Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as the leader of the USSR in 1929? Essay
Beginning of 1924 Vladimir Ilvich Lenin died at the age of 53 and the major struggle for power began in the Soviet Union. A triumvirate led by Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin. By 1928 Stalin had all the power, by ruling as an often really brutal dictator until he died in 1953. But how did Stalin actually emerged as the new leader of the Soviet Union. Reasons that need to be explored are how and why did it happen this way. Stalin had the most important position and of coure a very powerful one because he was the general secretary of the party.
He had even the power to remove and appoint people to a post. The people who he appointed were tthe people who supported him and the people who were likly to support Trotsky were removed. Nobody was concerned about his moves, not even the Older Bolsheviks because they were afraid of Trotsky who might take over as a dictator. Between Trotsky and Stalin, there was a big difference. It was their different way of ruling the USSR and their politics. Stalins way of ruling was „socialism in one counrty“ where as Trotsky’s way of ruling was based on the „Permament Revolution“.
Trotsky’s plan was to help communists in the other countries to revolution and he also wanted to push the revolution in the USSR forward he also wanted to introduce socialist ways of running the economy by ending the NEP. Where as Stalin’s plan was to help Russia, which was very liked amongst the people, because they had just experienced the civil war. Therefor they were really interested in their welfare and economy. His belief was that they could build a fully economic estate by helping not from outsiders but from people within the USSR.
He could easily win support, because he was really talented at promoting policies. Policies like his point of view on the New Economic Strategy and Stalin was talented at promoting policies, which he knew would win him support, policies such as Stalin’s stance on the New Economic Policy and to inspire a policy of fast industrialisation. The Russians needed sch a system, that made members of the party to like Stalin’s suggestion better than the one of Trotsky’s, since they weren’t convinced that Trotsky would lead them into a finer USSR.
Stalin was able to get rid of his enemies by playing them off one after another and Stalin had a great aspect. Such as 1924, when Zinoviev and Kamenev organized a maneuver against Trotsky, examining wether he was loyal and raising his opposition to Lenin up to the year 1917 or not. Watching the left wing tearing itself apart made Stalin happy and he enjoyed by standing in the background. Stalin used plenty of methods how to rise political power and how to get a better leader of the Communist party.
What gave Stalin advantages that other candidates could not gain was the position he had in the party being general secretary. He had power over the Politburo business, the ability to decide on party members in certain roles and could draw up agendas and papers for party meeting. He was able to choose his own supporters in certain positions in the party by using his role as a party secretary, which led Trotsky to lose support from other party members and caused his supports not to have better party roles.
Trotsky as a left wing contender supported to lead the Bolsheviks to triumph during the civil war. His relationship with Lenin was quite good, which happened to be one of Stalin’s disadvantages. Stalin had a position as a general secretary, and that helped him to convince the people, who had Lenin’s testimony not to read it out, therefore Lenin’s disapproval of Stalin wasn’t revealed. A major factor to why stalin was appointed leader could have been, the fact that the testimony wasn’t published and his position as party secretary.
Because of the death of Dzerzinhsky, Stalin could take control of the Cheka, which meant that Stalin had one less enemy to worry about gaining disapproval from. Stalin and Trotsky had very different backgrounds. While Trotsky from a more privileged background, Stalin was from a proper, working class background. The working class background of Stalin’s impressed people as they thought that he had experience the same life and could help them a lot, it made him seem more trustworthy than Trotsky. Very important contributors to rise Stalins power were the political methods, which he used.
Because Stalin was neither left nor right wing, it enabled him to switch to whatever policy got the most votes. What this meant was that Stalin could easily get supporters from both sides of the party. Like when the Triumvirate was formed between Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev to attack Trotsky and Zinoviev and Kamenev organized this battle plan against Trotsky where they wanted to find out his loyality to Lenin. Stalin was standing again in the background, and other enemies forgot about him and fight each other without Stalin being in the competition.
He managed to stay out of all the fights, making him to look like a peaceful and nice person. Trotsky had strong left wing views, but he was still unable to creat partners with other party candidates, even the rest of the left wing candidate were against him. The reason why Stalin gained power instead of Trotsky was also the weakness of the left wing. People were afraid that Trotsky might be aiming to get a dictator because of his strong socialist views, that helped the Triumvirate to attack politically his view that caused a public wariness.
Other party members were interested in Stalin’s policy „Socialism in one country“ and it even attracted support from the right-wing candidates, because, like i mentioned before, Stalin didn’t really have a particular side, he was able to communicated with both wings, the right and the left one. There was the United Opposition that was formed by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev against Stalin. They organized demonstrations and therefore they were accused of committing factionalism, which lead them to be expelled from the party and they also lost their positions.
So Trotsky wasn’t any longer able to run for leader of the USSR. Stalin moved on to get rid of the right wing candidates after he defeated the left wing candidates. He managed to do it by using policies such as the industrialisation of the USSR and the position if the NEP. Stalins disapproval of the NEP was clear in 1928 and said that by keeping it, the USSR wouldn’t be a proper socialist state. The right wing members who were for the NEP got attacked by Stalin and because of that he gained a lot more support due to ist unpopularity.
At some point Bukharin got outvoted, and after that Rykov and Tomsky had to leave the Poliburo and the party, which meant that Stalin was standing there by himself and was the last candidate remaining. To sum up, Stalin instead of Trotsky became leader of the USSR. Some of the reasons of this were that Lenin’s testimonial was stopped being shown, and his position as a general secretary allowed Stalin to put his supporters in higher positions within the party.
Having a bad illness and being given the wrong date of Lenin’s funeral, as well as joining the Bolshevik in 1917 that raised questions of his loyality made Trotsky quite unhappy. Stalins had some political methods which were one of the most important factors that led Stalin becoming a leader of the USSR. Stalin was very popular by voting carefully for certain policies which were the most popular, and because he was a general secretary , he could remove as many radicalists as he wants and add more supporters, which gave him an advantage over Trotsky concerning support. He appeared to people as an ndividual who put others before him, and created policies that would be popular with the masses, because Stalin did defeated both wings, the left and the right. Since Trotsky had a strong left wing view, which made the people suspicious. Maybe Trotsky would have been a better leader than Stalin because Stalin used deceit to get into power by the time he became a dictator and he also killed all the other candidates, one after another. Trotsky was a very good orator too but he still had arrogant views, and this lead Stalin to create popular policies and he got all the support he wanted to become a leader of the USSR