Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were both powerful, ambitious leaders that worked their way into positions of power. Stalin took over after Lenin died to lead the USSR after the Russian Revolution. Hitler became leader of the Nazi Party and gained the people’s support with promises of a strong leader that resisted western powers. On their rise to power, both Stalin and Hitler became leaders of political parties, eliminated opposing parties, and promised a better future for the people and country, but Stalin used the people’s support as leverage in his power struggle with Trotsky while Hitler used his passion and the economic situation in Germany to become leader of the Nazi party and gain support over the socialists. Both Hitler and Stalin started their journey towards power by joining political parties.
How important was Stalin’s use of the Lenin legacy in gaining power? Stalin’s use of the Lenin Legacy helped him gain support during the years 1924-1929, eventually resulting in him winning the power struggle and gaining power in Russia. Even though in Lenin’s final testament he made it clear that Stalin was trouble and he should be got rid of, Stalin’s political cunning and his use of the Lenin legacy meant that he was able to gain people’s support and become leader of the Communist party. One of the most noticeable was at Lenin’s funeral. Firstly, Stalin had told Trotsky (who was a major rival to Stalin at this time) the wrong date for Lenin’s funeral.
History Essay: How Significant were the Personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents 1924-29? In this essay I will be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of contenders, Lenin’s legacy: what he left behind with his success, failures and his system. Also I will be looking at the Alliances which Stalin formed which helped him win the leadership contest, Stalin’s Party Position and its significance, Stalin’s use of devious tactics and the failings of the other opponents. Stalin personality meant that he appealed to the Communist Party Membership, which helped him become leader of the USSR and defeat all the other Candidates. Stalin’s appeal was based on the fact he was the ‘Voice of Moderation’ which appealed to many members across the party whereas other contenders were seen as extreme, therefore they had a narrow base of support.
Many of the people looked up to the Tsar like a father, not because he was inspirational or because he was exceptional but because 85% of the country, the Peasants were uneducated and so were very easily controlled and influenced. If one is uneducated and knows nothing else except solid Russian traditions like Tsarism then no one will question it and ask if it really is the best option for a country like Russia, for every country has a political system that suits it. However as the peasants and proletariat became better educated they did ask questions and realised that they were under complete authoritarian control. Not only would they query Tsarism as a whole but the actual Tsar, in personality and ability. For however strong the system is at controlling the largely uneducated majority, Tsarism is only as powerful as the Tsar is at the time.
Joseph Stalin truly strengthened this nation to become a widely known superpower, although he carried out mass genocide and created a murderous dictatorship. Historians have viewed him in many different ways, including a psychotic power-driven killer, a military and communist genius, and also the man who transformed the Soviet Union into an industrial colossus. Joseph Stalin should have never taken the role of the USSR’s leader. Instead, Trotsky should have been the one to take Lenin’s place, which would have saved the lives of millions. Joseph Stalin put forth many positive attributes to the USSR, however; the only reason this was possible was through his brutal intimidation tactics used on the nation’s
Thus began a battle of political subterfuge, manoeuvrability and betrayal, things that Joseph Stalin, eventual leader of the USSR, excelled at. Many things influenced and aided Stalin in his rise to power. Luck was a key factor, but so was his ability to take advantage of every situation he found himself in, the lack of competence in his political opponents, and his own political skill and ability. While all these helped in securing Stalin his position of unquestioned leader of the Soviet Union, one factor rises above the rest in it importance, the question is however, which one? As said above, luck was definitely a vital part in Stalin’s victory.
Why did Stalin emerge as leader of Soviet Russia? Observing Stalin’s background and other personal factors, Stalin was indeed a weak contender for the leader of Soviet Russia and lacked a strong, powerful past that people such as Trotsky had. However from 1924 to 1929, Stalin with the use of manipulation, determination and tactical strategies managed to emerge as leader of Soviet Russia. The reason as to why he created such an outcome is quite clearly impressive, but what really worked for him? 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.
By 1929, Joseph Stalin who was one of the members of the ‘collective leadership’, defeated the rest and became the dominant force of the USSR. His success was part of a power struggle which began even before Lenin’s death. Stalin’s victory was not inevitable, nor was it a result of his political skills alone. There was a whole list of factors which combined to assist his victory. When Lenin was alive he made several criticisms about Stalin which were not made public.
He was supported by the public due to his ruthless and efficient regime during the 1930’s. This was enforced through fear and threats of death and gulags. For example the population suffered immensely during the Great Terror of the 1930s, during which Stalin purged the 'enemies of the people', resulting in the execution of thousands and the exile of millions to the gulag system of slave labour camps.  Stalin set up organisations such as GOSPLAN and STAVKA which helped reinforce his authoritarian system. Also writers, artists and musicians were made to produce works or realism glorifying soviet achievements.
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.