Assess the Reasons why Stalin's Political rivals were Unable to Prevent his Rise to Power

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Assess the Reasons why Stalin’s Political rivals were Unable to Prevent his Rise to Power

 Before 1917 the Bolshevik Party had only been a few thousand strong and Lenin had known the great majority of numbers personally. He had been impressed by Stalin’s organising ability and willingness to obey orders. He once described him as “that wonderful Georgian”. With Lenin’s backing, by 1912 he had become one of the six members of the Central Committee, the policy-making body of the Bolshevik Party. He helped found the party’s newspaper which was called Pravda.

One theory suggesting Stalin’s rise to power is that his opponents, such as Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev, failed to unite against him, and that they did too little too late. One of the reasons Stalin was allowed to rise to power was that the other leading members of the Communist party failed to recognise him as a threat. The idea of Stalin competing for power with intellectuals such as Trotsky would have seemed laughable. Nobody realised the threat he posed until it was too late. Stalin stayed in the background most of the time and adopted policies that were broadly approved by the majority of the Communist party. In this way he offended very few people. He was seen as a “dull and mediocre grey blur”

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Trotsky seemed the most likely candidate, and was Lenin’s personal favourite. He had many gifts and intellectual brilliance, but had serious weaknesses that stunted his success. Trotsky himself was a Menshevik, and had converted to a Bolshevik, showing his lack of loyalty. He also had a poor sense of judgement. For example, Stalin’s mishandling of the Georgian Affair (Stalin was liable to abuse any power given to him). Trotsky failed to seize his opportunity to undermine Stalin’s position when Lenin was angry with him. Trotsky however, did not attack. Trotsky was a Jew, and Russia had anti-Semitist beliefs ground into ...

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