Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union, more or less from Lenin's death to his own death in 1953, so nearly the first thirty years of the country's existence. During these years, the country advanced spectacularly in industrialization and farm output, but also the majority of the intellectuals living in the country at the time suffered terribly under the "purges". Huge swaths of people were imprisoned; others died of starvation, when the state collected all the grain harvested, leaving the people who grew it with nothing to eat. During the second World War, he is remember as having made a pact with Hitler, who then turned on him. This is the American image of Stalin. For the Soviets, he was largely remembered as the "Great Leader", who shaped the country in which they lived, and dird with only a few thread-bare suits in his closet. Stalin was born in what is now Georgia, in the Caucasus, east of the Black Sea.