Leon Trotsky
Overview
 
Leon Trotsky born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

.

Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, 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.
Quotations

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!

"On Optimism and Pessimism, on the Twentieth Century, and on Many Other Things" (1901), as quoted in The Prophet Armed : Trotsky, 1879-1921 (2003) by Isaac Deutscher , p. 45

Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one's enemies.

Literature and Revolution (1924)

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...

"Resolution on the Antiwar Congress of the London Bureau" (July 1936)

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.

"Resolution on the Antiwar Congress of the London Bureau" (July 1936)

A sledgehammer breaks glass but forges steel.

"We do not change our course" (1938)

As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the "sacredness of human life."

As quoted in Terrorism and Communism : A Reply to Karl Kautsky (1975), p. 82

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...

As quoted in Terrorism and Communism : A Reply to Karl Kautsky (1975), p. 177

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.

Quoted in Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Armed (1963), ch. 3

Encyclopedia
Leon Trotsky born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

.

Trotsky was initially a supporter of the Menshevik Internationalists faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

. He joined the Bolsheviks immediately prior to the 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, 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
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 (1918–20). He was also among the first members of the Politburo.

After leading a failed struggle of the Left Opposition
Left Opposition
The Left Opposition was a faction within the Bolshevik Party from 1923 to 1927, headed de facto by Leon Trotsky. The Left Opposition formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin's illness and intensified with his death in January...

 against the policies and rise of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 in the 1920s and the increasing role of bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, Trotsky was successively removed from power, expelled from the Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

, 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
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 in the late 1930s.

As the head of the Fourth International
Fourth International
The 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...

, Trotsky continued in exile to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

 in the Soviet Union, and was eventually assassinated in Mexico, by Ramón Mercader
Ramón Mercader
Jaime Ramón Mercader del Río Hernández was a Spanish communist who became famous as the murderer of Russian Communist ideologist Leon Trotsky in 1940, in Mexico...

, a Soviet agent. Trotsky's ideas thus form the basis of Trotskyism
Trotskyism
Trotskyism 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...

, a major school of Marxist thought that is opposed to the theories of Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism 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...

. He was one of the few Soviet political figures who was never rehabilitated
Rehabilitation (Soviet)
Rehabilitation in the context of the former Soviet Union, and the Post-Soviet states, was the restoration of a person who was criminally prosecuted without due basis, to the state of acquittal...

 by the government of Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

.

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
Kherson Governorate
The Kherson Governorate or Government of Kherson was a guberniya, or administrative territorial unit, in the Southern Ukrainian region, between the Dnieper and Dniester Rivers, of the Russian Empire. It was one of three governorates created in 1802 when the Novorossiya guberniya was abolished...

 guberniya
Guberniya
A guberniya was a major administrative subdivision of the Russian Empire usually translated as government, governorate, or province. Such administrative division was preserved for sometime upon the collapse of the empire in 1917. A guberniya was ruled by a governor , a word borrowed from Latin ,...

 of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 (today's Bereslavka in the Bobrynets Raion
Bobrynetskyi Raion
Bobrynetskyi Raion is a raion of the Kirovohrad Oblast in central Ukraine. It covers an area of 1496 square kilometres and as of 2003 has a population of 31,531 people. The capital lies at Bobrynets. The raion was established in 1939....

, Kirovohrad Oblast
Kirovohrad Oblast
Kirovohrad Oblast is an oblast of Ukraine. The administrative center of the oblast is the city of Kirovohrad.-Geography:The area of the province is , its population is 1.1 million....

, 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
Ukrainian language
Ukrainian is a language of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages. It is the official state language of Ukraine. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic alphabet....

.
Trotsky's younger sister, Olga
Olga Kameneva
Olga Davidovna Kameneva was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician. She was the sister of Leon Trotsky and the first wife of Lev Kamenev.-Childhood and Revolutionary Career :...

, married Lev Kamenev
Lev Kamenev
Lev Borisovich Kamenev , born Rozenfeld , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. He was briefly head of state of the new republic in 1917, and from 1923-24 the acting Premier in the last year of Lenin's life....

, a leading Bolshevik.

When Trotsky was nine, his father sent him to Odessa
Odessa
Odessa or Odesa is the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast located in southern Ukraine. The city is a major seaport located on the northwest shore of the Black Sea and the fourth largest city in Ukraine with a population of 1,029,000 .The predecessor of Odessa, a small Tatar settlement,...

 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
Russification
Russification is an adoption of the Russian language or some other Russian attributes by non-Russian communities...

