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Why Did Stalin Succeed Lenin and not Trotsky

After Lenin’s death Russia looked for a new leader. The two favourite’s were about to embark on a political campaign; trying to eliminate each other out of the running with their popularity, ideas for the future dedication. Some say however, it was Stalin’s ability to manipulate the people around him, using them to higher his popularity and to aid his lack of political knowledge. Trotsky had a number of titles and past successes; he was the leader of the red army and played a crucial role in the 1917 revolution. But Stalin was underestimated; he used his position effectively to throw Trotsky out of the party.As a youth Stalin was a troublesome child. Before he was fifteen, he was kicked out of seminary school for committing crimes; he then moved on to a young adulthood of terrorism, and had numerous run-ins with the Tsarist police force along the way. He was exiled to Siberia and was imprisoned for his rebellious behaviour. He already had the making of a great leader; dedicated and brave. However, he was claimed to be a poor decision maker, lacked the capacity to produce an inspirational speech and his political knowledge was rudimentary to say the least. Walter Laqueur wrote:”He certainly did not obtain his leadership on his outstanding moral qualities; on the contrary, there was in him a strong streak of both criminality and madness that became more pronounced with age.”He also writes:”Stalin was in no way designed to be an idol of the masses: He was neither a demonic, hypnotic figure like Hitler or Mussolini, who could impart emotions to millions, nor a ‘Pied Piper,’ seductive in leadership. Unlike Lenin, he could not impose his authority naturally on his peers. He was no intellectual; Trotsky, Bukharin, and many others were superior to him in this respect.”This basically states that Stalin’s leadership qualities were not competing with the qualities the other leaders had to offer, in this case, Trotsky.Stalin was far from decisive. He took time and thought his actions through, sometimes he took too long. He seemed incapable of making speedy decisions. He was neither a thinker nor solver, he was unable to come up with new idea or concepts, and pioneer is usually not a word associated with Stalin. Stalin would adopt other people’s idea and put them forward as his own. As a member of Ex.Com, a colleague said Stalin was a”a grey blur which flickered obscurely and left no trace,” this backs up my statement, saying he was insignificant yet manipulative at the same time.Stalin worked his way up, befriending Lenin during the civil war. Stalin published theses by Lenin, but altered them to make them softer opposed to aggressive, which was more consistent with the party line.After this, Stalin became more involved in the party and he was later appointed to General Secretary of Food Supplies. In this role he did very well, and as time went on his duties became more complex. This was due to him self; he wrote this to Lenin in relation to the White and Cossack advance to Tsaritsyn, “somebody (or me) [be given] special authority in military matters to take urgent measures in South Russia before it is too late.” His ambition to get to the top is evident in this statement. It shows he was not satisfied with his role at that moment, and urged for more work.Lenin became ill; he suffered a series of strokes which left him almost completely incapacitated as the leader of the Soviet Federation. A number of members took his place, however, Lenin carried on leading the party.Stalin was elected to take care of Lenin, and with Stalin’s future in Lenin’s hands, he was going to keep a good eye on him. It seems as though Stalin wanted Lenin out of the party, keep him away from political work as much as possible. One example when Stalin found out Lenin was engaged in political relations, he went in to a fit of rage over the phone to Lenin’s wife for allowing a letter to be sent to Trotsky. Reportedly he called her such things as a “syphilitic whore”. It was quite evident that Stalin badly wanted to lead Russia, and the pressure of his self-motivation was causing him to lose all control over his actions. Lenin found out; he began to produce speeches and letters in order to crush Stalin politically. However, the very next day Lenin died, leaving the door open to the leader of the party to Stalin and Trotsky.Stalin used his role as the carer of Lenin effectively. He published pictures of him and Lenin smiling, as if to say they were good friends. Some were counterfeit; a happy Lenin would be pasted on to a picture of Stalin. This is the length Stalin would go to in able become leader. This is an example of his manipulative skills; he used Lenin as his advantage.Resultantly to this Stalin became General Secretary of the party. In this role, Stalin basically controlled the appointing of people. There were four real contenders for the leader of the Party. Trotsky seemed to be the favourite, with past successes on his side, he could organize, talk and lead just as he did when he organized and created the red guards to invade Petrograd in the October revolution and he also lead the Red Army to victory during the civil war in an inspiration battle. On the other hand, he was believed not to be loyal; he joined the Bolsheviks and turned his back on the Mensheviks. He was a military man, and some feared he would become a vicious dictator trying to conquer Europe. The also feared Mother Russia would become neglected under him due to his ambition to spread communism and this was one of his main aims. He never depended on people and found it hard to make friends; therefore he was unpopular amongst the party members.Zinoviev and Kamenev were determined to stop Trotsky becoming leader, they were left-wingers.Stalin appointed people in the party who were loyal to him to senior party positions. This meant Stalin’s rivals had no support in the party.Stalin needed more than this to make sure he would become leader. He used Zinoviev and Kamenev to attack Trotsky in numbers and so eventually Trotsky was dismissed as Commissar for War. Trotsky had no support at all at this point, and so was voted out by the members loyal to Stalin. His views clashed with the Party’s new policy, communism in one country.After that Stalin again appointed people who were loyal to him. Due to this, Zinoviev and Kamenev were dismissed. They believed in fast economic modernisation but the majority of the Politburo believed in the New Economic Policy, a gradual reform of the economy.With the entire contenders kicked out, Stalin was now in complete control and without a single election.Stalin’s ambition in the end prevailed. He worked his way up, and his positions in the party given to him, he used effectively. Trotsky lacked people support, and came across as an unpopular outcast. Stalin was patient in his actions, when he was General Secretary he simple waited and waited until he had the full support of the party. He was a pure opportunist.Trotsky thought his ideas how to run the country were going to drag him to victory, that wasn’t that case, a lot more was required, and Stalin acquired it.

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