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How did Stalin, who was illustrated by Leon Trotsky himself as 'the most eminent mediocrity' [1] rise to develop into the epithet, 'the Red Tsar of all Russia?'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

I. Table of Contents Section (I-VII) Page Number * I. Table of Contents.......................................................................................1 * II. Introduction.............................................................................................2 * III. Background information..............................................................................2 * IV. Luck * A. Nature of the infant Bolshevik state...................................................................4 * B. The Nature of Stalin........................................................................................4 * C. The Death of Yakov Sverdlov.........................................................................4 * D. 'Ban upon factionalism' policy...................................................................... 5 * E. The 'Lenin Enrolment'.................................................................................5 * F. Stalin versus Lenin, Lenin's Death (1924) & the failure of demoting Stalin ...................6 * G. The attitude towards Trotsky and his errors.........................................................8 * V. Skill * A. Introduction to Stalin's Skills........................................................................8 * B. Stalin as General Secretary of the Bolshevik Party................................................9 * C. Stalin as the Orator at Lenin's funeral in 1924 and active support of Leninism...............9 * D. Stalin takes advantage of the attitude towards Trotsky: 'Permanent Revolution' versus 'Socialism in One Country'.........................................................................10 * E. Stalin's economic and political pragmatism.......................................................10 * VI. Conclusion........................................................................................... 11 * VII. Bibliography....................................................................................... 13 II. Introduction There is no doubt that Josef Stalin represents the ultimate figure of paradox in the world of communism, as this 'man of steel' was early on concurred as the 'safe gray blur' yet later acknowledged as the 'Red Tsar' of all Russia. How did this pedestrian man, who was illustrated by Leon Trotsky himself as 'the most eminent mediocrity' 1 rise to develop into the epithet, 'the Red Tsar of all Russia?' The multifaceted and ironic process of his ascension to supremacy defines Stalin as an exceptional phenomenon. His rise to the top is remarkable on the grounds that Stalin was neither a philosopher nor a cogent orator, but managed to administer his way to the top. Many maintain that his rise was a combination of political genius and sheer luck. But when we examine the factors of luck, it can be clearly seen that it was due to this dynamic that Stalin was able to rise to the top. Without the factor of luck as an underlying basis to his accomplishment in succeeding Lenin, Stalin would not have been able to use his abilities and skills to rise to the top in any case. ...read more.

Middle

Exacerbating his head-to-head clash with Lenin, Lenin dictated a letter to Stalin warning that he would break off relations if he did not apologize to his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, whom he had personally insulted, calling her a "syphilitic whore" for allowing Lenin to write a letter to Trotsky four days after the Central Committee placed Stalin in charge of Lenin's health. 18 Stalin's actions could lead us to a perception that Stalin did want power badly and that he did have tendencies of rebellion despite being referred to a pedestrian. However, again luck seemed to favor Stalin. If Lenin had not been ill and died in 1924, Stalin could have been relieved of his post, absolutely ruling out any possibility to his rising up to power. The failure of reading out Lenin's Testament a year before Lenin's death in 1923 as he had requested and its neutralization after his death in 1924 definitely played a significant role in the failure of having Stalin removed from his post. Concerned of what might happen after his death, Lenin wrote a Testament in which he acknowledged the strengths and weaknesses of Central Committee members. Reflecting back on Stalin's policies towards national groups, most significantly Georgia, Lenin was clearly concerned over the power that was currently in Stalin's hands and how he had the potential to misuse his power, 19 Lenin's codicil unquestionably proved his concern over Stalin which reached it paramount point just previous to his death, by requesting that Stalin to be removed from his post and to be replaced by "appointing another man in his stead who in all other respects differs from comrade Stalin...more tolerant, loyal, polite and more considerate to the comrades, less capricious etc..." 20 This was a definite deterrent to achieving supremacy for Stalin. Yet Lenin was not able to convey publicly his final thoughts before his death due to his illness that restricted him from taking active part in Bolshevik politics. ...read more.

Conclusion

But when examining the relative importance of luck and skill, it can be concluded that luck was most significant as it provided Stalin with the grounds and basis for him to rise. Another may argue that Stalin's rise to supreme authority was purely on the basis of his skills, maintaining that without the skills Stalin exercised, he would not have been promoted to his posts through which he manipulated central organs of the Party that eventually crowned him with triumph. However, considering many crucial factors that were based purely on luck, such as those of the death of Lenin that saved Stalin from a certain demotion and Yakov Sverdlov's death in 1919 which placed Stalin in the chair of General Secretary, an essential position which we can refer to as the ultimate catalyst to Stalin's triumph, we may argue that without these essential luck factors, Stalin would not have had the chance to use his adroit aptitudes to manipulate his way to the top. Hence in reality Stalin did prove to be the consummate player in the game of politics, along the way verified himself to be the cleverer politician by outmaneuvering his rivals through the use of many unintentional readily available resources provided by the Party and by exploitation of his rivals' miscalculations which made him look positive and constructive while making his opponents look negative and destructive. Despite the findings, a new issue could be raised regarding Stalin's head on clash with Lenin that led to the request of Stalin to be removed of his post, why did the 'grey blur' clash with his leader? "Couldn't he have acted as the obedient cohort and wait for the wounded lion to die before challenging some of his views?" 32 Does this prove that Stalin had tendencies of rebellion, fighting to justify his beliefs despite considerable political risks? Nonetheless, Josef Stalin was a 'lucky inheritor,' ascribing luck as the basis of his rise. So many 'if only's' could have saved Russia from the so-called 'grey blur,' whom, with the aid of time, would be referred paradoxically as the 'Red Tsar' of Russia. VII. ...read more.

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