Magdalena Nowakowska

1. a) In Source B, what is meant by the following statement: “Unlike Trotsky, Stalin believed that socialism could be introduced in one country without being accompanied by a world revolution” (3)

In Source B, by the statement “Unlike Trotsky, Stalin believed that socialism could be introduced in one country without being accompanied by a world revolution,” it is meant that Russia would have to serve as a proper example of socialism until the world revolution occurred. This doctrine permitted the Soviet Union to carry out a policy of “peaceful coexistence” with capitalist states if necessary, during international affairs. This also signified that the Soviet Union would be supporting socialist revolutions whenever possible. Stalin’s opinion on “socialism in one country” was that it gave inner strength to the communists who had doubts about Stalin’s outlook of a world revolution. Trotsky was continuing to argue a western Marxist account of the future revolution while Stalin had convinced the citizens of Russia that the revolution in socialism, which he had helped establish, was a Russian idea. Therefore Stalin was strongly supporting his nationalist views through his actions and propositions.

b) What message is portrayed by Source E? (3)

Source E, being a political cartoon is portraying Leon Trotsky blowing soap bubbles representative of his dreams. I speculate that these dreams are being shown as temporary, not static, since bubbles are temporary, not lasting lengthy amounts of time. The words in the bubbles are depicting Trotsky’s goals for Russia and its people. For instance, the use of the word ‘Utopia’ is a play on words, a pun. I speculate that the word utopia in the bubble is illusive to the idea of a society, which will never surface within Russia. Also, the term ‘Altruism’ is contrary to the context presented in the cartoon, which is temporary and transitional. It also refers to the ideologies of Stalin and Trotsky for their government; the revolutionary ideology developed before 1917 with the help of western socialism (especially that of Marxism). Neither Stalin nor Trotsky adhered to the principle of peace because their primary focus was contrary to the image presented in the cartoon. For example, they relied on a revolution to strike in their country to solve their socialist problems. This revolution was intended to eliminate the problems of the middle class workers who were seen as a problem within the ideology of Stalin and Trotsky. Also, the philosophy of Trotsky is supportive of the phrase ‘the end justifies the means’ because he was willing to reach his primary goals at all costs even through the destruction of his citizen’s lives.

The words ‘soft soap’ in the cartoon are ironic; presenting the situation in Russia in a comical context. Its primary purpose is to suggest that Russia will succeed; it is not that Russia is ‘soft’, but rather is a rigid and goal oriented society. The fact that the words within the bubbles are being blown away suggests that the dreams of individuals within the society are also floating away. The book in the cartoon represents Trotsky as an intellectual character, however the socialist structure itself, is making it more challenging for workers and the people to express their opinions on problems and as a result, the people are getting in the way of his goals. For intellectuals, ideas are primarily developed in their heads and are rarely or never put into action as reality. Also, the book is closed symbolizing closure of an individuals’ independence. The fact that the title “Dreams” is written reversed and backwards on the book represents a shift in government and a shift in an individual’s role within the society. The short pants Trotsky is wearing are a symbol of being childlike; if one wore short pants it meant you were still a little kid back in that time. This can also be associated with inexperience, innocence and a lack of understanding.

2. Compare and contrast the public reactions of Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky to the death of Lenin as seen in Source C and Source D. (6)

The context of both Source C and D is that they are public reactions of Stalin and Trotsky to the death of Lenin. They are similar and can be compared because they are speaking of the same event. The nature of the two documents is also alike because they are speeches made to the general public of the Tiflis Station (Source D) and the Second All-union Congress of Soviets (Source C). There are several noticeable differences between Source C and D. Leon Trotsky, in Source D, is showing sympathy to Lenin; he is sorry and expressing his condolences to his death. Nevertheless, the tone of Source C is contrasting to Source D. Joseph Stalin, in Source C, is constantly referring to the Party of the Communists, also called the Party of the working class. The purpose of the two speeches was to address the death of Lenin. However, one could argue that both sources are not exactly doing this. Stalin was appointed to give a speech to the people who were interested in his judgments and views on Lenin’s death. Instead, Joseph Stalin decided to take this time as an opportunity to refer to his goals in government parties. The two speeches given by Staling and Trotsky give an unobjectionable perspective of the two leaders. The sources allow the public to clearly see what the morals and views of these two leaders are.

3. With reference to their origins and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Sources A and D to historians studying early communist Russia. (8)

With reference to the origins and purposes of Sources A and D, the value and limitations of each source can be of good use to historians studying early communist Russia. The origin of Source A is that it is a secondary source in the form of general text; a biography of Leon Trotsky’s life. Its purpose is to educate and to offer a biography for reading purposes. Values of Source A include that it offers quick information and an overview of Trotsky’s entire life. Its limitations are that the writer cannot be an expert on every topic and comment in the entire text. The origin of Source D is primary; it is a speech given by Leon Trotsky. Its purpose is that it was for the public. The values of Source D are that it gives views and opinions of Trotsky on Lenin. Its limitations are that it is only a speech by one man [Leon Trotsky] and therefore he is trying to make himself appear as a powerful leader. Also, speeches are created in a way to sway opinions of others.

4. Using the sources and your own knowledge, assess why Stalin and Trotsky were such tremendous adversaries. (10)

Using the sources and my own knowledge, I can assess that the fact that Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky were tremendous adversaries has several layers. As apparent in Source A, when Lenin became deprived of his ability and qualifications because of his illness in 1922, there was a clear need of a successor for the Soviet Union. A struggle for power emerged between Stalin and Trotsky and Lenin was slowly dying. A deep hatred and rivalry had developed between them. Even though Leon Trotsky was generally viewed as the heir of Lenin, it was fairly easy for Stalin to combine and join with the other Bolshevik leaders in order to head off this threat of Trotsky. Both Stalin and Trotsky had ideological beliefs and contrasting ideas and opinions of socialism.

Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky not only had different principle and beliefs on how the Soviet State should be run, but they also had differing views on how socialism should work. Stalin wanted to achieve ‘socialism in one country’, while Trotsky, along with Lenin, wanted ‘Worldwide Socialism”. Stalin knew that his idea would fail if it was not brought out at exactly the right time, proving that he was a strong opponent, willing to do anything to achieve his goals. Stalin did not make his views public until Trotsky’s campaign became less popular. He proposed his theory in 1925, and his own original supporters were opposed of this plan. It was too late because Stalin had become too powerful. I speculate that Stalin only proposed his theory so late because it was in direct conflict with Trotsky’s theory of a worldwide revolution. For Stalin to achieve his philosophy of ‘socialism in one country’, he needed to make the ideal and perfect socialistic/communist state. Stalin would only be able to accomplish this by making the Soviet Union a dictatorship, with him making all of its important decisions and thereby making Russia a totalitarian state.

After long battles, Stalin finally beat Trotsky over this issue because he had the support of other members of the government who feared Trotsky. Therefore, that is why Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky are such tremendous adversaries.


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