When Lenin died on the 21st of January 1924 many thought that Trotsky was his natural successor as the leader of the Bolshevik party. However, even prior to Lenin's death, Stalin was building his power base, which ultimately would allow him lead the Bolshevik party.
In October 1927, Trotsky, Kamenev and Zinoviev were expelled from the Central Committee of the Bolshevik party of Soviet Russia. Under pressure from the Central Committee, Zinoviev and Kamenev agreed to sign contracts promising not to create conflict in the party by making speeches attacking official policies. Leon Trotsky refused to sign and was exiled to the Turkish island of Prinkipo.
On the 21st of December 1929 Stalin celebrated his 50th birthday as the absolute dictator of Soviet Russia.
How was Trotsky able to be backed by Lenin and considered by most Russians as the clear choice for the next leader after Lenin's death and still not become the leader of the party? Trotsky had substantial power.
He was the commissar for war with a considerable level of respect. He was the hero of the civil war; he had a growing cult who had faith in him without question. However, this just fuelled his arrogance and he failed to even acknowledge the threat of Stalin.
I will go onto discuss the reasons and opinions behind one of histories greatest misfortunes.
Trotsky versus the Triumvirate
From 1921 until his death in 1924 Lenin suffered a series of strokes. However, he kept working until a major stroke made him mute in March 1923. In 1923 Trotsky then found himself up against Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev (the triumvirate) for the leadership. Trotsky was no longer fighting class enemies as he had been in the civil war. He was now fighting his own members of his party which for...