. As Isaac Deutscher
Isaac Deutscher
Isaac Deutscher was a Polish-born Jewish Marxist writer, journalist and political activist who moved to the United Kingdom at the outbreak of World War II. He is best known as a biographer of Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin and as a commentator on Soviet affairs...

 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
My 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...

that he was never perfectly fluent in any language but Russian and Ukrainian, Raymond Molinier
Raymond Molinier
Raymond Molinier was a leader of the Trotskyist movement in France and a pioneer of the Fourth International. In 1929 he founded the journal La Vérité, and in March 1936 he and Pierre Frank co-founded the Parti communiste internationaliste, which merged with two other groups to form the Parti...

 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
Mykolaiv
Mykolaiv , also known as Nikolayev , is a city in southern Ukraine, administrative center of the Mykolaiv Oblast. Mykolaiv is the main ship building center of the Black Sea, and, arguably, the whole Eastern Europe.-Name of city:...

). At first a narodnik
Narodnik
Narodniks was the name for Russian socially conscious members of the middle class in the 1860s and 1870s. Their ideas and actions were known as Narodnichestvo which can be translated as "Peopleism", though is more commonly rendered "populism"...

(revolutionary populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

), he was introduced to Marxism
Marxism
Marxism 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...

 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
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 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)
Aleksandra Sokolovskaya
Aleksandra Lvovna Sokolovskaya was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and Leon Trotsky's first wife. She perished in the Great Purges no earlier than 1938....

 (1872–1938). While serving his sentence he studied philosophy. In 1900 he was sentenced to four years in exile in Ust-Kut
Ust-Kut
Ust-Kut is a town in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia. Located on a western loop of the Lena River, it spreads out over along the left bank, near the point where the Kuta River joins from the west. The town's name means 'mouth of the river Kuta' in Russian, with the name Kuta coming from an Evenk word...

 and Verkholensk (see map) in the Irkutsk
Irkutsk
Irkutsk is a city and the administrative center of Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, one of the largest cities in Siberia. Population: .-History:In 1652, Ivan Pokhabov built a zimovye near the site of Irkutsk for gold trading and for the collection of fur taxes from the Buryats. In 1661, Yakov Pokhabov...

 region of Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, where his first two daughters, Zinaida Volkova
Zinaida Volkova
Zinaida Volkova was a Russian Marxist. She was Leon Trotsky's first daughter by his first wife, Aleksandra Sokolovskaya.- Biography :...

 (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
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

.

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
Iskra
Iskra was a political newspaper of Russian socialist emigrants established as the official organ of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. Initially, it was managed by Vladimir Lenin, moving as he moved. The first edition was published in Stuttgart on December 1, 1900. Other editions were...

, 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
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir 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...

, Julius Martov
Julius Martov
Julius Martov or L. Martov was born in Constantinople in 1873...

 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
Natalia Sedova
Natalia Ivanovna Sedova is best known as the second wife of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary. She was, however, also an active revolutionary in her own right and wrote on cultural matters pertaining to Marxism...

, 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
Sergei Sedov
Sergei Lvovich Sedov was Leon Trotsky's younger son by his second wife, Natalia Sedova, and an engineer. He was killed in the Great Purges.Sedov was a Moscow-based engineer who published works on thermodynamics and diesel engines...

 (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
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

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
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

s) argued for a smaller but highly organized party. Martov and his supporters (known as Menshevik
Menshevik
The Mensheviks were a faction of the Russian revolutionary movement that emerged in 1904 after a dispute between Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov, both members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The dispute originated at the Second Congress of that party, ostensibly over minor issues...

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
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

, which led to a close working relationship with Alexander Parvus
Alexander Parvus
Alexander Lvovich Parvus , born Israel Lazarevich Gelfand , was a Marxist theoretician, a Russian revolutionary, and a controversial activist in the Social Democratic Party of Germany...

 in 1904–1907.

1905 revolution and trial (1905–1906)

After the events of Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday (1905)
Bloody Sunday was a massacre on in St. Petersburg, Russia, where unarmed, peaceful demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were gunned down by the Imperial Guard while approaching the city center and the Winter Palace from several gathering points. The shooting did not...

, Trotsky secretly returned to Russia in February 1905. At first he wrote leaflets for an underground printing press in Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, but soon moved to the capital, Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, where he worked with both Bolsheviks, such as Central Committee member Leonid Krasin
Leonid Krasin
Leonid Borisovich Krasin July 1870, Kurgan – November 24, 1926) was a Russian and Soviet Bolshevik politician and diplomat.-Early years:Krasin was born in Kurgan, near Tobol'sk in Siberia. His father, Boris Ivanovich Krasin was the local chief of police...

