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History   >   Russia – The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938

Early Life, 1878-1912

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Russia – The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938

In this course, Professor Christopher Read (University of Warwick) examines the rise of Joseph Stalin from his birth in 1878 to the eve of the Second World War in 1938. We begin in the first module by thinking about his early life, including upbringing in Georgia, his early education, and – later – his involvement with industrial workers in Tiflis and Baku. In the second module, we trace Stalin's political rise from his appointment to the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1912, up to Lenin's death in 1924. In the third module, we follow Stalin as he becomes undisputed leader of the Communist Party, before moving on in the fourth and fifth modules to consider two major strands of Stalinst policy: Collectivization and Industrialization. In the sixth module, we think about the period of Stalin's rule known as the Terror – what caused it, how it proceeded, why it ended, and what it achieved – before moving on in the seventh module to consider how Stalin might have seen himself and the state of Russia in 1938, and what (if anything) held the policies of the previous ten years together.

Early Life, 1878-1912

In this module, we think about Stalin's early life, focusing in particular on the idea of Stalin as a revolutionary. As we move through the module, we consider his parents and his early education, the impact of the Russian government's 'Russification' policy, his involvement with the railway workers in Tiflis and later with the oil workers in Baku, his role in the 1907 Tiflis bank robbery, and his (unrelated) later arrests and time spent in prison.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Read, C. (2019, January 22). Russia – The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938 - Early Life, 1878-1912 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Read, C. "Russia – The Rise and Reign of Stalin, 1878-1938 – Early Life, 1878-1912." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Jan 2019,

Image Credits


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Prof. Christopher Read

Warwick University