How did Stalin defeat Trotsky in their fight for power?
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Trotsky and Stalin found themselves on very different sides of important debates in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution and the death of Lenin. Trotsky argued for a departure of Lenin's New Economic Plan and a program of massive collectivization and industrialization, a plan which Stalin would eventually adopt himself. Trotsky also pushed for an internationalist approach to spreading communism, in particular to many of the nations of Europe that were still reeling from the effects of World War I. Stalin, on the other hand, advocated the establishment of a communist society in the Soviet Union itself, an approach known as "socialism in one country." Essentially, Stalin was able to marginalize Trotsky by using a combination of political skill and ruthlessness. He organized the new central government into a tightly-knit apparatus, one which emphasized Party unanimity and was tied by personal connections to Stalin himself. When Trotsky continued to speak out publicly in 1927, he was banned from the Party. He was exiled, and then murdered by Stalin's agents in Mexico City in 1940. Stalin had really already destroyed Trotsky long before his assassination. The former Soviet hero's accomplishments were erased from Party documents and history books, and most of the officials who had sided with him were executed in the purges of the 1930s, despite having publicly recanted their former positions.
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