How Did Stalin's Cunning Bring Him to Power in 1929

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A. Plan of Investigation

This essay discusses the significance of Stalin's cunning in bringing him to power in communist Russia in 1929. This consists of the study of Stalin's actions from when Lenin died right up to when he came to power in 1929. It also includes how Stalin outmanoeuvred his rivals. The two sources to be focussed on are J.V Stalin Collected Works from Stalin's speech at Lenin's funeral and Stalin rev. edn by I. Deutscher 1966. These will be evaluated for their origins, purposes, values and limitations. Word Count: 85

B. Summary of Evidence

The Bolsheviks came to power in 1917 with Lenin in charge. During his reign he introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP), which made the country much more stable, even though it was not considered the Bolshevik's perfect idea of communism.

Lenin died in 1924 and because he did not leave any clear successor to lead the party, a power vacuum was left for a new leader to emerge. The possible contenders were Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky, who all held high positions within the party. It is certain that Stalin was not who Lenin wanted for leader, as before Lenin died they had a strained relationship. He had realised how much power Stalin had gained and was very worried because if Stalin, was to become leader, he believed that he would misuse his power. Stalin was desperate to see Lenin and called Krupskaya, Lenin's wife and secretary, who would not let him visit. Stalin insulted her, in which Lenin was very upset and Lenin added something to his testament, which would have ruined Stalin. However, this was never made public as Lenin died before giving this speech.

Of all the possible contenders, Rykov and Tomsky never really got involved in the power struggle due to not being strong enough and so never had a chance to gain power. Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev led the left wing and wanted to end the NEP. Bukharin led the right wing and wanted to keep the NEP going. At Lenin's funeral Stalin gained more popularity because of the actions he took. Firstly, he contacted Trotsky and told him that he [Trotsky] wouldn't be able to make it in time to the funeral. This made Trotsky look like he did not care and could not be bothered. Stalin carried the coffin and made a speech, which illustrated how he really wanted to carry on Leninism. He also set himself up as Lenin's disciple, the person who would carry on Lenin's mantle. During the next few years, the power struggle continued. In 1925, an economic crisis was caused by agriculture prices falling and industrial prices staying the same (a repeat of the scissor crisis of 1923).

Trotsky believed in ‘permanent revolution' but in 1924 Stalin introduced the policy ‘socialism in one country'. This was a popular policy within the USSR and party members, because it meant the country could find peace within their country and not get into international conflict.

In 1925, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin successfully removed Trotsky as Commissar of War. Zinoviev and Kamenev remained against giving into the peasants but Bukharin and Stalin were in favour of cutting industrial costs even further. Consequently, Zinoviev and Kamenev lost every vote as Stalin now had ‘well instructed Stalinist delegates'. They realised the power of Stalin and in 1926 joined their old enemy Trotsky and formed the ‘United Opposition'. They campaigned against Bukharin and Stalin and tried to organise demonstrations in Moscow by the workers and party masses. This was a fatal error on their behalf as they were accused of ‘factionalism' and lost their positions of power. In 1927, all three of them were expelled from the party; as a result Stalin changed his opinion about the NEP in 1928 and used force to make the peasants comply with what he had just crushed of the left wing policies. Bukharin was still in favour of the NEP but in 1929 Stalin supporters outvoted him. Bukharin, Rykov...
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