WI: Trotsky leads the USSR instead of Stalin?

I mean that in this case, the PoD is that Trotsky gets wind of Lenin's testament and uses it to discredit Stalin before he has a chance to do any serious damage. What would the implications be for human history, and how would this change WW2? Would it mean a realistic C&C: Red Alert 1 scenario? Feel free to discuss.
 
I confess I don't know much about Trotsky aside from he built the Red Army and was a major proponent of the "Worldwide Revolution". I'm curious to hear what more knowledgeable folks have to contribute to the topic. :)
 
I confess I don't know much about Trotsky aside from he built the Red Army and was a major proponent of the "Worldwide Revolution". I'm curious to hear what more knowledgeable folks have to contribute to the topic. :)
Uhhhhh. That's also including the fact Trotsky and Stalin hated each other, right?
 

Ulyanovsk

Donor
I was reading a piece about Soviet Historiography in the Anglophone world and the changes in the field since the onset of the Cold War, and a bit of E. H. Carr's work was brought up that I found compelling:

"Yet Carr showed how naive, almost childish, Trotskii was to remain committed to the goal of a Europe-wide revolution, especially after the collapse of the German October in 1923 and the re-consolidation of bourgeois governments between 1924 and 1926. Bukharin's commitment to the quasi-capitalist political economy of NEP would have doomed the USSR in the face of hostile encirclement and the rise of strong-state forms of fascism. Trotskii's commitment to permanent revolution would have been equally disastrous. Stalin's retreat from revolution, to the defense of socialism in one country, was no mere tactic to undermine Trotskii's influence. In Carr's telling of the story, Stalin's advocacy of a national form of Bolshevism derived from a realistic assessment of the Soviet Union in the context of world politics. Davies' empirical studies of the Soviet political economy supported Carr's view, at least about the necessity of some kind of alternative to both Bukharin's NEP and Trotskii's permanent revolution"

Putting aside Trotsky's actual conduct in Soviet politics (he didn't make many friends and was supremely arrogant by all accounts) that severely hindered any realistic chance of consolidating power even without Stalin, I think Trotsky probably would've probably been a bit more proactive and helped Soviet foreign policy in some areas but the aggressiveness proposed by him would likely lead to far worse relations with neighboring powers and the former Entente. Diplomacy with the western powers would be far worse and make any moves to contain any aggressive Fascism impossible (and empower right wing forces within Weimar to act with more of a free hand)..

I'd expect the opposite of a Red Alert scenario - Stalin's realpolitik allowed the Soviet Union some breathing room and space to recover and Trotsky's would only realize the iron ring of capitalist encirclement the Soviet propagandists envisioned. Not even to mention his style of politics being very ill suited to the realities of Soviet government was likely to alienate more than cultivate political ties that the traditional Russian political system heavily relied on.
 
Last edited:

RexHiberiae

Banned
I mean that in this case, the PoD is that Trotsky gets wind of Lenin's testament and uses it to discredit Stalin before he has a chance to do any serious damage. What would the implications be for human history, and how would this change WW2? Would it mean a realistic C&C: Red Alert 1 scenario? Feel free to discuss.
Its very difficult for Trotsky to do this, for a number of reasons. First, he had virtually no one on his side in the Bolshevik party against stalin. Second he joined the party late, and was distrusted for this reason. Third, the fact that he was of Jewish origin made bolsheviks scared that if he was leader, the idea that the soviet union was "run by jews" would gain even more traction in the west and even among the soviet populace.

If he did somehow become the autocrat, I honestly don't know enough to predict the consequences.
 
I was reading a piece about Soviet Historiography in the Anglophone world and the changes in the field since the onset of the Cold War, and a bit of E. H. Carr's work was brought up that I found compelling:

"Yet Carr showed how naive, almost childish, Trotskii was to remain committed to the goal of a Europe-wide revolution, especially after the collapse of the German October in 1923 and the re-consolidation of bourgeois governments between 1924 and 1926. Bukharin's commitment to the quasi-capitalist political economy of NEP would have doomed the USSR in the face of hostile encirclement and the rise of strong-state forms of fascism. Trotskii's commitment to permanent revolution would have been equally disastrous. Stalin's retreat from revolution, to the defense of socialism in one country, was no mere tactic to undermine Trotskii's influence. In Carr's telling of the story, Stalin's advocacy of a national form of Bolshevism derived from a realistic assessment of the Soviet Union in the context of world politics. Davies' empirical studies of the Soviet political economy supported Carr's view, at least about the necessity of some kind of alternative to both Bukharin's NEP and Trotskii's permanent revolution"

Putting aside Trotsky's actual conduct in Soviet politics (he didn't make many friends and was supremely arrogant by all accounts) that severely hindered any realistic chance of consolidating power even without Stalin, I think Trotsky probably would've probably been a bit more proactive and helped Soviet foreign policy in some areas but the aggressiveness proposed by him would likely lead to far worse relations with neighboring powers and the former Entente. Diplomacy with the western powers would be far worse and make any moves to contain any aggressive Fascism impossible (and empower right wing forces within Weimar to act with more of a free hand)..

