Lenin's successor without Stalin

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Glass Onion, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Glass Onion Well-Known Member

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    I have a quick question for those more versed in the early history of the Soviet Union than I am. What would have been the outcome of the post Lenin struggle for succession in the absense of Stalin? My admittedly limited knowledge suggests that he was uniquely situated to appeal to the rest of the leadership, and had generally placed himself in the most favorable position to lead the USSR after Lenin. I am curious who would emerge the leader in a more contentious succession to Lenin. To further define my terms, and although this is probably handwaving to an absurd degree, what would have happened had Stalin died shortly before Lenin did. Admittedly, I do not know how such an event could have happened, and I apologize if this is an utterly implausible divergence. In any event, who might have filled the vacuum, and what would the succession struggle have looked like?
     
  2. Remicas Well-Known Member

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    Trotsky, obviously
     
  3. Van555 Social Reformist

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    No he wasn't really all that liked.
     
  4. JEDCJT Jedcjtian

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    I doubt that. If I recall correctly, if he was handpicked Lenin's successor, Trotsky wouldn't hold on power for long, given that he was a massive douchbag, inexperienced in politics, and a Jew to boot. Pretty much everyone in the Soviet leadership hated his guts and would do everything to undermine his hold on power, if at all, and it didn't help that Stalin mobilized the latent antisemitism in the government against Trotsky to boot him out of the Party and the country as a whole at the end of the 1920s.

    Someone else would be a successor, but I don't remember who it would be...
     
  5. Remicas Well-Known Member

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    Well the OP said no Stalin so your last point doesn't work. And everyone hated Stalin's guts at that point too, still he won. but concede I could be wrong.
     
  6. Glass Onion Well-Known Member

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    Unless my Russian History courses in College misinformed me, the opposite was true, depending on your definitions. I was taught that the would be leaders initially viewed Stalin as a useful compromise pick, whose presence would prevent the assumption of leadership by a competing figure, and Stalin's ability to convince various influential people that he would be preferable to which ever would be leader they wanted to block for the sake of their own ambitions. Such a strategy could hardly have worked if he was as universally loathed as Trotsky by the party elite.
     
  7. Hollis Hurlbut Nattering Nabob

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    Definitely not Trotsky. He alienated everybody.
     
  8. sciscisciortino Well-Known Member

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    Bukharin perhaps?
     
  9. Remicas Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, sorry, it's late here and I don't speak English as well as I'd like. Stalin was more underestimated by his peers than hated. But as he's out the picture in this TL, I'd assume we could not taking notr of his actipns, unless a counterpart use the same tricks.
     
  10. Binky the Clown Elizabeth Warren's Number One Fan

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    What about Frunze? Surely he would've made a good Soviet Premier.
     
  11. eliphas8 Frankentrotsky

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    Still, Trotsky was of a different culture from them, not very tactful personally, and despite being a favorite of Lenin he wasn't very good at politics.
     
  12. GiantMonkeyMan Dirty Red

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    Zinoviev, Kamenev or Rykov. I'd probably go with Rykov as he was acting Premier at one point.
     
  13. Mike Well-Known Member

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    I think he is the most likely candidate, too. He was the most popular figure in his party. Too bad it didn't happen. Anyone would have been better than Stalin.
     
  14. Mike Well-Known Member

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    I think the succession struggle would have been violent since there was no clear candidate to succeed Lenin and each potential candidate had different views on how Russia should proceed. Lenin did not bother to name his favourite to succeed him which would have avoided this. In the worst-case scenario, it might even have led to a War of the Bolshevik Succession.
     
  15. Onkel Willie Kaiser

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    He was disliked for being a bit of a snob. He was Jewish to boot and anti-Semitism was still very alive.

    I figure there won't be any Stalin-esque dictator. I personally see intra-party democracy survive without Stalin around and the NEP might survive too if the right wing wins out, which is quite likely IMHO. I guess that leaves Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky to form a triumvirate.
     
  16. Glass Onion Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the sentiment that the first thing on the inner party's mind would be to prevent Trotsky's rise. If there was anything the core leadership agreed on, it was their shared hostility to him. Therefore, some sort of arrangement would have been worked out to push him away from any political influence he might have. And if the only way to avoid it is a Triumvirate or some kind power sharing agreement, at least in the short term, it will be agreed to. Stopping Trotsky would the strongest priority. However, had not inner party Democracy died already before Lenin? I wonder if a situation not unlike what happened after Stalin's death would happen here, some sort of power sharing arrangement between political powers in the inner party quickly emerges to block a hated figure from power, and eventually the shrewdest politician within that arrangement, or at least, the one with the fewest enemies within the party, eventually emerges as the effective leader of that arrangement, eventually forcing the other members out of power. I know, I'm massively simplifying to the point of mischaracterizing what happened after Stalin, and I realize that the situation I describe does not constitute a completely accurate description of what happened after 1953. However, I think that any power sharing arrangement is likely to be short lived. Either someone will come to dominate the triumvirate, presumably whoever engenders the least hostility, or there will be some outright conflict over the leadership once Trotsky is safely removed from a potential position of political influence. Someone will eventually emerge as the leader of the USSR, however I am not sure who would be likely to either be the most acceptable figure or best politician within a power sharing arrangement, or who would be in the best position to win a violent power struggle
     
  17. AdanALW Banned

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    Not true in my opinion. Remove Stalin, then there is no rapid industrialization, and the Nazis conquer and defeat the Soviet Union, then can focus on the UK. The Soviet Union inflicted 85% of the casualties on the Nazis, and sacrificed 27 million people to do it. Fighting for comrade Stalin helped the moral of the soldiers. Remove Stalin and in my view you've just helped Hitler tremendously and doomed the USSR.

    Stalin was a tough son of a bitch, but only a tough son of a bitch could have defeated Hitler.

    In any case, how about Kirov?
     
  18. Soup Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, no Stalin could mean no "social fascist" policy, and with that in mind the Soviet leadership could direct the KPD to ally with the SPD to defeat the Nazis in the Reichstag. Of course, the two parties hated each other, but with directives straight from Moscow, the onus would probably be on the SPD to accept or refuse.
     
  19. AdanALW Banned

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    Good point. However, I am of the opnion that once the Soviet Union existed, it definitely fueled the fire of the Red Scare and fascism. Secondly, I feel that Germany was bound for dictatorship eventually. The history of the uncomfortable proximity of the army and police to the government under the Kaiser sort of hard-coded the German system towards a predisposition to authoritarian means in that period.

    So even if the Communists and Socialists form a coalition, my bet is then either the fascists overthrow the government with a coup, or eventually the Communists consolidate power in Germany and make it a dictatorship.
     
  20. Glass Onion Well-Known Member

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    Hitler's rise to power was not inevitable, with a divergence in the early 1920's, his path to power could well be butterflied away. Which is not say that some right wing regime won't take over, just that there's no guarantee that it will be Hitler's. Even if it is, there's no guarantee that the history of his regime will proceed as it did historically. Yes he'd want to fight the USSR, but he might never have an opportunity to do so. Germany could lose a quick war in 1938, or if circumstances are worse for them in 1939 and 1940, they could become bogged down in France and end up losing the war in the west before they invade The USSR