Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution
, and eventually became a leader within the Party. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army as People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs.
As long as I breathe I hope. As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which man, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness!
Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies.
The struggle against war, properly understood and executed, presupposes the uncompromising hostility of the proletariat and its organizations, always and everywhere, toward its own and every other imperialist bourgeoisie...
The struggle against war and its social source, capitalism, presupposes direct, active, unequivocal support to the oppressed colonial peoples in their struggles and wars against imperialism. A 'neutral' position is tantamount to support of imperialism.
A sledgehammer breaks glass but forges steel.
As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the "sacredness of human life."
The road to socialism lies through a period of the highest possible intensification of the principle of the state … Just as a lamp, before going out, shoots up in a brilliant flame, so the state, before disappearing, assumes the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e., the most ruthless form of state, which embraces the life of the citizens authoritatively in every direction...
In inner-party politics, these methods lead, as we shall yet see, to this: the party organization substitutes itself for the party, the central committee substitutes itself for the organization, and, finally, a "dictator" substitutes himself for the central committee.
Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution
, and eventually became a leader within the Party. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army as People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He was a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War
(1918–20). He was also among the first members of the Politburo.
After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition
against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin
in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was successively removed from power, expelled from the Communist Party
, deported from the Soviet Union and assassinated on Stalin's orders. An early advocate of Red Army intervention against European fascism, Trotsky also opposed Stalin's non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler
in the late 1930s.
As the head of the Fourth International
, Trotsky continued in exile to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy
in the Soviet Union, and was eventually assassinated in Mexico, by Ramón Mercader
, a Soviet agent. Trotsky's ideas thus form the basis of Trotskyism
, a major school of Marxist thought that is opposed to the theories of Stalinism
. He was one of the few Soviet political figures who was never rehabilitated
by the government of Mikhail Gorbachev
Before the 1917 Revolution
Childhood and family (1879–1895)Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein on 7 November 1879, in Yanovka or Yanivka , in the Kherson
of the Russian Empire
(today's Bereslavka in the Bobrynets Raion
, Kirovohrad Oblast
, Ukraine), a small village 15 miles (24 km) from the nearest post office. He was the fifth child, out of eight, of a well-to-do Jewish farmer, David Leontyevich Bronshtein (1847–1922) and Anna Bronshtein (1850–1910). The family was Jewish but reportedly not religious. The language spoken at home was a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian
Trotsky's younger sister, Olga
, married Lev Kamenev
, a leading Bolshevik.
When Trotsky was nine, his father sent him to Odessa
to be educated and he was enrolled in an historically German school, which became Russified during his years in Odessa, consequent to the Imperial government's policy of Russification
. As Isaac Deutscher
points out in his biography of Trotsky, Odessa was then a bustling cosmopolitan port city, very unlike the typical Russian city of the time. This environment contributed to the development of the young man's international outlook.
Although Trotsky stated in his autobiography My Life
that he was never perfectly fluent in any language but Russian and Ukrainian, Raymond Molinier
wrote that Trotsky spoke fluent French.
Revolutionary activity and exile (1896–1902)Trotsky became involved in revolutionary activities in 1896 after moving to Nikolayev (now Mykolaiv
). At first a narodnik
), he was introduced to Marxism
later that year and was originally opposed to it. But during periods of exile and imprisonment he gradually became a Marxist. Instead of pursuing a mathematics
degree, Trotsky helped organize the South Russian Workers' Union in Nikolayev in early 1897. Using the name 'Lvov', he wrote and printed leaflets and proclamations, distributed revolutionary pamphlets and popularized socialist ideas among industrial workers and revolutionary students.
In January 1898, over 200 members of the union, including Trotsky, were arrested, and he spent the next two years in prison awaiting trial. Two months into his imprisonment, the first Congress of the newly formed Russian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP) was held, and from then on Trotsky considered himself a member of the party. While in prison, he married fellow Marxist Aleksandra Sokolovskaya (or Sokolovskaia)
(1872–1938). While serving his sentence he studied philosophy. In 1900 he was sentenced to four years in exile in Ust-Kut
and Verkholensk (see map) in the Irkutsk
region of Siberia
, where his first two daughters, Zinaida Volkova
(1901 – 5 January 1933) and Nina Nevelson (1902 – 9 June 1928) were born. Both daughters predeceased their parents; Volkova committed suicide and Nevelson died from tuberculosis
In Siberia, Trotsky became aware of the differences within the party, which had been decimated by arrests in 1898 and 1899. Some social democrats known as "economists" argued that the party should focus on helping industrial workers improve their lot in life. Others argued that overthrowing the monarchy was more important and that a well organized and disciplined revolutionary party was essential. The latter were led by the London-based newspaper Iskra
, or in English, Spark, which was founded in 1900. Trotsky quickly sided with the Iskra position.
First emigration and second marriage (1902–1903)Trotsky escaped from Siberia in the summer of 1902. It is said he adopted the name of a jailer of the Odessa prison in which he had earlier been held, and this became his primary revolutionary pseudonym. Once abroad, he moved to London to join Georgy Plekhanov, Vladimir Lenin
, Julius Martov
and other editors of Iskra. Under the pen name Pero ("feather" or "pen" in Russian), Trotsky soon became one of the paper's leading authors.
Unknown to Trotsky, the six editors of Iskra were evenly split between the "old guard" led by Plekhanov and the "new guard" led by Lenin and Martov. Not only were Plekhanov's supporters older (in their 40s and 50s), but they had also spent the previous 20 years in European exile together. Members of the new guard were in their early 30s and had only recently come from Russia. Lenin, who was trying to establish a permanent majority against Plekhanov within Iskra, expected Trotsky, then 23, to side with the new guard and wrote in March 1903:
Because of Plekhanov's opposition, Trotsky did not become a full member of the board, but from then on participated in its meetings in an advisory capacity, which earned him Plekhanov's enmity.
In late 1902, Trotsky met Natalia Ivanovna Sedova
, who soon became his companion and, from 1903 until his death, his wife. They had two children together, Lev Sedov (1906 – 16 February 1938) and Sergei Sedov
(21 March 1908 – 29 October 1937), both of whom would predecease their parents.
Regarding his sons' surnames, Trotsky later explained that after the 1917 revolution:
However for himself the name change remained a technicality and Trotsky never used the name "Sedov" either privately or publicly. Natalia Sedova sometimes signed her name "Sedova-Trotskaya". Trotsky and his first wife, Aleksandra, maintained a friendly relationship until she disappeared in 1935 during the Great Purge
s and was murdered three years later.
Split with Lenin (1903–1904)In the meantime, after a period of secret police repression and internal confusion that followed the first party Congress in 1898, Iskra succeeded in convening the party's 2nd congress in London in August 1903, Trotsky and other Iskra editors attended. The first congress went as planned, with Iskra supporters handily defeating the few "economist" delegates. Then the congress discussed the position of the Jewish Bund, which had co-founded the RSDLP in 1898 but wanted to remain autonomous within the party.
Shortly thereafter, pro-Iskra delegates unexpectedly split into two factions. Lenin and his supporters (known as Bolshevik
s) argued for a smaller but highly organized party. Martov and his supporters (known as Menshevik
s) argued for a larger and less disciplined party. In a surprise development, Trotsky and most of the Iskra editors supported Martov and the Mensheviks while Plekhanov supported Lenin and the Bolsheviks. During 1903 and 1904, many members changed sides in the factions. Plekhanov soon parted ways with the Bolsheviks. Trotsky left the Mensheviks in September 1904 over their insistence on an alliance with Russian liberals and their opposition to a reconciliation with Lenin and the Bolsheviks. From then until 1917 he described himself as a "non-factional social democrat". Trotsky spent much of his time between 1904 and 1917 trying to reconcile different groups within the party, which resulted in many clashes with Lenin and other prominent party members. Trotsky later maintained that he had been wrong in opposing Lenin on the issue of the party. During these years Trotsky began developing his theory of permanent revolution
, which led to a close working relationship with Alexander Parvus
1905 revolution and trial (1905–1906)After the events of Bloody Sunday
, Trotsky secretly returned to Russia in February 1905. At first he wrote leaflets for an underground printing press in Kiev
, but soon moved to the capital, Saint Petersburg
, where he worked with both Bolsheviks, such as Central Committee member Leonid Krasin
, and the local Menshevik committee, which he pushed in a more radical direction. The latter, however, were betrayed by a secret police agent in May, and Trotsky had to flee to rural Finland
. There he worked on fleshing out his theory of permanent revolution until October, when a nationwide strike made it possible for him to return to St. Petersburg. After returning to the capital, Trotsky and Parvus took over the newspaper Russian Gazette and increased its circulation to 500,000. Trotsky also co-founded Nachalo ("The Beginning") with Parvus and the Mensheviks, which proved to be very successful.
