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Stalin succeeds Lenin during the Soviet Union

After the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, there was a major power struggle in the Soviet Union. Previously there were three men that were prominent in the Soviet Union: Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky. Lenin was the leader of the Soviet Union with Trotsky and Stalin under him. Trotsky and Stalin were intense rivals. Trotsky was more popular with the public due to his larger role in Soviet politics and his public speaking skills. Stalin mainly worked with lower level politics where he became friends with many of the other lower level Soviet politicians.

This led to a major struggle between Trotsky and Stalin over who would succeed Lenin as the leader of the Soviet Union. Many assumed Trotsky would instantly have taken command unquestioned. What Trotsky failed to realize was that Stalin’s position would allow him to gain a large amount of support. By 1927 Stalin had removed anyone that stood in between him and leadership of the Soviet Union and exiled Trotsky.

The willingness of Stalin to use violence and brutality to achieve his political goals was well established by the time he gained power. The Soviet Union was unprepared for the extreme violence and oppression that Stalin unleashed.

Stalin had a five year plan or list of goals he wished to accomplish from 1928 to 1933. One of his primary goals was to build up the industry of the country. He established collective farming systems thousands of square acres that had thousands of workers working on them. This also led to the death of many animals who peasants would rather kill than have to give away to large farms. This disruption of the farming system led to a major famine in Russia. Despite the loss of personal land introduction of collective farms allowed peasants to use tractors to farm the land, unlike before when most had been too poor to own a tractor. Stalin made a total of three five year plans. All of them failed but because it was illegal to be negative about the Soviet government they were all proclaimed successful. He established gulags (prisons) throughout Siberia for those who opposed him.

Stalin established himself as a father figure for the country. He erected statues of himself to keep his image in the public eye and publishing stories of his “heroics” in the revolution but also made it illegal to have any opinion against him. Stalin arrested anyone who voiced any views or opinions opposing his and he banned religion, causing church lands to be confiscated and controlled by the government.

http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/ss/Stalin.htm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/stalin_joseph.shtml

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