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In the Mind of Stalin (Hardback)

Military P&S History > By Century > 20th Century WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Russia & the Eastern Front WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Stalingrad

By James Greensmith
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 32 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399063579
Published: 6th March 2023

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On 1 October 1939, Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty and soon to be the UK’s wartime leader, described Russia as ‘a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’. The same can certainly be said of Stalin. How can this paradox of a man, who on the one hand had once exhibited great tenderness and kindness to his daughter Svetlana, and on the other sent millions – including members of his own family - to their deaths, be explained?

It is impossible to quantify the total number of deaths attributable to the policies of Stalin, but the ‘Excess Mortality’ (i.e., deaths over and above what would normally have been expected during the period in question) gives an approximate figure in excess of 40 million.

However, this is only part of the story of the amount of misery inflicted by the Stalin regime through torture, deliberate starvation, neglect, separation from loved ones, cold and hypothermia (e.g. in the prisons of Siberia), which is unquantifiable and unimaginable.

Svetlana confessed that she ‘would never undertake to “explain” what motivated all my father’s actions, simply because I do not possess the psychological genius of [Russian novelist] Dostoevsky, who knew how to “penetrate” into another man’s soul and “examine it from within”’.

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

Born on this day - Joseph Stalin

18th December 1878

Came to prominence after Vladimir Lenin's death in 1924, leading the Communist state till his death in 1953.


Joseph Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party

3rd April 1922

Joseph Stalin is appointed General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party by an ailing Vladimir Lenin


Joseph Stalin becomes Premier of the Soviet Union

6th May 1941

Joseph Stalin becomes Premier of the Soviet Union, replacing his foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov


View all events View all anniversaries

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