Just before Trotsky's return, the Mensheviks had independently come up with the same idea that Trotsky had—an elected non-party revolutionary organization representing the capital's workers, the first Soviet
("Council") of Workers. By the time of Trotsky's arrival, the St. Petersburg Soviet
was already functioning headed by Khrustalyov-Nosar (Georgy Nosar, alias Pyotr Khrustalyov), a compromise figure, and proved to be very popular with the workers in spite of the Bolsheviks' original opposition. Trotsky joined the Soviet under the name "Yanovsky" (after the village he was born in, Yanovka) and was elected vice-Chairman. He did much of the actual work at the Soviet and, after Khrustalev-Nosar's arrest on 26 November, was elected its chairman. On 2 December, the Soviet issued a proclamation which included the following statement about the Tsarist government and its foreign debts:
The following day, the Soviet was surrounded by troops loyal to the government and the deputies were arrested. Trotsky and other Soviet leaders were tried in 1906 on charges of supporting an armed rebellion. At the trial, Trotsky delivered some of the best speeches of his life and solidified his reputation as an effective public speaker, which he confirmed in 1917–1920. He was convicted and sentenced to deportation.
Second emigration (1907–1914)En route to exile in Obdorsk, Siberia in January 1907, Trotsky escaped at Berezov and once again made his way to London, where he attended the 5th Congress of the RSDLP
. In October, he moved to Vienna
where he often took part in the activities of the Austrian Social Democratic Party and, occasionally, of the German Social Democratic Party, for seven years.
In Vienna, Trotsky became close to Adolph Joffe
, his friend for the next 20 years, who introduced him to psychoanalysis. In October 1908 he started a bi-weekly Russian language social democratic paper aimed at Russian workers called Pravda
("Truth"), which he co-edited with Joffe, Matvey Skobelev
and Victor Kopp and which was smuggled into Russia. The paper avoided factional politics and proved popular with Russian industrial workers. Both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks split multiple times after the failure of the 1905–1907 revolution. When various Bolshevik and Menshevik factions tried to re-unite at the January 1910 RSDLP Central Committee meeting in Paris over Lenin's objections, Trotsky's Pravda was made a party-financed 'central organ'. Lev Kamenev
, Trotsky's brother-in-law, was added to the editorial board from the Bolsheviks, but the unification attempts failed in August 1910 when Kamenev resigned from the board amid mutual recriminations. Trotsky continued publishing Pravda for another two years until it finally folded in April 1912.
The Bolsheviks started a new workers-oriented newspaper in St. Petersburg on 22 April 1912, and also called it Pravda. Trotsky was so upset by what he saw as a usurpation of his newspaper's name that in April 1913 he wrote a letter to Nikolay Chkheidze
, a Menshevik leader, bitterly denouncing Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Though he quickly got over the disagreement, the letter was intercepted by the police, and a copy was put into their archives. Shortly after Lenin's death in 1924, the letter was pulled out of the archives and made public by his opponents within the Communist Party, and was used to paint him as Lenin's enemy.
This was a period of heightened tension within the RSDLP and led to numerous frictions between Trotsky, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The most serious disagreement that Trotsky and the Mensheviks had with Lenin at the time was over the issue of "expropriations", i.e., armed robberies of banks and other companies by Bolshevik groups to procure money for the Party, which had been banned by the 5th Congress, but continued by the Bolsheviks.
In January 1912, the majority of the Bolshevik faction led by Lenin and a few Mensheviks held a conference in Prague
and expelled their opponents from the party. In response, Trotsky organized a "unification" conference of social democratic factions in Vienna in August 1912 (a.k.a. "The August Bloc") and tried to re-unite the party. The attempt was generally unsuccessful.
In Vienna, Trotsky continuously published articles in radical Russian and Ukrainian newspapers like Kievskaya Mysl under a variety of pseudonyms, often "Antid Oto". In September 1912, Kievskaya Mysl sent him to the Balkans as its war correspondent, where he covered the two Balkan Wars
for the next year and became a close friend of Christian Rakovsky
, later a leading Soviet politician and Trotsky's ally in the Soviet Communist Party. On 3 August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I which pitted Austria-Hungary against the Russian empire, Trotsky was forced to flee Vienna for neutral Switzerland to avoid arrest as a Russian émigré
World War I (1914–1917)The outbreak of World War I caused a sudden realignment within the RSDLP and other European social democratic parties over the issues of war, revolution, pacifism and internationalism. Within the RSDLP, Lenin, Trotsky and Martov advocated various internationalist anti-war positions, while Plekhanov and other social democrats (both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) supported the Russian government to some extent. In Switzerland
, Trotsky briefly worked within the Swiss Socialist Party, prompting it to adopt an internationalist resolution, and wrote a book against the war, The War and the International. The thrust of the book was against the pro-war position taken by the European social democratic parties, primarily the German party.
Trotsky attended the Zimmerwald Conference
of anti-war socialists in September 1915 and advocated a middle course between those who, like Martov, would stay within the Second International at any cost and those who, like Lenin, would break with the Second International and form a Third International. The conference adopted the middle line proposed by Trotsky. At first opposed to it, in the end Lenin voted for Trotsky's resolution to avoid a split among anti-war socialists.
On 31 March Trotsky was deported from France to Spain for his anti-war activities. Spanish authorities did not let him stay and he was deported to the United States on 25 December 1916. He arrived in New York City on 13 January 1917 where he stayed for nearly three months at 1522 Vyse Avenue in The Bronx
. In New York City he wrote articles for the local Russian language
socialist newspaper Novy Mir
and the Yiddish language daily Der Forverts (The Forward)
in translation and made speeches to Russian émigrés. He was officially earning some $15 a week.
Trotsky was living in New York City when the February Revolution
of 1917 overthrew Tsar Nicholas II
. He left New York on 27 March but his ship, the SS Kristianiafjord
, was intercepted by British naval
officials in Canada at Halifax, Nova Scotia and he spent a month detained at Amherst, Nova Scotia
. After initial hesitation, the Russian foreign minister Pavel Milyukov
was forced to demand that Trotsky be released, and the British government freed Trotsky on 29 April. He made his way back to Russia on 4 May. Upon his return, Trotsky was in substantive agreement with the Bolshevik position, but did not join them right away. Russian social democrats were split into at least six groups and the Bolsheviks were waiting for the next party Congress to determine which factions to merge with. Trotsky temporarily joined the Mezhraiontsy
, a regional social democratic organization in St. Petersburg, and became one of its leaders. At the First Congress of Soviets
in June, he was elected a member of the first All-Russian Central Executive Committee
("VTsIK") from the Mezhraiontsy faction.
After an unsuccessful pro-Bolshevik uprising in Petrograd, Trotsky was arrested on 7 August 1917, but was released 40 days later in the aftermath of the failed counter-revolutionary uprising by Lavr Kornilov
. After the Bolsheviks gained a majority in the Petrograd Soviet
, Trotsky was elected Chairman on 8 October. He sided with Lenin against Grigory Zinoviev
and Lev Kamenev
when the Bolshevik Central Committee discussed staging an armed uprising and he led the efforts to overthrow the Provisional Government headed by Aleksandr Kerensky.
After the success of the uprising on 7–8 November, Trotsky led the efforts to repel a counter-attack
by Cossacks under General Pyotr Krasnov
and other troops still loyal to the overthrown Provisional Government at Gatchina
. Allied with Lenin, he successfully defeated attempts by other Bolshevik Central Committee members (Zinoviev, Kamenev, Alexey Rykov, etc.) to share power with other socialist parties. By the end of 1917, Trotsky was unquestionably the second man in the Bolshevik Party after Lenin, overshadowing the ambitious Zinoviev, who had been Lenin's top lieutenant over the previous decade, but whose star appeared to be fading. This turnaround led to enmity between the two Bolshevik leaders which lasted until 1926 and did much to destroy them both.
After the Russian Revolution
Commissar for Foreign Affairs and Brest-Litovsk (1917–1918)After the Bolsheviks came to power, Trotsky became the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and published the secret treaties previously signed by the Triple Entente
that detailed plans for post-war reallocation of colonies and redrawing state borders.
Trotsky led the Soviet delegation during the peace negotiations in Brest-Litovsk from 22 December 1917 to 10 February 1918. At that time the Soviet government was split on the issue. Left Communists
, led by Nikolai Bukharin
, continued to believe that there could be no peace between a Soviet republic and a capitalist country and that only a revolutionary war leading to a pan-European Soviet republic would bring a durable peace. They cited the successes of the newly formed (15 January 1918) voluntary Red Army
against Polish forces of Gen. Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki
in Belarus, White
forces in the Don region, and newly independent Ukrainian
forces as proof that the Red Army could repel German forces, especially if propaganda and asymmetrical warfare were used. They did not mind holding talks with the Germans as a means of exposing German imperial ambitions (territorial gains, reparations
, etc.) in the hope of accelerating the hoped−for Soviet revolution in the West, but they were dead set against signing any peace treaty. In case of a German ultimatum, they advocated proclaiming a revolutionary war against Germany in order to inspire Russian and European workers to fight for socialism. This opinion was shared by Left Socialist Revolutionaries, who were then the Bolsheviks' junior partners in a coalition government.
