To What Extent Was Stalin's Victory over His Openents in the Power Struggle a Result of His Mistakes? Essay
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Unit 1 Stalin – Assignment
‘To what extent was Stalin’s victory over his opponents in the power struggle a result of his opponents mistakes?’
In 1929, four years after the death of Lenin, the power struggle between Stalin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Kamenev and Zinoviev was over. Stalin was the undisputed leader of the USSR. Many people would said that Stalin’s victory was due to the mistakes made by his opposition, yet it could also be argued that there were other reasons behind his rise to power.
One of Stalin’s biggest opponents during the power struggle was that of Trotsky (left wing), who some considered to be the favourite to succeed Lenin at the time of his death in 1924. 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. To some Trotsky came across as an arrogant character and lacked support in critical areas of the party. He was also seen as an ‘outsider’ due to his background and past. The biggest mistakes that Trotsky made where a result of his poor judgement. Trotsky underestimated Stalin and what he was capable of (creating a triumvirate with Zinoviev and Kamenev, using this alliance to defeat him). He lost respect by not turning up to Lenin’s funeral, allowing Stalin to act as though he was closest to Lenin. Yet, the biggest mistake which Trotsky made was when he agreed not to publish Lenin’s