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

How far does Stalins position as General Secretary explain his success in defeating his rivals in the years 1924-1929?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How far does Stalin's position as General Secretary explain his success in defeating his rivals in the years 1924-1929? Following Lenin's death in 1924, the Communist leadership of Russia was thrown into disarray. Different ideas for the future of socialism were unveiled, and out of this ideological confusion, various contenders for the party emerged. Throughout the next five years, a turbulent period of struggle in the power vacuum between these contenders ensued, and Stalin eventually emerged as the successful new leader of the USSR. Stalin's position as General Secretary of the party, among other factors of which I shall explore, contributed to this appointment - a leader which would effectively go on to win WW2, whilst enforcing totalitarianism throughout Russia. Stalin's position of General Secretary allowed him to use and abuse Lenin's systems to get to the top. Stalin had the power to control what was discussed and how politburo decisions were to be carried out, and he had the significant influence of patronage. This allowed him to access every strand of the Communist party - the orgburo, politburo, and secretariat. His power of patronage allowed him to use his authority to place his most reliable supporters in key and enviable positions within the party. As a result, these people were extremely loyal to Stalin since they owed their place to him, and so therefore he could count on their support. These appointed people became known as 'Stalinist delegates' since at party congresses they could deliver the votes in Stalin's favour. ...read more.

Middle

Stalin suddenly went on to blast the NEP and favour rapid industrialisation and a force for the kulaks. To Trotsky, Bukharin's backing of the NEP suggested he was too capitalist and was neglecting the working class and undermining Communism. However, Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution also seemed too extreme. By Stalin differing his positions on the NEP through to the mid 1920s before deciding to rapidly industrialise at the end of the 1920s, he was supported by most of the party because he responded to the mood of the times and had loyal supporters. Stalin forced Bukharin to admit his political errors by accusing him of factionalism. This attacked Bukharin and his powerbase as party theorist and communications, which stopped not only Bukharin but also his allies Rykov and Tomsky. This resulted in a political structure which was entirely dominated by Stalinist delegates who ensured votes in Stalin's favour. Stalin's socialism in one country appealed to the nationalism of the party because it was focused on building a self sufficient Russia. Trotsky once said, 'the renovation of the party apparatus...must aim at replacing the mummified bureaucrats', suggesting that the party was becoming too bureaucratic and was losing the spirit of the revolution, and that it needed more democracy and openness. However, Stalin's political shrewdness and his strategic alliances resulted in him being the only credible person left to lead the Communist party, effectively having destroyed all other opponents. Another reason for the succession of Stalin to become Communist party leader is because he came out top when personal rivalries between the contenders occurred. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also had a revolutionary record and had Georgian proletarian roots, meaning he was not seen as a threat to cause splits in the party (unlike Trotsky). In conclusion, the 'grey blur' that was Stalin quietly defeated his major opponents and secured the leadership of the USSR until his death in 1953. He won the leadership struggle without the threat of gulags (political labour camps), imprisonment, or murder - his political prowess gained him victory among the other discussed factors. It would be ignorant to solely admire Stalin for his climb to power through his positions in the party such as General Secretary - he was helped along by luck - it was an advantageous time for Lenin to die. The weaknesses of opponents - Trotsky effectively led to his own demise. The help of early allies - Zinoviev and Kamenev were key to dismantling Trotsky. The ideological conflict - Stalin strategically shifted alliances to play off each contender with each other. The personal rivalries between contenders - Stalin's political cunningness undermined his opponents. The legacy Lenin left - Stalin was suited to bequeath the Russia he left behind. Lastly, the personal qualities of Stalin - he wasn't perceived as a threat until it was too late. However, his position as General Secretary was paramount to his rise despite these other factors, because it gave him the ability to appoint who he chose to the politburo and Sovnarkom. Without patronage, Stalin would have seriously struggled to gain the power of the USSR. His role as General Secretary ensured that Stalin could not be defeated politically in the struggle for power in the years 1924-1929. ...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. Reasons for Napoleon's Success (to 1807).

    loss of all her Italian possessions, except Venice, at the Peace of Luneville (February 1801). * Meanwhile, Tsar Paul, irritated by Britain's refusal to give up Malta and by her high-handed behaviour over the interpretation of some aspects of maritime law, had formed a League of Armed Neutrality (Russia, Sweden, Denmark and Prussia)

  2. To What Extent was Stalin's Personal Paranoia the Main Reason for the Purges?

    then had to act or else they may be purged; it was the most vicious of circles. Hosking was right in noting that 'What Stalin set in motion had a dynamic of its own'.17 Once Yezhov had begun this Purge, he could not slow its pace for it would appear

  1. How successful were Stalin's economic policies?

    State control of the economy also led to disruption of the plans when managers and workers who failed to achieve targets were prosecuted and removed from their positions. Heavy industry was not the only area affected by the plans. Consumer industry also developed, though did not necessarily improve.

  2. To what extent were the Stalinist purges simply a way of eliminating his rivals?

    In the mean time, Zinoviev's intervention gave Stalin the time he required to destroy Trotsky's position in The Party's leadership, which he shrewdly achieved by encouraging the Right Wing to attack Trotsky, beginning with putting forward a new slogan- "Socialism in One Country".

  1. How far do you agree Communist ideology influenced Stalin's decision to implement Collectivisation in ...

    Chapter 2 Marxism and the social experiment Marx was also responsible for the term 'Petit Bourgeois.' This term refers to the peasantry who were conservative in nature with no interest in political change. Marx believed the best way to solve this problem was by the process of social engineering.

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

    Although Lenin was in power for only six years much change occurred during this time impacting on Russia and its people. * When Lenin took power the peasants were given the Tsar's and the Church's lands. The factories and industries were put into the hands of the workers.

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

    Zinoviev?s weaknesses in the power struggle: 1. Gained a reputation for inconsistency. Opposed Lenin in 1917 and switched alliances between Stalin and Trotsky. 2. Seen as someone without a clear philosophy ? not focused and dedicated enough to run the USSR. 3. Buckled under political pressure (renouncing Trotskyism after defeat by Stalin in 1927).

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

    Historians in the West have mixed views. Some have seen him as a tyrant who seized power for his own ends and inflicted terrible suffering on th Russian people. A clear evidence that may show to who did the Russians adore and appreciate most, is just the one issue that after Lenin�s death Petrograd was remaned Leningrad.

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