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The Triumvirate against Trotsky

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1 The Triumvirate against Trotsky
Stalin’s rise to power The Triumvirate against Trotsky

2 In Trotsky’s absence Stalin made a power-sharing deal with two key members of the Politburo
Stalin played on the weakness and power-hunger of the other members of the Politburo who realised that Trotsky was the natural successor to Lenin. Even before Lenin was dead Stalin made a deal with two leading Bolsheviks, Kamenev and Zinoviev, to share power between them and keep Trotsky out. They became known as ‘The Triumvirate’.

3 Even before Lenin’s death Stalin had been outmanoeuvring Trotsky
At the 12th Party Congress in 1923, when Lenin was still alive, Stalin had suppressed his Testament. It was only read to a closed session of the Central Committee but the criticism was blunted by Stalin’s supporters on the Politburo especially Zinoviev who said Lenin’s fears were unfounded. Trotsky had, earlier in 1923, made a bitter attack on how the Party was being run by Stalin. He was instructed by the Communist Party to attend the Congress to explain himself. He failed to turn up.

4 In Trotsky’s absence he was accused of:
Factionalism ~ attempting to create his own ‘brand’ of Marxism (‘Trotskyism’) which was not true to Communist ideas. Refusing to accept the superior power of the Communist Party Returning to his old Menshevik ways Being critical of Lenin’s ideas

5 Criticism of Trotsky continued
In the 13th Annual Congress in May 1924 delegates were reminded of the fact that Trotsky had not attended Lenin’s funeral Zinoviev again demanded that Trotsky substantiate the criticisms he had made last year and answer the accusations of factionalism Again Trotsky refused to do this, preferring instead to publish a new book in November The lessons of October which reminded everyone of his central role in the Revolution and what followed as well as the lack of importance of Kamenev and Zinoviev.

6 Trotsky’s final error Zinoviev and Kamenev responded to this criticism by violent and effective personal and political abuse of Trotsky. In response Trotsky in part withdrew from the Politburo as he resigned his position as Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs. He believed that he was most likely to succeed in this power struggle if he concentrated on winning the war of ideas within the Communist Party.

7 There were 3 key areas of policy difference between Trotsky and Stalin
Bureaucracy v The role of the Proletariat Permanent Revolution v Socialism in One Country The role of agriculture and the pace of industrialisation

8 Bureaucracy v The role of the Proletariat
Trotsky believed that it was wrong for the Government to centralise all power on itself. He wanted a broad-based government, with local autonomy, being governed by the will of the proletariat as expressed through Soviets. This had been the central idea behind the Revolution. Stalin argued that centralisation allowed for efficiency and made sure that everyone was doing what was necessary to follow the direction of the Communist Party as expressed by the Politburo. (this concentrated all power in his hands although he said it didn’t).

9 Permanent Revolution v Socialism in One Country
Trotsky argued that the Russian Revolution was just the first of the Communist revolutions which would eventually sweep the world as Marx predicted. The USSR had a duty to promote and support revolutions abroad. Stalin argued that socialism had to be firmly established in the USSR first. The success of socialism would then act as an example to encourage other countries to follow their lead.

10 The role of the peasants and the speed of industrialisation
Trotsky argued that concerns about these policies were irrelevant in comparison to the greater questions within the Party. Stalin argued that the USSR had to industrialise rapidly to protect herself from her enemies abroad and improve the living standards of her people. This meant that the peasants had to produce more food to feed the workers in the new industrial cities. Under NEP this would produce massive costs to the Government, and gave the peasants control of whether this policy would work or not.

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