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History IA - Lenin's succession

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I want to write my history IA on Lenin's succession, I have 2 possible titles for it, which one would be better suited for an IA?

1. Was Stalin's rise to power in the communist party inevitable after Lenin's death?
2. Did Stalin come to power through his own skill, or was it luck? (or something along these lines)

My biggest concern is where do I find good sources. I was really surprised that wikipedia had no whole article about ''Lenin's succession''. I have however found the online version of Trotsky's ''The revolution betrayed'' where Trotsky wrote as to why Stalin won, but it would be a very subjective source

My other current sources include;

European dictatorships 1918-1945 by Stephen Lee (a few pages on this topic and the guy comes to the conclusion that Stalin's rise to power is luck because Trotsky greatly underestimated Stalin and voted against Lenin's testament to be publicized - which would have removed Stalin's oppurtunity from the party leadership.... my only concern is that this book is not specific to Lenin's succession)

Encyclopedia britannica - can I use this source?

Could anyone give me feedback of

1. What you think of my IA, i.e. would it work?
2. Any sources I could use, especially sources that outline these thesis ``Stalin was great - he won´´ and ``Stalin was super lucky - he won´´

Thanks

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I've read the book by Stephen Lee, it is ok, but a bit too general for your topic. You might want to consider Robert Gellately's Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, it is a very interesting book. Some sources by Trotsky would be excellent, they're of course subjective, but offer a good comparison. For example Trotsky's My Life might be an interesting source. In addition you might want to use Stalin's biography, there are plenty of those available. I would advice you to stay away from Encyclopedia britannica and wikipedia. A very good site for original sources is www.marxists.org, I know it sounds kind of biased, but it is not, it has mostly original sources by the people themselves. Also check what Stephen Lee has suggested as further reading on the topic. It is good to have a combination of historians with different opinions from different eras (for example Isaac Deutscher who wrote in the 40s and 50s, and some people after the Soviet archives were opened) and sources by the people involved (Trotsky, Stalin).

As an IA I think that it is a good topic, since it allows for a nice examination of different sources. When it comes to your research question it could be something like "To what extent did Stalin rise to power due to his own skills?". Anyways, I think talking about luck is a bit unhistorical. Rather talk about the circumstances around him that made it easier or something along those lines.

If you want any further comments, please ask :)

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Hmm, this has been done by many prominent historians and I think most of it is already covered by someone :/ It will be hard to find something unique. Ofc it doesn't have to be unique, but your IA will be very critically assessed due to all the sources available.

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[quote name='filmjolk' post='28049' date='Nov 9 2008, 01:37 AM']Hmm, this has been done by many prominent historians and I think most of it is already covered by someone :/ It will be hard to find something unique. Ofc it doesn't have to be unique, but your IA will be very critically assessed due to all the sources available.[/quote]

Really? Who covered it? I'd love to know! I don't mind the critical assessment, this has been something I was interested in since IGCSE.

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I am really sorry ;) I closed the tab with my extensive reply. Anyway... I’ll try to do it again lol.

1. Get E.H.Carr. [u]The Russian Revolution: From Lenin to Stalin (1917-1929)[/u]
2. Lenins testament, [url="http://faculty.goucher.edu/history231/lenin_testament.htm"]http://faculty.goucher.edu/history231/lenin_testament.htm[/url] if you have not read it yet. but also be critical of this. Lenin wrote the testament right after Stalin had bad mouthed his wife
3. Get Edvard Radzinsky. [u]Stalin [/u] This contains funny twists and if you like it you could even use it for section C.
4. Use this [url="http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/"]http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/[/url] It's my favorite page with lots of documents and speeches.
5. Look through Robert Service's books. He has some good points and studies Stalin from 1922 whilst many Historians before 1990 have considered the years 22-24 to be of no importance in his rise to power.

There are many biographies on Stalin, and most of them contain a few pages on why they thought Stalin succeeded. The main problem is that they come to different conclusions. so...

Most of the times Stalin is referred to as an opportunist.

Also consider Lenin's health and Stalin’s early actions, plot it to a timeline (pay close attention to 1922 March-May).


And I know you didn't ask for tips :D but I felt like adding some tips anyway :P


The following books are taken from a word doc found on the University of East Anglia's web page. I don't remember the url :/
Deutscher I, Stalin: A Political Biography (1966)
de Jonge A, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (1987)
McNeal R H, Stalin: Man and Ruler (1988)
Volkogonov D, Stalin. Triumph and Tragedy (1991)
Carrere d'Encausse H, Stalin - Order Through Terror (1981)
Lewis J & Whitehead P, Stalin: A Time for Judgement (1990)
R. Conquest Stalin: breaker of Nations
R.C. Tucker Stalin in Power: the revolution from above
R.C. Tucker Stalinism
R. Hingley Joseph Stalin: man and legend
S. Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: the court of the Red Tsar
R.A. Medvedev On Stalin and Stalinism
V.M. Berezhkov At Stalin’s side – his interpreters memoirs
O. Khlevniuk. L. Lih, (eds) Stalin’s Letters to Molotov

[edit] Sorry scade :D forgot to add that I agree with you on marxist.org. Edited by filmjolk

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[quote name='Scade' post='28004' date='Nov 8 2008, 02:53 PM']I've read the book by Stephen Lee, it is ok, but a bit too general for your topic. You might want to consider Robert Gellately's Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, it is a very interesting book. Some sources by Trotsky would be excellent, they're of course subjective, but offer a good comparison. For example Trotsky's My Life might be an interesting source. In addition you might want to use Stalin's biography, there are plenty of those available. I would advice you to stay away from Encyclopedia britannica and wikipedia. A very good site for original sources is www.marxists.org, I know it sounds kind of biased, but it is not, it has mostly original sources by the people themselves. Also check what Stephen Lee has suggested as further reading on the topic. It is good to have a combination of historians with different opinions from different eras (for example Isaac Deutscher who wrote in the 40s and 50s, and some people after the Soviet archives were opened) and sources by the people involved (Trotsky, Stalin).

