on why Stalin, not Trotsky, took power after Lenin's death...
had made-up names - Stalin means 'man of steel' (which tells you
something about Stalin, I think (poser)). Trotsky took his name (it
was the name of one of his jailers) to avoid detection by the Okhrana
while he continued his revolutionary activities (which tells you
something about him - rebel).
had been going to be an Orthodox priest - Trotsky was a Jew (there was
massive anti-semitism in Russia).
were vigorous revolutionaries in the years before 1917 - but where
Trostky fled into exile and waged a pamphlet war on the government,
Stalin stayed and went to prison.
was always a Bolshevik and supporter of Lenin from the beginning.
Trotsky was a keen Menshevik, and only joined the Bolsheviks in 1917
when he saw that they were going to bring revolution.
were prominent in the 1917 revolution, but where Stalin was
POLITICALLY prominent (a member of the Politburo), Trotsky was
MILITARILY and ORGANISATIONALLY important (he organised the actual
the revolution, Stalin took on the boring role of Secretary, and used
it to build up political alliances and push his supporters into key
positions in the Party. Trostsky took over the Red Army and the Cheka
and used them to crush the White Terror and establish the revolution.
believed in 'Revolution in one country' (establish power in Russia
first, and then perhaps conquer the world). Trotsky believed in world
revolution, going straight out and fomenting revolution in other
countries all over the world.
was a brilliant speaker and a THINKER (he write lots of books on the
theory of Communism); many historians write that he was opinionated and
not well-liked. Stalin was more pedestrian, but a much better
POLITICIAN; he completely out-manoeuvred Trotsky politically (see the
was hard-working, strong as an ox and utterly ruthless in the pursuit
of power. Trotsky broke himself to bring in the revolution, and was a
sick man (particularly in the years immediately after the death of
you think about it, all the cards were in Stalin's hands, the conniving,
points could be the basis of a comparison - all you would need to do would
be to place the contrasting points in the context of events at the time,
and explain whether you regard each as a strength or a weakness for each
For a lot of extra detail, try the Wikipedia
articles on the
rise of Stalin, and
Trotsky's fall from power.