World War Two: 1941 and the Man of Steel

(Rochester, N.Y.) – Born Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jugashvili, the son of a Georgian shoemaker, Joseph Stalin seemed an unlikely candidate to become a world leader and notorious mass murderer. In World War Two: 1941 and The Man of Steel, premiering Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV, professor David Reynolds chronicles Stalin’s humble origins, his ruthless rise to power, and the numerous wartime crises that nearly annihilated his regime.

The Soviet Union and Germany signed a non-aggression pact in 1939, creating an unofficial wartime alliance. Stalin was unprepared when Germany violated the agreement and invaded the USSR in 1941, and his initial hesitation to act allowed the German army to come within 15 miles of Moscow before they were pushed back. Though his military blunders devastated Russia and brought Stalin to the brink of a nervous breakdown, he managed to hold onto power and join the Allies to fight Germany.

Exploring World War II from a Russian perspective, this two-part film utilizes visits to Russian battlefields, historical footage, original telegrams and official documents to examine the factors that drew Britain and America into an alliance with a murderous dictator and reassess Stalin’s significance to the Allied victory.

Pictured: Professor David Reynolds
Credit: Courtesy of



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