Question: How far did Stalin achieve and maintain what Kruchev described as “the accumulation of immense and limitless power”, in the USSR between 1924 and 1945?
Between 1924 and 1945, Joseph Stalin was able to emerge as the leader of the USSR and maintain what Kruchev described as “the accumulation of immense and limitless power”. Stalin's rise to power was a combination of his ability to manipulate situations and the failure of others to prevent him from taking power, especially Leon Trotsky. Stalin ruled the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953. His rule was one of tyranny, a great change from the society that his predecessor, Lenin, had envisioned. During his time of reign, Stalin put into effect two self-proclaimed "five-year plans". Both were very similar in that they were intended to improve production in the nation. The first of these plans began collectivization, in which harvests and industrial products were seized by the government and distributed as needed. The government eliminated most private businesses and the state became the leader in commerce. By these, and many more ideas, Stalin was able to collect limitless and immense power with no one to stop him.
In 1925, according to historian V. Serge1, LeonTrotsky did not take advantage of several opportunities, which would have helped him to crush Stalin politically. When he failed to take advantage of these opportunities, Stalin maneuvered himself into a stronger position within the party by allying with Zinoviev and Kamnev. He manipulated them into crushing Trotsky, thus eliminating the strongest opponent in his path to power. Stalin cleverly avoided potential political diminishment when Lenin formulated his Testament in December 1922.
Lenin's Testament2 described what he thought of the future of the Party and Party leaders, especially Trotsky and Stalin. Lenin warned the people of a potential split in which Stalin and Trotsky would be the head factors. When describing Stalin, Lenin felt that he had showed "…unlimited authority… in his hands and whether he will always be capable of using that authority with sufficient caution." The content of Lenin's Testament eventually became more damaging to Trotsky than Stalin, allowing Stalin to accumulate even more power.
Together with Lenin unintentionally praising Stalin, Stalin manipulated the content of the Testament to enhance his stature. By mentioning him as one of the prominent members of the Party, Lenin raised Stalin's importance to that of Trotsky. Also, Stalin was much more involved with the base of the Party and was thought to have worked hard to get himself to the top. Meanwhile, Trotsky was seen as a man trying to push his way in. Further damaging Trotsky, Lenin described him as possessing "…excessive self-confidence… and overly attracted by the purely administrative aspects of affairs…" Even though he unintentionally projected Trotsky in this way, Lenin felt that if the removal of Stalin were...