Moreover, Stalin was against the NEP, so he advocated industrialization which again strengthened his support. These reasons build to why Stalin emerged as leader of the USSR by 1929. Firstly, a strong reason why Stalin became the leader of the USSR was, in 1925 his policy of ‘socialism in one country’ proved very popular with party members. Trotsky believed in ‘permanent revolution’ and as stated above Stalin believed in ‘socialism in one country’. Trotsky wanted to help communists in other countries to the revolution and push forward the revolution in the USSR.
Stalin wanted to make the Soviet Union an industrial fortress and a strong nationalistic state. He figures to make Russian communism succeed industrial power was immediately needed. This was to be achieved by creating a command economy, which had meant that the industry was being forced to industrialize. Lenin had previously destroyed the power of private businesses to create a manageable industry. Therefore, when Stalin came into power, most of the major industries were already in government hands.
Hitler was more active in the party early career than Stalin. Resigning from the army and becoming a politician, Hitler played a significant role in ensuring the German Workers’ Party the greatest support in Bavaria by announcing the 25 Point Programme demanding to abolish the Peace Treaties of Versailles, combined extreme nationalism and racism becoming a leader of the party in 1921. He also organized the Beer Hall putsch, when he wanted to overthrow the government but was nor supported by the Bavarian government and went to prison. Stalin played a minor role in the February and October revolution in Russia in 1917 and he was rather an able administrator. He gained popularity and position in party rather because he agreed with Lenin in the matter of self-determination of the nations – that all nations should decide whether they want to be a part of Russia or not.
One of the most widely know plans was the “Great Leap Forward.” Mao encouraged people to work longer hours and even do work at home. This new plan called for the formation of large units called communes which used agriculture and industry and were supposed to be self sufficient. Both Stalin and Mao had the objective to create a communist society for the good of the people These goals were corrupted by using total control, or a Totalitarian government as a means to achieve Communism. Stalin also created plans and campaigns to achieve Communism. Stalin believed that a person’s individuality should be abolished.
The late twenties and early thirties were perhaps the most transformative period in Soviet history. It was during this period Stalin consolidated his grip on power and was allowed to rule with impunity, instituting his “revolution from above” on the Soviet people. He actively transformed the culture of the time, giving birth to a new Russian nationalism, rejecting the earlier Bolshevik conviction that the family was a bourgeois institution, and even forcing artists and writers to embrace “socialist realism.” These cultural changes were, however, minor adjustments when compared to the vast changes his economic policies brought to the everyday lives of the Russian people. Through the brutal process of collectivization he destroyed the autonomy the Russian peasant had enjoyed since the revolution, and he led an industrialization drive that has had few historic parallels. The human costs of both these initiatives were monstrous.
Lenin was responsible for the Bolsheviks growing hold on power in the years 1917-24. He was responsible for changing strategy with the April thesis and the overthrow of the provisional government. This gained him popularity and support from the Russian populous. To strengthen power he dissolved the constituent assembly in 1918. His harsh policy of war communism and the use of the checka in the years of the civil war, removed opposition to his power.
Stalin emerged as the leader of the Bolshevik party in 1929 due to a variety of lucky events and carefully considered political decisions that caused him to eliminate all his opponents, including his most significant rival, Trotsky. Amongst party members Stalin was known as “Comrade Card-Index,” one who assembled and dealt with party paperwork, however they were not aware of “what power [he] was accumulating wherein,” which subsequently brought about their downfall. Stalin becoming leader of the USSR in 1929 was greatly aided by him taking on many seemingly boring and undermined positions within the party. However they enabled him to accumulate power and influence throughout the whole Bolshevik party, which proved key to his success and to Trotsky’s downfall. Previous historians saw Stalin’s pre 1924 career as a “dull grey blank” (Nicolai Sukhanov-1922) however recent research has shown it as significant to his uprising.
During his rule as General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Stalin was able to create a highly totalitarian regime. This was achieved by the dictator’s notorious use of terror, by controlling information and mass media and Stalin’s prominent cult of personality. However, the extent of the totalitarian rule didn’t achieve similar levels throughout the whole state. Stalin’s use of terror as a method of eliminating opposition was a key factor in the establishment of totalitarianism in the Soviet Union. In the early 1930’s Stalin felt threatened by his growing opposition and was determined to bring the party under his total control.
The key defendants that were removed were Trotsky, Kamenev, Buhkarin, Yagoda and Zinoviev. This was significant in allowing Stalin to establish his personal dictatorship as they removed all of Stalin’s rivals from the 1920’s thus creating fear among the USSR showing that if you did anything that Stalin disliked, your life would be in danger, particularly because these people had been in positions of power therefore people obeyed all of Stalin’s orders. This lead to the wider terror among ordinary people. They were denounces, arrested and sent to Gulags by the NKVD. It is estimated that between 1934-8, 20 million Russians were sent to these gulags.
How important was Stalin’s use of purges to his conciliation of power? During the 1930s, Stalin launched a regime of the Great Purges against prominent party members. This was the form of terror used by Stalin and his supporters to remove enemies. The victims of the purges were enemies of the state or people who were accused of crimes they could not have possibly committed. Show trials were held where public enemies of the state were accused and then, in the majority of cases, executed.