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On December 18, 1879, in the Russian peasant village of Gori, Georgia, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (later known as Joseph Stalin) was born. The son of Besarion Jughashvili, a cobbler, and Ketevan Geladze, a washerwoman, Joseph was a frail child. At age 7, he contracted smallpox, leaving his face scarred.
The other village children treated him cruelly, instilling in him a sense of inferiority. Because of this, Joseph began a quest for greatness and respect. He also developed a cruel streak for those who crossed him.
Though his popularity from his successes during World War II was strong, Stalin's health began to deteriorate in the early 1950s. After an assassination plot was uncovered, he ordered the head of the secret police to instigate a new purge of the Communist Party.
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