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Rise of Lenin and Stalin

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Introduction

History SL Essay Examine the methods and conditions that led to the rise of single-party state rulers. Refer to Lenin and Stalin as your case studies There were many methods and conditions used that eventually led to the rise of single-party state rulers. The rise of Lenin and Stalin can be used as two clear examples as to how single-party state rulers (Russia's rulers, in this case) made use of the environment around them and employed many tactics in securing their power. The time period we will be looking at for this analysis will be Oct 1917 for Lenin and 1924, immediately after Lenin's death for Stalin. There are four main factors in examining the rise of the methods and conditions used by Lenin and Stalin which eventually led to their rise as ruler of the single party state. The four factors are: The weakness of the opposition, Their Personal strengths, Policies and Favourable conditions. The first factor, the weakness of the opposition, is one of the major factors that played a large role in the rise of the two leaders. For Lenin, it was a weakness on the part of the Tsar Nicholas II and the leader of the Provisional Government, Alexander Kerensky. ...read more.

Middle

Zinoviev and Kamenev, on the other hand, allied themselves with Stalin only to be betrayed later. They thought that by aiding Stalin, they could get rid of Trotsky together. They underestimated him and thought that he was not a major contender for the role of Lenin's successor. This was due to the perception that Lenin was nothing but "A grey blur which flickered obscurely and left no trace" who was famous for "industrious mediocrity". As such, they did not see the threat he posed until it was too late. Stalin took advantage of his opponent's weaknesses and used it to his full advantage, ensuring that he would be unhindered in his bid for power. The next factor is the Personal Strengths of the two leaders. Lenin was a person with good organisational and leadership skills. He was also an excellent orator who could put across ideas simply for the uneducated masses to understand and was persuasive and charismatic enough to bring people around to his views. In addition, he had a strong, forceful personality and could force decision in the Politburo and the Central Committee e.g. the April Theses. He was also ruthless and cruel when he needed to be. All of these qualities combined made him a popular person who could bring about change in the eyes of the masses, and by using these skills he gained support both within and outside the Bolshevik party. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Lenin's case, the one condition or incident that aided him greatly was Germany's assistance in his return to Russia in February/March 1917. The German's hoped that he would stir up trouble and thus hinder Russia's war efforts. As such, they provided Lenin with a railway carriage and safe passage through Germany for his return from Switzerland. The one incident that greatly helped Stalin was Lenin's death in January 1924. Lenin died before he could make his Secret Testament, in which he criticized Stalin, widely published. Also, Lenin's death allowed Stalin to position himself as the one who would succeed Lenin. At Lenin's funeral, he assumed the role of chief mourner and portrayed himself as a person who had been very close to Lenin and was his chosen successor. As we can see, it was a combination of the above four factors that led to the two leaders rise to power. Without the weakness of the opposition, Lenin's personal strengths may not have been enough to propel him towards power. Without Lenin's sudden death, Stalin the administrator may never have become leader of the Bolshevik party, and would have forever been viewed as mediocre. It can thus be said that all four factors were equally important and that no one factor should be given more magnitude in the examination of their methods and conditions used which led to Lenin and Stalin's ascension to power. ...read more.

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