, 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
Grand Duchy of Finland
The Grand Duchy of Finland was the predecessor state of modern Finland. It existed 1809–1917 as part of the Russian Empire and was ruled by the Russian czar as Grand Prince.- History :...

. 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
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 ("Council") of Workers. By the time of Trotsky's arrival, the St. Petersburg Soviet
St. Petersburg Soviet
St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Delegates was a workers' council, or soviet in St. Petersburg in 1905.-Origins:The idea of a Soviet as an organ to coordinate workers' strike activities arose during the January–February 1905 meetings of workers at the apartment of Voline during the abortive...

 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
5th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The 5th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was held in London between May 13 and June 1, 1907. The congress was the largest in attendance of the congresses of the unified RSDLP. Thirty-five session of the congress were held in the Brotherhood Church in Hackney, during which...

. In October, he moved to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 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
Adolph Joffe
Adolph Abramovich Joffe was a Communist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and a Soviet diplomat of Karaim descent.-Revolutionary career:...

, 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
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

("Truth"), which he co-edited with Joffe, Matvey Skobelev
Matvey Skobelev
-Trotsky's Disciple in Vienna :Skobelev was born in the family of a wealthy Baku oilman . He joined the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1903. After the Russian Revolution of 1905 he went abroad to study at a polytechnic in Vienna...

 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
Lev Kamenev
Lev Borisovich Kamenev , born Rozenfeld , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. He was briefly head of state of the new republic in 1917, and from 1923-24 the acting Premier in the last year of Lenin's life....

, 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
Nikolay Chkheidze
Nikoloz Chkheidze was a Georgian Menshevik politician who helped to introduce Marxism to Georgia in the 1890s and played a prominent role in the Russian and Georgian revolutions of 1917 and 1918....

, 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
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 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
Balkan Wars
The Balkan Wars were two conflicts that took place in the Balkans in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913.By the early 20th century, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia, the countries of the Balkan League, had achieved their independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large parts of their ethnic...

 for the next year and became a close friend of Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky was a Bulgarian socialist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and Soviet diplomat; he was also noted as a journalist, physician, and essayist...

, 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
Émigré
Émigré is a French term that literally refers to a person who has "migrated out", but often carries a connotation of politico-social self-exile....

.

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
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, 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 moved to France on 19 November 1914, as a war correspondent for the Kievskaya Mysl. In January 1915 he began editing (at first with Martov, who soon resigned as the paper moved to the left) Nashe Slovo ("Our Word"), an internationalist socialist newspaper, in Paris. He adopted the slogan of "peace without indemnities or annexations, peace without conquerors or conquered", which didn't go quite as far as Lenin, who advocated Russia's defeat in the war and demanded a complete break with the Second International
Second International
The Second International , the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated...

.

Trotsky attended the Zimmerwald Conference
Zimmerwald Conference
The Zimmerwald Conference was held in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, from September 5 through September 8, 1915. It was an international socialist conference, which saw the beginning of the end of the coalition between revolutionary socialists and reformist socialists in the Second International.-...

 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
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

. In New York City he wrote articles for the local Russian language
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 socialist newspaper Novy Mir
Novy Mir (1916 magazine)
Novy Mir was a magazine published by Russian social democratic émigrés in New York City in 1916–1917 until their return to Russia after the February Revolution of 1917. It was edited by Nikolai Bukharin and Alexandra Kollontai, who were briefly joined by Leon Trotsky when he arrived in New York in...

and the Yiddish language daily Der Forverts (The Forward)
The Forward
The Forward , commonly known as The Jewish Daily Forward, is a Jewish-American newspaper published in New York City. The publication began in 1897 as a Yiddish-language daily issued by dissidents from the Socialist Labor Party of Daniel DeLeon...

 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
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 of 1917 overthrew Tsar Nicholas II
Nicholas II of Russia
Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland. His official short title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until...

. He left New York on 27 March but his ship, the SS Kristianiafjord
SS Kristianiafjord
SS Kristianiafjord was the first ship in the fleet of the Norwegian America Line, built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, UK. The name refers to the fjord leading in to the Norwegian capital Oslo, at the time called Kristiania. Launched from its shipyard on 23 November 1912, it was put into service...

, was intercepted by British naval
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 officials in Canada at Halifax, Nova Scotia and he spent a month detained at Amherst, Nova Scotia
Amherst, Nova Scotia
Amherst is a Canadian town in northwestern Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.Located at the northeast end of the Cumberland Basin, an arm of the Bay of Fundy, Amherst is strategically situated on the eastern boundary of the Tantramar Marshes 3 kilometres east of the interprovincial border with New...

