How important was the fear of Trotsky becoming leader in explaining Stalin’s victory in the power struggle in the years 1924-1929? (24 marks)
Everyone believed Trotsky would take leadership after Lenin died, even if they didn’t want him to. No one thought it would be Stalin. Therefore, Stalin felt he had to defeat Trotsky in order to become leader. However, the fear of Trotsky becoming leader isn’t the only factor in explaining Stalin’s victory in the power struggle.
Lenin died, January 21 1924. This is when the Lenin Legacy begun. Stalin took it upon himself to give a speech at Stalin’s funeral; he personally swore to carry on the work of Lenin. As General Secretary he supervised the Lenin Enrolment (expansion of the party in tribute to Lenin). He published a book “Foundations of Leninism”, a basic understanding of Lenin’s ideas for the uneducated. Stalin emphasised his commitment to Lenin by dishonoring Trotsky and other Bolsheviks by saying they were unfaithful. Stalin used the Decree against Factionalism to accuse opponents of disloyalty to the memory of Lenin. Stalin used the Lenin Legacy to his advantage all the way through the power struggle. In 1924, when The Lenin Enrolment was announced, the party increased from 500,000 to over 1 million members by 1926. The new members were young, in-experienced and lacking education. This meant Stalin could easily influence them.
Zinoviev and Kamenev both feared Trotsky’s power more than Stalin. They teamed up with Stalin, in order to over-throw Trotsky. He was unpopular as he was extremely arrogant. Thus when he missed Lenin’s funeral due to Stalin telling him the wrong date, he became even more hated. In a Marxist fashion, Trotsky travelled the world, informing people of world revolution. This meant Stalin could build a good relationship with Russia, persuading everyone he would carry on the work of Lenin. In December 1924, Stalin spoke of “socialism in one country” Trotsky strongly disagreed and as a...
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