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Noor Elkholi IB 11 HL History Mr. Ryan Welborn May 31, 2011 Option 2: Compare and contrast the roles of Lenin and Trotsky in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and in the foundation of the new Soviet State until 1924. In the early twentieth century, Russian Bolsheviks were in need of leaders who would unify the communist peoples of Russia into one party, thus creating a foundation for a new communist state in Russia and spreading their realm until their seizure of power. Vladimir Ulianov, also known as Lenin, rose to the challenge as he advocated for the immediate seizure of Russian authority. Having been exiled by the Russian government for his reformation and radical views, Lenin organized his views under the heavy influence of Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto”, and imposed them on the party he had created years prior – the Bolsheviks. Trotsky, properly named Lev Bronstein, rose from a similar party named the Mensheviks, from which he too was exiled after the 1905 revolution in Russia. Shortly, in July 1917, Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks and played a leading role in the seizure of Bolshevik power alongside Lenin. Mutually, Lenin and Trotsky lead a Bolshevik Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks seize power and create the foundation of a new Soviet State until 1924. An important factor in enabling these two men to rise to the challenge of spreading the reign of Bolshevism was the unison in their ideas and causes for the Bolshevik party. Several times, both were met with opposition from the rest of their party. For example, after the failure of the February Revolution in Russia in 1917, both Lenin and Trotsky supported phasing a second revolution, despite opposition from the rest of the Bolshevik party. Similarly, Lenin and Trotsky agreed on several ideals for the purpose of the Bolshevik party. They both agreed that in order for Bolshevik control to reign after second successful Russian revolution, the dismissal of the Constituent Assembly was necessary, as was the end of Russian participation in the First World War. In harmony, they agreed to the terms they would agree to in obtaining peace with Germany as they signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk thus ending the First World War. Militarily, the two had very similar views such as the idea of conscription for labor duties for those not fighting in the army. As is evident, to them an economy with perfect distribution of income and a ban on trade unions was essential, and was the only way the world could prosper. It is important to note that the two worked not as two individuals, but as a sole ruling body. Often times Lenin advised Trotsky how to handle situations and in fact probably favored him as his successor. In fact, Trotsky was the one who persuaded Lenin to wait until October to conduct the Second Revolution, that way the Bolsheviks will have established their power among the Soviets. Their personalities meshed perfectly together as one was an insisting, speech making orator, while Trotsky was the more intellectual realist. Hence as a team, they gave the Bolsheviks a strong-willed leading body. Though both would not have been successful without the other, both Lenin and Trotsky played quite different roles in organizing what was to become Communist Russia in the near future. They both played little to no roles in the early February Revolution, however it was obvious that Trotsky was the immediate participator and organizer in the later October Revolution. Lenin directed the Revolution from his desk, though as a whole, he was leader of the party and the main driving force in the Bolshevik control of Russia. Trotsky, after being elected Chairman of Petrograd Soviets in 1917, had immense practical power over the city of Petrograd in terms of railways, bridges and such. Hence, Trotsky was an extremely valuable asset to the Bolsheviks and giving them the ability to claim the name of the Soviets, hence gaining the support of workers. In a sense, Trotsky was politically below Lenin, as Lenin was appointing Trotsky to certain positions after the Bolshevik seizure of power. Trotsky, who was Commissar of Foreign Affairs, was ordered by Lenin to negotiate for peace with Germany, causing Trotsky to resign as a result. During the civil war, Lenin appointed Trotsky as Commissar for War, in which he proved up to the challenge by organizing the Red Army and leading them to triumph in the civil war, directing operations and successfully suppressing the Kronstadt Rising in 1921. According to historian Michael Lynch, “Trotsky’s outstanding achievement as Commissar for War was his creation of the Red Army, which more than any other factor explains the survival of the Bolshevik government. In several occasions, both were in dissonance when it came to making several decisions. For example, when Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP), Trotsky was quite opposed to it, though Lenin got his way in the end. Until Lenin’s death in 1924, he and Trotsky had worked in unison in creating a perfect Bolshevik power. As Lenin left the Bolsheviks with words of advice, it is probable that he would have favored Trotsky as his successor, but as that did not go into play, Lenin’s legacy was to be succeeded by Joseph Stalin. Nothing however could make up the harmonization of the personalities of Trotsky and Lenin as their political aims and views were strong, their intellect tough, and their oratory convincing. How these aspects impacted their respective roles is what led to a new Russia for years and years to follow.