. After initial hesitation, the Russian foreign minister Pavel Milyukov
Pavel Milyukov
Pavel Nikolayevich Milyukov , a Russian politician, was the founder, leader, and the most prominent member of the Constitutional Democratic party...

 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
Mezhraiontsy
Mezhraiontsy or Mezhraionka , usually translated as the interdistrictites , officially RSDRP , was a small Petrograd-based group within the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, which existed between 1913 and 1917...

, a regional social democratic organization in St. Petersburg, and became one of its leaders. At the First Congress of Soviets
Congress of Soviets
The Congress of Soviets was the supreme governing body of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and several other Soviet republics from 1917–36 and again from 1989-91. After the creation of the Soviet Union, the Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union functioned as its legislative branch...

 in June, he was elected a member of the first All-Russian Central Executive Committee
All-Russian Central Executive Committee
All-Russian Central Executive Committee , was the highest legislative, administrative, and revising body of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Although the All-Russian Congress of Soviets had supreme authority, in periods between its sessions its powers were passed to VTsIK...

 ("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
Kornilov Affair
The Kornilov Affair, or the Kornilov Putsch as it is sometimes referred to, was an attempted coup d'état by the then Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army, General Lavr Kornilov, in August 1917 against the Russian Provisional Government headed by Alexander Kerensky.-Background:Following the...

. After the Bolsheviks gained a majority in the Petrograd Soviet
Petrograd Soviet
The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies , usually called the Petrograd Soviet , was the soviet in Petrograd , Russia, established in March 1917 after the February Revolution as the representative body of the city's workers.The Petrograd Soviet became important during the Russian...

, Trotsky was elected Chairman on 8 October. He sided with Lenin against Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Zinoviev
Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev , born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky Apfelbaum , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician...

 and Lev Kamenev
Lev Kamenev
Lev Borisovich Kamenev , born Rozenfeld , was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. He was briefly head of state of the new republic in 1917, and from 1923-24 the acting Premier in the last year of Lenin's life....

 when the Bolshevik Central Committee discussed staging an armed uprising and he led the efforts to overthrow the Provisional Government headed by Aleksandr Kerensky.

The following summary of Trotsky's role in 1917 was written by Stalin in Pravda, 10 November 1918. (Although this passage was quoted in Stalin's book "The October Revolution" issued in 1934, it was expunged in Stalin's Works released in 1949.)
After the success of the uprising on 7–8 November, Trotsky led the efforts to repel a counter-attack
Kerensky-Krasnov uprising
Kerensky–Krasnov uprising was an attempt by Alexander Kerensky to regain power after the Bolsheviks overthrew his Provisional Government in Petrograd....

 by Cossacks under General Pyotr Krasnov
Pyotr Krasnov
Pyotr Nikolayevich Krasnov , 1869 – January 17, 1947), sometimes referred to in English as Peter Krasnov, was Lieutenant General of the Russian army when the revolution broke out in 1917, and one of the leaders of the counterrevolutionary White movement afterward.- Russian Army :Pyotr Krasnov...

 and other troops still loyal to the overthrown Provisional Government at Gatchina
Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...

. 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
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 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
Left communism
Left communism is the range of communist viewpoints held by the communist left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks at certain periods, from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views of Leninism held by the Communist International...

, led by Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

, 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
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 against Polish forces of Gen. Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki
Józef Dowbor-Musnicki
Józef Dowbor-Muśnicki was a Polish military officer and commander, serving with the Imperial Russian and then Polish armies...

 in Belarus, White
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 forces in the Don region, and newly independent Ukrainian
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 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
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

, 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.
Lenin, who had earlier hoped for a speedy Soviet revolution in Germany and other parts of Europe, quickly decided that the imperial government of Germany was still firmly in control and that, without a strong Russian military, an armed conflict with Germany would lead to a collapse of the Soviet government in Russia. He agreed with the Left Communists that ultimately a pan-European Soviet revolution would solve all problems, but until then the Bolsheviks had to stay in power. Lenin did not mind prolonging the negotiating process for maximum propaganda effect, but, from January 1918 on, advocated signing a separate peace treaty if faced with a German ultimatum. Trotsky's position was between these two Bolshevik factions. Like Lenin, he admitted that the old Russian military, inherited from the monarchy and the Provisional Government and in advanced stages of decomposition, was unable to fight:

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:

Throughout January and February 1918, Lenin's position was supported by 7 members of the Bolshevik Central Committee and Bukharin's by 4. Trotsky had 4 votes (his own, Felix Dzerzhinsky's, Nikolai Krestinsky
Nikolai Krestinsky
Nikolay Nikolayevich Krestinsky was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician.-Origins:Krestinsky was born in the town of Mogilev, in what is now Mahilyow Voblast of Belarus. According to Russian archivist A. B. Roginsky, Krestinsky was of ethnic Russian origin...