But he agreed with the Left Communists that a separate peace treaty with an imperialist power would be a terrible morale and material blow to the Soviet government, negate all its military and political successes of 1917 and 1918, resurrect the notion that the Bolsheviks secretly allied with the German government, and cause an upsurge of internal resistance. He argued that any German ultimatum should be refused, and that this may well lead to an uprising in Germany, or at least inspire German soldiers to disobey their officers since any German offensive would be a naked grab for territories. He wrote in 1925:
's and Adolph Joffe
's) and, since he held the balance of power, he was able to pursue his policy in Brest-Litovsk. When he could no longer delay the negotiations, he withdrew from the talks on 10 February 1918, refusing to sign on Germany's harsh terms. After a brief hiatus, the Central Powers
notified the Soviet government that they would no longer observe the truce after 17 February. At this point Lenin again argued that the Soviet government had done all it could to explain its position to Western workers and that it was time to accept the terms. Trotsky refused to support Lenin since he was waiting to see whether German workers would rebel and whether German soldiers would refuse to follow orders.
Germany resumed military operations on 18 February. Within a day, it became clear that the German army was capable of conducting offensive operations and that Red Army detachments, which were relatively small, poorly organized and poorly led, were no match for it. In the evening of 18 February 1918, Trotsky and his supporters in the committee abstained and Lenin's proposal was accepted 7–4. The Soviet government sent a telegram to the German side accepting the final Brest-Litovsk peace terms.
Germany did not respond for three days, and continued its offensive encountering little resistance. The response arrived on 21 February but the proposed terms were so harsh that even Lenin briefly thought that the Soviet government had no choice but to fight. But in the end, the committee again voted 7–4 on 23 February 1918; the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
was signed on 3 March and ratified on 15 March 1918. Since he was so closely associated with the policy previously followed by the Soviet delegation at Brest-Litovsk, Trotsky resigned from his position as Commissar for Foreign Affairs in order to remove a potential obstacle to the new policy.
Head of the Red Army (spring 1918)
sailors, one of the bastions of the new regime led by Pavel Dybenko
, shamefully fled from the German army at Narva
. The notion that the Soviet state could have an effective voluntary or militia
type military was seriously undermined.
Trotsky was one of the first Bolshevik leaders to recognize the problem and he pushed for the formation of a military council of former Russian generals that would function as an advisory body. Lenin and the Bolshevik Central Committee agreed on 4 March to create the Supreme Military Council
, headed by former chief of the imperial General Staff Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich
. But the entire Bolshevik leadership of the Red Army, including People's Commissar (defense minister) Nikolai Podvoisky
and commander-in-chief Nikolai Krylenko
, protested vigorously and eventually resigned. They believed that the Red Army should consist only of dedicated revolutionaries, rely on propaganda and force, and have elected officers. They viewed former imperial officers and generals as potential traitors who should be kept out of the new military, much less put in charge of it. Their views continued to be popular with many Bolsheviks throughout most of the Russian Civil War
and their supporters, including Podvoisky, who became one of Trotsky's deputies, were a constant thorn in Trotsky's side. The discontent with Trotsky's policies of strict discipline, conscription and reliance on carefully supervised non-Communist military experts eventually led to the Military Opposition (Russian: Военная оппозиция}), which was active within the Communist Party in late 1918–1919.
On 13 March 1918, Trotsky's resignation as Commissar for Foreign Affairs was officially accepted and he was appointed People's Commissar of Army and Navy Affairs – in place of Podvoisky – and chairman of the Supreme Military Council. The post of commander-in-chief was abolished, and Trotsky gained full control of the Red Army, responsible only to the Communist Party leadership, whose Left Socialist Revolutionary allies had left the government over Brest-Litovsk. With the help of his faithful deputy Ephraim Sklyansky
, Trotsky spent the rest of the Civil War transforming the Red Army from a ragtag network of small and fiercely independent detachments into a large and disciplined military machine, through forced conscription, party controlled blocking squads, compulsory obedience and officers chosen by the leadership instead of the rank and file. He defended these positions throughout his life.
1918Trotsky's managerial and organization-building skills with the Soviet military were soon tested. In May–June 1918, the Czechoslovak Legions
en route from European Russia to Vladivostok
rose against the Soviet government. This left the Bolsheviks with the loss of most of the country's territory, an increasingly well organized resistance by Russian anti-Communist forces (usually referred to as the White Army
after their best known component) and widespread defection by the military experts that Trotsky relied on.
Trotsky and the government responded with a full-fledged mobilization
, which increased the size of the Red Army from less than 300,000 in May 1918 to one million in October, and an introduction of political commissar
s into the army. The latter were responsible for ensuring the loyalty of military experts (who were mostly former officers in the imperial army) and co-signing their orders. Trotsky claimed that the Red Army's organization was built on the ideas of the October Revolution. As he later wrote in his autobiography:
In dealing with deserters, Trotsky often appealed to them politically; arousing them with the ideas of the Revolution.
Given the lack of man power and the 16 invading foreign armies, Trotsky also insisted that former Tsarist officers should be used as military specialists within the Red Army, with a combination of Bolshevik political commissars to ensure the revolutionary nature of the Red Army. Lenin commented on this:
In September 1918, the government, facing continuous military difficulties, declared what amounted to martial law and reorganized the Red Army. The Supreme Military Council was abolished and the position of commander-in-chief was restored, filled by the commander of the Latvian Riflemen
, Ioakim Vatsetis (a.k.a. Jukums Vācietis), who had formerly led the Eastern Front against the Czechoslovak Legions. Vatsetis was put in charge of day-to-day operations of the army while Trotsky became chairman of the newly formed Revolutionary Military Council
of the Republic and retained overall control of the military. Trotsky and Vatsetis had clashed earlier in 1918 while Vatsetis and Trotsky's adviser Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich were also on unfriendly terms. Nevertheless, Trotsky eventually established a working relationship with the often prickly Vatsetis.
The reorganization caused yet another conflict between Trotsky and Stalin in late September. Trotsky appointed former imperial general Pavel Sytin to command the Southern Front, but in early October 1918 Stalin refused to accept him and so he was recalled from the front. Lenin and Yakov Sverdlov
tried to make Trotsky and Stalin reconcile, but their meeting was unsuccessful.
1919Throughout late 1918 and early 1919, there were a number of attacks on Trotsky's leadership of the Red Army, including veiled accusations in newspaper articles inspired by Stalin and a direct attack by the Military Opposition at the VIIIth Party Congress
in March 1919. On the surface, he weathered them successfully and was elected one of only five full members of the first Politburo
after the Congress. But he later wrote:
In mid-1919 the dissatisfied had an opportunity to mount a serious challenge to Trotsky's leadership, the Red Army grew from 800,000 to 3,000,000, and fought simultaneously on sixteen fronts. The Red Army had defeated the White Army's spring offensive in the east and was about to cross the Ural Mountains
and enter Siberia in pursuit of Admiral Alexander Kolchak's forces. But in the south, General Anton Denikin's White Russian forces advanced, and the situation deteriorated rapidly. On 6 June commander-in-chief Vatsetis ordered the Eastern Front to stop the offensive so that he could use its forces in the south. But the leadership of the Eastern Front, including its commander Sergey Kamenev (a former colonel of the Imperial army), and Eastern Front Revolutionary Military Council members Ivar Smilga
, Mikhail Lashevich
and Sergey Gusev vigorously protested and wanted to keep emphasis on the Eastern Front. They insisted that it was vital to capture Siberia before the onset of winter and that once Kolchak's forces were broken, many more divisions would be freed up for the Southern Front. Trotsky, who had earlier had conflicts with the leadership of the Eastern Front, including a temporary removal of Kamenev in May 1919, supported Vatsetis.
At the 3–4 July Central Committee meeting, after a heated exchange the majority supported Kamenev and Smilga against Vatsetis and Trotsky. Trotsky's plan was rejected and he was much criticized for various alleged shortcomings in his leadership style, much of it of a personal nature. Stalin used this opportunity to pressure Lenin to dismiss Trotsky from his post. But when, on 5 July Trotsky offered his resignation, the Politburo and the Orgburo
of the Central Committee unanimously rejected it.
Yet, a number of significant changes to the leadership of the Red Army were made. Trotsky was temporarily sent to the Southern Front, while the work in Moscow was informally coordinated by Smilga. Most members of the bloated Revolutionary Military Council who were not involved in its day to day operations, were relieved of their duties on 8 July while new members, including Smilga, were added. The same day, while Trotsky was already in the south, Vatsetis was suddenly arrested by the Cheka
on suspicion of involvement in an anti-Soviet plot, and replaced by Sergey Kamenev. After a few weeks in the south, Trotsky returned to Moscow and resumed control of the Red Army. A year later, Smilga and Tukhachevsky were defeated during the Battle of Warsaw
, but Trotsky refused this opportunity to pay Smilga back, which earned him Smilga's friendship and later support during the intra-Party battles of the 1920s.
By October 1919 the government was in the worst crisis of the Civil War: Denikin's troops approached Tula
and Moscow from the south, and General Nikolay Yudenich's troops approached Petrograd from the west. Lenin decided that since it was more important to defend Moscow, Petrograd would have to be abandoned. Trotsky argued that Petrograd needed to be defended, at least in part to prevent Estonia
from intervening. In a rare reversal, Trotsky was supported by Stalin and Zinoviev and prevailed against Lenin in the Central Committee. He immediately went to Petrograd, whose leadership headed by Zinoviev he found demoralized, and organized its defense, sometimes personally stopping fleeing soldiers. By 22 October the Red Army was on the offensive and in early November Yudenich's troops were driven back to Estonia, where they were disarmed and interned. Trotsky was awarded the Order of the Red Banner
for his actions in Petrograd.
