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To what extent should the success of Stalin in the leadership struggle between 1924-1930 be seen as a surprising development?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Historical Investigation To what extent should the success of Stalin in the leadership struggle between 1924-1930 be seen as a surprising development? Written By Mary Smith Candidate number: 002589-006 Date completed: 14/8/2007 Total Word Count: 1987 Table of Contents 1. Outline of the Investigation p1 2. Summary of Evidence p2 3. Evaluation of Sources p4 4. Analysis p5 5. Conclusion p8 6. Appendix p9 7. Bibliography p12 PART A - Outline of the Investigation. To what extent should the success of Stalin in the leadership struggle between 1924-1930 be seen as a surprising development? Viewing Stalin's rise to power as a surprise is largely dependant on whether he orchestrated and manipulated the factions in the power struggle between 1924 and 1930. The main interpretations of the power struggle claim either that Stalin was a cold and calculating tactician who planned his rise to power or that his rise to power was circumstantial. The investigation will examine the following information: i. Lenin's Political Testament ii. The power struggle between Trotsky and Stalin. iii. Fall of the left iv. Fall of the right v. Stalin as the Moderate force in the Party An analysis of these events should enable a judgement to be made as to whether Stalin manipulated events and consequently whether his rise to power can be viewed with any degree of astonishment. Part B - Summary of evidence 1. Lenin's Political Testament * Lenin witnessed his wife, Krupskaya, abused by Stalin; concluded Stalin was untrustworthy with his growing influence over the party1.

Middle

This was first demonstrated in the "triumvirate" between Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev - and their followers - which always managed to outvote the so-called "Trotskyists" within the politburo, leading to Trotsky's subsequent exclusion31. History repeated itself when Stalin gained a majority against the "leftists" - Kamenev and Zinoviev - by forming an alliance with the right32. Consequently the left, because of disagreements over the NEP and party politics, was also accused of factionalism and lost all positions of power33. Thirdly, Stalin then opposed the right wing of the party. He had gained the majority in the Politburo by replacing his opposition with his avid supporters34 so that when a disagreement about the continuation of the NEP arose, the right was also denounced as factionalists and excluded35 - Stalin had won his bid for power. The mistakes of others also contributed to Stalin's dramatic rise to power. Stalin was an opportunist, utilising the mistakes of others to gather support. The containment of Stalin's influence originally rested in Trotsky's hands, but Trotsky did not accept the gravity of the situation and made some fundamental errors such as not attending Lenin's funeral or even writing a telegram in his honour, perhaps highlighting his lack of political sensitivity36. This was a dangerous omission for Trotsky as a campaign, headed by Stalin, was waged against him within the Politburo based on his disrespect37. Trotsky's controversial article in "Lessons of October", which expressed the unpopular and radical view of "permanent Revolution", was also used against him during the leadership struggle38.

Conclusion

He knows how to meet them on their own ground, he speaks their language and he knows how to lead them...if everything continues to go automatically as it is going now, Stalin will just as automatically become dictator." Source 6 McCauley, M., 1993, Longman History of Russia; The Soviet Union 1917-1991, Longman, London, p75. "Politburo opponents of Stalin had had little practical experience of politics before 1917. They had not mounted the party ladder step by step and had not had to claw their way up; 1917 had made them, at a stroke, key political figures. They were singularly ill-equipped to recognise a party climber when they saw one. They were all superior to Stalin, or so they thought, despite what Lenin had written in his Testament. Their fierce intellectual independence ill prepared them for caucus politics. Stalin was moderate and methodical, not to say pedestrian, but he was the only one skilled at building tactical alliances and this put him head and shoulders above the rest. This did not automatically guarantee success: he had to reflect the aspirations of the party and that party wanted socialism. On the face of it the left should have won between 1925 and 1927 and in any case the distance between the right and the left was narrow in 1927 when Bukharin moved against the kulak. Convergence might have resulted if domestic and foreign peace had been guaranteed. However, Stalin used the imaginary threat of war in 1927 to stifle debate and exaggerate the differences with the left." 3.

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