Stalin's takeover of power
It would be easy to assume that the natural successor to Lenin (who died in 1924) would be Leon Trotsky, often regarded as the second in command. But Joseph Stalin, the secretary of the Communist Party, got the job - why?
A struggle for power developed between Stalin, the secretary of the Communist Party, and Trotsky, the brilliant Commissar for War. In a way, the struggle was about what the Soviet Union would become, for Trotsky believed in encouraging world revolution, whereas Stalin advocated Communism in one country' and said Russia had to establish its power before there was any attempt to spread revolution.
Stalin was a master of political trickery. He used his position as secretary to put his supporters on the Central Committee of the party. He even told Trotsky the wrong date for Lenin's funeral, so Trotsky turned up a day late. And so it was Stalin who became party leader in 1924. Trotsky was dismissed, then exiled and murdered in 1941.
Stalin did not stop with eliminating Trotsky.
To help you remember how Stalin seized power, analyse his actions into three groups: ideology, trickery, and violence.
As part of your revision, think about the arguments and facts you would use to explain: