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

Rise of Stlainism

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Essay Question: To what extent was the rise of Stalinism due to his opportunism? In 1922, Lenin was incapacitated by a stroke, and everyone thought his likely successor to be Leon Trotsky. Yet, within 5 years, Trotsky had been expelled from the Communist party and it was evident that Stalin had taken power. Indeed, the reason for the rise of Stalin to a position of total and supreme power is a hugely controversial subject that has been hotly debated by historians. However, I agree with the statement that "the rise of Stalinism due to his opportunism" to a large extent. First and foremost, Stalin's opportunism - his tendency to advance in situations where he thought he could do so without provoking too strong a response - is pivotal in explaining his rise. As late as 1924, many Communist party members still saw Stalin as "Comrade Card-Index" - a lowly administrator with a dull personality. Yet, as Steve Philips writes, "Stalin was skilful in using the circumstances that presented themselves... and the opportunities that arose to overcome his opponents within the party." An excellent example would be that of Lenin's funeral. At this funeral, Stalin made use of the fact that he was to deliver an oration to present himself as the chief mourner, emphasis the need to apply the ideas of Lenin and highlight his intention of continuing the works of Lenin. ...read more.

Middle

As Philips mentioned, "Many Bolsheviks wondered whether Trotsky was a man of the party or of his own agenda." To make matters worse, Trotsky did nothing to dispel the fears, but chose instead to criticise the party. This is evident from his criticisms on party bureaucracy as aforementioned as well as his attacks on Lenin's New Economic Policy in his essays Lessons on October published in 1924 after Lenin's death. Many saw this as an insult to Lenin and with the intense atmosphere of "Lenin worship", Trotsky soon lost many supporters, of whom many turned instead to Stalin who had exploited popular sentiments to his advantage. Philips further substantiates this, "[Stalin's] arrogance and aloofness, while making him unpopular with the party, also led to a lack of judgement on occasions." Trotsky's gross misjudgement of the mood after Lenin's death as mentioned above is an excellent example. Furthermore, as mentioned by Lowe, Trotsky's intellectual brilliance worked against him by arousing the envy and resentment of the Politburo leaders who united in effort to prevent Trotsky to become leader. Trotsky's arrogance led him to become alienated from a large number of party members and he did little to garner support or organise his supporters. A good evidence of his growing unpopularity is that of the outcomes of the Thirteenth Party Conference, in which few of Trotsky's members were elected. ...read more.

Conclusion

Through their actions, they aided Stalin in the removal of Trotsky, and allowed his growing power to grow unchecked until it was too late. In conclusion, I believe that Stalin's opportunism was the most important factor in contributing to his rise. To put it very simply, all other factors hold no water because if it was not for Stalin's opportunism, they would have had been useless. First and foremost, Stalin's appeal came primarily from the ability to exploit circumstances, attitudes and situations to his advantage. He based his main strength and focus on reflecting what the people and party members wanted, and thus raising his appeal and gaining their support. Next, Stalin's various positions as well as the prevalent attitudes, fears and overall atmosphere of feelings of the Politburo and Communist Party were again, useful only because he had the opportunism to exploit them. While no one else wanted the role of General Secretary, Stalin took it as he foresaw the useful information and powers he would acquire which others had overlooked. As aforementioned, the attitudes, fears and atmospheres he exploited to gain power on one hand and undermine the opposition's support on the other. Finally, the weaknesses of his opponents meant nothing had Stalin been unable to take advantage of them, point them out to the party and use other methods to weaken his opponents' stand in the party. Thus, all in all, it is evident that Stalin's opportunism played the most pivotal role in his rise to power. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...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 Both Vladimir Lenin and Joseph ...

    at his primitive brow and small head, it seemed that, were you to break it open, it would spew forth the entire works of Marx, like an exploding gasometer. Marxism was his element, and in it he was invincible". Memories of Simon Vereschak (Coursework Booklet)

  2. To what extent was Hitlers rise to power due to Economic Problems?

    desperate people felt that previous politicians had failed them they looked for a way out of their terrible financial problems, if Hitler is promising to get rid of unemployment then seemingly this would be the right choice for them to take.

  1. History - Mussolini's Rise to Power

    It is now a question of days, perhaps hours'. He also had the ability to manipulate and use violence or intrigue to get what he wanted, especially from the gullible, sympathising liberal government. Mack Smith, in his 1990 article Sleeping Car to Power maintained that Mussolini's will, guided by his

  2. Napoleon Bonaparte.

    knew them individually: When he was going to review troops he would ask one of his aides-de-camp to find out from the colonel of one of the regiments whether he had a man who had served in one of the campaigns in Italy, Egypt, or Germany, what his name was,

  1. Mussolini(TM)s rise to power up to 1922 owes more to the failures of others ...

    However in 1921 Mussolini adapted the party ideologies and revolutionary inclinations in order to capture a stronger support base and prepare Fascism for a parliamentary struggle. From 1921 Fascist ideology was vague ensuring that it didn't exclude many groups and enemies were narrowed down.

  2. Identified within this study is the argument that whilst many of Lenin's theories and ...

    Medvedev's arguments however, maybe influenced by his strong commitment to Lenin and Marxism. Some historians see the way that Lenin and Stalin dealt with foreign policy as clear difference between the two. Whilst Lenin hoped that the revolution would spread and occur on an international scale, Stalin followed a system of 'Socialism in one country'.

  1. To what extent was Stalin responsible for the modernisation of Russia?

    didn't want to be there and the economic backwardness of Russia could be reversed. Additionally, it was thought that due to this, serfs would be grateful and therefore agricultural production would grow.

  2. Compare the Characters and beliefs of Lenin and Stalin

    Not only was Russia a communist country for the next seventy years, he set a one party state, where only one political party were allowed and changed the government from an autocracy to a dictatorship. This was a long term change as dictatorship remained for many years and completely overturned the autocratic government that had existed for centuries.

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