World War II in the News is a review of WWII articles providing thought-provoking collection of hand-picked WW2 information.

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Josef Stalin: The Controversial soviet dictator and his legacy.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Stalin's Purge, Soviet Union, Soviet Red Army, Operation Barbarossa: Eastern Front, WWII Posters, Nazi Memorabilia, Gulags.

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1928-1941 by Stephen Kotkin
A landmark biography recasts Stalin not as a madman, but as a leader driven by the remorseless logic of Marxism.

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Why Stalin is causing a classroom storm in Russia
History lessons about Josef Stalin's campaign of repression are dangerous to the health of students, Russian authorities have concluded. Andrei Suslov, a history professor at Perm State University, wrote a history book that is now being contested by the Roskomnadsor, or Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media. The state authority classified the textbook as "dangerous to the health of children." Now, he is battling to have his book "A teachers' guide to studying the Stalin repressions" removed from the blacklist. "The book is intended for older students. It helps teachers and students get a better sense of the history of Stalinism and its consequences."

To Save Himself, Stalin was Ready to Give Hitler Ukraine and Baltic Republics and Possibly More, Archives Show
A few days after Hitler broke his alliance with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union, the Soviet dictator used a diplomatic back channel to explore whether the Nazi leader would be prepared to end the war if Stalin agreed to hand over to German rule Ukraine, the Baltic republics and even more. The history of these events is by its nature murky and can be reconstructed only by a careful reading of Russian archival materials. But the basic facts of the case are these: In the first days after the German attack, Lavrenty Beria on Stalin`s order directed NKVD officer Pavel Sudoplatov to meet with a Bulgarian diplomat to explore what it would take for Hitler to stop his invasion of the Soviet Union.

More than Half Russians Call Stalin Wise Leader
More than half of Russians believe the Soviet dictator Stalin was a wise leader, a new poll by Levada independent polling center showed. 57 percent of Russians said they entirely or generally agreed that Stalin was a "wise leader who made the USSR powerful and prosperous." Levada said the figure was at a "maximum level" for its polls, up 10 percent on four years ago. The pollsters also found that 71 percent of Russians agreed that "whatever mistakes or sins are attributed to Stalin, the most important thing is that he led our people to victory in World War II." That figure was up 11 percent on 2012.

The sad, strange life of Svetlana Alliluyeva -- Joseph Stalin`s daughter
The first sentence of Svetlana Alliluyeva`s obituary was set from her birth in 1926, for she was the only daughter of Joseph Stalin, the notorious Soviet dictator, and one of the worst mass murderers in history. `Wherever I go, whether to Australia or some island, I will always be the political prisoner of my father`s name,` she said. Indeed, it`s by reading those obituaries that biographer Rosemary Sullivan decided there was a story that needed to be told. `Can you imagine living under the shadow of your father`s name—that name—for a lifetime?` Sullivan says. She spent 3 1/2 years researching and writing Stalin`s Daughter.

Stalin`s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
Svetlana Alliluyeva (1926–2011), Stalin`s only daughter, lived an almost impossible life at the edges of 20th-century history. Poet and biographer Sullivan employs interviews, Alliluyeva`s own letters, and the contents of CIA, KGB, and Soviet archives to stitch together a coherent narrative of her fractured life. Its first act—Sullivan depicts her lonely existence as the motherless `princess in the Kremlin`—is remarkable enough, but as Alliluyeva slowly came to understand the extent of her father`s cruelty, she began to resent the U.S.S.R. and her role in its mythology, abandoning her two children and defecting to America in 1967.

Georgia's struggle with the Stalin myth
For some Georgians, the Stalin Museum in the center of Gori feels wrong. Genati, a tourist guide from the capital Tbilisi, doesn't like to go in: "I don't like it so much here. This place makes me feel creepy." President Mikhail Saakashvili's pro-Western government, which came to power in 2004, made some attempts to "de-Stalinize" Gori. In 2010 a banner was hung on the museum, declaring it "a falsification of history. It is a typical example of Soviet propaganda and it attempts to legitimize the bloodiest regime in history." At around the same time, government cranes swept in overnight and removed an immense six-meter memorial to Stalin from outside Gori town hall.

