Stalin, the 'Man of Steel' and supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century, is readily associated with his ruthless regime inside the USSR, and with his fierce opposition to Western Europe and the United States during the Cold War. Commonly, however, this is set aside for narratives of the Second World War, from which he emerged victorious with his Western Allies. Sean McMeekin has been taking a closer look at this. Was Stalin partially to blame for the beginning of the Second World War? And did the USSR emerge in a better position than both its opposition and its allies?
As the author of Stalin's War, historian and author Sean tells James more about Stalin, from his ruthless creation of an empire to the ramifications of his regime during World War 2.