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Why Stalin Was Able To Win The Power Struggle With Trotsky

2213 words - 9 pages

Why Stalin was Able to Win the Power Struggle with Trotsky

The Bolsheviks, the ruling party of the Soviet Union, was lead by the Lenin. When Lenin died in January of 1924, he left behind no clear successor, and vague indications of his intended plans for the Bolshevik party. A power struggle for control of the party ensued, one in which many historical figures arose. Within this plethora of names, two of the most important names in Soviet history arose, Leon Trotsky, and Joseph Stalin. As the power struggle continued, the mutual antagonism grew, resulting in a life or death struggle. Eventually, Stalin was able to seize power and exile Trotsky. The reason for Stalin's success over Trotsky can be seen in their respective methodologies. Initially, the two were both long-time Marxists, in great positions of power, and both had worked closely alongside Lenin. However, where Stalin was willing to abuse his powers within the state, Trotsky refused to abuse his power. Secondly, Trotsky arose on the scene of the power struggle much earlier than Stalin, and allowed Stalin to bide his time and attack at his convenience. Finally, Stalin chose his allies wisely, and when they no longer suited his needs, was able to drop them and ruin their reputations in so doing. Trotsky however, formed uneasy alliances with other party members, ones that questioned his reputation. In the end, Stalin was in a position of great authority and command, leaving Trotsky in a position of futility.
Stalin and Trotsky both had close ties to their former ruler, Lenin. Stalin, who was born in Georgia, had entered into Marxism while still a student at his seminary . Stalin quickly became one of the most prominent figures on the Georgian communist scene, rising to the top of the Bolshevik party when the Marxists split in 1903. In 1905, he first met Lenin, and although he did not make a large impression at first, he later won a close position within Lenin's Bolshevik regime . Trotsky, however, was not so quick to side with Lenin. Although he worked closely with him at first, he left Lenin and his Bolsheviks to briefly side with the Menshevik party, only to soon after form his own doctrine, one which differed from both the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties. However, as opposed to attempting to form his own faction, he tried to re-unite the two differing ones, but to no avail. It was not until the summer 1917 in which Trotsky was reunited with Lenin and joined the Bolshevik party, claiming he chose to do so not based on his ideology changing, but that the Bolshevik party had changed its position, one that coincided with Trotsky's beliefs . When the Imperial regime had been toppled, Stalin was appointed general secretary by Lenin, and Trotsky, who was initially given the role of foreign commissar , was soon after given the role of war commissar. These positions allowed both Stalin and Trotsky to form strong ties within the nation, for as general secretary Stalin...

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