Our next A-Hole is one of human history’s biggest. Born Joseph Vissarionovich Jugashvili in 1878, he eventually changed his last name to Stalin, meaning–not unlike TV’s Superman–“Man of Steel.” He was born a bastard, and there has been great speculation about who his real father was. The 3 leading contenders include a wrestling champ, a priest, and a cop. If this sounds like an old William Bendix movie, you are correct.
After grade school, Joseph won a scholarship to seminary since his overly-frisky Mom thought he would make a good priest. He worked his way through school as a wedding singer–no criticism of Adam Sandler–and was said to have a lovely voice. Discovering poetry and Marxism, Joseph quit the seminary just before graduation. A whole bunch of his fellow students were also expelled for their Marxist activities. Joseph took the opportunity to organize the would-be priests into a merciless street gang and established a Mafia-like protection racket in town.
He organized other rebellions and demonstrations, spent time in jail, where he organized the prisoners, and was released just in time for the Russian Revolution. He helped raise money for the cause using the time-honored techniques of robbery and kidnapping.
Joe joined Lenin’s Bolshevik faction around 1907, and was constantly arrested and sent to penal colonies. In 1913, during one of these exiles, he hooked up with a 13-year old girl named Lidia, and got her pregnant. Twice. Joseph was 35 at the time.
He became head of the Soviet Communist Party in 1922, and when buddy Lenin died in 1924, he took over, beating odd-man-out Leon Trotsky. One trick was to tell Trotsky the wrong day for Lenin’s funeral, which caused Trotsky to lose face.
In the 1930s, Stalin conducted “The Great Purge” in which about 1.2 million citizens were arrested, imprisoned and executed. It turns out Joseph loved to kill. This habit helped him consolidate absolute power by the late ’30s.
Two of Joe’s favorite achievements were the widespread use of secret police, and the vast implementation of international spying.