60 years after his death, Russians still split over role of Soviet dictator Stalin
Devotees of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, whose brutal purges killed millions of innocent citizens and made his name a byword for totalitarian terror, flocked to the Kremlin to praise him for making his country a world power, while experts and politicians puzzled and despaired over his enduring popularity. More than 800,000 people were executed during the purges that peaked during the Great Terror in the late 1930s, and millions more died of harsh labor and cruel treatment in the giant Gulag prison camp system, mass starvation in Ukraine and southern Russia and deportations of ethnic minorities.

Files in a Russian archive suggest Stalin's son surrendered to German forces instead of being captured
For decades, some have suspected that Yakov Dzhugashvili, the oldest son of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, surrendered to invading Nazi forces instead of being captured. Files in a Russian archive now suggest that the suspicions might be warranted.

Lana Peters files: FBI releases documents on life of Josef Stalin's only daughter after defection
Newly declassified documents show the FBI kept close tabs on Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's only daughter after her high profile defection to the US in 1967, gathering details from informants about how her arrival was affecting international relations. The documents were released under the Freedom of Information Act following Lana Peters' death in 2011 at age 85. Her defection to the West during the Cold War embarrassed the ruling communists and made her a best-selling author. When she defected, Peters was known as Svetlana Alliluyeva, but she went by Lana Peters following her 1970 marriage to William Wesley Peters, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Stalin: A history gap divides Russia from its neighbors
In Moscow, adults are snapping up school notebooks for children. Why? The cover has a heroic image of Stalin. The Stalin notebook is part of a "Great Russians" series, in spite of the fact that Stalin was Georgian. But far more importantly, Russia's amnesia towards its Stalinist past is dangerous. David Satter, an American historian and author of a new book: "It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past," noted that there is no national museum in Moscow dedicated to educating future generations about the appalling human death toll of the communist era.

Children's exercise books featuring a portrait of Stalin goes on sale in Moscow causing public condemnation
Russia's education minister Andrei Fursenko has said he has no power to ban children's exercise books featuring a portrait of Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin that have gone on sale in Moscow. The glossy cover of the exercise books - from a series called Great Names of Russia - features an airbrushed portrait of the dictator wearing rows of medals, above the inscription "Generalissimo Stalin". The publisher, Alt, has refused to withdraw from sale the exercise books, explaining that an objective biography of Stalin on the final pages of the notepad explains that hundreds of thousands of people were shot during his Great Terror in the 1930s.

Stalin's bronze death mask expected to fetch £5,000 at auction
The death mask of the Soviet leader Josef Stalin is set to fetch thousands of pounds at auction. The bronze mask was made from a cast of the Russian communist leader's face and hands, taken shortly after he took his last breath. It is thought to be one of only two of the masks to exist in the west (total of nine were made). The death mask is due to go on sale at Ludlow Racecourse, and is being sold by Mullock's auctioneers on behalf of a private owner. Mullock's historical documents expert, Richard Westwood-Brooks, said the bronze face and hands are incredibly rare.

Stalin's only daughter, Lana Peters, passes away in Wisconsin at 85 (includes video)
The only daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin - Svetlana Alliluyeva, known as Lana Peters - has passed away in Wisconsin on 22 November, aged 85. Her defection from the Soviet Union in 1967 was a propaganda coup for the US. She wrote four books, including two memoirs, saying she could not escape the shadow of her father. She said she had come for the "self-expression that has been denied me for so long in Russia". She burned her passport, denouncing communism and her father, whom she called "a moral and spiritual monster". Her brother, Jacob, died in a Nazi camp during WWII when Stalin refused to exchange him for a German general, and her other brother, Vasili, died an alcoholic, aged 40.

