Why did Stalin rather than Trotsky emerge as leader of the USSR in 1929?
When Lenin died in 1924 there was no clear leader of the communist party. By 1929 Stalin had successfully managed to take power and begin his regime as leader. Here are the reasons to why Stalin beat Trotsky.
Firstly many members of the communist distrusted Trotsky due to his Menshevik past and didn’t see him as a true and Loyal Bolshevik. He didn’t join to Bolshevism until 1917 and this made the ‘old’ Bolsheviks suspect him. The distrust continued with his role as the commander of the Red Army and his opportunism is switching alliances against and with other colleagues like Zinoviev and Kamenev. Due to this many suspected him of becoming a dictator and they wanted to avoid this at all costs.
Furthermore Trotsky had no strong Party base and even Lenin had criticised his personal qualities in his Testament. Trotsky made no ...view middle of the document...
He was able to place people who supported his ideas into powerful positions and this enabled him to win over congress with a majority.
Another downfall of Trotsky was his personal failings such as extreme his extreme arrogance. He saw himself as superior and he refused to accept others like Stalin as equals. This firstly made him very unpopular among other important communists but this also allowed his opponents to become more and more powerful right under his nose as they were merely dismissed by himself as being lower.
Lenin’s funeral was also key to Stalin’s success. With Trotsky already being unpopular Stalin tricked him to not turning up to Lenin’s funeral. This not only put a terrible light upon Trotsky, Stalin was able to play a huge role in the procession portraying himself as Lenin’s disciple, wanting to carry on the work of Lenin.
Another failure to Trotsky was he didn’t push himself due to his Jewish roots. He believed that there would be anti-Semitism towards him and thus didn’t push himself forward enough. This was a great downfall as other leading Bolsheviks such as Kamenev and Zinoviev were also Jewish. Trotsky’s policies such as Permanent Revolution and hard-line economic policies isolated him from some of his colleagues. Stalin supported Communism in one country which was a more reasonable and obtainable goal.
Trotsky’s personality was unpredictable and his nerves got the better of him at times, furthermore, he fell ill at critical and important moments when he needed to be healthy to further his role in becoming Communist leader. His errors of judgement were fatal including the attack on the party bureaucracy and his support for Lenin’s testament pushed Stalin Forward. If published it is probable that Stalin wouldn’t have been able to become leader due to how damaging Lenin’s comments toward him were. Trtosky prohibited the release of the papers and thus gave Stalin the opportunity to gain power.
Finally Trotsky completely underestimated Stalin just like many other leading Communist. Stalin was able to use his cunning characterises to sneakily gain the support and power needed to become leader under everyone’s noses.