To what extent was Lenin’s victory in the Civil War due to the weakness of his opposition? Lenin and the Bolsheviks’ victory in the Civil War cannot be given one main reason. A combination of the weakness of the whites and the strengths of the reds eventually led to the victory of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks were provided with strong leadership, ruthlessness, the Red Army fighting for them and most importantly: the geography of Russia. Whereas, the White army was faced with: a divided leadership, low moral, corruption and brutality within the army and the downside of the vast geography of Russia.
However there are other reason which just as or more important than Trotsky’s leadership such as the ideas and sacrifices made by Lenin during the year’s 1917-1924 such as signing the harsh treaty of Brest-Litovsk and enforcing the New Economic Policy or NEP, to create economic sacrifices rather than political ones which allowed the Bolsheviks to remain in power. One way and the main way that Trotsky’s leadership of the red army was responsible for the survival of the Bolshevik government was the victory of the Civil war. In 1918 Russia was plunged into civil war when the White army, a group of pro tsarist and pro provisional government supporters attacked the Bolsheviks. However the reds won the war due the work of Leon Trotsky and his leadership of the red army. For example Trotsky organised and disciplined the army very well, he recruited ex tsarist army officers who were experienced in combat also due to his recruitment strategy membership rose from 7000 in March 1918 to 5 million in September 1920 and he also organised key victories such as the last battle between white and red forces between the 7th and 15th of November 1920.
Who were also looking to become in power. Trotsky was the main reason the Bolsheviks had survived as the Bolsheviks government due to Trotsky being the commander for the red army. He also had support from Lenin who was leading the red army with total discipline; those who were willing to fight were promoted and those who turned out to be cowards were exiled. Trotsky and Lenin were both smart during the civil war as they had a upper hand with resources as they were closer to them as their opposition were so far away. This was an advantage for the red army as it was easy to communicate which helped them in the battle fields and be much easier to be successful in the war without communication they weren’t able to come up with tactics and plan how they would attack the whites, also railway support would bring the army weapons and food supplies very quickly.
These views are expressed in his two key works, A Concise History of the Russian Revolution (published in 1995) and Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime 1919-1924 (published in 1994). Pipe’s believes that Lenin was primarily responsible for the success of the uprising, even though Pipe’s recognizes Lenin’s role as the most important, he still hypocritically called Lenin’s April Theses “totally out of touch with reality, if not positively mad” despite the fact that this theses played a huge role in the Lenin and Bolshevik uprising. Pipe’s also believes that Trotsky just carried out Lenin’s commands. However the role or Trotsky and his actions before the October revolution were very evidently done on his own accord, with Lenin accompanying Trotsky in his decisions. In early October, 1917, Trotsky was elected
On the other hand, it can be argued that Trotsky’s leadership of the Red Army during the Civil War was just as, or even more important in the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power, as was the image of the Bolsheviks as being patriotic heroes fighting against Tsarist leaders and foreign invaders. Obviously, it was the October Revolution which brought the Bolshevik Party into power, giving them control of Russia. It can therefore be said that, had this not occurred, then it is incredibly unlikely that the Bolsheviks would ever have come into power. The Revolution was, of course, Lenin’s major goal (though in the end it was organised by Trotsky) for his party, and it was through his leadership and staunch dedication to the fall of the Provisional Government that the Bolsheviks eventually seized power in October 1917. Had it not been for Lenin, the Bolsheviks would never have taken power in the first place, as free elections were to be held in November 1917, with the Social Revolutionaries (SRs) being the most popular at the time.
Explain and assess the reasons why the reds won the civil war (12) The first reason was that the whites were spread out all over Russia. This worked to the reds advantage as the whites could not support each other so the reds could just fight a white army one at a time with overwhelming superiority. The reds were also in a central position in Russia so they could control all of the transport links such as rail stations. This meant that the reds could quickly move troops and supplies very quickly to areas where they were needed. Another advantage the reds had was they had the support of the peasants.
Stalin’s oppression had many results including, but not limited to, the strengthening of his political dominance. The purges allowed Stalin to remove elements of the Party that he considered to be unsafe. It transformed Russia from a one party state to a totalitarian dictatorship, with Stalin as its unchallenged ruler, and resulted in him becoming the most politically dominant person in Russia. This is due to the fact that the population could not speak out against Stalin through fear of being sent to the Gulags, and neither could the rest of the communist party, as they feared being exiled or even executed. What’s more is that through the purges Stalin was able to publically establish the guilt and corruption of his opponents.
How important was Stalin's role in the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany during the Second World War? Stalin's role in the Soviet victory, and indeed the overall Allied victory over Nazi Germany, was certainly significant; he was, after all, both the General Secretary of the Soviet Union and its Supreme War Commander. If one were to take this at face value, then his importance would be without question. However, it can be argued that, especially at the beginning of the war, he played a role just as significant in almost losing the war, mainly due to his tactical mistakes as Supreme Commander and his own Stalinist system and purges leaving his appointed generals with a lack of knowledge of modern warfare and, indeed, a lack of initiative. Even when he grew into his self-appointed role of Supreme Commander and learned from his earlier mistakes, it can be argued that his greatest victories, such as the battles at Kursk and Stalingrad, were less down to him, but rather down to the expertise of his generals, such as Zhukov.
How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-29? The personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-49 was the most significant factor as the personalities dictated what they did and how they reacted to certain events. However there are other factors to consider such as power bases; mistakes made by others and actual party policies. Finitely, personalities were the most significant in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents. Due to the fact that the personalities of the contenders dictated what they did in terms of attempting to be the strongest candidate in succeeding Lenin, and showed how they reacted to key events; it is evident that this is the most significant factor in the power struggle.