Joseph Stalin's Real Height

"Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas."

~ Joseph Stalin

One of the most infamous dictators of all time -- how tall was Joseph Stalin exactly? Or should we say how short? Because he was famous for being short. But that leads to the question of how short was he exactly?

Well, Joseph Stalin has been described anywhere from 5-feet-4 inches to 5-feet-8 inches tall throughout (and well after that) his long and rather overbearing career.

Stalin's old 1910 arrest record pegged his height at 174 cm (5'8½") -- which is not that short, considering that the average male Russian height was only 5'6" or so in Stalin's time.

But modern police records of criminals' height are rubbish and we have no reason to believe that the ancient ones were any better.

The 33rd American President Harry S. Truman thought the Russian head honcho was a shrimp and noted how he would usually stand on a step above him to compensate for his short but admittedly board stature.

Though Mr. Truman noticed the same thing about Winston Churchill -- another man suffering from "short man syndrome" (Boris Johnson thought so) -- but at least not a dictator.

Harry Truman's official height is 5-feet-9 inches but we think that his height was probably measured with shoes on -- as is the case with most official measurements. We think Truman would have been lucky to touch the 5-feet-8 inch mark on a modern digital Korean stadiometer barefoot in his prime.

And Joseph Stalin looked a couple inches shorter than Truman. Actually, Stalin looked at least an inch shorter than a "short" (but young) Winston Churchill who could not have been more than 5-feet-7 inches tall in his prime.

All of these signs and a few more unmentioned here, point us toward the fact that Joseph Stalin could have been anywhere between 5-feet-5 inches to 5-feet-6 inches tall in his prime.

The real height of Joseph Stalin was

5'5½" or 166 cm

Joseph Stalin height comparison with Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler
Joseph Stalin with some other heavyweights: Winston Churchill (5'6½"), and Adolf Hitler (5'8½"), looking angrier than usual in his shorts and socks

For reference, here is the average human height around the world.

Country Male Female
Indonesia 5'4" 4'11"
India 5'5½" 5'½"
Mexico 5'6½" 5'1½"
China 5'6½" 5'1½"
Japan 5'7½" 5'2½"
Brazil 5'8" 5'3"
Russia 5'9" 5'3¾"
France 5'9" 5'3¾"
United States 5'9¼" 5'4"
United Kingdom 5'9½" 5'4¼"
Canada 5'10" 5'4½"
Australia 5'10" 5'4½"
Germany 5'10½" 5'5"
Netherlands 5'11½" 5'6"
Dinka people of South Sudan 6" 5'7"

Data collected more or less from Wikipedia and some other sources. Expect a slight discrepancy from real life. A more detailed chart can be found here.

"It is difficult for me to imagine what “personal liberty” is enjoyed by an unemployed hungry person. True freedom can only be where there is no exploitation and oppression of one person by another; where there is not unemployment, and where a person is not living in fear of losing his job, his home and his bread. Only in such a society personal and any other freedom can exist for real and not on paper."

~ Joseph Stalin