24-year-old Josef Stalin.
Meanwhile in Moscow, Lenin was losing his grip on the revolution after suffering several strokes. In his final weeks of life he provided the Soviets with his own succession plan known as “Lenin’s testament.” The bottom line was: anybody but Stalin. Party leaders read the document once, discussed it, and then conscientiously ignored it; in fact, any subsequent reference to the testament was considered anti-Soviet agitation. “… Stalin decreed that Lenin’s testament did not exist; attempts to refer to it were denounced as treachery.” Stalin remained as General Secretary, surrounded himself with friends, punished his enemies and established the first Five Year Plan. For Gerhard and his family this was the end of life as they knew it.
Lenin and Stalin in 1922.
A primary purpose of the Five Year Plan was to collectivize Russia’s agricultural land. By 1930 almost all of the thousands…
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