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Josef Stalin (1878-1953) served as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953. Initially, Stalin's role in the Committee was limited, but he gradually accumulated power and became the Party's leader and absolute ruler of the Soviet Union. Under his leadership, the Soviet Union played a major role in the defeat of Hitler's Germany during World War II.

Several years into World War II, Russian dictator Josef Stalin demanded the immediate assistance of the Allied nations, believing—rightly so—that his nation bore the brunt of the war against Germany. Stalin realized that without help, Germany would triumph. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill agreed to limited cooperation with Stalin, concluding that Nazi Germany was, in fact, far worse a threat than Communist Russia. In return, Stalin pledged his aid in the war against Japan once Germany had been defeated.

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