed the crime. A trainee pilot, Valentina Ivanova, said of the time and Stalin: “He removed us from traitors.” To this day, there are Russians who believe that Stalin’s purge made the Soviet Union more secure.

Many people, both civilians and military, believe that Ezhovshchina was carried out lawfully and fairly, as thousands were released from custody and tens of thousands more released in the months and years that followed. By mid-1940, almost a third of all expelled and army officers had appealed against both expulsion and demobilization and had been reinstated in their party and labor offices. Party members first appeal through the established party mechanism, which gives all members the right to appeal a negative decision regarding membership. If this appeal is successful, they will appeal to the NKO Human Resources Office to request their reinstatement, using their rehabilitation against the party as proof of their innocence. Independent officials bring their cases directly to the NKO. By the end of 1941, more than a third of those arrested had been released, some on the basis of individual appeals to the judicial authority, others by order of the NKVD at the request of the NKO. Most officers were later returned to their ranks and assigned to their duties. Again and again the officers’ memoirs were read about the “mistakes” in the arrests of friends and family members, which were identified and corrected after the appeals process went into effect. Such was the case of Sigismund Torgovskij, a lieutenant who was arrested in May 1938 for being born in what was formerly Russian Poland and accused of being a Polish spy. He wrote a letter of appeal accusing Ezhov and his henchmen of wrongdoing. (At that time, Ezhov himself was captured by Lavrenti Beria and took the post of head of the NKVD.) In less than a year, the lieutenant was reinstated in the army by administrative order from Beria.

The terrorist purge of 1937-1939 can be seen as a continuation of earlier Trotskyist purges taken to extremes. Stalin’s war with Leon Trotsky lasted from the 1920s until Trotsky’s assassination in Mexico in 1940. During those years anyone suspected of assisting Trotsky in any matter was destroyed, whether on a collective farm or on the army general staff worked. By the mid-1920s, 26,000 Trotskyist officers had been barred—removed—from serving in high-level party struggles. This marked the beginning of political repression against military officers, but it was only the beginning. In March 1937, Voroshilov proudly announced to a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party that the NKO had discharged 47,000 soldiers from the start of the war against Trotsky in the mid-1920s to that point. The defense commissioner noted that 5,000 of them, “apparently members of the opposition”, were arrested. During a secret meeting with members of the Soviet Defense Ministry on June 2, 1937, Stalin declared the need to arrest Marshal Tukhachevskii and his team in connection with the fight against cockroaches, since Trotskyist and fascist embassies are taking place. Gullible members of the Soviet Army, including career officers such as Marshals Georgii Egorov and Kirill Meretskov, believed the charges and sanctioned the arrests of high-ranking officers. Marshal Egorov, as a member of the Communist Party Central Committee, continued to authorize the arrests of senior party members in the months leading up to his arrest.

At least some military purges continued between the Trotskyist purges of the mid-1920s and Stalin’s death in 1953, with thousands of officers being fired each year on suspicion of unreliability. For example, in 1930 the NKVD launched Operation Vesna, a major effort to eliminate officers who had started their careers in the tsarist army and were later suspected of being anti-Soviet. About 3,000 officers were dismissed, and many of them arrested for conspiring with the Orthodox Church to overthrow the Soviet regime. For purely political reasons, the NKO demobilized 6,198 officers from the army in 1935 and a further 5,677 in 1936.

Considering that the number of officers pursued turned out to be much smaller than previously thought, we must consider the quality of the officers lost in order to explain the disasters of the attack.German work 1941-1942. Numerically, lieutenants and captains suffered the most; However, in percentage terms, the purge hit most senior officers of the rank of Colonel and above. For example, from January 1937 to the end of 1938, 52 corps commanders, 123 division commanders, 264 brigade commanders and 897 colonels were dismissed. In all, the army demobilized 1,336 colonels and generals and 1,385 soldier equivalents. The NKVD then arrested 800 officers and 465 political commissars.

