• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Following the death of Lenin on 22nd January 1924, Stalin, 'man of steel', rose to the top of the USSR through a combination of luck and by using his political skills.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Following the death of Lenin on 22nd January 1924, Stalin, 'man of steel', rose to the top of the USSR through a combination of luck and by using his political skills. Therefore by Stalin's fiftieth birthday he had now achieved for himself complete control over the USSR. Stalin's rise to power can be put down to his ruthlessness; he would not have gained power had it not been for his brutal nature, however there were many factors that contributed to Stalin's success. Stalin had the characteristics of a dictator from childhood, in the sense that he was unable to cope with defeat or admit that he was wrong. This definitely assisted him in his quest to become ruler of the USSR. Stalin first became noticed in 1905 after he first joined the communists and helped to raise funds by robbing banks and looting trains. During the civil war Stalin stayed loyal and during this time he forcibly seized grain from farmers in the South in order to feed the workers in the North. As a reward for this Lenin then made him responsible for the Red Army in the south during the Civil War. This brought him into conflict with Trotsky. This meant that already Stalin had made a name for himself and had been recognised by Lenin as someone who was reliable and who had impressive dictatorship skills, this is why Lenin gave him a job as Commander in Chief during the civil war. ...read more.

Middle

Before Lenin died, he wrote a letter to the Party Congress that outlined his ideas for the future. In this letter he also gave his opinions on the members of the Politburo including Stalin and Trotsky, the two main contenders for the leadership of the USSR. After Lenin had died, the letter became know as Lenin's Testament. Had it been made public at the time it had the potential to destroy Stalin's claim to power as this document showed exactly what Lenin thought of Stalin. At the time Lenin obviously felt that Trotsky was the most suitable successor for the reign as in his testament Lenin described Trotsky as 'a man with outstanding ability' and he also thought Trotsky was 'perhaps the most capable man in the Central Committee'. Lenin saw Stalin as 'too rude' and he wanted Stalin to 'be removed from his post as General Secretary'. Meanwhile Stalin must have been shaken when he heard about what Lenin had to say about him. What Lenin thought of these two candidates was crucial, as the public would not want an enemy of Lenin's to be the next leader. This is why Stalin appeared to be very close to Lenin and stand by him. However in spite of these comments the Testament was not made public. ...read more.

Conclusion

With Trotsky now out of the way, Stalin was now on course to take the leadership of the USSR, he uses his relationship and his positions of authority with other members of the Politburo extremely well. Stalin successfully played both the leftists and the rightist in the Politburo; he did this by using his friends who owed him favours. In 1927 Stalin first joined the rightists and attacked the left removing all the important members from the office, then a year later he joined the leftists and attacked the right, forcing out his opponents and bringing in some of his own allies who would support him. By doing this Stalin was now the most senior member of the Politburo. This was a huge step towards his aim and put him in pole position to become the next dictator. In conclusion I believe that Stalin achieved total power over the USSR through a combination of political scheming, luck, the mistakes of his opponents and the clever way in which he built up his power base. Each event that leads up to Stalin's dictatorship was just as important as the next; he got to power through a combination of all of these. If any of the steps to his reign had been missing, there is no doubt that he would not have been in control of the USSR and been able to cause the damage he did. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. .Compare the Characters and beliefs of Lenin and Stalin. Lenin and Stalin had many ...

    Lenin's greatest contribution was his role in establishing a Bolshevik Government. It was Lenin's remarkable determination, ruthlessness, and clarity of vision that enabled the relatively small Bolshevik Party to seize and hold power. Without his Leadership, and his conception of the revolutionary party as a disciplined and military-style organization, it

  2. Explain why; at the time of Lenins death in 1924 there was no obvious ...

    Lenin also called Stalin the other main contender for the role of leader 'too rude' and stated that he has been placed with too much power within the part as Secretary-General; this has made him quite arrogant. Lenin calls for Russians to remember that although Zinoviev and Kamenev are quite

  1. To what extent was equality achieved under Stalin?

    more equal than ever; they all experienced fear, terror and resented "the rigid police and party controls which penetrate even their personal lives".51 Perversely, it was felt that confessions were required in order to legitimise arrests and prove that the state was correct.

  2. britaina nd disarmament

    Austin Chamberlain, British Foreign Secretary, was in the midst of trying to create an Alliance with France, but was forced to withdraw these plans and instead accept the treaty of Locarno. The Locarno treaty proposed that the borders of France, Germany and Belgium would be guaranteed by all signatory nations

  1. Stalin and the Modernisation of the USSR

    He encouraged them to tell the police if they suspected anyone of hindering the revolution, and normally these people were then either killed or sent to prison camps. These prison camps were both a scare tactic and a way for Stalin to help economy.

  2. The enormous role that Trotsky played in the success of the Bolsheviks up until ...

    would get their votes, which would be very important if he was to become Lenin's successor. Stalin also took up many very boring but important positions of power such as Commissar for Nationalities and General secretary, which helped him gradually begin to gain more control in all spheres.

  1. The Impact of Stalins Leadership in the USSR, 1924 1941. Extensive notes

    Nikolai Bukharin: Although he supported War Communism, he later supported the NEP. After Lenin?s death, he was the most influential member of the party alongside Stalin, supported Stalin?s Socialism in One Country and opposed Trotsky. Helped Stalin defeat the Left Opposition but was expelled from the party in 1937 and executed in 1938.

  2. Compare the characters and beliefs of Lenin and Stalin.

    Central planning was not very efficient, some of the goods produced were almost unusable because they had been turned out so quickly by untrained workers. In general collectivisation was a huge mistake. In order to prove that Stalin was too selfish and ambtitious, it is to say that he used force, terror and persuassion to achieve his proposals.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work