's and Adolph Joffe
Adolph Joffe
Adolph Abramovich Joffe was a Communist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and a Soviet diplomat of Karaim descent.-Revolutionary career:...

'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
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

 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
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1918, mediated by South African Andrik Fuller, at Brest-Litovsk between Russia and the Central Powers, headed by Germany, marking Russia's exit from World War I.While the treaty was practically obsolete before the end of the year,...

 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)

The failure of the recently formed Red Army to resist the German offensive in February 1918 revealed its weaknesses: insufficient numbers, lack of knowledgeable officers, and near absence of coordination and subordination. Celebrated and feared Baltic Fleet
Baltic Fleet
The Twice Red Banner Baltic Fleet - is the Russian Navy's presence in the Baltic Sea. In previous historical periods, it has been part of the navy of Imperial Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Fleet gained the 'Twice Red Banner' appellation during the Soviet period, indicating two awards of...

 sailors, one of the bastions of the new regime led by Pavel Dybenko
Pavel Dybenko
Pavel Efimovich Dybenko was a Russian revolutionary and a leading Soviet officer.- Until the military service :...

, shamefully fled from the German army at Narva
Narva
Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, by the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.-Early history:...

. The notion that the Soviet state could have an effective voluntary or militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 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
Revolutionary Military Council
Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic or Revvoyensoviet Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic or Revvoyensoviet Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic or Revvoyensoviet (Революционный Военный Совет, Revolyutsionny Voyenny Sovyet; Реввоенсовет, Revvoyensovyet; also...

, headed by former chief of the imperial General Staff Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich
Mikhail Bonch-Bruevich
Mikhail Dmitriyevich Bonch-Bruyevich was an Imperial Russian and Soviet military commander, Lieutenant General .From 1892-1895, Bonch-Bruyevich served as an officer with the Lithuanian Guards Regiment, posted at Warsaw.-First World War:...

. But the entire Bolshevik leadership of the Red Army, including People's Commissar (defense minister) Nikolai Podvoisky
Nikolai Podvoisky
Nikolai Ilyich Podvoisky was a Russian revolutionary. He played a large role in the Russian Revolution of 1917 and wrote many articles for the Soviet newspaper Krasnaya Gazeta...

 and commander-in-chief Nikolai Krylenko
Nikolai Krylenko
Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician. Krylenko served in a variety of posts in the Soviet legal system, rising to become People's Commissar for Justice and Prosecutor General of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.Krylenko was an...

, 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
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

 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
Ephraim Sklyansky
Ephraim Markovich Sklyansky was a Soviet statesman. He joined the Bolsheviks during his years as a student in the medical faculty of Kiev University, from which he graduated in 1916; he was immediately drafted into the army, where he served as a doctor and became prominent in the clandestine...

, 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.

1918

Trotsky's managerial and organization-building skills with the Soviet military were soon tested. In May–June 1918, the Czechoslovak Legions
Czechoslovak Legions
The Czechoslovak Legions were volunteer armed forces composed predominantly of Czechs and Slovaks fighting together with the Entente powers during World War I...

 en route from European Russia to Vladivostok
Vladivostok
The city is located in the southern extremity of Muravyov-Amursky Peninsula, which is about 30 km long and approximately 12 km wide.The highest point is Mount Kholodilnik, the height of which is 257 m...

 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
White movement
The White movement and its military arm the White Army - known as the White Guard or the Whites - was a loose confederation of Anti-Communist forces.The movement comprised one of the politico-military Russian forces who fought...

 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
Mobilization
Mobilization is the act of assembling and making both troops and supplies ready for war. The word mobilization was first used, in a military context, in order to describe the preparation of the Prussian army during the 1850s and 1860s. Mobilization theories and techniques have continuously changed...

, 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
Political commissar
The political commissar is the supervisory political officer responsible for the political education and organisation, and loyalty to the government of the military...

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
Latvian Riflemen
This article is about Latvian military formations in World War I and Russian Civil War. For Red Army military formations in World War II see Latvian Riflemen Soviet Divisions....