After Stalin’s death, Soviet historians claimed the purged were the best and brightest in the Red Army to blame Stalin for the army’s failure to stop the incident. The implication is that the more adept an officer is militarily, the more likely they are to be pursued. But this line of thinking must be viewed with skepticism: after all, why focus the purge on the best officers? In addition, the great war record of generals such as Vasilii Chuikov, Ivan Konev, Boris Shaposhnikov, Aleksandr Vasilevskii and Georgy Zhukov, including the few who were not purged – and among the many lieutenant colonels and generals, the colonel rose to become successful divisions and armies to command – to challenge the notion that only the incompetent would survive. All this indicates that Ezhovshchina was only one of several factors that contributed to the fall of 1941-1942.

The Red Army has never been in good shape; it constantly struggled with indiscipline, rampant alcoholism, lack of equipment and weapons, and lack of attention to training. Social conflicts between workers and peasants in the ranks were also a problem: the peasantry suffered from the collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s, and famine early in that decade only exacerbated the problem. The problem worsened, as did the ideals of the party towards the workforce.

In general, to be fair, the quality of senior officers – colonels and above – varied greatly in the years leading up to the war. Most senior officers have little or no formal military training and rose to high command at a young age during the Russian Civil War. Their qualifications are based more on their track record in extremely low-tech warfare and loyalty to their party than on professional training and proven competency. The Trotskyist purge of 1926 only made matters worse, leaving the army with a severe shortage of officers, a lack of effective officer training, and an intrusive pattern of politicization. The subsequent Ezhovshchina affair was not the reason for the predominance of poorly trained officers in the Red Army, but it exacerbated the problem.

Another factor was the exponential growth of the armed forces in anticipation of wars with Germany and Japan. Red Army forces tripled in just four years, from 1.3 million in 1937 to 4.5 million in 1941. The plan to counter the growing threat called for the army to have a fully mobilized force of Raised 8.6 million men, dividing them between the Soviet Far East and Eastern Europe. To reach these numbers, the sheer scale of expansion in 1939 was spectacular: 4 new armies, 2 fortified areas, 8 armies and 19 corps – all of which required structure, administrative and support staff. There were also 111 new infantry divisions, including the 333rd Infantry Regiment, the 222nd Artillery Regiment and the 555th Ranger Artillery Battalion; 16 armored brigades; 12 Reserve Infantry Brigades; 85 reserve mobilization regiments; 137 independent artillery battalions of corps and division levels; 42 military schools; 52 retraining courses for reserve officers; and 345 hospitals evacuated. In the spring of 1941, when the Germans invaded, new units were still being formed. The Red Air Force base was similarly expanded to provide air cover and tactical air support to ground forces.

The manpower requirements resulting from the formation of these new units, combined with the need to replace losses from the purge, further worsened the leadership of the officer corps: officers often only spend a very short time in their positions before being promoted to higher levels of responsibility will. in new units. In their new positions, they were responsible not only for directing and overseeing the training of hundreds or thousands of soldiers, but also for the training of junior officers, although they had little training and experience. Secondary inter-unit transfers only increase with expansion, and leadership cohesion decreases.

Although the defense industry began producing materials at a rapid pace, it could not keep up with the rapid mobilization of manpower. The soldiers will go to newly formed regiments with barracks still under construction. They often had to stand and wait for artillery or rifles and ammunition needed for their training. Some units have had to wait weeks for something as simple as boots before they could go into the field.

Stalin and his generals knew that expanding the armed forces would be difficult, not only because of the ambitious material goals they had set themselves, but also because the leading cadres were deeply corrupted. Even before the start of the Ezhovshchina operation in May 1937, the army was short of about 10,000 officers. In January of the following year, at the peak of Ezhovshchina, this figure was 39,100. As progress continued in 1938, the newly formed infantry divisions required an additional 33,000 officers, but even as large numbers of discharges and arrests were restored, the Army was still short of 73,000 officers at the end of the year. It was expected that the Red Army would need an additional 198,000 officers by 1939 to meet that year’s expansion plans, and then set a goal of recruiting 203,000 men for newly established and vacant officer posts.

