How significant were the personalities of the contenders to succeed Lenin in accounting for Stalin’s defeat of his opponents in the years 1924-29?
In the lead up to Lenin’s death and the years that followed, it would seem Stalin was in a weaker position than several of his opponents, as many doubted his role in the Revolution and, therefore, his role as a leader of the Party. Several factors played a role in allowing Stalin to be victorious, however, comparatively they hold varying significance. Despite the odds appearing to be stacked against him, Stalin’s ruthless personality and devious strategies allowed him to tactfully defeat his opponents, by manipulating his position within the Party, without having any real party appeal or Government powerbase and he ultimately emerged as leader of the Party in 1929, ending the leadership struggle.
The personalities of each individual contender played a role in establishing their position and reputation within the Party, which ultimately would strengthen or weaken their chances of becoming leader. Trotsky was a passionate member of the party and had the strongest Revolutionary record amongst all of his opponents. His leadership of the Red Army allowed the communists to seize power in the October Revolution, enhancing his reputation, despite being labeled a traitor when he sided with the Mensheviks in 1903. However, he was noted as ‘arrogant’ in Lenin’s testament and managed to gain many enemies within the party as he felt there was no need to endear himself to his colleagues and he therefore displayed little respect towards them. This made him very unpopular and a tyrant to compromise with as he believed in debate as a way of solving issues and adopted other western ideas, tainting his image. Similarly, Kamenev, Zinoviev and Rykov allowed their unfavorable personalities to ruin their appeal within the party and all were criticised in Lenin’s testament, further diminishing their chances of success. Stalin also...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document