, 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
Revolutionary Military Council
Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic or Revvoyensoviet Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic or Revvoyensoviet Revolutionary Military Council of the Republic or Revvoyensoviet (Революционный Военный Совет, Revolyutsionny Voyenny Sovyet; Реввоенсовет, Revvoyensovyet; also...

 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
Yakov Sverdlov
Yakov Mikhaylovich Sverdlov ; known under pseudonyms "Andrei", "Mikhalych", "Max", "Smirnov", "Permyakov" — 16 March 1919) was a Bolshevik party leader and an official of the Russian Soviet Republic.-Early life:...

 tried to make Trotsky and Stalin reconcile, but their meeting was unsuccessful.

1919

Throughout 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
8th Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks)
The 8th Congress of the Russian Communist Party was held in Moscow 18 - 23 March, 1919.The Congress was attended by 301 voting delegates who represented 313,766 Party members...

 in March 1919. On the surface, he weathered them successfully and was elected one of only five full members of the first Politburo
Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

 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
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

 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
Ivar Smilga
Ivar Tenisovich Smilga , was a Bolshevik revolutionary leader in, and member of the Left Opposition in the Soviet Union.Ivar was born around Valmiera in the Governorate of Livonia , as the son of a forester killed by Russian Government troops in 1906 during the last stage of the Russian...

, Mikhail Lashevich
Mikhail Lashevich
Mikhail Mikhailovich Lashevich , also known under the name Gaskovich, was a Soviet military and party leader, and member of Bolshevik RSDLP since 1901.After the October Revolution he held various higher military, party and governmental posts....

 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
Orgburo
The Orgburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union existed from 1919–52, until the 19th Congress, when the Orgburo was abolished and its functions were transferred to the enlarged Secretariat....

 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
Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 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
Battle of Warsaw (1920)
The Battle of Warsaw sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula, was the decisive battle of the Polish–Soviet War. That war began soon after the end of World War I in 1918 and lasted until the Treaty of Riga resulted in the end of the hostilities between Poland and Russia in 1921.The...

, 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
Tula, Russia
Tula is an industrial city and the administrative center of Tula Oblast, Russia. It is located south of Moscow, on the Upa River. Population: -History:...

 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
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 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
Order of the Red Banner
The Soviet government of Russia established the Order of the Red Banner , a military decoration, on September 16, 1918 during the Russian Civil War...

 for his actions in Petrograd.

1920

With 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
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

, 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
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

.

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
Battle of Warsaw (1920)
The Battle of Warsaw sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula, was the decisive battle of the Polish–Soviet War. That war began soon after the end of World War I in 1918 and lasted until the Treaty of Riga resulted in the end of the hostilities between Poland and Russia in 1921.The...

 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)

In late 1920, after the Bolsheviks won the Civil War and before the Eighth and Ninth Congress of Soviets, the Communist Party had a heated and increasingly acrimonious debate over the role of trade unions in the Soviet state. The discussion split the party into many "platforms" (factions), including Lenin's, Trotsky's and Bukharin's; Bukharin eventually merged his with Trotsky's. Smaller, more radical factions like the Workers' Opposition
Workers' Opposition
The Workers' Opposition was a faction of the Russian Communist Party that emerged in 1920 as a response to the perceived over-bureaucratisation that was occurring in Soviet Russia.-Membership:...

 (headed by Alexander Shlyapnikov
Alexander Shlyapnikov
Alexander Gavrilovich Shliapnikov was a Russian communist revolutionary, metalworker, and trade union leader. He is best remembered as a memoirist of the October Revolution of 1917 and as the leader of one of the primary opposition movements inside the Russian Communist Party during the decade of...

) and the Group of Democratic Centralism
Group of Democratic Centralism
The 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...

 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
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

. 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
Kronstadt rebellion
The Kronstadt rebellion was one of many major unsuccessful left-wing uprisings against the Bolsheviks in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War...

, the last major revolt against Bolshevik rule.

Years later, anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century....

 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
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the title given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. With some exceptions, the office was synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union...

 earlier in the year), Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev formed a troika
Troika (triumvirate)
Troika is a committee consisting of three members. The origin of "troika" comes from the term in Russian used to describe three-horse harnessed carriage, or more often, horse-drawn sledge.- Communist states :...

(triumvirate) to ensure that Trotsky, publicly the number two man in the country and Lenin's heir presumptive
Heir Presumptive
An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir or heiress apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question...

, would not succeed Lenin.

