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
Lenin’s death in 1924 not only created a power vacuum but also a bitter struggle for supremacy between Stalin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Bukharin as each tried to become the new leader of the communist party. Whilst I do think that the personalities of the combatants were noteworthy I believe that the other elements involved such as Stalin’s tactical skill, the debate over permanent Revolution and socialism in one country, and powerbases held by the aforementioned contenders all contributed equally to Stalin’s ultimate triumph . The personality of those involved in the power struggle should however not be disregarded as they played a role in Stalin’s ensuing victory. Stalin was known to some members of his party as the grey blur as supposedly there was nothing remarkable about him. His role in the October revolution and the Russian civil war was minimal however his true aptitude lay in administrative positions, his skill in the clerical field was so great that Lenin came to rely on Stalin’s administrative capability and loyalty. Even so when Lenin became ill Stalin began to oppose him. Lenin’s testament was highly critical of Stalin and encouraged that he be removed, however as the testament was never made public this was never carried out. The fact that Stalin was not seen as threat and was underestimated by his peers meant that he was able to gain authority without raising the suspicions of other party members. Trotsky however was the complete opposite to Stalin. He was popular, an orator and a talented theorist who stirred loyalty in his troops. His radical ideas made him well-liked with the young and idealistic members of the communist party. Lenin in his testament identified Trotsky as a “the most able in the present communist committee” he also remarked on Trotsky’s “too far reaching self-confidence”...
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