Josef Stalin's grandson calls to clear leader's name over Katyn massacre
Grandson of Josef Stalin filed a suit against the Russian parliament, demanding to admit that his grandfather was not guilty of the Katyn Massacre of 1936-1938. 75-year-old Evgeny Gzhugashvili demands a review of the acknowledgement stating that the "Katyn crime was committed at the direct order of Stalin and other Soviet leaders." For decades, the Soviet regime denied responsibility for killing the Polish officers in Katyn, blaming it on the Nazis. However, in 1990, the Itar-Tass news agency published a release announcing the Katyn case as one of the worst crimes of the Stalin era. Declassified documents revealed that 22,000 Polish prisoners were killed by NKVD on March 5, 1940. In November 2010, the State Duma adopted the statement that it was Stalin who ordered the Katyn shooting.

Book: Stalin tortured German diplomats after the end of WWII in revenge for Germany's betrayal of Russia
A new book details how Soviet secret agents kidnapped Nazi diplomats after the war so that they could imprison, torture and secretly try them in Moscow. "The Diplomatic Secrets of the Third Reich" - by Wassili Christoforow - draws on up to now sealed Russian archives concerning the dreaded Lubianka jail in Moscow where the top servants of Hitler were brought. Alexei Matweyewitsch Sidnyew was the general in Soviet intelligence tasked in 1945 to exact vengeance on Stalin's behalf against the diplomats he believed plotted the war against Russia.

Stalin's grandson files $388,000 libel suit against Moscow radio station
The grandson of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has sued Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy, which aired a comment that his grandfather "strangled small children." Yevgeny Dzhugashvili wants $388,000 in compensation for the comment made by journalist Nikolay Svanidze, who was referring to an order signed by Stalin in which he allowed the shooting of children over 12 accused of being "enemies of the people." Svanidze explains he was speaking metaphorically.

Stalin's Genocides by Norman M. Naimark (book review)
Mass killing is still the way a lot of governments do business, just look at Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia. Murder on a national scale, sure, but is it genocide? "The word carries a powerful punch," said history Professor Norman Naimark. He argues that a much broader definition of genocide is needed, one that includes killing social classes and political groups. Naimark argues that the Soviet liquidation of a social class (the kulaks), the Ukrainian famine, the 1937 order No. 00447 that called for the mass execution of "socially harmful elements" as "enemies of the people" – were genocides.

49% of Russians blame Stalin for the huge WWII losses, only 8% say Stalin had the key role   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Poll reveals that nearly half of Russians blame dictator Joseph Stalin's blunders for the Soviet Union's huge losses of life in the Second World War. 49% told the Levada polling agency that "the blunders of Stalin" were the "main reason" for massive Red Army losses in the first 2 years of the war. Stalin erred by purging the military of top officials, failing to prepare for combat and abandoning millions of Soviet POWs, respondents said. While Stalin supporters underline the vital importance of his wartime leadership, only 8% of respondents said that Stalin had the key role in winning the war.

Interview with Russian Historian: In the Eyes of the Majority, Stalin Is a Winner
Russian historian Nikolai Svanidze explains the reasons for Stalin's popularity in Russia: "Stalin is a winner in the eyes of a majority... Not only do we associate the victory over Hitler with Stalin, but also those of the Soviet Union's successes: industrialization, becoming a superpower, the predictability of daily life. Negative things have been forgotten... Hitler lost the war... Germans see him as a seducer who led their country into a catastrophe. Those who seek to justify Hitler say that he eliminated unemployment, reduced crime, built highways and unified the nation. Very similar things can be said about Stalin."

Stalin's daughter lives in Wisconsin, US, reveals documentary film "Svetlana About Svetlana"
An independent film reveals a well-kept secret: Soviet Dictator Josef Stalin's only daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, has been living incognito in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. In 2007 determined film maker Lana Parshina tracked her down in an undisclosed Wisconsin town for a rare interview that could be the last she ever gives. A documentary film based on the interview - "Svetlana About Svetlana" - tells her complex life story, which is most noted for her defection to the U.S. in 1967. Upon her arrival in New York City, Alliluyeva held a press conference denouncing her father's regime and the Soviet government.

