WI: Trotsky leads the USSR instead of Stalin?

Well, yes but that's assuming no one else gets involved. But honestly I can't predict what Britain and France would do because I don't know how Trotskyism's implementation would have impacted their politics. And there's also the problem of marching through Poland to get there. If the USSR misplays its hand in such a scenario it risks being teamed up on by Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Japan, and if they really screw up the US and China too. Of course, Trotsky would be aware of this and modify his plans accordingly. Which is why I feel that if the German conservatives did stage a coup, Trotsky would fund communist insurgents rather than risk all that. But I don't know Trotsky that well, maybe he'd take the gamble.
 
Well, yes but that's assuming no one else gets involved. But honestly I can't predict what Britain and France would do because I don't know how Trotskyism's implementation would have impacted their politics. And there's also the problem of marching through Poland to get there. If the USSR misplays its hand in such a scenario it risks being teamed up on by Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Japan, and if they really screw up the US and China too. Of course, Trotsky would be aware of this and modify his plans accordingly. Which is why I feel that if the German conservatives did stage a coup, Trotsky would fund communist insurgents rather than risk all that. But I don't know Trotsky that well, maybe he'd take the gamble.
Well, Trotsky may have been idealistic, but he wasn't stupid, right? So, yeah, you're probably right. But what about the rest of Europe and Asia? Italy is still a problem and with the Nazis either out of the picture or still fighting in the German Civil War, they may be the torchbearers of European Fascism unless the Nazis win the German Civil War. Japan is equally problematic, though I'm not sure how American-Japanese relations will be affected by Trotsky.
 
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I don't know how Japan's relations with the US will be impacted, but IIRC the Japanese government initially thought of Stalin as more reasonable than Trotsky, and Stalin actually considered negotiating an alliance of some kind with Japan in 1925. (In contrast to Lenin who thought Japan was the worst of all the imperial powers.) In our timeline, in 1938, Trotsky wrote

"The feeling of satisfaction over the truce between the U.S.S.R. and Japan should not inspire optimism about the near future. Japan cannot move deeper into China and at the same time tolerate the U.S.S.R. in Vladivostok. No diplomatic art can remove this antagonism. Tokyo would prefer to postpone settling its accounts with the U.S.S.R. until its position in China is secure. But on the other hand, internal events in the U.S.S.R. tempt Japan to forge the iron while it is hot, that is, to measure strength immediately. Hence the ambiguous policy of Japan: provocations, border violations, bandit raids, and simultaneously – diplomatic negotiations so as to retain the possibility for temporary semi-retreats in case the U.S.S.R. proves stronger than Japan would like. In Moscow the inevitability of a Far Eastern war has long been understood. Generally speaking, Moscow has always been interested in delaying the war, as much because rapid industrialization strengthened the military power of the Soviets as because the inner contradictions of Japan, where a semi-feudal regime still exists, are preparing the greatest social and political catastrophe."

He was in exile at that point though. However, I don't see the change in leadership of the USSR removing the problem of Japan's expansion increasingly pressing against the boarders of the USSR; some conflict may well be inevitable.

Regarding Italy, I know they actually had somewhat good relations with the USSR but I don't know how much of that involved Mussolini's perception of Stalin as a kindred ideological spirit, writing in Popolo d'Italia on 5 March 1938, that Stalin was a lot like a fascist.
 
I don't know how Japan's relations with the US will be impacted, but IIRC the Japanese government initially thought of Stalin as more reasonable than Trotsky, and Stalin actually considered negotiating an alliance of some kind with Japan in 1925. (In contrast to Lenin who thought Japan was the worst of all the imperial powers.) In our timeline, in 1938, Trotsky wrote

"The feeling of satisfaction over the truce between the U.S.S.R. and Japan should not inspire optimism about the near future. Japan cannot move deeper into China and at the same time tolerate the U.S.S.R. in Vladivostok. No diplomatic art can remove this antagonism. Tokyo would prefer to postpone settling its accounts with the U.S.S.R. until its position in China is secure. But on the other hand, internal events in the U.S.S.R. tempt Japan to forge the iron while it is hot, that is, to measure strength immediately. Hence the ambiguous policy of Japan: provocations, border violations, bandit raids, and simultaneously – diplomatic negotiations so as to retain the possibility for temporary semi-retreats in case the U.S.S.R. proves stronger than Japan would like. In Moscow the inevitability of a Far Eastern war has long been understood. Generally speaking, Moscow has always been interested in delaying the war, as much because rapid industrialization strengthened the military power of the Soviets as because the inner contradictions of Japan, where a semi-feudal regime still exists, are preparing the greatest social and political catastrophe."

