- Created by: Daniel Cartridge
- Created on: 10-04-12 10:05
Between 1924 and 1929, Stalin gained power in Russia via 3 main stages; The Troika Alliance, which brought about the defeat of Trotsky after public attacks on him; the defeat of the United Opposition; and the defeat of the Right Opposition. Stalin's position as General Secretary gave him a degree of control over the party machine, s well as bureaucratic power which translated into political power. However, there are other factors that must be brought into consideration such as the mistakes of Stalin's Bolshevik rivals, as well as key issues such as the New Economic Policy (N.E.P.) and Socialism in one country (S.I.O.C.). This essay will attempt to access the relative importance of the General Secretary role in securing Stalin' eventual victory over his opponents.
The General Secretary position allowed Stalin to control the party membership, meaning he could appoint new members loyal to himself, whilst replacing existing members that were loyal to others, allowing him to undermine his rivals power bases within the government. By the end of the first stage of the power struggle in 1925, Stalin had Trotsky removed at the Commissar for War, and had ousted him from the Politburo meaning he was no longer in a position of power and influence sufficient to challenge for the party leadership, thus highlighting how Stalin was able to use his position to defeat one of his main rivals. On top of this, he could place loyalist in key positions. Zinoviev and Kamenev werehead of Moscow and Leningrad when they allied with Trotsky in an attempt to overthrow the increasingly powerful Stalin, however, by 1927, not only had they lost their positions of power and been replaced my Rykov, Tomsky and Bukharin in the party, they had actually been expelled from the party altogether, thus underpinning the extent of the influence that Stalins position as General Secretary had provided, and placing a strong emphasis on the roles relevance to Stalins success during this period.
However, Stalins position was not the only thing that contributed to his success. Other leading Bolsheviks made a wealth of costly errors throughout the power struggle that ultimately culminated in their defeat. On the whole, most within the party did not view Stalin as a main rival for party leadership, and saw his role as that of an administrator within the party. This essentially meant that he was able to quietly go about his business, implementing his loyalists and gaining increasing support under the noses of those around him. Zinoviev and kamenev had allowed Stalin to fill the central committee with…