How far do you agree that the struggle for power following Lenin’s death in 1924 was caused by the ideological differences between the contenders for power?
The struggle for power was to a little extent caused by the ideological differences between the contenders because they were used as a tool by the contenders for power. There was a number of reasons which caused the struggle for power such as the role of Stalin or Trotsky being the obvious choice – these reasons were more important. However, without doubt the ideological reasons partly played their role in the struggle for power.
Trotsky was seen as the obvious choice to become the leader of the party after Lenin’s death. Therefore, it created a situation where other potential rivals could create alliances united by their hostility towards Trotsky. This idea is proved by the evidence that Stalin mentioned a threat, Bonapartism, they were going to face if Trotsky was to take power. Moreover, to avoid Trotsky taking power, the Triumvirate was established so that Trotsky could not get a majority in the Politburo and, therefore, take power. This demonstrates that the ideological differences were responsible to a very little extent for causing the struggle for power in 1924.
Lenin left an unclear testament which did not name anybody to take power. It is seen if we consider that in his testament, Lenin criticized everyone from the list of the contenders for power. Thus, he criticized Kamenev and Zinoviev for being disloyal, Bukharin for his incorrect understanding of Marxism, Trotsky for his arrogance and Stalin, following his testament, should be removed from his position. Furthermore, all the contenders had a seat in the Politburo which was the government of Russia. Trotsky held a position of the head of the Red Army, but Stalin was the General Secretary while the others also held important positions. All this proves that the ideological differences were responsible to a...
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