I'd expect the opposite of a Red Alert scenario - Stalin's realpolitik allowed the Soviet Union some breathing room and space to recover and Trotsky's would only realize the iron ring of capitalist encirclement the Soviet propagandists envisioned. Not even to mention his style of politics being very ill suited to the realities of Soviet government was likely to alienate more than cultivate political ties that the traditional Russian political system heavily relied on.
So, how to into Red Alert 1: Realistic Edition?
 
Trotsky had a good chance to become a Soviet leader instead of Lenin in 1918. He was against Lenin's idea of the Brest peace, they clashed in Politburo sessions, and Lenin could've been outvoted. Then Lenin would inevitably resign from his post as a Prime Minister.
After Lenin's death in 1924 Trotsky's chances were already very slim, close to zero in fact.
Ok, then. How to get realistic C&C: Red Alert 1, then?
No realistic scenario. USSR was too weak for that.
 
Trotsky had a good chance to become a Soviet leader instead of Lenin in 1918. He was against Lenin's idea of the Brest peace, they clashed in Politburo sessions, and Lenin could've been outvoted. Then Lenin would inevitably resign from his post as a Prime Minister.
After Lenin's death in 1924 Trotsky's chances were already very slim, close to zero in fact.

No realistic scenario. USSR was too weak for that.
Le what????? Even if......say, Operation Unthinkable happened, which leads to a longer WW2?
 
My guess is Trotsky tries invading Poland and/or Germany, has the whole world unite against him and the USSR is strangled in its cradle. The world is a much better place.
 
Trotsky becoming Soviet leader is plausible , if and only if , Lenin in 1922 after his first stroke , decides to endorse Trotsky as his successor and step down . That way the Civil war is over and Stalin is not quite as entrenched. Still large chance of Trotsky falling to internal fractions or economic woes before he has any chance of influencing external events.
 
Trotsky becoming Soviet leader is plausible , if and only if , Lenin in 1922 after his first stroke , decides to endorse Trotsky as his successor and step down . That way the Civil war is over and Stalin is not quite as entrenched. Still large chance of Trotsky falling to internal fractions or economic woes before he has any chance of influencing external events.
What happens after he takes over, though?
 
Trotsky and Stalin weren't actually that different, though Trotsky is more likely to invade Germany, thus Fascism becomes a martyr as Trostky invades the country while it is much weaker and World War II is instead Vs Russia rather than Vs. Germany. Given the inability of France and Britain's leadership to prevent Hitler, they likely wouldn't be able to stop Trotsky, and given America is unlikely to get involved with Russia, Japan likely still attacking Pearl Harbor. The Cold War would likely be a Hot War instead, with the US dropping bombs on Soviet Cities and less of a chance of Spies getting the Nuclear codes due to America and Russia not being allies.
 
Trotsky and Stalin weren't actually that different, though Trotsky is more likely to invade Germany, thus Fascism becomes a martyr as Trostky invades the country while it is much weaker and World War II is instead Vs Russia rather than Vs. Germany. Given the inability of France and Britain's leadership to prevent Hitler, they likely wouldn't be able to stop Trotsky, and given America is unlikely to get involved with Russia, Japan likely still attacking Pearl Harbor. The Cold War would likely be a Hot War instead, with the US dropping bombs on Soviet Cities and less of a chance of Spies getting the Nuclear codes due to America and Russia not being allies.
So, basically, either extended WW2 or an extra World War (WW3), right?

Also, why not have Trotsky attack the Japanese too?
 

Ulyanovsk

Donor
The idea that Trotsky charges the Red Army headlong into the guns of the rest of Europe because.. he's an inept ideologue? I don't really buy that, he managed the Red Army during the Civil War and will likely be aware of its strengths and weaknesses. I strongly doubt he will "invade Germany" outright with no grand strategic plan - far more likely is the smuggling of arms and equipment to various leftist organizations within the Weimar Republic. I do think he will array some sort of coalition of countries against him, but "the Red hordes pouring into Europe under Lev Bronstein" the first chance he gets is a tired alternate history trope.
 
Top