There were many reasons why Stalin managed to emerge as the leader of the Soviet Union by 1929. Stalin can be viewed as a manipulative and a corrupt leader whilst Trotsky can be viewed as fairly honest and ethical leader. Some historians believe that Stalin managed to emerge as the leader of the Soviet Union by undercutting Trotsky’s influence . This means that Stalin managed to use Trotsky’s weakness to his advantage . Stalin used factionalism , bonapartism and Trotskyism to his advantage .
Isaac Deutscher is one historian who has the contrasting views of the right wing historian, Pipes. Deutscher praises Trotsky for his role before the 1917 Revolution, stating that to question Trotsky’s brain and strong military leadership is ludicrous. Due to the strong evidence of Trotsky’s outstanding influence towards the October Revolution. Pipes’ views Trotsky’s role in the October Revolution as being exaggerated by his admirers. 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).
Finally the failures of the Provisional Government made them vulnerable which coincidentally worked to advantage the Bolsheviks. Personally, I believe that the vulnerable position of the Provisional Government, timing of the governments mistakes, discontent of the soldiers as well as the workers and the occasional guidance from other Bolshevik leaders, was exploited by Lenin, alongside his popular policies and leadership skills he catalyzed the revolution that was inevitable, planning it in such a way that it would benefit long term and not short-term as it had done in 1905 and February 1917. In disagreement, the failures of the provisional government to make the correct decisions led to the Bolsheviks’ success because the Bolsheviks were efficient in using this time to take control of the vulnerability of the Provisional Government which had caused this upon itself. The first mistake was allowing Lenin return from Germany in April as a part of democracy terms, since Lenin, despite being
An important factor as to why Stalin was able to emerge as leader was due to the advantages that he had as a result of his position within the communist party. Stalin managed to obtain the role of head of central control commission. His role presented him with the power to investigate and discipline members of the party. He used this to the best of his manipulative ability by not expelling those who disagreed and went against him ideologically. Another important factor was the weaknesses of his opponents for example Trotsky was a weak powerbase due to his old age although he had high authority as he was the leader of the red army.
However Stalin did have his strengths which assisted in his victory. He held many positions of power such as the general of secretary. As he was the general of secretary, he had respect from other people which may have helped him to gain his victory. He was tough; he was able to make tough decisions. Some people admired this quality of his but many thought he was too harsh.
It would push Russia further onwards in terms of a state free from private trade and ownership. However ideology is often seen as Stalin’s weak point however, since he is often thought of as frequently changing policies to further his political aspirations. The leadership challenge of 1925 – 1928 showed how Stalin changed his policies to decimate both the left and right wing of the party and strengthen his position over the party, by varying his beliefs in order to outmanoeuvre his political opponents. On the other hand, some historians (such as Viola) argue that the NEP was causing extensive discontent within the party, and that rather than being as capricious as is often presumed, he can be seen as a pragmatist in the face of the will of the party. His “Great Turn” can be seen as a realistic and attractive policy, suited to the rank and file of the party, that he did not adopt earlier in the 20’s since it was not a fitting policy at the time.
The success of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War was due to Lenin, Trotsky and their combined political, social and military capabilities as they were experts. They introduced various political and military policies that enabled them to raise support in Russia and create a dominant and successful military force. Both leaders showed immense dedication to the socialist cause and in doing so provided ruthless and brilliant leadership that ensured Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War. Peasant support for the Bolsheviks was a result of the Whites political and social faults. Firstly, the Whites treated the peasant class harshly, they did not see the advantage of gaining the support of the larger lower class as about 82% and they did not take full advantage of that.
He believed in ‘Socialism in one country’ where the USSR would become strong enough to survive, then would take over the rest of the world. There is no doubt that his plans were successful in many ways, but would it be logical to call this phase an overall success when we consider the human cost, chaos, un-organization and the slip in overall living conditions in everyday life? Or are those flaws completely irrelevant as Stalin was a tyrannical leader who did what was necessary for the country to move the country forward and the deaths would probably be viewed as a necessary statistic. Stalin’s first plan (October 1928 – December 1932) was extremely far fetched, the plan lacked reality and rather random enormous statistics were demanded for the factories to produce. This was largely down to the two groups involved in the construction of the plan; the Gosplan (in charge of the wider plan – not the specifics) and the Vensenka (who were in charge of the specifics e.g.
Lenin was able to consolidate his power due to the weakness of his opponents, how far do you agree with this statement? Lenin was able to take advantage of the PG’s weakness’s and the confession that reigned in Russia at the time due to not being used to anything but an autocracy, Lenin was able to take advantage of this relatively easily but he faced many problems with holding onto power . There were many reasons why a large amount of people thought Lenin’s form of control would be a failure, he faced problems including World war 1 , enemy occupation, inflation and unemployment and although the Bolsheviks were strong in cities such as Petrograd or Moscow they did not have mass support across the country and a big threat to power was the Constituent assembly which was promised by the Provisional government which Lenin felt too vulnerable to cancel. Solving these problems was a seemingly impossible task and therefore his success is regularly put down to the weakness of his opposition, however I do not agree with the statement completely as I would conclude there were many other reasons why Lenin was successful in solving the problems he faced and in starting the first communist dictatorship. Forming a new government was one of Lenin’s biggest breakthroughs on consolidating his power, he faced a major problem that none of the Bolsheviks had any experience of governing or administration, and the situation made worst when government officials went on strike and the state bank refused to release any funds to the new government.
Despite his Menshevik past, Trotsky was close to Lenin and had played a key role in the communist party. In fact, it was Trotsky who masterminded the October revolution which saw the communists seize power in 1917. He also organised and controlled the ‘red army’ during the Civil War of 1918-1921. He possessed many good qualities needed in a leader, such as; he was a good leader, a good speaker and could be independent minded. Lenin described Trotsky as “...personally perhaps the most capable man in the present C.C...’ However, Trotsky also had weaknesses and made mistakes that Stalin was able to use to his advantage.