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What if Leon Trotsky had taken the U.S.S.R?

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  • What if Leon Trotsky had taken the U.S.S.R?

    What if history took a different course and Trotsky had won the political battles and defeated Stalin for control of the Soviet Union?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Fenris Hachiman View Post
    What if history took a different course and Trotsky had won the political battles and defeated Stalin for control of the Soviet Union?
    Trotsky was much more of an 'Internationalist' than Stalin. One would expect much more of an effort to export Communism Worldwide and thus more conflict, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. Hitler, had he managed to come to power at all, may have been a hero for stemming the advance of the Red Menace. Stranger things have happened.
    Signing out.

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    • #3
      Trotsky would have become another dicator murdering his alleged emenies. His record during the Russian Civil War was one of total ruthlessness.
      War is less costly than servitude

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
        Trotsky was much more of an 'Internationalist' than Stalin. One would expect much more of an effort to export Communism Worldwide and thus more conflict, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. Hitler, had he managed to come to power at all, may have been a hero for stemming the advance of the Red Menace. Stranger things have happened.
        And that is crucial. It is likely that Trotsky would not have murdered, imprisoned or deported as many of his own citizens, but he and Stalin had a number of similiar goals like the disasterous collectivization of farms, etc.

        Stalin was a believer in the 'socialism in one country' approach as opposed to Trotsky's belief in the need for an 'international proletarian revolution'. Stalins approach, while making the Soviet union remain a pariah state, did not cause the western nations to gather together to deal with the Communist state.

        With Trotsky at its head, the USSR would have been more engaged in the worlds affairs, probably to the detriment of the Soviet Union politically. There might have been no sales of the Christie suspension to the Soviet Union, for instance. Small details that could add up in the end.

        However, it might also have had other effects: if there was a successful Communist revolutions in neighboring countries it could have upset the balance of power in Europe (a Communist Romania would have affected Germany quite badly, as Germany was quite dependent on Romanian oil).

        Plus it is unlikely that Trotsky would have purged the officer corp, removing one of the Soviet Union's weaknesses in 1941. And Trotsky might have refused to sign a 'Molotov-Ribbentrop'-esque pact with Nazi Germany, giving Hitler something else to worry about and perhaps causing the invasion of Poland to take longer, and forcing some German units to stay behind in case the more belligerent and interventionism Trotsky-led Soviet Union decided to spread the revolution by force while the Wehrmacht was in France.

        But Trotsky comes off, at least to me, as more of an 'idealist' than Stalin. It is quite possible he would have started a war through his desire to start the international revolution, which would have weakened the Soviet Union and possibly given an eventual German invasion a greater chance at success.

        Debout, les damnés de la terre;
        Debout, les forçats de la faim

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        • #5
          I wonder if an active USSR would have got as far as considering a Molotov-Ribbentrop style pact. Historically its relative quiescence led to a certain acceptance of the regimes legitimacy by the leading democratic nations. Had Trotsky been actively encouraging revolution, possibly with material support, I wonder if an Anglo-French led coalition, possibly with US support, would have attempted to depose Trotsky and replace him with a more moderate candidate (I don't see them trying to install another Tsar, at least not at first)? Depending on when they attempted it they might well need German support and that would surely come from the ranks of the Far Right.
          Signing out.

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          • #6
            Trotsky could only have attained power through the support of the Red Army and the Cheka, as the majority of the Party had sided with Stalin, Kamenev and Zinoviev. Others in the party such as Bukharin and Rykov, who had been neutral were also personally hostile to Trotsky. Thus, Trotsky becoming head of state would have led to a possible conflict between the Party on one side and the Army and the Cheka on the other. In such a conflict the latter would invariably have one - due to the greater committment and resources available among their memebers. But it would still have involved a significant period of reconsolidation and reorientation of Soviet power. The idea that Trotsky would have then proceeded with many of the same policies that Stalin committed is not necessarily correct. Although Trotsky had been in favour of forced collectivization, he also become reconciled to the logic of Lenin's New Economic Policy, which favoured a gradual transition towards collectivized agriculture. Nor would Trotsky have necesarily engaged in the massive brutal purges of both the army and the party, as Trotsky did not possess the paranoiac personality of Stalin nor the latter's inferiority complex which occasioned it. The most important thing for this thread would involve Trotsky's military policy. As founder and organizer of the Red Army, Trotsky had shown himself to be a supporter of innovation. He had fairly close dealings with Tukhachevsky and very likely would have seen the latter take over command of the RKKA. In the absence of the massive purge of experienced officers and with Tukhachevsky at the helm, the Soviet army would have been a much more formidable opponent in 1941 and many of the disasters which occurred during that fateful year would very likely have been avoided. Overall, however, it is hard to say what would have happened in the intervening years. Trotsky would very likely have been more committed in assisting the German Communist Party in the 1920s and early 1930s and would have given much more military support to the Spanish republicans against the Francoists. On the other hand, it is extremely doubtful that Trotsky would have signed any agreement with Hitler. Who knows what would have happened.........

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            • #7
              Originally posted by skoblin View Post
              Who knows what would have happened.........
              Well... we might be discussing What If Trotsky had not been the primary leader of the USSR in WWII?

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              • #8
                if he did lead alot more of the world would be communist
                south america
                asia
                Africa?
                Europe

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                • #9
                  Well, maybe that small furry mammal living on his head could help lead the communist uprising in europe

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                  • #10
                    Well, maybe that small furry mammal living on his head could help lead the communist uprising in europe

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      Well... we might be discussing What If Trotsky had not been the primary leader of the USSR in WWII?
                      If such heretical thinking were permissible.
                      Signing out.

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                      • #12
                        Cheka more active in fomenting revolutions abroad. Inside Russia is anybody's guess. Trotsky was totally ruthless and I've no doubt he would have generated same kind of paranoias as Stalin had. Perhaps there would have been less repressions based on ethnicity, less attempts at russifications and less emphasis of the Russian nature of the Homo Sovieticus. That might have made many Ukrainians less hostile to Soviet rule.

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                        • #13
                          I'd guess a effort to export revolution during the 1930s would mostly result in more suppression of Communits groups and more right wing partys in power and suppresive measures. A few Communist organizations might suceed, but I'm thinking the usual result would be something similar to the urban workers revolt in China in the 1920s. Did Trotsky have anything to do with Soviet support for that one?

                          The Communist effort in the Spainsih Civil War might be another example. Exactly where Troskys effort to support revolution would suceed is not clear.

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                          • #14
                            Germany would have been a target. The Communist Party was a strong one as it was and active support from Moscow *might* have tipped the balance their way in the early thirties.
                            Signing out.

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                            • #15
                              Let's not forget the big picture here. Communism is a very very silly idea and any system based on it will eventuallly have to change their mind about some of their basic ideals (see China Inc) or go under (USSR) .

                              Given that Trotsky had an interesting combination of huge intellegence and a good dose of madness he would have tried all manner of crazy **** then, realizing that it was a crock, ended up developing on the New Economic Policy of Lenin and the ideas of the Kronstadt sailors and gone down the path currently set by China with a free peasantry then state / private capitalism.
                              What would Occam say?

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