To what extent was it Stalin’s position as General Secretary that allowed him to defeat his rivals in the years 1924-9?
It can be argued that Stalin’s position as General Secretary is a main reason why he defeated his rivals in the years 1924-9. But other factors must be considered such as his policies, alliances and image.
Firstly, by Stalin being General Secretary he was able to appoint his followers into key positions. By doing this he was able to build up support because it was him that could put people intro jobs thus members were unlikely to turn against him as they did not want to lose their jobs. Even if they did, he could simply replace them with his other supporters which eventually helped him build up a support base that enabled him to defeat his rivals in the years 1924-9. This was further helped with the ban of factions that prevented his opponents to form a support base whilst he could continue to do this by appointing his followers into key positions.
Secondly, his policies were a key factor to why he defeated his rivals. He had always listened to debates in the Bolshevik party and had only gone along with policies that the majority of the party seemed to agree with which allowed him to increase his support. It was particularly, his policy of socialism in one country that allowed his popularity to increase. This attracted support as this policy was nationalistic as it would give Russia an important role in history because it would be remembered as being the beginnings of socialism thus forever remembered. This was much more appealing to party members than Trotsky’s policy of a permanent revolution which some party members felt was not the right policy as it would be better to be remembered as the beginning of socialism rather than fighting for other countries to become socialist too…