How far can Stalin’s rise to power be explained through reference to divisions in the party caused by WW1?
Assessing the impact of the war upon Russia also requires us to look to the long-term. In this sense, the first thing to consider is the immediate impact upon Russia of Lenin’s decision to pull out of the war through the Treaty of Brest Litovsk.
The teacher will use this Online ActiveHistory Presentation to guide students through the key events and debates surrounding why Stalin was able to rise to power. There are several theories to explain why Stalin, who was a relatively anonymous figure at the time of the October Revolution, eventually became leader of the Soviet Union after the death of Lenin in 1924. These can be summarised as follows:
- Accidentalist: A series of chance events led to Stalin emerging as leader.
- Intentionalist: Stalin’s strengths, and his opponents’ mistakes, led to his rise.
- Marxist: Debates over economic policy led to Stalin taking power.
We will consider these various theories to help us answer the question “How significant was the experience and legacy of World War One as a factor in helping Stalin rise to power as leader of the Soviet Union?”