Strengths and weaknesses of Trotsky and Stalin in the power struggle

A table on the strengths and weaknesses of Trotsky and Stalin in the power struggle - who was suited to be Lenin's successor?

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Strengths Weaknesses
Personality/background: Revolutionary record:
Poor peasant background No significant role in the October Revolution
Violent Lenin's will criticises Stalin:
Seen as boring and dull ­ "the grey blur" Rude, intolerant, too powerful
Tells party to remove Stalin
Revolutionary record: Lenin falls out with Stalin before his death
Bank robberies
Civil war organisational skills (Lenin values this)
Relationship with Lenin:
A Trusts him
L Recognises his talent for organisation
I Positions of power:
N Member of the Central Committee
Member of Politburo (role in all party decisions)
Member of Sovnarkom (vote in all government decisions)
General secretary (interprets decisions, sets agenda for meetings, writes minutes,
appointing, promoting and demoting members)
Head of Central Control Commission (investigate corrupt party members, discipline
and expel them
Head of the Workers and Peasants Inspectorate (expel corrupt members of the

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Revolutionary record: Feared by the party:
Planned October Revolution Could become a military dictator
Civil War (Red Army)
1905 Revolution ­ one of the leaders of the soviet Lenin's will criticises Trotsky:
T Intellectual theorist: Uncompromising ­ could cause splits
R Marxism Arrogant
O Menshevik 1903-1917:
T Positions of power: Makes him look disloyal
Leader of the Red Army (organisation and orator) Rivals jealous of the power he acquired in such a short space of time
S Member of the Sovnarkom
K Politburo…read more


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