Joseph Stalin is considered one of the most powerful and murderous dictator in history. Stalin was the supreme dictator of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century from 1929 to 1953. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed into an industrial and military superpower. His dictatorship resulted in the death and suffering of tens of millions, but he also oversaw the war machine that played a key part in the defeat of Nazism. After World War Two, the Soviet Union entered the nuclear age and ruled over an empire which included most of eastern Europe. Increasingly paranoid, Stalin died of a stroke on March 5, 1953.