HOW IMPORTANT WAS STALIN’S USE OF THE LENIN LEGACY IN EXPLANING HIS VICTORY IN THE POWER STRUGGLE IN THE YEARS 1924 – 1929? After Lenin died in 1924, a power struggle arose when he hadn’t elected a member of the party to continue in his footsteps as leader of Russia, this caused the heated climb that Stalin, Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Bukharin had to face to have power. It was Stalin who won, much to everyone’s surprise, and there are many factors as to why he won. One of them was the Lenin Legacy, which he manipulated to his advantage. Stalin was able to see that he could gain credibility by using Lenin’s Legacy, since Lenin was the leader of the Communist Party and was the reason to all the great ideas and change that was brought to Russia.
Why did the Bolsheviks win the Civil War? It was ‘not a matter of who was the stronger but, rather, who was less weak’. These were the words of Victor Shklovskii in his book Sentimental Journey. This simplistic view fails to incorporate the many factors which contributed to the ‘Reds’ victory over the ‘Whites’ but it establishes the essence of the argument. Both the Bolsheviks and the opposition White forces were ravaged by internal weaknesses and hugely influenced by external conflict and conditions.
A position, thrust upon him by committee, and meant he was in control of the ‘party machine’ and therefore able to choose who was allowed into the Bolsheviks ranks, thus ensuring he has political backing and therefore could always ‘deliver the votes,’ as people were aware of the privileges he had given them. However, both sources have some similarities towards Stalin. They both make reference to Stalin’s inability to trust others and his intensity. However, Source A suggests that these are unsuitable qualities for someone in the position of general secretary, whereas source B makes them seem as though these are qualities to be admired, as Stalin once stated ‘a reasonable amount of distrust is a good basis for working together.’ This suggests that Stalin thought that you can never be too trusting, which as evidently shown through the power struggle and his rise to the top, where he manipulated the
Sebastian Pasha 5th September 2014 How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-1929? Stalin’s defeat of his contenders in the struggle of power between 1924 to 1929 was mainly due to his personality. For instance, he was compared to a ‘grey blur’, allowing him to slip under the radar and play behind the scenes, therefore seeming to be no real threat to the others. However he was quite the contrary. In addition, numerous factors such as his acquired powerbase and his policies aided him greatly to secure the highest position of authority in Russia.
In contract, Bukharin continued to argue in favour of the NEP and lost popularity as a consequence. In 1925, Zinoviev and Kamenev had abandoned the NEP in an attempt to gain control but due to the continuing success of the NEP, this failed as a result. Stalin’s ability to understand the right time to switch from right wing to left wing meant he was able to gain popularity and prove his intelligence. The alliances Stalin made and broke played a crucial role in his struggle to become the leader of the USSR.
Despite Hitler’s wealth of well put together weaponry, well trained and seemingly invincible army and a seemingly tactical mind-set (which made him at first so fearful and successful) he eventually made some vital errors which led to the Nazi demise. One of the key mistakes Hitler made, which allowed Russia to defeat them, is that of his overambitious stretching of the army. Whilst it was a strong army it couldn’t handle being attacked/ attacking both Britain and Russia as its resources became so overstretched that the army officers became ill-equipped and unable to fight effectively, in addition the easing of pressure from Britain also enabled the British to recover from The Battle of Britain and became a much stronger ally to the Russians in later years. The second mistakes the Germans made, which again made the Russians stronger and enabled their victory over the Germans, was the way in which they chose to attack Russia. By embarking on their attack in mid-1941 the Germans left little time to cross Russia’s vast land and reach their intended targets before the bitter winters set
‘How far do you agree that the Bolsheviks won the civil war because they controlled more people and had access to more weapons?’ Despite the diverse forces massed against the red army, the experience of the white leaders and the precarious position of Lenin, the communists still managed to gain victory in the Civil War of 1918-1921. The fact that the Bolsheviks had control of the heartland and therefore factories and supplies was an advantage to them. But on the other hand there were other factors such as good leadership, weak opposition and terror that helped just as much. I believe that the Bolsheviks controlling more people and having access to more weapons was a key factor in them winning the war. They controlled the industrial heart of Russia, which included Petrograd and Moscow, this also meant they had control of all the factories, and the railway lines.
Rise to power Josef Stalin was a keen, intellectual man who knew how to make sure he was viewed well by the public. He tricked his political opponent Trotsky into not coming to Lenin’s funeral so that he could present himself as Lenin’s close friend and get people to dislike Trotsky. He was clever and ensured that he became close to members of the communist party so he could have support by them. this boosted his power. He turned his opponents against each other while keeping his eye on the prize and being sure to never do anything that would endanger his chances of becoming the leader of the Soviet union.
He pursued a policy of what has been called ‘counter reform’. Counter-reform was partly a reaction to the murder of Alexander II, but Alexander III also believed that his fathers ‘Great Reforms’ had been a mistake, weakening Tsarism and leaving it vulnerable and insecure. He introduced political repression of opponents, counter-reform, increased central control, financial reform and the policy of Russification as the core stone of his reign. His policy was to undo the reforms as far as possible. In many respects, there is no doubt that Alexander III was the most effective Tsar in such the short reign that he had.
How far do you agree that Trotsky’s personality and mistakes led to Stalin becoming leader of the Bolsheviks? Leon Trotsky was indeed crucial to Stalin’s rise to power for two main reasons. Trotsky was without a doubt one of the most publicly supported and intellectual of the Bolsheviks, this meant that upon Comrade Lenin’s death the majority of people foresaw a new Russia under the rule of the strategic Trotsky. Trotsky did however have flaws which were central for Stalin’s taking of the Bolsheviks. Although somewhat popular among the average population, Trotsky wasn’t all too well-liked among his fellow party members due to his temperament and odd qualities.