The rest of the recently expanded Politburo (Rykov, Mikhail Tomsky
Mikhail Tomsky
Mikhail Pavlovich Tomsky was a factory worker, trade unionist and Bolshevik leader. He was the Soviet leader of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions.Tomsky attempted to form a trade union at his factory in St...

, 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
Lenin's Testament
Lenin's Testament is the name given to a document written by Vladimir Lenin in the last weeks of 1922 and the first week of 1923. In the testament, Lenin proposed changes to the structure of the Soviet governing bodies...

. 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
Chauvinism
Chauvinism, in its original and primary meaning, is an exaggerated, bellicose patriotism and a belief in national superiority and glory. It is an eponym of a possibly fictional French soldier Nicolas Chauvin who was credited with many superhuman feats in the Napoleonic wars.By extension it has come...

 handling of the issue of merging Soviet republics into one federal state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (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
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 Communist Party (the so-called Georgian Affair
Georgian Affair
The Georgian Affair of 1922 was a political conflict within the Soviet leadership about the way in which social and political transformation was to be achieved in the Georgian SSR...

) 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
Standing ovation
A standing ovation is a form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding after extraordinary performances of particularly high acclaim...

, which couldn't help but upset the troika. The troika was further infuriated by Karl Radek
Karl Radek
Karl Bernhardovic Radek was a socialist active in the Polish and German movements before World War I and an international Communist leader after the Russian Revolution....

's article Leon Trotsky – Organizer of Victory published in Pravda
Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

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
Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky was a Bulgarian socialist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and Soviet diplomat; he was also noted as a journalist, physician, and essayist...

 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
The Declaration of 46
The Declaration of 46 was a secret letter sent by a group of 46 leading Soviet communists to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party on 15 October 1923...

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
Left Opposition
The Left Opposition was a faction within the Bolshevik Party from 1923 to 1927, headed de facto by Leon Trotsky. The Left Opposition formed as part of the power struggle within the party leadership that began with the Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin's illness and intensified with his death in January...

.

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
Mikhail Frunze
Mikhail Vasilyevich Frunze was a Bolshevik leader during and just prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917.-Life and Political Activity:Frunze was born in Bishkek, then a small Imperial Russian garrison town in the Kyrgyz part of Turkestan, to a Moldovan medical practitioner and his Russian wife...

, 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
Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin in 1924, elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925 and finally adopted as state policy by Stalin...

'. 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
Max Eastman
Max 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...

 in his book Since Lenin Died (1925). The Soviet leadership denounced Eastman's account and used party discipline
Party discipline
Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over its legislature...

 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
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

'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
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 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
Shanghai massacre of 1927
The April 12 Incident of 1927 refers to the violent suppression of Chinese Communist Party organizations in Shanghai by the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek and conservative factions in the Kuomintang...

 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.
Trotsky was exiled to Alma Ata
Almaty
Almaty , also known by its former names Verny and Alma-Ata , is the former capital of Kazakhstan and the nation's largest city, with a population of 1,348,500...

 in Kazakhstan on 31 January 1928. He was expelled from the Soviet Union to Turkey in February 1929, accompanied by his wife Natalia Sedova
Natalia Sedova
Natalia Ivanovna Sedova is best known as the second wife of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary. She was, however, also an active revolutionary in her own right and wrote on cultural matters pertaining to Marxism...

 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
Christian Rakovsky
Christian Rakovsky was a Bulgarian socialist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and Soviet diplomat; he was also noted as a journalist, physician, and essayist...

, 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
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

s just a few years later.

Exile (1929–1940)

Trotsky was deported from the Soviet Union in February 1929. His first station in exile was at Büyükada
Büyükada
Büyükada is the largest of the nine so-called Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, with an area of about two square miles...

 off the coast of Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, 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
Édouard Daladier
Édouard Daladier was a French Radical politician and the Prime Minister of France at the start of the Second World War.-Career:Daladier was born in Carpentras, Vaucluse. Later, he would become known to many as "the bull of Vaucluse" because of his thick neck and large shoulders and determined...

. He stayed first at Royan
Royan
Royan is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department, along the Atlantic Ocean, in southwestern France.A seaside resort, Royan is in the heart of an urban area estimated at 38,638 inhabitants, which makes it the fourth-largest conurbation in the department, after La Rochelle, Rochefort and Saintes...

, then at Barbizon
Barbizon
Barbizon is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in north-central France. It is located near the Fontainebleau Forest.-Art history:The Barbizon school of painters is named after the village; Théodore Rousseau and Jean-François Millet, leaders of the school, made their homes and died in the...