1920With the defeat of Denikin and Yudenich in late 1919, the Soviet government's emphasis shifted to economic work and Trotsky spent the winter of 1919–1920 in the Urals region trying to re-start its economy. Based on his experiences there, he proposed abandoning the policies of War Communism
, which included confiscating grain from peasants, and partially restoring the grain market. But Lenin was still committed to War Communism and the proposal was rejected. Instead, Trotsky was put in charge of the country's railroads (while retaining overall control of the Red Army), which he tried to militarize in the spirit of War Communism. It wasn't until early 1921 that economic collapse and uprisings would force Lenin and the rest of the Bolshevik leadership to abandon War Communism in favor of the New Economic Policy
Meanwhile, in early 1920 Soviet–Polish tensions eventually led to the Polish–Soviet War. In the run-up and during the war, Trotsky argued that the Red Army was exhausted and the Soviet government should sign a peace treaty with Poland as soon as possible. He also did not believe that the Red Army would find much support in Poland proper. Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders thought that the Red Army's successes in the Russian Civil War and against the Poles meant that, as Lenin said later:
But the Red Army offensive was turned back during the Battle of Warsaw
in August 1920, in part because of Stalin's failure to obey Trotsky's orders in the run-up to the decisive engagements. Back in Moscow, Trotsky again argued for a peace treaty and this time prevailed.
Trade union debate (1920–1921)
(headed by Alexander Shlyapnikov
) and the Group of Democratic Centralism
were particularly active.
Trotsky's position formed while he led a special commission on the Soviet transportation system, Tsektran. He was appointed there to rebuild the rail system ruined by the Civil War. Being the Commissar of War and a revolutionary military leader, he saw a need to create a militarized "production atmosphere" by incorporating trade unions directly into the State apparatus. His unyielding stance was that in a worker's state the workers should have nothing to fear from the state, and the State should fully control the unions. In the Ninth Party Congress he argued for "such a regime under which each worker feels himself to be a soldier of labor who cannot freely dispose of himself; if he is ordered transferred, he must execute that order; if he does not do so, he will be a deserter who should be punished. Who will execute this? The trade union. It will create a new regime. That is the militarization of the working class."
Lenin sharply criticised Trotsky and accused him of "bureaucratically nagging the trade unions" and of staging "factional attacks". His view did not focus on State control as much as the concern that a new relationship was needed between the State and the rank-and-file workers. He said, "Introduction of genuine labor discipline is conceived only if the whole mass of participants in productions take a conscious part in the fulfillment of these tasks. This cannot be achieved by bureaucratic methods and orders from above." This was a debate that Lenin thought the party could not afford. His frustration with Trotsky was used by Stalin and Zinoviev with their support for Lenin's position, to improve their standing within the Bolshevik leadership at Trotsky's expense.
Disagreements threatened to get out of hand and many Bolsheviks, including Lenin, feared that the party would splinter. The Central Committee was split almost evenly between Lenin's and Trotsky's supporters, with all three Secretaries of the Central Committee (Krestinky, Yevgeny Preobrazhensky and Leonid Serebryakov) supporting Trotsky.
At a meeting of his faction at the Tenth Party Congress in March 1921, Lenin's faction won a decisive victory and a number of Trotsky's supporters (including all three secretaries of the Central Committee) lost their leadership positions. Krestinsky was replaced as a member of the Politburo by Zinoviev, who had supported Lenin. Krestinsky's place in the secretariat was taken by Vyacheslav Molotov
. The congress also adopted a secret resolution on "Party unity", which banned factions within the Party except during pre-Congress discussions. The resolution was later published and used by Stalin against Trotsky and other opponents. At the end of the Tenth Congress, after peace negotiations had failed, Trotsky gave the order for the suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion
, the last major revolt against Bolshevik rule.
Years later, anarchist
and others criticized Trotsky's actions as Commissar for War for his role in the suppression of the rebellion, and argued that he ordered unjustified incarcerations and executions of political opponents such as anarchists, although Trotsky did not participate in the actual suppression. Some Trotskyists, most notably Abbie Bakan, have argued that the claim that the Kronstadt rebels were "counterrevolutionary" has been supported by evidence of White Army and French government support for the Kronstadt sailors' March rebellion. Other historians, most notably Paul Avrich, claimed the evidence did not point towards this conclusion, and that the Kronstadt Rebellion was spontaneous.
Lenin's illness (1922–1923)In late 1921 Lenin's health deteriorated, he was absent from Moscow for even longer periods, and eventually had three strokes between 26 May 1922 and 10 March 1923, which caused paralysis, loss of speech and finally death on 21 January 1924. With Lenin increasingly sidelined throughout 1922, Stalin (elevated to the newly created position of the Central Committee General Secretary
earlier in the year), Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev formed a troika
(triumvirate) to ensure that Trotsky, publicly the number two man in the country and Lenin's heir presumptive
, would not succeed Lenin.
The rest of the recently expanded Politburo (Rykov, Mikhail Tomsky
, Bukharin) was at first uncommitted, but eventually joined the troika. Stalin's power of patronage in his capacity as General Secretary clearly played a role, but Trotsky and his supporters later concluded that a more fundamental reason was the process of slow bureaucratization of the Soviet regime once the extreme conditions of the Civil War were over: much of the Bolshevik elite wanted 'normalcy' while Trotsky was personally and politically personified as representing a turbulent revolutionary period that they would much rather leave behind.
Although the exact sequence of events is unclear, evidence suggests that at first the troika nominated Trotsky to head second rate government departments (e.g., Gokhran, the State Depository for Valuables) and then, when Trotsky predictably refused, tried using it as an excuse to oust him. At this time there was speculation about Trotsky's health and whether or not he had epilepsy.
When, in mid-July 1922, Kamenev wrote a letter to the recovering Lenin to the effect that "(the Central Committee) is throwing or is ready to throw a good cannon overboard", Lenin was shocked and responded:
From then until his final stroke, Lenin spent much of his time trying to devise a way to prevent a split within the Communist Party leadership, which was reflected in Lenin's Testament
. As part of this effort, on 11 September 1922 Lenin proposed that Trotsky become his deputy at the Council of People's Commissars (Sovnarkom). The Politburo approved the proposal, but Trotsky "categorically refused".
In late 1922, Lenin's relationship with Stalin deteriorated over Stalin's heavy-handed and chauvinistic
handling of the issue of merging Soviet republics into one federal state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR). At that point, according to Trotsky's autobiography,
Lenin offered Trotsky an alliance against Soviet bureaucracy in general and Stalin in particular. The alliance proved effective on the issue of foreign trade, but it was complicated by Lenin's progressing illness. In January 1923 the relationship between Lenin and Stalin completely broke down when Stalin rudely insulted Lenin's wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya. At that point Lenin amended his Testament suggesting that Stalin should be replaced as the party's General Secretary, although the thrust of his argument was somewhat weakened by the fact that he also mildly criticized other Bolshevik leaders, including Trotsky. In March 1923, days before his third stroke, Lenin prepared a frontal assault on Stalin's "Great-Russian nationalistic campaign" against the Georgian
Communist Party (the so-called Georgian Affair
) and asked Trotsky to deliver the blow at the XIIth Party Congress. With Lenin no longer active, Trotsky did not raise the issue at the Congress.
At the XIIth Party Congress in April 1923, just after Lenin's final stroke, the key Central Committee reports on organizational and nationalities questions were delivered by Stalin and not by Trotsky, while Zinoviev delivered the political report of the Central Committee, traditionally Lenin's prerogative. Stalin's power of appointment had allowed him to gradually replace local party secretaries with loyal functionaries and thus control most regional delegations at the congress, which enabled him to pack the Central Committee with his supporters, mostly at the expense of Zinoviev and Kamenev's backers.
At the congress, Trotsky made a speech about intra-party democracy, among other things, but avoided a direct confrontation with the troika. The delegates, most of whom were unaware of the divisions within the Politburo, gave Trotsky a standing ovation
, which couldn't help but upset the troika. The troika was further infuriated by Karl Radek
's article Leon Trotsky – Organizer of Victory published in Pravda
on 14 March 1923.
The resolutions adopted by the XIIth Congress called, in general terms, for greater democracy within the Party, but were vague and remained unimplemented. In an important test of strength in mid-1923, the troika was able to neutralize Trotsky's friend and supporter Christian Rakovsky
by removing him from his post as head of the Ukrainian government (Sovnarkom) and sending him to London as Soviet ambassador. When regional Party secretaries in Ukraine protested against Rakovsky's reassignment, they too were reassigned to various posts all over the Soviet Union.
