Stalin and the Soviet Union

By Stephen J. Lee | Go to book overview

based at this stage on giving priority to the cautious pursuit of economic recovery within Russia through the continuation of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which had been started by Lenin in 1921. Ranged against this approach was the more radical Permanent Revolution favoured by Trotsky. This incorporated proposals for revolution abroad and radicalism at home-including rapid industrialisation and the introduction of collective farming. These views failed to gain widespread acceptance and Trotsky was increasingly marginalised during the course of 1925.

Then, between 1925 and 1927, Stalin became involved in a conflict with Kamenev and Zinoviev, who now considered Trotsky a lesser threat and therefore lined up with him to form the 'Left Opposition'. Stalin promptly aligned with the Party's 'Rightists', especially Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky. This alliance secured the expulsion of Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev from the Party. During the course of 1929, the Rightists were, in turn, attacked, as Stalin removed Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky. By the end of 1929 Stalin's position as leader was secure. Bukharin warned that 'Stalin will strangle us. He is an unprincipled intriguer who subordinates everything to his lust for power.'

Meanwhile, Stalin had also changed the emphasis of his policy. Socialism in One Country came to mean the abandonment of the moderate NEP and the pursuit of a more radical programme of collectivisation and rapid industrialisation. In effect Stalin was now implementing ideas similar to those of Trotsky-although without the connection with Permanent Revolution.

Analysis (1) explains the reasons for the rapid shifts and changes that helped place Stalin in power, while Analysis (2) considers what type of rule Stalin actually established.


ANALYSIS (1):

WHY DID STALIN SUCCEED LENIN?

Stalin's rise to power between 1924, when he appeared to have been ruled out of the succession by Lenin's codicil, and 1929, when he had eliminated all credible alternatives, has inevitably attracted a wide range of explanations. These need not necessarily be exclusive of each other: indeed, a combination is more likely to reflect the complexity of the background and issues involved.

STALIN'S RISE AND RULE

-2-

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Stalin and the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • 1 - Stalin's Rise and Rule 1
  • 2 - Stalinist Politics and Terror 16
  • 3 - Stalin's Economic Policies 35
  • 4 - Society and Culture 54
  • 5 - Stalin's Foreign Policy, 1929-41 65
  • 6 - The Soviet Union at War, 1941-5 79
  • 7 - Stalin's Post-War Regime, 1945-53 96
  • 8 - An Overall Summary 110
  • Notes 113
  • Bibliography 118
  • Index 121
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