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Trotsky - Succession, Revolutionary Success, Civil War Hero, Death, Failure and End

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Introduction

Did Trotsky deserve to succeed Lenin? It is a common view amongst the uninitiated that Stalin was a relatively unknown and insignificant figure in Russian history until Lenin's death in January 1924. Trotsky, Lenin's brilliant accomplice and civil war hero, seemed to be the natural replacement for Lenin. It therefore comes as a surprise to many that Stalin managed to outmanoeuvre the 'vastly more talented and deserving Trotsky'1 to become Lenin's successor. However, it is on this issue of Trotsky being the more "deserving" of becoming the supreme power in Russia that much controversy surrounds. Despite the fact that 'no one else in the leadership came anywhere near him as a public speaker'2 and that he clearly 'excelled as a commentator, a critic, an orator, an executor of politics and was the ideal complement to Lenin'3, by 1929 Trotsky had been denounced as a Jew and a 'Leftist' by Stalin and the Central Committee. Once a Civil War hero and respected commander of the Red Army, the man who had been beside Lenin during the October Revolution of 1917, Trotsky found himself relieved of his position as War Commissar and robbed of his position in the Politburo by Stalin and his loyal bureaucracy. Stalin had become 'strong enough to expel Trotsky from the USSR'4, irrespective of Trotsky's supposed superiority as a politician and as a candidate for supreme power in Russia. However, in order to get a clearer view of why Trotsky is held in such high regard as a tactician and politician by so many historians and as the rightful (but of course unsuccessful) or at least most deserving successor of Lenin, it is necessary that his various successes are noted. Despite the fact that he was eventually thrown out of the party and expelled from Russia itself by Stalin, Trotsky saw great success and popularity during the October Revolution and the Civil War. ...read more.

Middle

Lenin and Trotsky had attempted to oppose Stalin's increasing influence in the party, where in December 1922 Lenin asked Trotsky to form a 'counter-bureaucratic bloc', quite literally aimed at killing off the Party's ever increasing reliance on a bureaucracy. This, however, proved unsuccessful, and by 1924 'Stalin had amassed so much personal leverage that, irrespective of ability, he had much greater power than other leaders'58 and the party bureaucracy (that was mainly loyal to Stalin) was still firmly in place. Before his death, Lenin produced a Testament in which he reached the conclusion that 'no one person was fit to succeed him'59, and he based his hopes on the unlikely co-operation of Trotsky and Stalin. Realising that there was now no chance of such co-leadership because of the clashing personalities of Trotsky's 'excessive self confidence and high handedness'60 and Stalin's 'rudeness'61, Lenin now openly denounced Stalin and recommended that he be relieved of his position in the Bolshevik party as General Secretary, hoping to have him replaced by a man who was 'more patient, more loyal, more courteous, and more considerate of his comrades, less capricious'62. Lenin knew that 'Trotsky's pre-eminence in terms of sheer ability'63 made him the most fit for leadership, but Lenin also realised that the 'apparat tended to dislike him, partly because he was an upstart Menshevik, but mostly because he attacked bureaucratisation'64. Trotsky's 'arrogant brilliance'65 earned him no favours from intellectuals of his own generation, 'nor did the workers favour him'66. Yet Lenin would have chosen Trotsky as his successor over Stalin without question, especially due to the way Stalin had acted towards his wife, Krupskaya and his handling of the Georgian affair. Trotsky also shared the view with Lenin of the Revolution as the beginning of World Revolution, and not Socialism in One Country. He confided in Trotsky to oppose Stalin, and proposed that he did this in the defence of the 'Georgians before the Central Committee against the prosecutors of Stalin and others in league with him'67. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pimlico 58 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 290, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 59 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 290, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 60 Extract from Lenin's Testament 61 Extract from Lenin's Testament 62 Extract from Lenin's Testament 63 Extract from Lenin's Testament 64 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 294, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 65 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 294, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 66 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 294, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 67 A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 - page 795, Deaths and Departures - Orlando Figes, published by Pimlico 68 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 290, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 69 The Making of Modern Russia - Page 330, The Bolsheviks Conquer Power - Lional Kochan and Richard Abraham Second Edition, published by Penguin Books 70 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 293, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 71 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 293, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 72 The assumption made my the Central Committee and agreed upon by Trotsky 73 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 293, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford 74 A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924 - page 801, Deaths and Departures - Orlando Figes, published by Pimlico 75 Despite the fact Lenin had been a proponent of 'World Revolution' 76 "Socialism in One Country (1925)", which asserted that Soviet Russia could successfully build socialism on its own. With this Stalin not only evoked massive national pride but also projected the idea of him as the saviour of Russia. 77 Endurance and Endeavour: Russian History 1812-1992 Fourth Edition - page 293, Disputes and Decisions - J.N.Westwood, Oxford ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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