Explain Trotsky’s contribution to the success of the Bolsheviks up to 1922

Trotsky was in charge of organising the revolution. He was the Bolshevik chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. The revolution of November 1917 went off without a hitch, the Red Army captured Petrograd in less than 24 hours. The headquarters of the provisional government was attacked and captured. If the revolution failed the Bolsheviks may have never come to power.Lenin knew that it would be a mistake staying in the war and if they did they could lose support from the public and could lose the war. Lenin then sent Trotsky to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The price was heavy, Russia lost over 1/4 of her farmland, railways, population and a massive 74% of iron ore and coal. If they stayed in the war they could have lost support like the Tsar and been overthrown. Or if they lost the war they would have no control.Trotsky was also given the job of creating and organising the Red Army. He used officers from the Tsar’s old army to lead his men. If they refused they were shot. Trotsky kept the army very strict if any soldiers broke any army laws they were probably shot. He encouraged his men and led them very well. Without a strong army rebels could have overthrown them.Trotsky who sent in the Red Army crushed the Kronstadt rebellion. All the rebels were executed. If the Kronstadt rebellion was not crushed the sailors would have had access to battleships and more riots would have spread across Russia.Trotsky was a major contributor to the success of the Bolsheviks. If Trotsky hadn’t captured the Provisional government then the Bolsheviks would have had an opposition and wouldn’t have gained power. If they stayed in the war they could have lost or been overthrown because people were fed up with the war. The army respected Trotsky and he was a great leader. He organised the Red army led the Revolution and crushed the Kronstadt rebellion which could have spread across Russia.Explain why Stalin not Lenin emerged as Lenin’s successor?Before Lenin’s death Stalin was the General Secretary of the Party and here he made himself powerful. He controlled appointments to posts in the Party and here he made allies within the Party.Trotsky looked like the favourite to succeed Lenin he organised the Red Army, Crushed the Kronstadt rebellion and went to the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Trotsky had been touring Russia and fighting in the civil war. While Stalin had been making allies and trying to associate himself with Lenin.It is clear that Lenin did not like Stalin he had to write to Stalin telling him to apologize for being rude to Lenin’s wife. Before Lenin died he wrote a letter to the Party. In the letter it said that Stalin has unlimited authority in his hands but Lenin said he is not sure whether he will be capable of using that authority with sufficient caution. Lenin then says Trotsky is the most capable man in the present Committee. This letter has become known as ‘the Testament’. Ten days later a postscript was written to the Testament saying: ‘Stalin is too rude, and this fault is intolerable in the office of Secretary’ it then continues and says that Stalin should be removed from his post.But when Lenin died the testament had not been made public. Two men Kamenev and Zinoviev who supported Stalin, persuaded the other members of the party not to remove Stalin from his post and not to embarrass him by publicizing Lenin’s Testament supported Stalin. If the Testament had been released Stalin would have never came to power and Trotsky may have done. But because the Testament had been kept secret the Russian people didn’t know what Lenin thought of Stalin and assumed they were close because Stalin had associated himself with Lenin and played a prominent role in his funeral.Trotsky was not at the funeral. He was in Southern Russia when Lenin died. He claimed that he phoned Moscow and Stalin told him the wrong date and said he wouldn’t make it in time. However there was no evidence to this statement. Trotsky mainly was very arrogant and assumed he was to be Lenin’s replacement. He would have been if Lenin’s Testament had been made public. Trotsky had underestimated Stalin and his criticism of Stalin was not effective. Trotsky had lack of support for his idea to spread Communism to other countries.Gradually Trotsky was removed from the Party and eventually exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929. Stalin no longer needed Zinoviev and Kamenev and he had them expelled, as they were potential rivals. By the end of 1929 Stalin was firmly in control of the Soviet Union.The following were equally important reasons why Stalin was able to hold on to power in the Soviet Union:The purges and show trialsThe secret policePropaganda and the cult of personalityStalin’s economic policiesExplain how far you agree with this statement.When Stalin gained total power of the Soviet Union Stalin’s policies were to increase food supplies, control the peasants and to industrialize Russia. These policies had however gained him enemies. Stalin became increasingly worried his enemies may try to overthrow him. He then started purges so he could eliminate ‘Enemies of the state’. Between 1936-53 40 million people were arrested and around some 24 million were executed or died in labour camps.Many of those who were purged were loyal communists and the majority of Stalin’s victims were ordinary people such as teachers and factory workers who had for some usually reason fallen out with the authorities.Stalin had a massive slave labour force and Slave labourers built some of Russia’s greatest industrial achievements. Without this slave labour Russia wouldn’t have been able to achieve what it did and Stalin may have lost power either by a revolution or have been defeated by the Nazis.In 1937 Stalin began to purge the army. Marshal Tuchachevsky was head of the Red Army and was arrested ; shot without trial. In one year 25,000 army officers had been purged (2/3 of the total). I believe Stalin did this to prove to the army that he was in control. When the Nazis invaded in the Second World War Russia didn’t have enough army officers.The two people who helped Stalin gain power (Zinoviev and Kamenev) were arrested and given long prison sentences. Stalin had accused them of being involved in Sergei Kirov’s assassination. Then in 1936, Kamenev, Zinoviev and fourteen others were accused of conspiring with Trotsky to overthrow the government. They all confessed and were executed. This was the first of many show trials in which leading communists confessed to crimes. The people who confessed in these show trials were often tortured and told if they didn’t confess their families would be punished. These show trials showed Russians that there were ‘enemies of the state’ and therefore people believed the purges were justified. People now thought there were enemies in Russia and worked harder to help Russia. These show trials also helped Stalin remove potential rivals.The Secret Police rounded up people to be purged and then executed them or sent them off to labour camps. The secret police could arrest anyone they wanted to accept Stalin. People were terrified of the secret police and this fear made people work harder and obey the law. The secret police also spied and built up files on Party members. This fear the secret police had meant that people would be too afraid not to do what they were told.The cult of personality was the endless propaganda about Stalin. The propaganda came in many forms; posters, songs, plays, banners, billboards and parades. Propaganda was everywhere. Stalin was shown to Russia as a man of the people. He was also presented as an omnipresent god like power. The propaganda showed Stalin with Lenin to show that he was the natural successor. This propaganda indoctrinated the young and spread communist messages.Stalin’s economic policies made Russia Stronger. In ten years they trebled their industrial output and became the second largest superpower in the world. Stalin kept the workers and farmers busy. Slave labour was also a major factor in their economic success. The workers worked hard through motivation from the propaganda and fear of the secret police.I disagree that all the factors were equal because some are more vital than others. The secret police carried out the purges and show trials put people in the slave labour camps and make the workers work harder through fear of them. The show trials helped Stalin remove potential opponents and justified the purges. The purges supplied a large slave labour force and made people afraid to oppose Stalin. The propaganda makes people believe Stalin is like a God, omnipresent and omnipotent.Stalin’s Economic policies kept workers to busy to even think of a revolution. All of these factors are interconnected but they’re not equally important the purges are probably the most important thing that helped Stalin keep power. The purges gave the secret police a reason for people to be afraid of them, they provided a slave labour force and scared off and eliminated potential rivals.