As an IA I think that it is a good topic, since it allows for a nice examination of different sources. When it comes to your research question it could be something like "To what extent did Stalin rise to power due to his own skills?". Anyways, I think talking about luck is a bit unhistorical. Rather talk about the circumstances around him that made it easier or something along those lines.

If you want any further comments, please ask ;) [/quote]

Thanks a lot Scade! I took your advise right away and went to the uni library and got some photocopies of some books, I am readin Stalin: a political biography by Isaac Deutscher. It's interesting so far but it's freaking long! I photocopied 2 chapters (the general secretay and the 'great change') and its all together 110 pages and I only read through 40, but the deadline is in January so it should be okay. I actually got the revolution betrayed by trotsky from the marxist site, at the beginning when i saw the site i was also like 'what the? propaganda??' but it's really a good source for documents! I am yet to get trotsky's ''My life''.

I had a small glimpse into ''the secret file of joseph stalin: a hidden life'' by roman brackman from 2000 and he suggests that one reason Stalin won was that he exaggerated Trotsky's, Kamenev's and Zinoviev's jewish origin, and since antisemitism was strong in Russia and the party many didn't want to see any of these 3 cling to power - that's what I call an opposing historical viewpoint!

I also have the time of stalin portrait of tyranny by anton antonov-ovseyenko and trotsky's translated notebook. I MUST still get Robert Gellately's Lenin, Stalin and Hitler and Stalin: a man and his era.

I never knew biographies were such a good source, I thought biographies would be too concentrated on 1 character, but that isn't the case for Isaac Deutscher's biography for sure!

Btw, how many book sources is good? 8? I know IA's are not marked by how many books you use specifically but how many books are/did you use for your IA?


[quote name='filmjolk' post='28225' date='Nov 11 2008, 03:51 PM']I am really sorry :P I closed the tab with my extensive reply. Anyway... I’ll try to do it again lol.

1. Get E.H.Carr. [u]The Russian Revolution: From Lenin to Stalin (1917-1929)[/u]
2. Lenins testament, [url="http://faculty.goucher.edu/history231/lenin_testament.htm"]http://faculty.goucher.edu/history231/lenin_testament.htm[/url] if you have not read it yet. but also be critical of this. Lenin wrote the testament right after Stalin had bad mouthed his wife
3. Get Edvard Radzinsky. [u]Stalin [/u] This contains funny twists and if you like it you could even use it for section C.
4. Use this [url="http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/"]http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/stalin/[/url] It's my favorite page with lots of documents and speeches.
5. Look through Robert Service's books. He has some good points and studies Stalin from 1922 whilst many Historians before 1990 have considered the years 22-24 to be of no importance in his rise to power.

There are many biographies on Stalin, and most of them contain a few pages on why they thought Stalin succeeded. The main problem is that they come to different conclusions. so...

Most of the times Stalin is referred to as an opportunist.

Also consider Lenin's health and Stalin’s early actions, plot it to a timeline (pay close attention to 1922 March-May).


And I know you didn't ask for tips :D but I felt like adding some tips anyway :D


The following books are taken from a word doc found on the University of East Anglia's web page. I don't remember the url :/
Deutscher I, Stalin: A Political Biography (1966)
de Jonge A, Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union (1987)
McNeal R H, Stalin: Man and Ruler (1988)
Volkogonov D, Stalin. Triumph and Tragedy (1991)
Carrere d'Encausse H, Stalin - Order Through Terror (1981)
Lewis J & Whitehead P, Stalin: A Time for Judgement (1990)
R. Conquest Stalin: breaker of Nations
R.C. Tucker Stalin in Power: the revolution from above
R.C. Tucker Stalinism
R. Hingley Joseph Stalin: man and legend
S. Sebag Montefiore, Stalin: the court of the Red Tsar
R.A. Medvedev On Stalin and Stalinism
V.M. Berezhkov At Stalin’s side – his interpreters memoirs
O. Khlevniuk. L. Lih, (eds) Stalin’s Letters to Molotov[/quote]

Thanks a lot! I will definitely look into some of them. The funny thing about the testament was that it could have stopped Stalin from ascending to power, but it was too critical of everyone and inconclusive (the only conclusion it had was to increase the party membership to 50 or 100 people - like that was going to happen)!

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I used 14 book sources. But that is only because there was/is (never use is in your IA :D )not a lot of good internet sources for the NEP years. My friend used 2 books and 2 whole pages of internet and Russian document sources (He speaks and reads Russian fluently. Please hate him for me as well.) when he did his on the meteorological deviations in Siberia.

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