1. How might the history of the 20 th century been different if the Provisional Government had been successful?

Following Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin moved quickly to solidify his support among both the Central Committee and the various party organizations throughout the Soviet Union. As General Secretary he had appointed many party leaders. Their support was crucial in the struggle with Trotsky for control of the... show more Following Lenin's death in 1924, Stalin moved quickly to solidify his support among both the Central Committee and the various party organizations throughout the Soviet Union. As General Secretary he had appointed many party leaders. Their support was crucial in the struggle with Trotsky for control of the party.

In his bid for leadership of the party, Trotsky attacked the New Economic Policy for its tolerance of capitalism and land ownership. He also called on the party to support the permanent revolution as its major objective. But he failed to convince party members to follow him. At the Party Congress of 1927, 95% of the delegates voted to support Stalin. Trotsky was exiled to Siberia. He later fled to Europe and eventually settled in Mexico where he continued to write and speak. A Soviet agent assassinated him in 1940.

During his premiership (1927-1953) Stalin supported some proletariat movements around the world through the Communist International (COMINTERN), notably in Spain, France, and China. But he did not wait for their success to determine the future of the Soviet Union. Stalin instituted a brutal series of economic plans designed to rapidly build the Soviet Union into a modern industrial power. By the late 1930s he had succeeded.

Stalin was a harsh dictator. He brutally killed millions of peasants in his reorganization of the agricultural system and executed thousands of military officers and political opponents during the purges of the 1930s. He operated an extensive system of prisons and work camps known as the "gulag" where millions died in toil and misery. Stalin maintained his iron grip on power until his death in 1953.
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