How Did Joseph Stalin Become the Leader of the Soviet Union?

Joseph Stalin's first step into significant power came in 1922, when he became the General Secretary of the Communist Party, a position he held until his death. He was never elected into office and got his power through a series of intelligent maneuvers.

Like many leaders, Joseph Stalin's political career began with a minor position that he took very seriously and in which he excelled. He was appointed as a minister in Lenin's Bolshevik government before being promoted upward within Lenin's government bureaucracy and eventually becoming the General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. Initially, this position did not have much power, but it did allow him to make political appointments. Seeing the opportunity to stock government positions with loyal allies, Stalin consolidated his power and was able to gradually seize control of the Soviet Union after Lenin's death in 1924.