Moscow full of Stalin posters - Celebrated as a war hero for 65th anniversary of Nazi defeat
Stalin is to make a comeback on the streets of Moscow in a celebration of the Soviet victory over the Nazis in World War II. Posters and information booths about the Soviet dictator are to go up across the capital by Moscow City Council to mark the defeat of the Third Reich on May 9. Stalin's legacy of repression could overshadow plans to honour veterans of the Great Patriotic War. "We can say that it was not Stalin who won the war but the people. The ambiguous role that Stalin played in the life of our country will not be corrected by posters," explained Boris Gryzlov.

Stalin's Grand Design to start World War II -thread at Axis History Forum
Stalin's Grand Design to start WWII -thread at Axis History Forum includes some interesting (but highly controversial) documents (from Soviet archives). Stalin's speech: "The experience of the last 20 years has shown that in peacetime the Communist movement is never strong enough to seize power. The dictatorship of such a party will only become possible as the result of a major war... Our war plan is ready ... We can begin the war with Germany within the next two months ... The peaceful policy secured peace for our country ... Now, however, with our reorganized army, which is technologically well prepared for modern warfare... we must now go from defense to attack."

Stalin's grandson Yevgeny Dzhugashvili in court to prove Stalin never killed anybody
Leonid Zhura recounts how life was better under Stalin: "The first time... a society was founded on fair principles... Stalin did not commit any crimes." What separates this amateur historian from other Stalin fans is that he is going to court to prove his claim. And he has an "impeccable" witness: Stalin's grandson Yevgeny Dzhugashvili (the offspring of Stalin's ill-fated son Yakov, from the dictator's first marriage), who is demanding $299,000 from the paper that wrote that Stalin signed orders to execute civilians. "This isn't how Stalin writes. It's a fake!" Zhura comments all the documents (approving killings) with Stalin's signature.

Behind Closed Doors - Stalin, the Nazis and the West [documentary]
Historian Laurence Rees's series reveals the truth about Stalin's wartime alliances. When do you think WWII ended? In 1945? If you believe that the end of the war was supposed to have brought freedom to the countries, then for millions of people the war did not end until the fall of Communism. In 1945 the people of Poland, of the Baltic States and of a number of other countries swapped the rule of one tyrant, Adolf Hitler, for another, Joseph Stalin. To demonstrate this bitter reality the presidents of Estonia and Lithuania refused to visit Moscow in 2005 to take part in "celebrations" marking the 60th anniversary of the "end of the war" in Europe.

Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's memorabilia escapes Russian bombs
When Russian bombs began falling on Gori, Josef Stalin's birthplace in Georgia, curator Robert Maglakelidze made a decision: he loaded his car with the personal items of Stalin (his military greatcoat, peaked cap, silver sword and pipe) and fled along the dangerous road to Tbilisi. Fortunately the Stalin museum escaped almost unscathed. The double doors to the galleries were sealed. Outside is the tiny brick and wood house in which Iosif Dzhugashvili was born in 1879, and the railway carriage in which he traveled to the Yalta, Potsdam and Tehran conferences in WWII. You can even purchase a replica Stalin pipe for $8.60.

Russian teachers' manual: Stalin acted rationally in leading a campaign of terror
In 2007 a Russian teachers' manual depicted Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as an "effective manager." A new teachers' manual says he acted rationally in conducting a campaign of terror to ensure the country's modernisation. "A History of Russia, 1900-1945," part of a series of educational material, will help promote patriotism. Critics say manual whitewashes Stalin's crimes. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions jailed under Stalin. The manual says the Great Terror of the 1930s happened because "Stalin did not know who would deal the next blow, and for that reason he attacked every known group and movement..."

Review: Stalin's Iron Fist by J. Arch Getty and Oleg V. Naumov
"We should shoot a pretty large number... no trials are necessary. Everything can be done in a simplified process," wrote Nikolai Yezhov to Stalin as he let loose the Great Terror in 1937. Yezhov - 'Iron Fist' aka 'Bloody Dwarf' - was the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, chief of the secret police, the NKVD, and the second most powerful man in Russia. This butcher appears in history for two years in the mid-1930s and disappears just as quickly - after Stalin liquidated him in his turn. In 1937 he suggested to Stalin the start of a purge in which about a million people were killed, adding that most of the victims should be chosen at random.

