Question by Noeschitt: Why Did Stalin Win The Leadership Battle?
Details needed are about how he defeated other opposition for the role of Lenin’s successor. The opposition being:
How he managed to get rid of them from the running and other details like that would be greatly appreiciated.
Answers and Views:
Answer by Spellbound
Once the bolsheviks had seized power Stalin was promoted to General Secretary of the Party. Lenin (the leader of the Bolsheviks) was very concerned that the brutal thug who had been very useful to the party when they were an underground, illegal organisation, would prove to be a thuggish influence if given government office.
Stalin used the job of General Secretary to promote people loyal to him, to remove from the party people who were disloyal and to collect information on every party member. After Lenin’s death he waited, allowing other Politburo members to state their preferred policies – he then ganged up on groups of them, using his alliances and his party contacts to destroy the opposition. His did this twice in the 1920s, destroying Trotsky and his supporters and Zinoviev and Kamanev and their supporters. This left him as the undisputed ruler by about 1928.
Once he was the undisputed leader – the Vozhd (meaning Boss) he continued to use the position of General Secretary of the Communist Part to promote loyal supporters and demote, or expel from the party those who he could not be sure about. From the mid 1930s began to use show trials – public events where the accused had to follow a script, nearly always ending in a guilty verdict, and purges – expelling great numbers from the party and arresting people arbitrarily. Fear became one of the main weapons Stalin used against the Soviet people. No-one was safe – loyal Molotov was forced to divorce his wife when she was arrested, her crime? She was Jewish! Stalin also bugged the offices of the other members of the Politburo and collected information on them.
On his way to power he was cautious and did not cause the deaths of anyone – he waited until he could destroy people without any political opposition.
The Great Purge which happened after he gained total power consumed about 2.5 million people.
In the purge he had Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Radek, Rykov and Tomsky (all leading old Bolsheviks) all arrested, tried and executed. He had Trotsky assassinated in Mexico in 1940, this was the last of the important old Bolsheviks he had killed.
In a nutshell, he came to power by manipulating those around him, by exploiting the posts he held for maximum political effect, and by being utterly ruthless in his pursuit of power.
The Road to Terror by J Arch Getty & Oleg Naumov
Stalin, A Biography – Robert Service
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