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Stalin's Rise to Power2

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Introduction

Stalin's Rise to Power Simon Vortel D-0277 133 International Baccalaureate Diploma Program IB History 12 HL Internal Assessment (Historical Investigation) Word Count: 1998 Table of Contents Page A. Plan of the Investigation 2 B. Summary of Evidence 3 C. Evaluation of Sources 6 D. Analysis 8 E. Conclusion 11 F. Bibliography 12 A. Plan of the Investigation This investigation seeks to answer why Stalin was able to assume control of the Communist Party after Lenin's death in 1924. In addressing this question, the discussion focuses on Stalin's control over the bureaucracy to create a loyal following of supporters and his series of political moves that culminated in him becoming the undisputed leader of the Communist Party. The analysis seeks to identify the dominant factor that led to his control of the leadership through the evaluation of different historians' perspectives. Two sources, Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy and Stalin as Revolutionary 1879-1929: A Study in History and Personality are further evaluated. B. Supporting Evidence After Lenin's death on 21 January 1924, a struggle began among the prominent party leaders to head the party. Although members like Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Bukharin had leadership aspirations, the main battle was between Stalin and Trotsky. ...read more.

Middle

Also, since this book was written in Russian and translated into English, it inevitably lost some of the original nuances of the language. Stalin As Revolutionary 1879-1929: A Study in History and Personality was published in 1973 by Robert C. Tucker, a professor of International Studies at Princeton University. This book seeks to explain the factors which allowed him to gain power, with special emphasis on the role his personality played in his rise to the top of the communist party. The source discusses in significant detail the formative events of Stalin's personality before the 1917 November Revolution, helping to support his argument that it was indeed his personality, more than any other factor, which allowed him to gain power. The source also analyzes in detail the effect of the intra-party debates throughout the leadership race. He displays a positive bias towards Stalin, almost awed by the prowess he displayed, perhaps because his book ends just before the major brutalities begin. However, the book was published before glasnost, meaning significant amounts of material were unavailable to Tucker. Although capably arguing his position, this factor limits his authority in comparison to, for example, Volkolgonov. ...read more.

Conclusion

E. Conclusion One cannot attribute Stalin's complex rise to power to any one specific factor, but must instead analyze the many elements that led to his triumph. Historians generally agree on the basics: one cannot deny that Stalin's control over the party appointments or his shrewd political skills contributed to his victory. However, when forced to select one aspect that overshadows all others, Stalin's incredible political skill and ability to take advantage of both opponents and political situations stands out among the rest, the heroic approach espoused by Tucker, Conquest, and Volkolgonov. Ultimately, the decisions he made and opportunities he recognized long before anyone else allowed him to create his party machine. He understood the power of Leninism as a possible justification for his actions, and exploited its potential far better than any of his rivals with The Foundations of Leninism. He comprehended the divisiveness of the NEP, and adeptly utilized the conflict to further his ambitions with Socialism in One Country. This keen political sense, foresight, and Machiavellian mentality were the fundamental aspects in his ascent to power. Stalin's opposition may have been mediocre, but Pipes goes too far. In the high stakes game the Bolsheviks played, nothing was certain, and it took such a calculating man as Stalin to emerge victorious. F. ...read more.

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