Left opposition (1923–1924)Starting in mid-1923, the Soviet economy ran into significant difficulties, which led to numerous strikes countrywide. Two secret groups within the Communist Party, “Workers' Truth” and “Workers' Group”, were uncovered and suppressed by the Soviet secret police. On 8 October 1923 Trotsky sent a letter to the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission, attributing these difficulties to lack of intra-Party democracy. Trotsky wrote:
Other senior communists who had similar concerns sent The Declaration of 46
to the Central Committee on 15 October in which they wrote:
Although the text of these letters remained secret at the time, they had a significant effect on the Party leadership and prompted a partial retreat by the troika and its supporters on the issue of intra-Party democracy, notably in Zinoviev's Pravda article published on 7 November. Throughout November, the troika tried to come up with a compromise to placate, or at least temporarily neutralize, Trotsky and his supporters. (Their task was made easier by the fact that Trotsky was sick in November and December.) The first draft of the resolution was rejected by Trotsky, which led to the formation of a special group consisting of Stalin, Trotsky and Kamenev, which was charged with drafting a mutually acceptable compromise. On 5 December, the Politburo and the Central Control Commission unanimously adopted the group's final draft as its resolution. On 8 December Trotsky published an open letter, in which he expounded on the recently adopted resolution's ideas. The troika used his letter as an excuse to launch a campaign against Trotsky, accusing him of factionalism, setting "the youth against the fundamental generation of old revolutionary Bolsheviks" and other sins. Trotsky defended his position in a series of seven letters which were collected as The New Course in January 1924. The illusion of a "monolithic Bolshevik leadership" was thus shattered and a lively intra-Party discussion ensued, both in local Party organizations and in the pages of Pravda. The discussion lasted most of December and January until the XIIIth Party Conference of 16–18 January 1924. Those who opposed the Central Committee's position in the debate were thereafter referred to as members of the Left Opposition
Since the troika controlled the Party apparatus through Stalin's Secretariat and Pravda through its editor Bukharin, it was able to direct the discussion and the process of delegate selection. Although Trotsky's position prevailed within the Red Army and Moscow universities and received about half the votes in the Moscow Party organization, it was defeated elsewhere, and the Conference was packed with pro-troika delegates. In the end, only three delegates voted for Trotsky's position and the Conference denounced "Trotskyism"
as a "petty bourgeois deviation". After the Conference, a number of Trotsky's supporters, especially in the Red Army's Political Directorate, were removed from leading positions or reassigned. Nonetheless, Trotsky kept all of his posts and the troika was careful to emphasize that the debate was limited to Trotsky's "mistakes" and that removing Trotsky from the leadership was out of the question. In reality, Trotsky had already been cut off from the decision making process.
Immediately after the Conference, Trotsky left for a Caucasian resort to recover from his prolonged illness. On his way, he learned about Lenin's death on 21 January 1924. He was about to return when a follow up telegram from Stalin arrived, giving an incorrect date of the scheduled funeral, which would have made it impossible for Trotsky to return in time. Many commentators speculated after the fact that Trotsky's absence from Moscow in the days following Lenin's death contributed to his eventual loss to Stalin, although Trotsky generally discounted the significance of his absence.
After Lenin's death (1924)There was little overt political disagreement within the Soviet leadership throughout most of 1924. On the surface, Trotsky remained the most prominent and popular Bolshevik leader, although his "mistakes" were often alluded to by troika partisans. Behind the scenes, he was completely cut off from the decision making process. Politburo meetings were pure formalities since all key decisions were made ahead of time by the troika and its supporters. Trotsky's control over the military was undermined by reassigning his deputy, Ephraim Sklyansky, and appointing Mikhail Frunze
, who was being groomed to take Trotsky's place.
At the thirteenth Party Congress in May, Trotsky delivered a conciliatory speech:
The attempt at reconciliation, however, did not stop troika supporters from taking potshots at him.
In the meantime, the Left Opposition, which had coagulated somewhat unexpectedly in late 1923 and lacked a definite platform aside from general dissatisfaction with the intra-Party "regime", began to crystallize. It lost some less dedicated members to the harassment by the troika, but it also began formulating a program. Economically, the Left Opposition and its theoretician Yevgeny Preobrazhensky came out against further development of capitalist elements in the Soviet economy and in favor of faster industrialization. That put them at odds with Bukharin and Rykov, the "Right" group within the Party, who supported troika at the time. On the question of world revolution, Trotsky and Karl Radek saw a period of stability in Europe while Stalin and Zinoviev confidently predicted an "acceleration" of revolution in Western Europe in 1924. On the theoretical plane, Trotsky remained committed to the Bolshevik idea that the Soviet Union could not create a true socialist society in the absence of the world revolution, while Stalin gradually came up with a policy of building 'Socialism in One Country
'. These ideological divisions provided much of the intellectual basis for the political divide between Trotsky and the Left Opposition on the one hand and Stalin and his allies on the other.
At the thirteenth Congress Kamenev and Zinoviev helped Stalin defuse Lenin's Testament, which belatedly came to the surface. But just after the congress, the troika, always an alliance of convenience, showed signs of weakness. Stalin began making poorly veiled accusations about Zinoviev and Kamenev. Yet in October 1924, Trotsky published The Lessons of October, an extensive summary of the events of the 1917 revolution. In it, he described Zinoviev's and Kamenev's opposition to the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, something that the two would have preferred left unmentioned. This started a new round of intra-party struggle, which became known as the Literary Discussion, with Zinoviev and Kamenev again allied with Stalin against Trotsky. Their criticism of Trotsky was concentrated in three areas:
- Trotsky's disagreements and conflicts with Lenin and the Bolsheviks prior to 1917.
- Trotsky's alleged distortion of the events of 1917 in order to emphasize his role and diminish the roles played by other Bolsheviks.
- Trotsky's harsh treatment of his subordinates and other alleged mistakes during the Russian Civil War.
Trotsky was again sick and unable to respond while his opponents mobilized all of their resources to denounce him. They succeeded in damaging his military reputation so much that he was forced to resign as People's Commissar of Army and Fleet Affairs and Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council on 6 January 1925. Zinoviev demanded Trotsky's expulsion from the Communist Party, but Stalin refused to go along and skillfully played the role of a moderate. Trotsky kept his Politburo seat, but was effectively put on probation.
A year in the wilderness (1925)1925 was a difficult year for Trotsky. After the bruising Literary Discussion and losing his Red Army posts, he was effectively unemployed throughout the winter and spring. In May 1925, he was given three posts: chairman of the Concessions Committee, head of the electro-technical board, and chairman of the scientific-technical board of industry. Trotsky wrote in My Life that he "was taking a rest from politics" and "naturally plunged into the new line of work up to my ears", but some contemporary accounts paint a picture of a remote and distracted man. Later in the year, Trotsky resigned his two technical positions (claiming Stalin-instigated interference and sabotage) and concentrated on his work in the Concessions Committee.
In one of the few political developments that affected Trotsky in 1925, the circumstances surrounding the controversy around Lenin's Testament were described by American Marxist Max Eastman
in his book Since Lenin Died (1925). The Soviet leadership denounced Eastman's account and used party discipline
to force Trotsky to write an article denying Eastman's version of the events.
In the meantime, the troika finally broke up. Bukharin and Rykov sided with Stalin while Krupskaya and Soviet Commissar of Finance Grigory Sokolnikov aligned with Zinoviev and Kamenev. The struggle became open at the September 1925 meeting of the Central Committee and came to a head at the XIVth Party Congress in December 1925. With only the Leningrad Party organization behind them, Zinoviev and Kamenev, dubbed The New Opposition, were thoroughly defeated while Trotsky refused to get involved in the fight and didn't speak at the Congress.
United Opposition (1926–1927)During a lull in the intra-party fighting in the spring of 1926, Zinoviev, Kamenev and their supporters in the “New Opposition” gravitated closer to Trotsky's supporters and the two groups soon formed an alliance, which also incorporated some smaller opposition groups within the Communist Party. The alliance became known as the “United Opposition”.
The United Opposition was repeatedly threatened with sanctions by the Stalinist leadership of the Communist Party and Trotsky had to agree to tactical retreats, mostly to preserve his alliance with Zinoviev and Kamenev. The opposition remained united against Stalin throughout 1926 and 1927, especially on the issue of the Chinese Revolution. The methods used by the Stalinists against the Opposition became more and more extreme. At the XVth Party Conference in October 1926 Trotsky could barely speak because of interruptions and catcalls, and at the end of the Conference he lost his Politburo seat. In 1927 Stalin started using the GPU (Soviet secret police) to infiltrate and discredit the opposition. Rank and file oppositionists were increasingly harassed, sometimes expelled from the Party and even arrested.
The Northern Expedition became a point of contention over foreign policy by Stalin and Trotsky. Stalin followed a practical policy, ignoring communist ideology. He told the Chinese Communist Party to stop whining about the lower classes and follow the Kuomintang
's orders. Stalin, like Lenin, believed that the KMT bourgeoisie would defeat the western imperialists in China and complete the revolution. Trotsky wanted the Communist party to complete an orthodox proletarian revolution and opposed the KMT. Stalin funded the KMT during the expedition. Stalin countered Trotskyist criticism by making a secret speech in which he said that Chiang's right wing Kuomintang were the only ones capable of defeating the imperialists, that Chiang Kai-shek
had funding from the rich merchants, and that his forces were to be utilized until squeezed for all usefulness like a lemon before being discarded. However, Chiang quickly reversed the tables in the Shanghai massacre of 1927
by massacring the Communist party in Shanghai midway in the Northern Expedition.
