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How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalins defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-29?

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How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin's defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-29? Lenin's death on the 21st January 1924 caused huge sadness across the country. He was a leader that would be greatly missed. After Lenin's death, everyone was eagerly waiting to know who would be the next leader of the Soviet Union. In the years after Lenin's death, there was no clear successor to his leadership. However, when Lenin was leader, Trotsky was always there for him, being his 'main man' and played a huge role in the Civil War, therefore everyone thought he would be Lenin's successor. However, as well as Trotsky there were other significant contenders, such as Stalin, Bukharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev, Tomsky, and Rykov, which created a huge power struggle. I believe that the personalities of the contenders were significant in this struggle. However, other factors such as personal and political conflict and with their different tactical skills were just as important. Personality factors were very important for whom to succeed Lenin, as they contributed to Stalin's eventual success. Stalin was a simple but very clever and sneaky character, he could manipulate other contenders very well without their notice. Stalin was able to play on the other contenders weaknesses and defeat them. Trotsky was arrogant, popular and Jewish, which all of these in the end led to Stalin being able to manipulate and have him removed from the party. ...read more.


Roderick Gordon describes Trotsky as "he made only sporadic attempts to engage in battle with Stalin and at several crucial moments he was incapacitated by malaria, which entailed politically inconvenient convalescence on the Black Sea coast." This quotation shows how he doesn't seem to feel as if he has any threat against Stalin and shows his almost laziness about the situation. Zinoviev was chairman of the Executive Committee and reached the peak of his power in 1923, when he became one of the triumvirate. He was the least educated of the Communist leader and accompanied Lenin in hiding in 1917. Trotsky said that Zinoviev had adopted Lenin's handwriting and opposed Lenin on the October coup. Lenin wrote "I will only remind you that the October episode of Zinoviev and Kamenev was not, of course, accidental". One historian claimed this about Zinoviev "After Mussolini, he is the most despicable individual I have ever met!" However, he was described as one of the most powerful figures in the Soviet leadership during Lenin's death. Kamenev was the deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union. He was described as ruthless. Bukharin was a big supporter of the NEP where he was somewhat criticised for his change of emphasis explained by the necessity for peace and stability. He admired Lenin who referred to him as the "golden boy" of the communist party. ...read more.


Stalin also accused Trotsky of factionalism. Trotsky was removed from several party positions, then Stalin allied with Bukharin in order to remove Zinoviev and Kamenev after the breakdown of the triumvirate. Stalin's alliance helped him defeat his opponents. The need for end of the NEP in 1928 also caused a lot of controversy with Tomsky and Rykov due to grain shortages, therefore Stalin felt the need for a new agricultural policy, with which these disagreed with. The last cause would be when Stalin needed to strengthen his alliance with Bukharin, he began opposing the ideas of 'permanent revolution'. Other debates he used were about whether the party was becoming too bureaucratic and about where the communist economic policy should be. After the removal of Zinoviev and Kamenev, Stalin was able to gain support by changing his opinion on these ideological matters and defeated Bukharin. In conclusion, I believe that the personalities of the contenders were very significant in this huge power struggle for leader of the Soviet Union. However, I feel that also other factors are just as important. These personality factors allow Stalin to manipulate the other contenders, but also his gradual increase of support and his expansion of power is a crucial reason too, as this was good for party decisions. Other important factors were his tactical skills and ideology, all adding up to him becoming the leader of the Soviet Union. Therefore, all these factors made Stalin succeed, not just his personality, even though that was a huge part to play. By Chloe Howard ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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