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Comparison between Trotsky's and Lenin's role in the establishment of the USSR

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Introduction

With reference to the view of at least 2 historians, compare and contrast the contributions of Lenin and Trotsky to the establishment and consolidation of a communist state in Russia between 1917 and 1924 Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov contemplated Lenin and Lev Davidovich Bronstein contemplated Leon Trotsky were two "professional" revolutionaries and the main figures of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. While Lenin was the public face of the revolution, Trotsky was the person to set up the overthrow of the provisional government. But their role is not limited to the 1917 revolution. Both of them also contributed greatly after the successful overthrow and the problems that were to face the new government. Lenin, in his position as leader of the Communist Party introduced a couple of major policies, greatly helping the new government to stay in power. Leon Trotsky had a more executive role in the Bolshevik Party. His main role was being People's Commissar for Army and Navy Affairs. In this position he contributed greatly to the survival of the Bolshevik rule, facing the danger of civil war. In the following their roles in establishing a communist state will be compared and contrasted in three distinct time periods: The 1917 revolution and its aftermath, the Russian civil war and the post civil war period. ...read more.

Middle

Trotsky's role during the civil war was a vital contribution to the establishment of a communist state in Russia. He saved Bolshevik rule not only through setting up an enormous army to defend it but also took personally charge in critical battles, for example when Red Army units were facing advancing Czechs and Whites at Sviyazhsk. During most of the Civil War, Trotsky was travelling all through Russia, from front to front in his own train, carrying not only him but also supplies. Terry Brotherstone summarises Trotsky's importance during this period by saying:" In the subsequent two years of Civil War, Trotsky, as the strongest member of the Party leadership alongside Lenin, was placed at the head of the new Red Army then being created. He played an extremely important part in ensuring its military preparedness and, in the long run, in ensuring its victory in the war."4 D. Thatcher, however says that this should not be exaggerated. "Such praise does not, however, justify turning Trotsky into the main actor of the Civil War era. There were instances in which his forecasts were mistaken and his strategic advice misplaced. In the spring of 1919, for instance, Trotsky underestimated the threat the White forces led by Denikin posed in the south. Nor was Trotsky always the chief tactician. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hereby they took different roles though. Lenin was more of the public face of the revolution, an inspiring speaker that could fascinate the masses and a philosopher. George Vernadsky underlines this, saying that:" there can be no denial of the fact that his personality exerted tremendous influence on the course of political development in Russia".6 Trotsky's accomplishments, although he wasn't playing an as important role on the surface or in the public picture, were mutually important than Lenin's achievements. However when looking at the term communist state in the sense that originated in the West during the cold war, used to describe a form of government in which the state operates under a one-party system and declares allegiance to Marxism-Leninism or a derivative thereof, thinks look slightly different, as it was Lenin who contributed most to creating a suppressive single party system. It was Lenin, who dissolved all other parties through the use of force in the night of the 25/26 of October 1917. And it was Lenin who organised the secret police, called Cheka and invented the first concentration camps for political opponents. 1 Brotherstone, Terry. The Trotsky Reapprisal. Edinburgh University Press: 1992. Pg 42 2 Christian, David. Power Privilege. Longman: 1994. Pg 196 3 Christian, David. Power Privilege. Longman: 1994. Pg 201 4 Brotherstone, Terry. The Trotsky Reapprisal. Edinburgh University Press: 1992. Pg 43 5 Thatcher, D. Trotsky. Routledge, 2002. Pg 101 6 Vernadsky, George. Lenin: Red Dictator. Malcolm Waters Davis; Yale University Press, 1931. Pg. 312 ...read more.

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