Defeat and exile (1927–1928)In October 1927, Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the Central Committee. When the United Opposition tried to organize independent demonstrations commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power in November 1927, the demonstrators were dispersed by force and Trotsky and Zinoviev were expelled from the Communist Party on 12 November. Their leading supporters, from Kamenev down, were expelled in December 1927 by the XVth Party Congress, which paved the way for mass expulsions of rank and file oppositionists as well as internal exile of opposition leaders in early 1928.
When the XVth Party Congress made Opposition views incompatible with membership in the Communist Party, Zinoviev, Kamenev and their supporters capitulated and renounced their alliance with the Left Opposition. Trotsky and most of his followers, on the other hand, refused to surrender and stayed the course.
in Kazakhstan on 31 January 1928. He was expelled from the Soviet Union to Turkey in February 1929, accompanied by his wife Natalia Sedova
and his son Lev Sedov.
After Trotsky's expulsion from the country, exiled Trotskyists began to waver and, between 1929 and 1934, most of the leading members of the Opposition surrendered to Stalin, "admitted their mistakes" and were reinstated in the Communist Party. Christian Rakovsky
, who served as an inspiration for Trotsky between 1929 and 1934 while he was in Siberian exile, was the last prominent Trotskyist to capitulate. Almost all of them perished in the Great Purge
s just a few years later.
off the coast of Istanbul
, Turkey, where he stayed for the next four years. There were many former White Army officers in Istanbul, which put Trotsky's life in danger, but a number of Trotsky's European supporters volunteered to serve as bodyguards and assured his safety.
In 1933 Trotsky was offered asylum in France by Prime Minister Édouard Daladier
. He stayed first at Royan
, then at Barbizon
. He was not allowed to visit Paris. In 1935 he was given to understand he was no longer welcome in France. After weighing alternatives, he moved to Norway. Having obtained permission from then-Justice Minister Trygve Lie
to enter the country, Trotsky became a guest of Konrad Knudsen
. After two years—allegedly under influence from the Soviet Union—he was put under house arrest. His transfer to Mexico on a freighter was arranged after consultations with Norwegian officials. Mexican President Lázaro Cárdenas
welcomed him warmly, even arranging for a special train to bring him to Mexico City from the port of Tampico
Trotsky lived in the Coyoacán
area of Mexico City at the home (The Blue House) of the painter Diego Rivera
and Rivera's wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo
(with whom he had an affair). His final move was a few blocks away to a residence on Avenida Viena in May 1939, following a break with Rivera.
He remained a prolific writer in exile, penning several key works, including his History of the Russian Revolution
(1930) and The Revolution Betrayed
(1936), a critique of the Soviet Union under Stalinism
. Trotsky argued that the Soviet state had become a “degenerated workers' state
” controlled by an undemocratic bureaucracy, which would eventually either be overthrown via a political revolution
establishing workers' democracy, or degenerate into a capitalist class.
While in Mexico, Trotsky also worked closely with James P. Cannon
, Joseph Hansen
, and Farrell Dobbs
of the Socialist Workers Party of the United States, and other supporters.
Cannon, a long-time leading member of the American communist movement, had supported Trotsky in the struggle against Stalinism
since he first read Trotsky's criticisms of the Soviet Union in 1928. Trotsky's critique of the Stalinist regime, though banned, was distributed to leaders of the Comintern
. Among his other supporters was Chen Duxiu
, founder of the Chinese Communist Party
Moscow show trialsIn August 1936, the first Moscow show trial
of the so-called "Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center" was staged in front of an international audience. During the trial, Zinoviev, Kamenev and 14 other accused, most of them prominent Old Bolsheviks, confessed to having plotted with Trotsky to kill Stalin and other members of the Soviet leadership. The court found everybody guilty and sentenced the defendants to death, Trotsky in absentia
. The second show trial of Karl Radek
, Grigory Sokolnikov, Yuri Pyatakov and 14 others took place in January 1937, with even more alleged conspiracies and crimes linked to Trotsky. In April 1937, an independent "Commission of Inquiry"
into the charges made against Trotsky and others at the "Moscow Trials" was held in Coyoacán, with John Dewey
as chairman. The findings were published in the book Not Guilty.
takeover in Germany and the Comintern's response to it, when he proclaimed that:
In 1938, Trotsky and his supporters founded the Fourth International
, which was intended to be a revolutionary and internationalist alternative to the Stalinist Comintern.
Dies CommitteeTowards the end of 1939 Trotsky agreed to go to the United States to appear as a witness before the Dies
Committee of the House of Representatives, a forerunner of the House Un-American Activities Committee
. Representative Martin Dies
, chairman of the committee, demanded the suppression of the American Communist Party
. Trotsky intended to use the forum to expose the NKVD
's activities against him and his followers.
He made it clear that he also intended to argue against the suppression of the American Communist Party, and to use the committee as a platform for a call to transform World War II into a world revolution. Many of his supporters argued against his appearance. When the committee learned the nature of the testimony Trotsky intended to present, it refused to hear him, and he was denied a visa to enter the United States. On hearing about it, the Stalinists immediately accused Trotsky of being in the pay of the oil magnates and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Final monthsAfter quarreling with Diego Rivera
, Trotsky moved to his final residence on Avenida Viena. He was ill, suffering from high blood pressure
, and feared that he would suffer a cerebral hemorrhage. He even prepared himself for the possibility of ending his life through suicide.
On 27 February 1940, Trotsky wrote a document known as "Trotsky's Testament", in which he expressed his final thoughts and feelings for posterity. After forcefully denying Stalin's accusations that he had betrayed the working class, he thanked his friends, and above all his wife and dear companion, Natalia Sedova
, for their loyal support:
agent Iosif Grigulevich
, Mexican painter and Stalinist David Alfaro Siqueiros
, and Vittorio Vidale. In this attack a young assistant and bodyguard of Trotsky, Robert Sheldon Harte
, was abducted and later murdered.
On 20 August 1940, Trotsky was attacked in his home in Mexico
with an ice axe
by undercover NKVD
agent Ramón Mercader
. The blow was poorly delivered and failed to kill Trotsky instantly, as Mercader had intended. Witnesses stated that Trotsky spat on Mercader and began struggling fiercely with him. Hearing the commotion, Trotsky's bodyguards burst into the room and nearly killed Mercader, but Trotsky stopped them, laboriously stating that the assassin should be made to answer questions. Trotsky was taken to a hospital, operated on, and survived for more than a day, dying at the age of 60 on 21 August 1940 as a result of blood loss and shock. Mercader later testified at his trial: According to James P. Cannon
, the secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (USA)
, Trotsky's last words were "I will not survive this attack. Stalin
has finally accomplished the task he attempted unsuccessfully before."
EpilogueTrotsky's house in Coyoacán
was preserved in much the same condition as it was on the day of the assassination and is now a museum run by a board which includes his grandson Esteban Volkov. The current director of the museum is Carlos Ramirez Sandoval
. Trotsky's grave is located on its grounds. A new foundation (International Friends of the Leon Trotsky Museum) has been organized to raise funds to further improve the Museum.
Trotsky was never formally rehabilitated by the Soviet government, despite the Glasnost
-era rehabilitation of most other Old Bolshevik
s killed during the Great Purges. In 1987, under President Mikhail Gorbachev
, Trotsky was referred to as "a hero and martyr". His son, Sergei Sedov
, killed in 1937, was rehabilitated in 1988, as was Nikolai Bukharin
. Above all, beginning in 1989, Trotsky's books, forbidden until 1987, were finally published in the Soviet Union.
Trotsky was rehabilitated in 16 June 2001 on the basis of the decision of the General Prosecutor's Office (Certificates of Rehabilitation № 13/2182-90, № 13-2200-99 in Archives Research Center "Memorial").
Trotsky's grandson, Vsievolod Platonovich "Esteban" Volkov (born 1926), who lives in Mexico
, is an active promoter of his grandfather. Trotsky's great-granddaughter, Mexican-born Nora Volkow
(daughter of Esteban Volkov), is currently head of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse
Contributions to theoryTrotsky considered himself a "Bolshevik-Leninist", arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party
. He considered himself an advocate of orthodox Marxism. His politics differed in many respects from those of Stalin or Mao Zedong
, most importantly in his rejection of the theory of Socialism in One Country
and his declaring the need for an international "permanent revolution
". Numerous Fourth International
ist groups around the world continue to describe themselves as Trotskyist and see themselves as standing in this tradition, although they have different interpretations of the conclusions to be drawn from this. Supporters of the Fourth International echo Trotsky's opposition to Stalinist totalitarianism
, advocating political revolution
, arguing that socialism cannot sustain itself without democracy.