From 1938 to 1939 the Army had only 158,147 officers. These new officers, assigned to command platoons and companies fighting in Poland, Finland and Mongolia in 1939, were ill-prepared. The majority – 77,971 of them – were lieutenants who had completed training of six months or less, while some 62,800 had completed short courses of one or two years in military schools; The remaining 17,376 officers are reservists who have been temporarily drafted into the army and receive only brief refresher training. In contrast, young officers recruited after the Civil War and before the army’s rapid expansion (1922 to 1937) often spent four years in a military school preparing for their service.

General Efim A. Shchadenko, head of the Department of Defense Personnel Office, estimated that the officer corps would need to be increased by 50% between January 1, 1939 and March 1940, i.e. from 240,000 to about 357,000. Despite best efforts, the Army and Communist Party did not recruit enough officers, and 9,093 officers died in the battles of 1939–1940 (during the invasion of Poland, the Battle of Chalkin-Gol with Japan, and the Winter War with Finland). Army did not have 125,000 officers in March 1940. Shchadenko later reported that to be fully staffed in 1942 after the planned expansion was completed, a total of 438,000 additional officers would be needed. It would also take 980,000 sergeants over two years to lead soldiers at the platoon level; But privately a lot. By May 1940, the Army’s number reached almost 4 million soldiers, an increase of more than 2.2 million compared to 1937.

A week before the Nazi invasion, on June 15, 1941, the Red Army had 439,143 officers, half of whom had been in the army for two years or less. That is 15% fewer (67,000 men) than necessary. The hundreds of thousands of officers enlisted since 1937 were simply unprepared to lead their underarmed and ill-equipped men and many companies and even battalions commanded by newly minted 19-year-old lieutenants. went much deeper than Ezhovshchina. Purge and expansion together crippled the leadership of the Red Army officer corps at the most important moment in Soviet history.

In short, the 1941 disaster was the result of a combination of factors: the shortage of officers due to the purge and the rapid build-up of the armed forces; after 1937 hastily trained and initialed junior officers; brief tenure in managerial positions prior to promotion or transfer, or both; and lacked the talent of many senior officers. More difficult to quantify are the effects of the politicization of the officer corps and Stalin’s interference in personnel policies in the promotion, appointment, arrest and dismissal of top generals. The purge not only removed many capable officers but also created an atmosphere of distrust among officers and their men, who were influenced by government media propaganda and inclined to believe that their commander might be an officer traitor or spy. In general, Stalin’s intervention in military affairs was futile and destabilizing, but it was the rapidity of the war that dealt the Red Army the heaviest blow.

Roger Reese is a history professor at the Texas AWhy did Stalin’s soldiers fight?(2011).

Originally published in the October 2014 issue ofMilitary History Quarterly. To register, clickthis.

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Georgy Zhukov was born in 1896 to an incredibly poor peasant family in the Kaluga Province, roughly 80 miles from Moscow. His family had a small house in the relatively poor town of Strelkovka, which Zhukov was quoted once as saying “looked the worst in the village”. His family was rather tough when it came to discipline, and floggings with a belt by his father Konstantin, were quite common in order to whip his boy into the shape he wanted.

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Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (18 December [O.S. 6 December] 1878 – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. Audiobooks on Stalin:


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He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952) and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union (1941–1953). Despite initially governing the country as part of a collective leadership, he ultimately consolidated power to become the Soviet Union’s dictator by the 1930s. A communist ideologically committed to the Leninist interpretation of Marxism, Stalin formalised these ideas as Marxism–Leninism while his own policies are known as Stalinism.