He was in exile at that point though. However, I don't see the change in leadership of the USSR removing the problem of Japan's expansion increasingly pressing against the boarders of the USSR; some conflict may well be inevitable.

Regarding Italy, I know they actually had somewhat good relations with the USSR but I don't know how much of that involved Mussolini's perception of Stalin as a kindred ideological spirit, writing in Popolo d'Italia on 5 March 1938, that Stalin was a lot like a fascist.
Except Trotsky =/= Stalin so, in this timeline, relations could be a whole lot worse between Italy and Russia. As for Japan, how long can the Japanese stall the Soviets if they still attack the Americans? Oh and don't forget that even if Germany becomes the new Spain in this timeline, WWII has a higher chance of breaking out the more the Soviets expand into Eastern Europe.
 
As for Britain and France, what's their policy regarding Trotskyist Russia as the USSR spreads its influence through Central and Eastern Europe?
 
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I think it is doubtful that Trotsky could become absolute dictator of the USSR in the absence of Stalin. He wasn’t inclined that way like Stalin, and he didn’t have the support in the Party to achieve totalitarian rule anyway. It’s more likely that the USSR becomes ruled by a Party collective leadership in a committee or troika ITTL after Lenin’s death in Stalin’s absence. An alternate Soviet dictator could perhaps arise out of that collective leadership later, much like Stalin schemed to the top IOTL, but I’m struggling to think of any of the other leading Bolsheviks that could pull that off.

However, if we are assuming a Trotskyist USSR instead of a Stalinist USSR, here are some IMO major changes and similarities:

- NEP is still abolished, rapid industrialisation and agricultural collectivisation still goes ahead but will be carried out with far less bungling and mismanagement, and without the targeted anti-Ukrainian racism that led to the moniker of the Holodomor. Famine and forced labour will still occur, but the number of deaths will likely be much less as Trotsky and the Left Opposition actually had been planning industrialisation and collectivisation for a long time with a detailed program, unlike Stalin who just pivoted to it with no preparation.

- No Great Purge.

- Toned down Personality Cult.

- There will still be a Soviet Cultural Revolution, but it won’t be like the OTL Zhdanovchina. Trotsky would encourage greater artistic experimentation and expression, within the bounds of no overt dissent of course.

- Toned down secret police. Unlikely that a massive all-powerful apparatus like the NKVD arises ITTL, but of course something like the Cheka will still be maintained. Soviet international espionage continues and will be fairly successful, just like under Stalin.

- Less bureaucratisation in general, more emphasis on the soviets as organs of proletarian power.

- Obviously, with Trotsky being a Jew himself, there will be no state-sanctioned Stalinist anti-Semitism (like OTL’s Night of the Murdered Poets, Doctor’s Plot, etc).

- Greater emphasis on Korenizatsiya and Soviet multiculturalism, less Russification and Great Russian chauvinism. No mass deportations of ethnic minorities like Stalin carried out.

- Continuation of State Atheism rather than reaching a (temporary) understanding with the Russian Orthodox Church like Stalin did.

- Heavy militarisation of the USSR will still occur, but Trotsky was the father of the Red Army and a far more talented military man than Stalin ever was, so the Red Army will be much better under Trotsky and without a Great Purge.

- Permanent Revolution instead of Socialism In One Country. In practice, this just means that the Trotskyist USSR and Comintern will encourage foreign revolutionaries a bit more and give more rhetorical lip service to proletarian internationalism, world revolution and world communism than Stalin did, but will still consolidate and build up the USSR at home like Stalin did. I don’t think Trotsky would neglect internally strengthening the USSR in favour of foreign adventures. He also wouldn’t invade Europe at the head of a “Red horde” C&C-style, that is a stupid meme that needs to die.

- More international trade and less economic autarky. The lack of a Great Purge will also encourage more leftist foreign technical experts to immigrate into and work in the USSR.