Permanent RevolutionPermanent Revolution is the theory that the bourgeois democratic tasks in countries with delayed bourgeois democratic development can only be accomplished through the establishment of a workers' state, and that the creation of a workers' state would inevitably involve inroads against capitalist property. Thus, the accomplishment of bourgeois democratic tasks passes over into proletarian tasks. Although most closely associated with Leon Trotsky, the call for Permanent Revolution is first found in the writings of Karl Marx
and Friedrich Engels
in March 1850, in the aftermath of the 1848 Revolution, in their Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League
Trotsky's conception of Permanent Revolution is based on his understanding, drawing on the work of the founder of Russian Marxism Georgy Plekhanov, that in 'backward' countries the tasks of the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution could not be achieved by the bourgeoisie itself. This conception was first developed by Trotsky in collaboration with Alexander Parvus
in late 1904–1905. The relevant articles were later collected in Trotsky's books 1905 and in Permanent Revolution, which also contains his essay "Results and Prospects".
According to Trotskyists, the October Revolution
(which Trotsky directed) was the first example of a successful Permanent Revolution. The proletarian, socialist October Revolution took place precisely because the bourgeoisie, which took power in February, had not been able to solve any of the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. It had not given the land to the peasants (which the Bolsheviks did on 25 October), nor given freedom to the oppressed minority nations, nor emancipated Russia from foreign domination by ending the war which, at that point, was fought mainly to please the English and French creditors. Trotskyists today argue that the state of the Third World shows that capitalism offers no way forward for underdeveloped countries, thus again proving the central tenet of the theory. In contrast, Stalinist policy in the former colonial countries has been characterized by the so-called Two-Stage Theory, which argues that the working class must fight for "progressive capitalism" along with the "progressive national bourgeoisie" before any attempts at socialism can be made.
The United FrontTrotsky was a central figure in the Comintern
during its first four congresses. During this time he helped to generalise the strategy and tactics of the Bolsheviks to newly formed Communist parties across Europe and further afield. From 1921 onwards the united front
, a method of uniting revolutionaries and reformists in common struggle while winning some of the workers to revolution, was the central tactic put forward by the Comintern after the defeat of the German revolution.
After he was exiled and politically marginalised by Stalinism, Trotsky continued to argue for a united front against fascism in Germany and Spain. His articles on the united front represent an important part of his political legacy.
Trotsky in art
- In Mexico in the late 1930s Trotsky met Frida KahloFrida KahloFrida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....
, Diego RiveraDiego RiveraDiego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...
and André BretonAndré BretonAndré Breton was a French writer and poet. He is known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism"....
who in 1938 wrote Pour un art révolutionnaire indépendant (For an Independent Revolution in Art) and as the leader of SurrealismSurrealismSurrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....
Breton befriended Trotsky. After Trotsky's death in 1940, Breton denounced him for not successfully bringing forth the Revolution promised in Breton's manifesto.
- Trotsky was admired by Mexican muralist Diego RiveraDiego RiveraDiego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...
, husband of Frida KahloFrida KahloFrida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....
. Rivera twice painted Trotsky's face as part of a montage of Communist figures, in Communist Unity Panel (1933) and again in Man at the CrossroadsMan at the CrossroadsMan at the Crossroads was a mural by Diego Rivera.The Rockefellers wanted to have a mural put on the ground-floor wall of Rockefeller Center. Nelson Rockefeller wanted Henri Matisse or Pablo Picasso to do it because he favored their modern style, but neither was available...
(1933). After the destruction of the latter, it was re-created as Man, Controller of the UniverseMan, Controller of the UniverseMan, Controller of the Universe is a 1934 mural by Diego Rivera in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Its full title is Man, Controller of the Universe or Man in the Time Machine .The mural is a recreation of Man at the Crossroads, which was commissioned by Nelson Rockefeller for...
- In 1969 German playwright Peter WeissPeter WeissPeter Ulrich Weiss was a German writer, painter, and artist of adopted Swedish nationality. He is particularly known for his plays Marat/Sade and The Investigation and his novel The Aesthetics of Resistance....
wrote the play Trotski Im Exil (Trotsky In Exile).
- Trotsky's death was dramatized in the 1972 film The Assassination of TrotskyThe Assassination of TrotskyThe Assassination of Trotsky is a 1972 British film directed by Joseph Losey with a screenplay by Nicholas Mosley. It starred Richard Burton as Leon Trotsky, as well as Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.-Plot:...
, directed by Joseph LoseyJoseph LoseyJoseph Walton Losey was an American theater and film director. After studying in Germany with Bertolt Brecht, Losey returned to the United States, eventually making his way to Hollywood...
and starring Richard BurtonRichard BurtonRichard Burton, CBE was a Welsh actor. He was nominated seven times for an Academy Award, six of which were for Best Actor in a Leading Role , and was a recipient of BAFTA, Golden Globe and Tony Awards for Best Actor. Although never trained as an actor, Burton was, at one time, the highest-paid...
as Trotsky. It was also the subject of a 1993 short play, Variations on the Death of TrotskyVariations on the Death of TrotskyVariations on the Death of Trotsky is a short one-act comedy written by David Ives for All in the Timing. The play fictionalizes the death of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky at different moments, though all from the same, historically accurate cause: a wound to the head by an ice...
, written by David IvesDavid IvesDavid Ives is a contemporary American playwright. A native of South Chicago, Ives attended a minor Catholic seminary and Northwestern University and, after some years' interval, Yale School of Drama, where he received an MFA in playwriting...
. In the 2002 film FridaFridaFrida is a 2002 biographical film which depicts the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. It stars Salma Hayek in her Academy Award nominated portrayal as Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband, Diego Rivera....
, Trotsky was portrayed by Geoffrey RushGeoffrey RushGeoffrey Roy Rush is an Australian actor and film producer. He is one of the few people who has won the "Triple Crown of Acting": an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award. He has won one Academy Award for acting , three British Academy Film Awards , two Golden Globe Awards and four Screen...
- Trotsky is mentioned briefly in the 1977 song "No More HeroesNo More Heroes (The Stranglers song)No More Heroes is a single by The Stranglers from the same-named album No More Heroes. It is one of the Stranglers' most successful singles , peaking at #8 in the Official UK Top 40 charts...
" by English punk band The StranglersThe StranglersThe Stranglers are an English punk/rock music group.Scoring some 23 UK top 40 singles and 17 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning five decades, the Stranglers are the longest-surviving and most "continuously successful" band to have originated in the UK punk scene of the mid to late 1970s...
. His assassination is described as getting "an ice-pick that made his ears burn"
- The characters of SnowballSnowball (Animal Farm)Snowball is a fictional pig in the book Animal Farm written by George Orwell. He is based on Leon Trotsky.- Snowball's ideas :Snowball believes in a continued revolution: he argues that in order to defend Animal Farm and strengthen the reality of Old Major's dream of a life without humans, the...
and Emmanuel GoldsteinEmmanuel GoldsteinEmmanuel Goldstein is a character in George Orwell's classic dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. He is the number one enemy of the people according to Big Brother and the Party, who heads a mysterious and possibly fictitious anti-party organization called The Brotherhood...
in George OrwellGeorge OrwellEric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...
's novels, Animal FarmAnimal FarmAnimal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II...
and Nineteen Eighty-FourNineteen Eighty-FourNineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party...
respectively, are based on Trotsky.
- Trotsky is a well regarded political figure within Bolano'sRoberto BolañoRoberto Bolaño Ávalos was a Chilean novelist and poet. In 1999 he won the Rómulo Gallegos Prize for his novel Los detectives salvajes , and in 2008 he was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666, which was described by board member Marcela Valdes...
The Savage DetectivesThe Savage DetectivesThe Savage Detectives is an award-winning novel published by the Chilean author Roberto Bolaño in 1998. Natasha Wimmer's English translation was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2007...
- Trotsky is a major character in Robert BoltRobert BoltRobert Oxton Bolt, CBE was an English playwright and a two-time Oscar winning screenwriter.-Career:He was born in Sale, Cheshire. At Manchester Grammar School his affinity for Sir Thomas More first developed. He attended the University of Manchester, and, after war service, the University of...
's play State of RevolutionState of RevolutionState of Revolution is a play by Robert Bolt, written in 1977. It deals with the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Civil War, the rise to power of V.I...
, which deals with the Russian Revolution and its aftermath.
- A Spanish language documentary, El Asesinato de Trotsky (The Murder of Trotsky) was co-produced in 2006 by The History Channel and Anima Films, and directed by Argentinian director Matías Gueilburt.
- Third-wave ska band Catch-22 released a concept albumConcept albumIn music, a concept album is an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical." Commonly, concept albums tend to incorporate preconceived musical or lyrical ideas rather than being improvised or composed in the studio, with all songs contributing...
in 2006 centered around the life of Trotsky, entitled Permanent RevolutionPermanent Revolution (album)-Personnel:*Pat Kays - bass guitar, chimes, vocals*Pat Calpin - guitar*Ian McKenzie - trombone, vocals, keys, vibraphone*Ryan Eldred - tenor saxophone, lead vocals, guitar*Kevin Gunther - trumpet, vocals*Chris Greer - percussion-External links:***...
- In the 2009 novel The Lacuna by Barbara KingsolverBarbara KingsolverBarbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the former Republic of Congo in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before...
