What if Stalin lost to Trotsky?

How Trotsky's expulsion from the CPSU ushered in Stalinism

Power struggle after Lenin's death

The conflict between the two had been simmering for almost two decades. Trotsky, closest companion of the revolutionary leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, had formulated the political guidelines for the implementation of communism with him in the early years of the revolution: including a decentralized economic policy and the "theory of the permanent revolution", which among other things says that it will be final Implementation of communism requires a "world revolution".

In January 1924, however, Lenin died and Trotsky was faced with the thirst for power of Stalin, who, together with the functionaries Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, formed the triumvirate at the head of the party. In addition to his sole rule, Stalin also had other ideas about the future of the Soviet Union, which he summarized under the slogan "Socialism in one country". By this Stalin understood a centralized Soviet socialism that he wanted to implement with all his might, independent of the outside world.

Escalation before the anniversary of the revolution

As a result, Stalin worked to consolidate his power and to disembark Trotsky at the same time. In 1925, Stalin's allies Sinoyev and Kamenev requested Trotsky's expulsion from the party for the first time, but this failed. In addition, the growing party chairman Stalin let his adversary Trotsky gradually be relieved of his offices, for example as war commissioner. In 1926 he was also expelled from the Politburo.

In addition, Stalin launched the story that he himself was Lenin's closest comrade in arms, not Trotsky. The power-hungry Stalin also had pictures and mentions of his adversary erased from official pictures and texts. He branded Trotsk himself as a dissident and oppositionist. "Trotskyism" became a frequent accusation against dissenters.

Anti-Stalin alliance ineffective

During this period, Stalin's dictatorial traits turned against the important party members Sinoyev and Kamenev, from whom he gradually withdrew power. In 1927 this led to an unexpected alliance between the two of them and the slain Trotsky in order to prevent Stalin's complete seizure of power. From then on they jointly and publicly criticized the withering away of internal party democracy and the misinterpretation of Leni's theories on communism by the party leader Stalin.

Displeasure also grew among the population and so, on the behest of Trotsky, on the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution on November 7, 1927, hundreds of opposition members mingled with the participants in the mass demonstration in Saint Petersburg. Shortly afterwards, the militia stepped in, tore up the activists' banners and beat them out of the march. Sinoyev was arrested and someone shot Trotsky's car in Moscow.