- On the international front:
In Germany, Trotsky advocated a KPD-SPD United Front , which will prevent the Nazis from rising to power as they did IOTL. This may cause a German Civil War between the United Front and rightist elements (including the Nazis, DNVP/Stalhelm and Reichswehr generals).
In Spain, Trotsky advocated a United Front to lead the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. There will be more unity and coordination amongst the Republicans without the Stalinist witch-hunts of IOTL and with the Spanish Communists (directed by Trotsky) being more accommodating of other leftist elements like the anarchists. This may result in a Republican victory in the Spanish Civil War.
In China, Trotsky advocated that the Chinese Communists remain separated from the Kuomintang, unlike Stalin who pushed them into the First United Front, which left them exposed to being massacred by Chiang Kai-Shek’s 1927 Purge IOTL. Trotsky’s policies will enable the Chinese Communists to better survive and resist any similar purge by Chiang Kai-Shek.
No Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or any similar pacts with fascist powers. The most anti-Semitic fascists, like Hitler, would not sign a pact with a Jew like Trotsky, while he himself well understood the dangers of fascism and of fatally exposing the USSR to attack by trying to reach temporary accords with fascists. The Trotskyist USSR would keep trying to form an anti-fascist alliance with the Western Powers, and if that still failed like OTL it would likely retreat into isolationism, strengthen domestic defences and continue giving lip service to revolution abroad.
Obviously, no Fourth International. The Comintern will still be under Soviet control though.
 
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I think it is doubtful that Trotsky could become absolute dictator of the USSR in the absence of Stalin. He wasn’t inclined that way like Stalin, and he didn’t have the support in the Party to achieve totalitarian rule anyway. It’s more likely that the USSR becomes ruled by a Party collective leadership in a committee or troika ITTL after Lenin’s death in Stalin’s absence. An alternate Soviet dictator could perhaps arise out of that collective leadership later, much like Stalin schemed to the top IOTL, but I’m struggling to think of any of the other leading Bolsheviks that could pull that off.

However, if we are assuming a Trotskyist USSR instead of a Stalinist USSR, here are some IMO major changes and similarities:

- NEP is still abolished, rapid industrialisation and agricultural collectivisation still goes ahead but will be carried out with far less bungling and mismanagement, and without the targeted anti-Ukrainian racism that led to the moniker of the Holodomor. Famine will still occur, but the number of deaths will likely be much less as Trotsky and the Left Opposition actually had been planning industrialisation and collectivisation for a long time with a detailed program, unlike Stalin who just pivoted to it with no preparation.

- No Great Purge.

- Toned down Personality Cult.

- Toned down secret police. Unlikely that a massive all-powerful apparatus like the NKVD arises ITTL, but of course something like the Cheka will still be maintained. Soviet international espionage continues and will be fairly successful, just like under Stalin.

- Less bureaucratisation in general, more emphasis on the soviets as organs of proletarian power.

- Obviously, with Trotsky being a Jew himself, there will be no state-sanctioned Stalinist anti-Semitism (like OTL’s Night of the Murdered Poets, Doctor’s Plot, etc).

- Greater emphasis on Korenizatsiya and Soviet multiculturalism, less Russification and Great Russian chauvinism. No mass deportations of ethnic minorities like Stalin carried out.

- Continuation of State Atheism rather than reaching a (temporary) understanding with the Russian Orthodox Church like Stalin did.

- Heavy militarisation of the USSR will still occur, but Trotsky was the father of the Red Army and a far more talented military man than Stalin ever was, so the Red Army will be much better under Trotsky and without a Great Purge.

- Permanent Revolution instead of Socialism In One Country. In practice, this just means that the Trotskyist USSR and Comintern will encourage foreign revolutionaries a bit more and give more rhetorical lip service to proletarian internationalism, world revolution and world communism than Stalin did, but will still consolidate and build up the USSR at home like Stalin did. I don’t think Trotsky would neglect internally strengthening the USSR in favour of foreign adventures. He also wouldn’t invade Europe at the head of a “Red horde” C&C-style, that is a stupid meme that needs to die.

- More international trade and less economic autarky. The lack of a Great Purge will also encourage more leftist foreign technical experts to immigrate into and work in the USSR.

- On the international front:
In Germany, Trotsky advocated a KPD-SPD United Front , which will prevent the Nazis from rising to power as they did IOTL. This may cause a German Civil War between the United Front and rightist elements (including the Nazis, DNVP/Stalhelm and Reichswehr generals).
In Spain, Trotsky advocated a United Front to lead the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. There will be more unity and coordination amongst the Republicans without the Stalinist witch-hunts of IOTL and with the Spanish Communists (directed by Trotsky) being more accommodating of other leftist elements like the anarchists. This may result in a Republican victory in the Spanish Civil War.
In China, Trotsky advocated that the Chinese Communists remain separated from the Kuomintang, unlike Stalin who pushed them into the First United Front, which left them exposed to being massacred by Chiang Kai-Shek’s 1927 Purge IOTL. Trotsky’s policies will enable the Chinese Communists to better survive and resist any similar purge by Chiang Kai-Shek.
No Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or any similar pacts with fascist powers. The most anti-Semitic fascists, like Hitler, would not sign a pact with a Jew like Trotsky, while he himself well understood the dangers of fascism and of fatally exposing the USSR to attack by trying to reach temporary accords with fascists. The Trotskyist USSR would keep trying to form an anti-fascist alliance with the Western Powers, and if that still failed like OTL it would likely retreat into isolationism, strengthen domestic defences and continue giving lip service to revolution abroad.
Obviously, no Fourth International. The Comintern will still be under Soviet control though.
So, what leads to WWII in this timeline? I mean, without the Nazis, how else does WWII start? Unless the Nazis still rise, albeit in a different manner from OTL, in which case, things get complicated.
 
