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Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as the leader of the USSR in 1929?

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Introduction

´╗┐Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as the leader of the USSR in 1929? At the time of Lenin?s death in 1924, Stalin?s political future was hanging by a thread. He was, in the opinion of historian Stephen Lee, ?the least impressive of all the candidates for succession?, and Leon Trotsky was regarded as the most likely emerging leader of the USSR. However, within five years, Stalin had outmanoeuvred a series of political opponents to become the absolute leader of the Soviet State, a feat accomplished by his unscrupulous politics and propagandist actions, his facade of moderateness and temporarily centrist stance on key issues like the NEP and the spread of the Revolution, as well as exploitation of the broad power base built up by Stalin throughout his political career to manipulate majorities. However he could not have succeeded in his quest for leadership without a series of misjudgements on Trotsky?s part, such as his failure to canvas support for himself amongst the Bolshevik elite, and most crucially his underestimation of the often pragmatic but distinctly un-idealistic ?comrade card index?. Despite not playing a key role in the October Revolution of 1917, Stalin had steadily built up his reputation in the Bolshevik ...read more.

Middle

Deutscher. Stalin?s utterly unscrupulous politics extended to his abandonment of both the Triumvirate and left-wing politics to gain the support of Bukharin and the right wing with his promotion of Socialism in One Country, a policy that was too gaining support with the public. Thanks to Stalin?s control of the party built up from his power base and also due to the ban on factionalism implemented by Lenin back in 1921, Stalin was able to successfully oust rivals Zinoviev and Kamenev from power too late for them to realise his lack of principles, with Bukharin correctly stating that ?he changes his theories according to whom he needs to get rid of next?. This dramatic change of policy displayed Stalin?s pragmatic approach of supporting the most popular motion and ability to ?bend like a reed? regarding his policies overwhelming the less flexible ideals of his rivals. One of the most important examples of how Stalin?s political initiative is the role he played immediately after Lenin?s death, orchestrating the funeral into a national event and so highly praising of Lenin that he triggered the former leader?s ascension from man to Soviet god. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can be evidenced through Figes? account that ?by the time Lenin came to realise this [underestimation of Stalin] it was...too late? as he had already infiltrated all areas of the Politburo and Orgburo with his supporters and was therefore already on the way to succeeding Lenin before the Bolshevik leader had even died. Trotsky was ?the one man capable of stopping Stalin? according to Figes. However, due to his failure to consolidate his own position within the party and hugely underestimating the potential threat from Stalin thanks to his wide power base, Trotsky left himself vulnerable to being ostracised from the Government and thus essentially paved the way for his opponent to become Lenin?s successor. It was his power base that was the reason Stalin emerged as the new leader of the Bolsheviks; it was his power base that enabled him to exert control over different areas of the party and manipulate party membership so as to guarantee himself majorities against his rivals, most significantly against Trotsky. As for Trotsky himself, ?lacking a power base, he could be no more than a ?prophet in exile?? according to Stephen Lee, powerless to stop Stalin succeeding as the leader of the USSR in 1929. Ciara Lally ...read more.

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