Why Russia wants to rehabilitate Josef Stalin
In the Battle of Stalingrad Museum, on the wall of museum director (state official) Boris Usik's office hangs Josef Stalin painting. Over the past couple of years it has once again become cool to idolise Stalin. For old Communists Stalin's name is synonymous with stability. But Stalin's cross-generational appeal is surprising: bright young students praise his disastrous agricultural policies. Stalin's popularity has grown in recent years, partially because of an unofficial state drive to restore his image. A recent history guidebook for teachers glossed over Stalin's crimes and in the end declared him Russia's greatest leader of the 20th century.

How Stalin came to tea with 'the Lucky Stiffs' whom he had tortured
As a Bolshevik before the Russian Revolution, Maya Kavtaradze's father Sergo Kavtaradze befriended with Soso Djugashvili, known to history as Stalin. Kavtaradze married Georgian Princess Sophia Vachnadze - unusual for a Bolshevik - and in 1937 the couple were seized as 'enemies of the People', tortured and sentenced to death. But in 1939 Stalin ordered their release. They became 'Lucky Stiffs' - people who returned from the dead. One night, Sophia answered the door and saw her husband standing there with Stalin and secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria, the man who had personally oversaw their torture. "We have guests," her husband said weakly.

Yale builds digital archive of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin's Life
The Andrew W. Mellon foundation gave "Annals of Communism Project" a $1.3M grant to develop a digital archive of Stalin's entire personal archive (40,000 files), including Stalin's WWII letters to and from Roosevelt, his plans for dissenters, and his thoughts on colleagues from Lenin to Trotsky. --- Movie director Sergei Eisenstein was in Mexico in the 1930s making a film with Upton Sinclair, when he got a telegram saying that his absence from the USSR was unacceptable and he should return. When that didn't occur, Stalin's security officials kidnapped Eisenstein's producer. He was never seen again.

The Voices of the Dead: Stalin's Great Terror in the 1930s by Hiroaki Kuromiya
Stalin once said: "Death solves all problems. No man, no problem." The statement directed his action throughout his life. Stalin was critical of the 16th-century tyrant Ivan The Terrible who, according to Stalin, was not resolute enough: Ivan "executed someone and then he felt sorry and prayed for a long time. God hindered him in this matter." As an atheist Stalin didn't have this deterrent. Reviewing a list of people to be executed, Stalin said: "Who's going to remember all this riff-raff in 10 or 20 years time? No one. Who remembers the names now of the boyars Ivan the Terrible got rid of? No one...."

Russians agree: Stalinist repressions the most memorable events of Stalin' rule
On March, 5, the day of Joseph Stalin’s death, the Russian Public Opinion Research revealed the data about Russian people’s attitude to Stalin’s persona and his policies. Answers to the question whether the country adopted the right course under Joseph Stalin were evenly negative and positive. But everyone agrees that Stalinist repressions (1930-1950) were the most memorable events of his rule after the Great Patriotic War. Most think that the cleansing of the Soviet Army was the reason for military failures at the beginning of the war. Only 2% said that the repressions had been a right step.

55 years on, Stalin remains iconic figure - Russia still divided over the legacy
55 years ago Joseph Stalin, the dictator who dragged the Soviet Union to superpower status, died in mysterious circumstances at his dacha. While his death remain a focus of conspiracy theories, there is no doubt that Stalin was one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century. Born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in Gori on Dec. 21, 1879, he grew up in a poor family. In 1902, he was exiled to Siberia. Upon his release he joined the young Bolshevik Party, but in 1913 was again exiled to Siberia, now for life. After the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II, an amnesty was given to political prisoners.

Stalin is century's bloodiest figure
In 1932, Soviet leader Josef Stalin was determined to force Ukraine's farmers into collectivized Soviet agriculture, and to smash Ukraine's spirit of nationalism. Faced by resistance, Stalin sent 25,000 fanatical young party militants to force 10 million Ukrainian peasants into collective farms. When Stalin's red guards failed to make a scratch in this vast number, OGPU was ordered to begin mass executions. But there were simply not enough Chekists to kill so many people, so Stalin decided to replace bullets with mass starvation. While the world is fully aware of the Nazi horrors, the numerically larger holocaust in Ukraine has been smothered, or ignored.

