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[O] History(Elect) Smart Guides

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  1. Unit 1: The World in Crisis

    1. Impact of World War I in Europe
    14 Topics
  2. 2. Stalin's Soviet Union
    12 Topics
  3. 3. Hitler's Germany
    27 Topics
  4. 4. Outbreak WWII in Europe
    13 Topics
  5. 5. Germany's Defeat in World War II
    21 Topics
  6. 6. Outbreak War in Asia Pacific
    6 Topics
  7. 7. Japan's Defeat
    10 Topics
  8. Unit 2: Bi-Polarity and the Cold War
    8. Reasons for the Cold War in Europe
    21 Topics
  9. 9. The Korean War
    19 Topics
  10. 10. Cuban Missile Crisis
    25 Topics
  11. 11. The End of Cold War
    19 Topics
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Key Reasons for the Rise of Stalin

Leon Trotsky’s (1879-1940) Unpopularity in the Politburo

Photography of Leon Trotsky
  • Leading Bolsheviks saw Trotsky, and not Stalin, as their main rival to power.
  • Trotsky’s brilliance and Lenin’s support for him worked against him by arousing envy and resentment among the other Politburo members.
  • Trotsky had the support of the Red Army as he had led the soldiers to victory against the Whites in the Civil War of 1918-1921.
  • The support of the army gave Trotsky a great deal of power, and he was thus seen as the biggest threat by others in the Politburo.
  • Stalin also established a troika alliance with Leo Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, which aimed to remove Trotsky from power by discrediting him.
  • Trotsky had always been outspoken and had argued with Lenin and the Party on several topics.
  • Stalin used these disagreements to his own advantage. For eg., Trotsky criticised Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) and the increasing control of the Party by the Politburo and Central Executive Committee. These criticisms were seen as acts of disloyalty to Lenin and to the Party’s decisions.
  • In addition, Trotsky believed in Permanent Revolution’ as he had spent many years outside Russia before the Russian Revolution and felt that Russia’s duty was to try and lead a worldwide socialist revolution. Only when there is a worldwide revolution, would it be possible for a real socialist state to be set up in Russia? However, Stalin had never left Russia and instead argued for Socialism in One Country’. This called for the strengthening of the Soviet Union first before spreading the revolution to other countries. His views were more popular as they helped keep Russia out of dangerous adventures abroad & thus out of costly wars.
  • Stalin cleverly made it seem like Trotsky was moving away from the Party’s decisions and ideas. Trotsky’s credibility within the Party was thus affected.
  • Around Lenin’s death, Trotsky fell very ill and was often too weak to organise his own supporters. He also chose to remain silent on Lenin’s criticism of Stalin as reflected in Lenin’s Testament.
  • He was thus not able to deal with party politics as the other Party members began to exclude him from their decision-making and undermine his position within the Party.
  • Thus, Trotsky’s failure to win support in the party encouraged more support to be given to Stalin instead.
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