What if Trotsky led the Soviet Union?

Nov 2013
Kingdom of Sweden
What if, after the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Leon Trotsky assumed command of the Soviet Union (either through winning a power struggle against Joseph Stalin, or Stalin dying beforehand)?
Obviously there are a great many things that could change if Trotsky had succeeded Lenin, so allow me to divide this question into several parts:

  1. Would Trotsky have more or less success in industrializing and strengthening the Soviet Union in the years leading up to World War II?
    1. Would Trotsky participate more or less actively/successfully than Stalin did in the Spanish Civil War? Would Trotsky's leadership of the Soviet Union affect the outcome of the war?
    2. Would Trotsky purge the officer corps in a manner similar to Stalin? If not, how would that affect the performance of the Red Army in the war to come?
  2. Would Trotsky's leadership have any major impact on the progress and outcome of World War II?
    1. Would Trotsky accept the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Germany? What would his foreign policy towards the Axis and the Allies be? And would he invade Poland?
    2. Would Trotsky invade Finland? And would the Red Army under Trotsky's leadership perform any better than it did under Stalin?
    3. Would Trotsky's Red Army perform any differently during Operation Barbarossa and the Eastern Front in general than it did under Stalin?
    4. Would Trotsky create an Eastern Bloc after the victory in World War II? If so, would it look the same, or would Trotsky be able to claim more or less land than Stalin did?
  3. Presuming that Trotsky continues to rule the Soviet Union for the remainder of his natural life, into the early 1960's, how would this affect the Cold War as a whole?
    1. Would Trotsky pursue a more or less peaceful coexistence policy with the west?
    2. Would Trotsky be more or less active/successful than Stalin in supporting communist movements across the world?
    3. Would the Tito-Stalin split still happen?
    4. Would Trotsky intervene in the Korean War, and if so, to what extent compared to Stalin? Would Trotsky's leadership of the Soviet Union affect the outcome of the war?
    5. Would the Sino-Soviet split still happen? What would the relationship between Trotsky and Mao Zedong be like?
    6. Would Trotsky have tried to establish nuclear missile bases on Cuba, and how would he have handled the Cuban Missile Crisis?
  4. How would Trotsky's policies affect the Soviet Union, and other communist states, after his death in the early 1960's?
    1. Is it at all possible to guess who might have been appointed Trotsky's successor?
  5. Would the Soviet Union still collapse? If so, would it last longer or shorter than it did in real life?
Nov 2013
Kingdom of Sweden
This post is extraordinarily detailed and specific. Are you writing an essay or thesis on this topic?
Not at all; I am simply very interested in the topic and want to make sure every follow-up question I could think of was covered. If I do decide to write anything on this topic, it would most likely be a piece of alternate history fiction.
Nov 2013
Kingdom of Sweden
Interestingly enough, with Trotsky promoting world Communist revolution, the West might be more willing to support Hitler in this TL as a bulwark against Communism. The question is whether Poland would be more willing to cooperate with Hitler in this TL.
This is indeed an interesting premise. Is it possible that we are looking at an entirely different World War II in this scenario? One where Poland cooperates with Germany, or where the Allies turn a blind eye to Hitler's ambitions in the east - perhaps granting him Danzig in a Sudeten fashion, or even abandoning Poland completely to German annexation?
But then arises the question whether or not the map of Europe would look the same, had Trotsky ruled the Soviet Union for the last fifteen years. Would Trotsky's ideas of world revolution lead to a greater spread of communist movements and uprisings throughout Europe (and indeed, the rest of the world)? Could this be successful in some nations, giving the Soviet Union more allies against the German threat?
Feb 2019
Planet Earth
I don't like speculative history, but I believe the differences between them are very overstated. But only one thing am I sure: If given power Trotsky would have a far worse reputation, like that of Stalin's.

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