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Why was it possible for Stalin to become the leader of the USSR?

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HISTORY ESSAY OUTLINE WHY WAS IT POSSIBLE FOR STALIN TO BECOME THE LEADER OF THE USSR? I. Introduction: * Struggle for leadership proved that the most brutal and cunning would always win - Stalin * Explain briefly that Stalin's rise to power was not simple and effortless * State the research question and link to the body part II. Body: * Some historians give "luck" a big role in Stalin's rise to power (eg: death of Lenin, Sverdlov) => Give a counter-claim as to why luck was not so significant. * Explain why Stalin's rise to power was mostly due to his position as the General Secretary * Explain how the "Soviet bureaucratic machine" favored Stalin instead of others => Historian E. H. Carr => Structuralist school * Explain how his personal qualities allowed him to defeat his political rivals => Historian R. Conquest => "Liberal School" - Stalin's colleagues underestimated him and gave him chance to strike deadly blows * Explain how Stalin's political rivals lacked the skills to defeat him => Trotsky although intellectually superior, was not popular among equals => Trotsky for various reasons, was unfit for internal political struggles like this => Zinoviev and Kamenev made critical mistakes during the struggle for power * Stalin had an unique grasp of what the majority wanted so his policies were popular III. ...read more.


In my view, his holding of key positions in the Party must be seen as one of the most important indirect causes to his rise to power as the leader of the Soviet Union. This view is definitely shared by structuralist historians such as E.H. Carr in "The Bolshevik Revolution". They argue that Stalin inherited a "bureaucratic machine" that favored people like him to be leaders and the old values of the Tsarist bureaucracy were no doubt still lingering in the USSR at the time. No doubt an author has compared Stalin to "the Red Tsar". Stalin's colleagues might have been right that all the work that Stalin did was tedious but they were completely wrong if they thought it was useless. The reason for that is by having a complete control of the organization of the Party, Stalin was able to appoint his own supporters to key positions in the party. With that sort of power, Stalin could easily increase the amount of support for him and decrease the support for his rivals. Later on during the struggle against both the Left and the Right, voting played a decisive role and at that point, Stalin's control of the Party members proved to be absolutely vital to his victory in the votes. As some would say, Stalin's victory was also the triumph of the bureaucracy. ...read more.


Not only this shows that the power to control voters was important, it shows that Stalin had a unique grasp of what the people wanted and was responsive to the mood of the times therefore he always had many people favoring his policies. "Socialism in One Country" can be of a great example. The Soviet people who were mainly Russians favored this rather than "Permanent Revolution" as advocated by Trotsky since it gave Russia a special historic role and it appealed to Russian nationalism. It is now clear why it was Stalin who emerged as the powerful leader of the Soviet Union in 1928 but not any of his opponents. Firstly, Stalin was a strong figure, a shrewd politician who knew how to get essential support and knew how to "play his cards" at the right time. He was brutally determined to become the sole leader of the country at any sacrifices. On the contrary, his rivals on both the Left and the Right not only lacked the political cunning which Stalin had in abundance, they failed to grasp reality and thus underestimated him and gave him all the opportunities to strike back at them. And finally, one must not forget that only because Lenin and Sverdlov had already died, there was an empty post for the leadership of the Soviet Union. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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