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Explain why Stalin, and not Trotsky, emerged as Lenins successor.

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Introduction

Explain why Stalin, and not Trotsky, emerged as Lenin's successor. The leadership struggle was far from decided when Lenin died- Lenin himself had not really offered guidance on who should succeed him. Lenin became very ill towards the end of 1923. After his first stroke in May 1922, he became uneasy about Stalin. Lenin did not believe that Stalin would use his power responsibly and he questioned his actions and the rudeness of Stalin to his wife. Lenin even tried to get rid of Stalin and make Trotsky Chairman of the council of people's commissars. After Lenin's third stroke in 1923, Stalin aligned himself for tactical reasons with Zinoviev and Kamenev against Trotsky. Zinoviev and Kamenev did this because it made them feel unimportant and by this it showed them in a bad light. ...read more.

Middle

He was arrogant and did not spend a lot of time with people who he considered to be inferior. He also refused to get involved in the dirty business of political in-fighting. Gaining support and making people be on his side was something which he did not consider. Since Stalin was taking on jobs and roles which were unpopular and boring, he attracted little jealousy and became more popular within the party. Also Stalin was from a peasant background and this image made people think that he could relate to them better than Trotsky who appeared arrogant and conceited. This support from the peasant increased Stalin's chances to win since it made him arguably more useful to the party. With Stalin rapidly gaining support and Trotsky not making any effort to stop Stalin or rally support for himself and save the support that he already had but was decaying little by little, it was a recipe for disaster for Trotsky. ...read more.

Conclusion

Trotsky made no effort to exploit Stalin's criticism in the will when it was read out four months after Lenin's death. The reasons for Trotsky's failure and Stalin's success are numerous. But the main reason was that Stalin was determined to achieve a dominant position, while Trotsky on the other hand, was not. Stalin was assisted by the support that he gained, Lenin's trust in him in 1917-1922, Trotsky's errors, his cleverness and ruthlessness for opposition. All of Trotsky's mistakes obviously led to his failure and the success of Stalin. Probably the most important reasons for this outcome, are that Lenin's will was not released and Trotsky not turning up to Lenin's funeral. Also closely following was Stalin's determination, Trotsky's illness and the death of Lenin. Stalin winning over Trotsky was a surprise as Trotsky was the closest by miles to be the next leader. But when the events are mapped out and all of Trotsky's mistakes are listed, the results seem predictable. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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