Born to a poor family in Gori in the Russian Empire (now Georgia), Stalin attended the Tbilisi Spiritual Seminary before eventually joining the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. He went on to edit the party’s newspaper, Pravda, and raised funds for Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik faction via robberies, kidnappings and protection rackets. Repeatedly arrested, he underwent several internal exiles. After the Bolsheviks seized power during the October Revolution and created a one-party state under the newly formed Communist Party in 1917, Stalin joined its governing Politburo. Serving in the Russian Civil War before overseeing the Soviet Union’s establishment in 1922, Stalin assumed leadership over the country following Lenin’s death in 1924. Under Stalin, socialism in one country became a central tenet of the party’s dogma. As a result of the Five-Year Plans implemented under his leadership, the country underwent agricultural collectivisation and rapid industrialisation, creating a centralised command economy. This led to severe disruptions of food production that contributed to the famine of 1932–33. To eradicate accused “enemies of the working class”, Stalin instituted the Great Purge, in which over a million were imprisoned and at least 700,000 executed between 1934 and 1939. By 1937, he had absolute control over the party and government.

Stalin promoted Marxism–Leninism abroad through the Communist International and supported European anti-fascist movements during the 1930s, particularly in the Spanish Civil War. In 1939, his regime signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, resulting in the Soviet invasion of Poland. Germany ended the pact by invading the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite initial setbacks, the Soviet Red Army repelled the German invasion and captured Berlin in 1945, thereby ending World War II in Europe. Amid the war, the Soviets annexed the Baltic states and then established Soviet-aligned governments throughout Central and Eastern Europe, China, and North Korea. The Soviet Union and the United States emerged as global superpowers and entered a period of tensions, the Cold War. Stalin presided over the Soviet post-war reconstruction and its development of an atomic bomb in 1949. During these years, the country experienced another major famine and an antisemitic campaign that culminated in the doctors’ plot. After Stalin’s death in 1953, he was eventually succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who subsequently denounced his rule and initiated the de-Stalinisation of Soviet society.

Widely considered to be one of the 20th century’s most significant figures, Stalin was the subject of a pervasive personality cult within the international Marxist–Leninist movement, which revered him as a champion of the working class and socialism. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Stalin has retained popularity in Russia and Georgia as a victorious wartime leader who cemented the Soviet Union’s status as a leading world power. Conversely, his regime has been described as totalitarian, and has been widely condemned for overseeing mass repression, ethnic cleansing, wide-scale deportation, hundreds of thousands of executions, and famines that killed millions.



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The Great Purge was a period in the history of the Soviet Union where Stalin eliminated the majority of the “Old Bolsheviks” and the leadership of the Red Army. This was done through three show trials in 1936, 1937 and 1938 and a trial for 8 generals of the Soviet Union in 1937. Ordinary citizens, artists and intellectuals became victims as well. It is estimated around 1 million people died during the Great Purge.

The content of this video covers events, people or concepts via a lecture-style presentation that is educational and historical in nature. Every video is original content by House of History. The events relating to conflict in this video are portrayed in their historical context without either value judgment or an ideological message attached to it. There is no intent to shock, upset or disgust. The goal of my channel is to make interesting lecture-style videos, no more, no less.

If you have any feedback, questions or criticism feel free to leave a comment. Your opinion truly aids me in improving the content of the channel! If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment and I will either write a reply, answer your question in a Q\u0026A video, or make an entire video about it!

Note: Somehow autofocus was on during the recording of this video. I have attempted to edit out as much as I could.

Time Codes:

1:49 The First Show Trial (1936)

3:17 The Murder of Sergey Kirov

4:19 The Purge Commences

7:29 Radicalisation of the Purge

9:18 “Betrayal” in the Army

11:11 The Purge and Society

14:56 The Final Show Trial (1938)

Video Sources:


Old Archive Footage

Song at the beginning:

“Wide is my Motherland”/”Широка страна моя родная”


Conquest, Robert. Stalin: Breaker of Nations (New York, 1991).

Hosking, Geoffrey A. Russia and the Russians: A History (Harvard University Press, 2010).

Pomper, Philip, and Phillip Bernhei. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin (Columbia University Press, 1992).

Schlögel, Karl. Moscow, 1937 (John Wiley \u0026 Sons, 2014).

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