The Soviet-German War is the most brutal episode of the most vicious war that mankind has ever seen (Clark 1). During the "Great Patriotic War", as Joseph Stalin coins it, the Soviet Union emerges through pure tenacity as one of the worldís great superpowers. Although Stalin and the USSR emerge victorious, the sacrifices made are enormous (Clark 446). Estimates show between 20-25 million Soviets die from 1941-1945. Only 7-8 million Germans die during this same period (Encarta). Many of these deaths are a direct result of the brilliant (sometimes insane) chess match between two of the most tyrannical leaders in history: Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Even today, some people ponder which leader fits the anti-Christ description best. The finest way to analyze the minds of these two leaders is to examine each dictatorís rise to power, the motives which led to the "unholy alliance", and the initial offensive campaigns that each dictator launches.

Born on December 21, 1877, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashviliís father is a drunkard and his mother is a washer struggling to support the family. Dzhugashvili will later be known to the world as Joseph Stalin (Encarta). Stalinís mother, Ekaterina Georgievna, is a dedicated member of the Orthodox Church and enters him into the Seminary at Tifilis(Georgia) in 1894 for the study of priesthood in the Georgian Orthodox church. Soon after Stalin becomes part of the illegal Marxist movement (Encarta). The young Stalin quickly rises to the rank of leader of his own Marxist circle. In May of 1899, he is expelled from school just short of graduation in which later communist literature criedits to "political balance" (Encarta). By this time, Joseph Stalin has become more immersed in his role as a professional agitator of the system. While working as an accountant in Tbilisi, Stalin joins the Social-Democratic Workersí Party. In 1900 and 1901 he leads railway strikes and demonstrations which catches the attention of the imperial police. He is captured for the first time and is exiled to Siberia in 1903; but the feisty Stalin escapes and by 1904 he is back in Georgia. Between the period of 1903 and 1913, the imperial police capture Stalin a total of seven times for revolutionary activity. He escapes numerous times to come back and wreak chaos on the Czarist government. When the RSDLP split into the Menshevik and Bolshevik factions, Stalinís need for disruptance leads him to the Bolsheviks, the more militant of the groups(Encarta)

In late 1905, he travels as a Caucasian delegate to the secret Bolshevik conference in Finland. It is here that he meets Vladimir Lenin. Stalin quickly becomes one of Leninís most trusted lieutenants; his main priority going to raising money for the party. Lenin promotes Stalin to the Central Committee, which is the Bolsheviks leading body in 1912 (Encarta). During this time Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili adopts the name Joseph Stalin, which in Russian Stalin means "man of steel" (Encarta). By this time the Stalin that the world knows best begins to evolve.

In 1922, the Central Committee of the new Bolshevik government elects Stalin as Secretary General. Lenin then suffers his first major stroke. This is the most important turning point in Stalinís rise to power. With Lenin bedridden for the last years of his life, Stalin uses his closeness to Lenin as a means of quickly rising past the normal orders of succession that Lenin put in place. In the last moments of his life, Lenin begins to realize that Stalin is an aggressive tyrant who will stop at nothing for absolute power (Encarta). Leninís final political "testament" displays his doubts about having Stalin as the Secretary General and even asks that Stalin is removed from office. Lenin also suggests that one of his other understudies, Trotsky, should replace him. Leninís testament is successfully suppressed by Stalin and is Leninís wishes are not made known until after his death. With Lenin dead, Stalin easily becomes the ruthless dictator that rivals Hitler.

While there has always been evidence that Stalinís destiny is insanity, Hitlerís childhood is nowhere near indicative of what is to follow. Born on April 20, 1989, in a small village in Austria-Hungary, Adolf Hitlerís father is an Austrian customs agent who rises to considerable status. Therefore, Hitlerís childhood is relatively comfortable (Encarta). The only indication of the future