The history of the Soviet Union between 1927 and 1953 covers the period in Soviet history from establishment of Stalinismthrough victory in the Second World War and down to the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. He sought to destroy his enemies while transforming Soviet society with aggressive economic planning, in particular a sweeping collectivization of agriculture and rapid development of heavy industry. Stalin consolidated his power within the party and the state and fostered an extensive cult of personality. Soviet secret-police and the mass-mobilization Communist party served as Stalin’s major tools in molding Soviet society. Stalin’s brutal methods in achieving his goals, which included party purges, political repression of the general population, and forced collectivization, led to millions of deaths: in Gulag labor camps and during man-made famine.

World War II, known as “the Great Patriotic War” in the Soviet Union, devastated much of the USSR, with about one out of every three World War II deaths representing a citizen of the Soviet Union. After World War II, the Soviet Union’s armies occupied Eastern Europe, where they established or supported puppet Communist regimes. By 1949, the Cold War had started between the Western Bloc and the Eastern (Soviet) Bloc, with the Warsaw Pact (created 1955) pitched against NATO (created 1949) in Europe. After 1945, Stalin did not directly engage in any wars. He continued his absolute rule until his death in 1953.