Segment 23a: Introduction
Although Joseph Stalin was not Lenin's choice as a successor,
he acquired and built up his power over the Soviet Union by playing ruthlessly to Soviet fears.
In Stalin's view, the motherland of Socialism was surrounded on the outside by ruthless capitalists
and threatened from within by class enemies and counter-revolutionaries.
Stalin acquired supreme power by playing communist power bosses off against each other
and by inventing the cult, as we have already discussed, of the deceased Lenin.
Once in power, Stalin dropped the new economic policy, which was too nice,
and he installed the dictatorial regime he believed would ensure his goal of socialism in one country.
Millions of Soviet people paid with their lives for Stalin's priorities.
In Segment 23b: Cult of Personality
Stalin personally takes control of the Communist Party through desperate planning.
Because Stalin was neither a great speaker nor a great Marxist theoretician,
his associates in power, his fellow Bolsheviks, didn't take him very seriously.