No purge means the USSR will be much better prepared come the war, which was inevitable since the late 10s. I can see Trotsky declaring on Germany along with the WAllies in 1939, and Tukhachevsky on the Rhine by summer of 1940.
 
By the way, if Hitler still rises (albeit under different circumstances), how would WWII pan out? And assuming Communism spreads across Eastern Europe like a wildfire, wouldn’t the Allies want to contain Communism or possibly even try and kill it? >.>
 
No purge means the USSR will be much better prepared come the war, which was inevitable since the late 10s. I can see Trotsky declaring on Germany along with the WAllies in 1939, and Tukhachevsky on the Rhine by summer of 1940.
What if the Allies feel like either betraying the Soviets or just straight up helping Hitler (at least against the USSR) instead?
 
So, what leads to WWII in this timeline? I mean, without the Nazis, how else does WWII start? Unless the Nazis still rise, albeit in a different manner from OTL, in which case, things get complicated.
There will not be a WWII like IOTL with a Trotskyist USSR. If there is still a global conflict, it will be very different ITTL.
 
Either that or the Soviets overrun Europe, even with American supplies (assuming they even want to to begin with).
Why wouldn't the Europeans want US supplies and it is hardly going to be easy for the Soviets to take on Germany, Italy, and both the British and French Empires. Most likely they get run over even without US supplies.
 
Why wouldn't the Europeans want US supplies and it is hardly going to be easy for the Soviets to take on Germany, Italy, and both the British and French Empires. Most likely they get run over even without US supplies.
I meant the Soviets. Why would they want to roll over Europe?
 

Slan

Banned
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.
Why would this be the case? It seems that Bukharin would make the USSR stronger and more reasonable.
 
What if the Allies feel like either betraying the Soviets or just straight up helping Hitler (at least against the USSR) instead?
It all depends on how successful Trotsky is exporting revolution. The Allies threw Czechoslovakia under the bus OTL, they wouldn't bat an eye for any communist Easter European nation. But they wouldn't help Hitler conquer Eastern Europe either since they'd know they'd have no way to prevent Hitler's power from growing immensely and annexing everything he wants (and he wants Alsace Lorraine, etc.).

Germany probably invades a Soviet-aligned country around 1938, which brings the more prepared USSR and allies into a conflict against them. Germany maybe pushes a bit into Russia, but Italy gets boggled in Albania and Greece. Any neutral country invaded by a Lebensraum starved Germany would go running into Trotsky's arms.

By 1941 or 1942, under the command of experienced and veteran officers, the Red Army has invaded Germany proper. It's now that you see the Western Allies intervene , not to conquer the USSR, but just to prevent all of Germany and Italy from falling.

At best, they'll try to topple their governments in a swift strike and place liberal democracies instead, which would be forced to sue for peace. More likely, the Franco-British forces occupy the Rhineland and Southern Italy.
 
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It all depends on how successful Trotsky is exporting revolution. The Allies threw Czechoslovakia under the bus OTL, they wouldn't bat an eye for any communist Easter European nation. But they wouldn't help Hitler conquer Eastern Europe either since they'd know they'd have no way to prevent Hitler's power from growing immensely and annexing everything he wants (and he wants Alsace Lorraine, etc.).

Germany probably invades a Soviet-aligned country around 1938, which brings the more prepared USSR and allies into a conflict against them. Germany maybe pushes a bit into Russia, but Italy gets boggled in Albania and Greece. Any neutral country invaded by a Lebensraum starved Germany would go running into Trotsky's arms.

By 1941 or 1942, under the command of experienced and veteran officers, the Red Army has invaded Germany proper. It's now that you see the Western Allies intervene , not to conquer the USSR, but just to prevent all of Germany and Italy from falling. At best, they'll try to topple their governments in a swift strike and place liberal democracies, which would then be forced to sue for peace to the USSR.
And if Trotsky realises what the Allies are up to and strikes first?
 
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