2 books: Young Stalin - The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Joseph Stalin's experience in Siberia was unlike those prisoners he banished to camps there. Stalin, exiled to the north 1913-1917, hunted and learned survival skills, living a boring but comfortable life. Millions of Russian urban dwellers, by contrast, were confined from the 1930s to the 1950s in Siberian barracks and died there to fulfill Stalin's economic goals. Readers can discover these two sides of the 20th-century Russia in two new books: "Young Stalin" and "The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia." The Whisperers is based on oral testimony and private papers from survivors of Stalinist repressions.

Did Joseph Stalin have a Jewish wife and stepdaughter
The communist tyrant Joseph Stalin was an anti-Semite who planned wide-scale purges against the Jews. But that may not have prevented him from having an affair with a Jewish woman and of taking care of her daughter. The affair was disclosed after the discovery of a letter by historian Nicolai Nada. The letter, placed on the desk of the general secretary of the communist party Georgi Malenkov in 1953, the day Stalin had a stroke, was kept classified until a few months ago officials were persuaded to reveal the letter: "Dear Comrade Malenkov! I am the daughter of Ana Rubinstein, the former wife of Comrade Stalin. As he is in ill health..."

Stalin came closer than most realize to defeat - The battle for Moscow
By Oct 1941, most in Moscow were convinced that city was about to be overrun by the Germans. The NKVD had prepared pamphlets: "Comrades! We left Moscow due to the continuous attacks of the Germans. But it's not the right time for us to weep." This admission of defeat was buried in archives. Boris Vidensky recounted that Georgy Zhukov ordered his deputy to calculate the losses near Moscow. After seeing the number, Zhukov barked: "Hide it and don't show it to anybody!" Ilya Druzhnikov recalled that there was 1 rifle available for every 10 men in his unit. On Oct 16 an Air Force officer saw Stalin sitting at his desk asking himself "What shall we do? What shall we do?"

Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore's portrait of Stalin's youth ought to dispel this lingering myth for ever. He gives us Stalin with a Mauser in his belt, Stalin the rabble-rouser, bank-robber and Marxist conspirator. He also gives us Stalin the scholar, a man who studied Napoleon's memoirs, taking note of each mistake. The picture that emerges is more colourful and chilling - and above all more credible. His shoemaker father, penniless and violent, neglected the family except when demanding money or bullying his only surviving child. Young Stalin learned mistrust and deception even as he also acquired a taste for reading, poetry and music from his ambitious mother.

Stalin and his lover aged 13 - Brutal dictator's affair with an under-age
The story of the dictator's affair with an under-age schoolgirl called Lidia... It was claimed that before he became leader, Stalin had violated or seduced, even fathered a child with, a girl who was 13yo - and had been indicted for the under-age seduction by the police. The tale had long been dismissed as just another piece of anti-Stalin propaganda. After Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev decided he had to investigate the rumour about the monster's depravity, so he commissioned KGB boss General Ivan Serov to investigate. Resulting document, dated 1956, spelt out the results of General Serov's investigation: the entire story was true.

Previously unknown memoirs by Joseph Stalin's mother found
More than 50 years after the death of Joseph Stalin, his mother’s unknown memoirs have been found in a secret former Soviet archive in Georgia. They portray the childhood of a sensitive boy who would become one of the great monsters of the 20th century. The Soviet dictator was born in 1878 (not 1879 as he claimed), the only child of a cobbler and a seamstress, Beso and Keke Djugashvili. She details the illnesses and accidents that left him partly crippled, and the life as the son of a brutal alcoholic. Stalin never knew she had written her memoirs. He was outraged when she was sometimes interviewed by Soviet journalists.

Stalin in love: The story of the dictator’s early life and tragic marriage
On the verandah of a Black Sea mansion, Soviet leader Stalin sat sharing his memories with his boyhood friends. They shivered when he mentioned comrades whom he had murdered. Sometimes he mused that these Old Bolsheviks had been wrongly executed on his own orders; but he talked about them "with the calm detachment of a historian ...with just a tone of light humour." Stalin also remembered his first wife Kato, who "was very sweet and beautiful; she melted my heart". She died from neglect within 16 months of marriage. For Stalin encouraged his politics to destroy his loved ones. In her wake came mistresses, at least two in early teens, and a second wife who killed herself.

