Joseph Stalin was the de-facto ruler and dictator of the Soviet Union between 1924 and 1953, leading the country through World War II and overseeing a modernization of Russia's industry. Stalin's rule is marked with forced rapid industrialization as well as immense human suffering and death.
Stalin came into power in the Soviet Union following Lenin's death after gaining influence within the Communist Party in his position as general secretary. During his consolidation of power, Stalin ruthlessly removed all of his main competitors through exile and forceful removal. Prior to World War II, Stalin was briefly allied with Hitler and Nazi Germany until the latter invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.