Stalin was successful in becoming the new leader of the USSR for many complex reasons. Firstly, the divisions within the party, made his task of eliminating people less complicated, he only had individuals, not groups of people against him. Moreover he knew perfectly how to manipulate people on his behalf and also how to gain supporters and how to get out of the way his opponents. But one of the main factors for his success was that members of the party did not realize that Stalin was to be more than the General Secretariat they saw him as a treat when it was too late.
The personality of Stalin was quite important for his emerging as a leader of the Soviet Union. His understanding of Marxism was not excellent; however he had other qualities that helped him through his rise to power. Stalin was very determinate, he knew what he wanted and also he could visualize how to achieve it. Also he was able to use the structure of the party for his success because he knew how everything worked since he had much experience in many roles.
However it did not matter how he would achieve whatever he wanted. One of his main characteristics is that he was ruthless and cruel. He could do whatever he needed to meet his objectives and that is exactly what Lenin did not like from him, as he wrote in his testament.
In 1922, after being in several privileged positions within the party, Stalin achieved one of the things that would mark the party and that also would give him a push to a even more important position; he was named General Secretary which meant, that it was difficult for him not to know something about the party and which also gave him the unique opportunity of placing followers of his all around the Russian territory in key positions. Moreover, he removed from the Politburo those opposed to him. In this way he made sure that he had enough support to succeed Lenin, which he would finally happen in 1924 after Lenin’s dead.
The “Lenin’s enrolment” was also key in the rise of Stalin. Most The new members of the party were escaping from the working class. With this, Stalin increased his popularity since he identified their needs and improved the lives of many people. He knew exactly were to put more effort to get more support because of his peasant background, acquiring more popularity.
Now that he had the power and enough support, Stalin needed to make a purge of al those who could complicate the situation or to argue against his decisions. His main victim was Trotsky, the creator of the Red Army, who at the end was sent to Mexico in exile to later be executed for being a not very comfortable person for Stalin’s government.
Stalin took advantage of the death of Lenin, since his image was very powerful. He was god-like for Russian people and Stalin knew it. It was a sort of religion, the image of Lenin was it of their rescuer or father of the people because he changed Russia, and he was in the worker class side. Stalin knew this and so he knew that the more he talked about following Lenin’s ideas, the more the people would like him, the more popular he was going to be and therefore the smoother his rising was going to be.
The testament of Lenin was hidden. The desire of power of Stalin, made him to hide the existence of a document redacted by Lenin himself in which he attacks Stalin saying that he was ruthless and too ambitious so that he must had been away from power and consequently he could not be the new leader. If this had not happen, Stalin would have had much more trouble for getting to the power since Lenin criticized him very much. However criticism was not only for him.
In general Lenin was criticising all important members of the party, which makes us think that it was not only that Lenin did not want Stalin to become the leader of the part but that he did not want any of them to do it. Instead, probably he wanted them all working as a team together and the criticism was made to show that none of them was good enough for taking all the responsibility and also because he was particularly afraid of Stalin becoming the leadership in the party. Nevertheless the party was not a team, it was divided and it was a factor that would become really important since Stalin knew well how to maniple people on his behalf.
The division within the party was certainly, a factor that helped very much the rise of Stalin. Since it was more difficult to remove whole blocks of united members of the party, the divided party made Stalin’s task much easier. He just needed to take out of the game the right pieces to make his way and millions of opportunities came out as the party changed. Also, here it can be seen that Stalin knew how to make people act in favour of him.
Stalin made some allies to make sure that no one could stop him from going higher and higher in the party. Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev formed the triumvirate, the opposition against Trotsky. This was what Trotsky had to face despite the fact that he had a considerably low number of supporters in the party. Stalin was able to get together with people to help him and then leave them alone or just betray them, as he did after he finally weaken Trotsky. Zinoviev was now in danger because of his arguments in favour of rapid industrialization, but this time, the alliance was with Bukharin against Zinoviev and Kamenev. They lost control of their past roles to be replaced by Stalin supporters. Still, in the case of Trotsky, it was as if Trotsky himself did not want to go further, he practically defeated himself with a push of Stalin by making mistakes and doing things against his own rise to the power when he was more likely to take it than Stalin was.
Trotsky was a Menshevik before until 1917, which was an important point against him and in favour of Stalin, since it could have been said that he was where he thought it was more convenient to be, but which also shown his lack of devotion to the ideas of the party. Even though, many Bolsheviks saw him as the most likely candidate for the leader’s role. Whereas the idea of Stalin being leader was not in their minds until they could not do anything.
Stalin was sub estimated for many members of the Bolshevik party. He was seen as a simple administrator and his personality was not very impressive. However he knew how to make the most of the opportunities he had to make himself more popular and also to be really into the party so that he could aspire to the leadership of the party.
Though General Secretariat was a very important position within the party, he wanted more and it was his desire of power and his skills as well as his cunning that made him to take an advantage of all changes in the party; moreover he removed people who he considered a threat out of his way. Thus, Stalin thinks carefully how to make to become the next leader of the Communist party as well as the new leader of the USSR by using his experience as well as unique opportunities until he finally achieves it.
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