Stalin’s Wars: From World War to Cold War 1939-1953
Josef Stalin continues to remain an enigmatic figure. Marxist scholars like Isaac Deutscher portray Stalin as an epochal hero who transformed backward Russia into a first-class world power. From the opposite spectrum, Anglo-American scholars elaborating on the line first expounded by George Kennan assert that Stalin’s hunger for power resulted in the Cold War. A new historiography, by Richard Overy, Heinz Magenheimer, Victor Suvorov among others, claims that Stalin was responsible for starting not only the Cold War, but also the hot war with Nazi Germany in June 1941.

Stalin's Folly: The tragic first ten Days of WWII on the Eastern Front
Most people's image of Joseph Stalin is that of an arrogant, power-hungry, all-powerful dictator who ruled the Soviet Union with an iron first. This book paints a much different portrait. During the weeks before, and in the first 10 days after wave upon wave of Nazi Panzer tanks and troops swept into the USSR in the early summer of 1941, we see a paranoid, shaky, indecisive, incompetent leader, running a govt full of inexperienced sycophantic yes-men. Constantine Pleshakov had access to classified documents, and the result is a riveting tale of gross negligence and stupidity on a tragically massive scale.

TV series on Soviet dictator Stalin -- Whitewashing history
Josef Stalin is speaking to his son Yakov, who has telephoned to say that he will soon head off to battle the Nazi invaders. "I sometimes was not fair to you. Forgive me. I devoted little time to you," the Soviet dictator apologizes... The poignant scene is part of a controversial 40-episode TV drama, "Stalin Live." For Stalin admirers, of whom there are many in Russia, the series is an entertaining look at the man who turned the Soviet Union into a superpower. To critics, it is a dangerous distortion of history that threatens to misinform a younger generation about a leader responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

Correspondence of Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph V Stalin
Joseph Stalin did not like to travel, a trip to his dacha outside Moscow, was about as far as he was willing to venture. But, in his wartime letters to Franklin D Roosevelt, Stalin gave the impression that he was constantly on the move. "I have frequently to go to the different parts of the front," he wrote in August 1943, fully two years after his last such expedition. There could be no clearer indicator of the failure of the industrialisation of the Soviet Union than its inability to produce even the basic requirements for war. By winter 1941 lacked even the leather for the soles of its boots.

The Speech of the Century - denouncing Josef Stalin   (Article no longer available from the original source)
It was 50 years ago that Nikita Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech" denouncing Josef Stalin. Khrushchev spoke for nearly four hours on Feb. 25, 1956, the last day of the 20th Party Congress. The session was unscheduled and restricted to keep the speech secret. It was not a secret very long. A translation made for the comrades in Poland reached the CIA via Israeli intelligence. In May, the U.S. State Department released a copy to The New York Times, which published it on June 4.

A secret Stalinist plan to create a master race of super apemen   (Article no longer available from the original source)
According to declassified documents, the late dictator Josef Stalin in the mid-1920s ordered Russia’s top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, to invent a mutant simian warrior. Stalin told the scientist: “I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.“ Ivanov was sent in 1926 to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his experiments in impregnating chimpanzees. The effort, unsurprisingly, was a total failure.

Stalin's brutal massacre at Katyn shamed his PoW son into suicide
The truth behind the death of Stalin's son, Yakov Dzhugashvili, in a nazi camp has been unravelled. "It is clear that Yakov, who had become close friends with the Poles and had made two escape attempts with them, was so distraught... with the news of his father's massacre of the Polish officers, that he took his life. Driven to despair by the horrific conditions... the news that his father had sanctioned the Poles' murder was the final straw." The SS report indicated that Yakov died after he was shot by a guard, but it was a fictional account to impress Heinrich Himmler. "The guard shot Yakov, but he fired the bullets into already dead body."