, the protagonist, Harrison William Shepherd, works as a secretary to the exiled Leon Trotsky in Mexico.
- In the 2010 film The TrotskyThe TrotskyThe Trotsky is a 2009 Canadian comedy film directed by Jacob Tierney.-Plot:Montreal West high school student Leon Bronstein believes that he is the reborn incarnation of Marxist/Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky. Shortly after he starts to work in his family's clothing factory, he attempts to unionize...
, Jay BaruchelJay BaruchelJonathan Adam Saunders "Jay" Baruchel is a Canadian actor. He has had a successful career in comedy films, and has appeared in supporting roles in such box office successes as Million Dollar Baby, Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder, as well as starring in films like She's Out of My League, The Trotsky,...
plays Leon Bronshtein, a high school student who believes himself to be a reincarnation of Trotsky and attempts to lead a revolution.
- In the 2011 documentary film Marx ReloadedMarx ReloadedMarx Reloaded is a 2011 German documentary film written and directed by the British writer and theorist Jason Barker. Featuring interviews with several well-known philosophers, the film aims to examine the relevance of Karl Marx's ideas in relation to the global economic and financial crisis of...
, Trotsky meets Karl MarxKarl MarxKarl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...
in an animated cartoon parody of the 1999 science fictionScience fiction filmScience fiction film is a film genre that uses science fiction: speculative, science-based depictions of phenomena that are not necessarily accepted by mainstream science, such as extraterrestrial life forms, alien worlds, extrasensory perception, and time travel, often along with futuristic...
-action filmAction filmAction film is a film genre where one or more heroes is thrust into a series of challenges that require physical feats, extended fights and frenetic chases...
The MatrixThe MatrixThe Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...
. Although the scene is fictional, Trotsky is credited and depicted on the film's movie poster alongside contemporary philosophers including Slavoj ŽižekSlavoj ŽižekSlavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher, critical theorist working in the traditions of Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. He has made contributions to political theory, film theory, and theoretical psychoanalysis....
- One of the three storylines in the 1982 novel The End of the World News: An EntertainmentThe End of the World News: An EntertainmentThe End of the World News is a 1982 novel by British author Anthony Burgess.Presented without chapter breaks, the plot weaves together three storylines. One follows Leon Trotsky on a journey to New York City shortly before the Russian Revolution of 1917. This story is written as the libretto of an...
by Anthony BurgessAnthony BurgessJohn Burgess Wilson – who published under the pen name Anthony Burgess – was an English author, poet, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic. The dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange is Burgess's most famous novel, though he dismissed it as one of his lesser works...
follows Leon Trotsky on a journey to New York City shortly before the Russian Revolution of 1917. This story is written as the librettoLibrettoA libretto is the text used in an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata, or musical. The term "libretto" is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as mass, requiem, and sacred cantata, or even the story line of a...
of an Off-BroadwayOff-BroadwayOff-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts...
- He was portrayed by Brian Cox in the 1971 film Nicholas and AlexandraNicholas and AlexandraNicholas and Alexandra is a 1971 biographical film which tells the story of the last Russian monarch, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra....
- He was portrayed too by Friedrich G. Beckhaus in the five parts of the West German television play Bürgerkrieg in Rußland from 1967, directed by Wolfgang Schleif.
- A character in the Monty PythonMonty PythonMonty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...
episode "The Cycling Tour" is transformed into Trotsky and Eartha KittEartha KittEartha Mae Kitt was an American singer, actress, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty smash "Santa Baby." Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the...
- Trotsky's arrival in France, and his departure, punctuate the main plot of the 1974 French film StaviskyStaviskyStavisky... is a 1974 French film drama based on the life of the financier and embezzler Alexandre Stavisky and the circumstances leading to his mysterious death in 1934. This gave rise to a political scandal known as the Stavisky Affair, which led to fatal riots in Paris, the resignation of two...
- The Real Situation in Russia, Max EastmanMax EastmanMax Forrester Eastman was an American writer on literature, philosophy and society, a poet, and a prominent political activist. For many years, Eastman was a supporter of socialism, a leading patron of the Harlem Renaissance and an activist for a number of liberal and radical causes...
, tr. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928
- Autobiography, 1879–1917.
- Between Red and White
- Fascism What It Is and How To Fight It
- History of the Russian Revolution
- In Defence of Marxism
- In Defence of October
- Literature and Revolution
- My Life
- Permanent Revolution & Results and Prospects
- Platform of the Joint Opposition
- Problems of the Chinese Revolution
- Terrorism and Communism
- The Case of Leon Trotsky
- The First Five Years of the Communist International, Volume 1
- The First Five Years of the Communist International, Volume 2
- The Lessons of October
- The New Course
- The Revolution Betrayed
- The Stalin School of Falsification
- The Third International After Lenin
- The Transitional Program for Socialist Revolution
- Their Morals and Ours
- Trotsky's Military Writings, Volume 3
- Trotsky's Military Writings, Volume 4
- Trotsky's Military Writings, Volume 5
- War and the International
- Ash heap of historyAsh heap of historyThe ash heap of history is a figurative place to where objects such as persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc...
- Fourth InternationalFourth InternationalThe Fourth International is the communist international organisation consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky , with the declared dedicated goal of helping the working class bring about socialism...
- Group of Democratic CentralismGroup of Democratic CentralismThe Group of Democratic Centralism, sometimes called the Group of 15, the Decists, or the Decemists, was a dissenting faction within the Soviet Communist Party in the early 1920s.The Group was formed in March 1919 at the 8th Party Congress...
- History of RussiaHistory of RussiaThe history of Russia begins with that of the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The state of Garðaríki , which was centered in Novgorod and included the entire areas inhabited by Ilmen Slavs, Veps and Votes, was established by the Varangian chieftain Rurik in 862...
, a series of articles.
- Labor armyLabor armyThe notion of the Labor army was introduced in Soviet Russia during 1920. Initially the term was applied to regiments of Red Army transferred from military activity to labor activity, such as logging, coal mining, firewood stocking, etc.-Russian Civil War:The first labor army was created after...
- List of Trotskyist internationals
- MarxismMarxismMarxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...
- My LifeMy Life (Leon Trotsky autobiography)My Life - An attempt at an autobiography is the name of the Russian revolutionary Communist leader Leon Trotsky's autobiography. The book was first published in 1930 and was written in the first year of Trotsky's exile in Turkey...
, Trotsky's autobiography.
- StalinismStalinismStalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...
- TrotskyismTrotskyismTrotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...
- Variations on the Death of TrotskyVariations on the Death of TrotskyVariations on the Death of Trotsky is a short one-act comedy written by David Ives for All in the Timing. The play fictionalizes the death of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky at different moments, though all from the same, historically accurate cause: a wound to the head by an ice...
- Vladimir LeninVladimir LeninVladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...
- Trotsky in Havana by Dimitri Prieto from Havana Times
- 65 years since Trotsky's Death an essay by Rob Sewell
- FBI records relating to Trotsky's murder
- 'Ice-pick that killed Trotsky' found in Mexico which is stained with his blood
- Dossier on Trotsky, International ViewpointInternational ViewpointInternational Viewpoint is the English-language edition of the monthly magazine of the reunified Fourth International. It focuses on translating articles into English written by socialists in other languages. Its ISSN is 0294-2925....
- January 2006 images of Trotsky House, Mexico City
- Lenin and Trotsky— What they Really Stood For by Alan Woods and Ted GrantTed GrantEdward "Ted" Grant , 9 July 1913 in Germiston, South Africa – 20 July 2006 in London) was a South African Trotskyist who spent most of his adult life in Britain...
- On anniversary of murder, museum for Trotsky proves to be tourist draw by Larry Luxner of the Jewish Telegraphic AgencyJewish Telegraphic AgencyThe Jewish Telegraphic Agency is an international news agency serving Jewish community newspapers and media around the world. The JTA was founded on February 6, 1917, by Jacob Landau as the Jewish Correspondence Bureau in The Hague with the mandate of collecting and disseminating news among and...
, published 23 August 2005
- The Contradiction of Trotsky by Claude LefortClaude LefortClaude Lefort was a French philosopher and activist.He was politically active by 1942 under the influence of his tutor, the phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty...
- The Leon Trotsky Internet Archive at Marxists.org (under GNU Free Documentation License)
- The Lubitz TrotskyanaNet, dealing with Leon Trotsky, Trotskyism and Trotskyists
- In The Service of Historical Falsification: A Review of Robert Service's Trotsky
- Historians in the Service of the “Big Lie”: An Examination of Professor Robert Service’s Biography of Trotsky
- http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/oct2008/prog-o21.shtml Leon Trotsky—The Transitional Program—1938
- http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/dec2008/aaas-d01.shtml Leon Trotsky, Soviet Historiography, and the Fate of Classical Marxism
- http://fora.tv/2009/07/28/Uncommon_Knowledge_Christopher_Hitchens__Robert_Service Uncommon Knowledge Interview with Christopher HitchensChristopher HitchensChristopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...
and Robert ServiceRobert Service (historian)Robert John Service is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of Soviet Russia, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalin's death...
on Leon Trotsky