In May 1922, only a few months after the civil war victory of the Reds, the communist leader, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, suffered a stroke. As soon as it became apparent during the next months that the Bolshevik leader would not recover, the struggle for succession began between Lev Trotsky, the cosmopolitan intellectual who founded the Red Army, and Joseph Stalin, the former novice who fought his way up to the post of general secretary of the communist party. The outcome of the clash of the two completely different personalities greatly determined the history of the 20th century.
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