. 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
Trygve Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian Foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United...

 to enter the country, Trotsky became a guest of Konrad Knudsen
Konrad Knudsen
Konrad Gustav Knudsen was a Norwegian painter, journalist, and parliamentarian. Known for inviting Leon Trotsky to seek asylum in Norway....

 near Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

. 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
Lázaro Cárdenas
Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940.-Early life:Lázaro Cárdenas was born on May 21, 1895 in a lower-middle class family in the village of Jiquilpan, Michoacán. He supported his family from age 16 after the death of his father...

 welcomed him warmly, even arranging for a special train to bring him to Mexico City from the port of Tampico
Tampico
Tampico is a city and port in the state of Tamaulipas, in the country of Mexico. It is located in the southeastern part of the state, directly north across the border from Veracruz. Tampico is the third largest city in Tamaulipas, and counts with a population of 309,003. The Metropolitan area of...

.

Trotsky lived in the Coyoacán
Coyoacán
Coyoacán refers to one of the sixteen boroughs of the Federal District of Mexico City as well as the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes,” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore...

 area of Mexico City at the home (The Blue House) of the painter Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego 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 Rivera's wife and fellow painter, Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....

 (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
History of the Russian Revolution
The History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky is a 3 volume book on the Russian Revolution of 1917, first published in 1932, translated into English by Max Eastman...

(1930) and The Revolution Betrayed
The Revolution Betrayed
The Revolution Betrayed: What Is the Soviet Union and Where Is It Going? is a book by the Russian Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky, published in 1937, analyzing and criticizing Stalinism and the post-Lenin development in the Soviet Union....

(1936), a critique of the Soviet Union under Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism 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...

. Trotsky argued that the Soviet state had become a “degenerated workers' state
Degenerated workers' state
In Trotskyist political theory the term degenerated workers' state has been used since the 1930s to describe the state of the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power in or about 1924...

” controlled by an undemocratic bureaucracy, which would eventually either be overthrown via a political revolution
Political revolution
A political revolution, in the Trotskyist theory, is an upheaval in which the government is replaced, or the form of government altered, but in which property relations are predominantly left intact...

 establishing workers' democracy, or degenerate into a capitalist class.

While in Mexico, Trotsky also worked closely with James P. Cannon
James P. Cannon
James Patrick "Jim" Cannon was an American Trotskyist and a leader of the Socialist Workers Party.Born on February 11, 1890 in Rosedale, Kansas, he joined the Socialist Party of America in 1908 and the Industrial Workers of the World in 1911...

, Joseph Hansen
Joseph Hansen (socialist)
Joseph Leroy Hansen , was an American Trotskyist and leading figure in the Socialist Workers Party.Born in Richfield, Utah, Joseph Hansen was the oldest of 15 children in a poor working class family, and he was the only one of them who could attend college. His father, Conrad J. Z...

, and Farrell Dobbs
Farrell Dobbs
Farrell Dobbs was an American Trotskyist and trade unionist.He was born in Queen City, Missouri where his father was a worker in a coal mine. They moved to Minneapolis, and he graduated from North High School in 1925. In 1926, he left for North Dakota to find work, but returned the following fall...

 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
Stalinism
Stalinism 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...

 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
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

. Among his other supporters was Chen Duxiu
Chen Duxiu
Chen Duxiu played many different roles in Chinese history. He was a leading figure in the anti-imperial Xinhai Revolution and the May Fourth Movement for Science and Democracy. Along with Li Dazhao, Chen was a co-founder of the Chinese Communist Party in 1921. He was its first General Secretary....

, founder of the Chinese Communist Party
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

.

Moscow show trials

In August 1936, the first Moscow show trial
Moscow Trials
The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials conducted in the Soviet Union and orchestrated by Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge of the 1930s. The victims included most of the surviving Old Bolsheviks, as well as the leadership of the Soviet secret police...

 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
In absentia
In absentia is Latin for "in the absence". In legal use, it usually means a trial at which the defendant is not physically present. The phrase is not ordinarily a mere observation, but suggests recognition of violation to a defendant's right to be present in court proceedings in a criminal trial.In...

. The second show trial of Karl Radek
Karl Radek
Karl Bernhardovic Radek was a socialist active in the Polish and German movements before World War I and an international Communist leader after the Russian Revolution....

, 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"
Dewey Commission
The Dewey Commission was initiated in March 1937 by the "American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky." It was named after its Chairman, John Dewey...

 into the charges made against Trotsky and others at the "Moscow Trials" was held in Coyoacán, with John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

 as chairman. The findings were published in the book Not Guilty.

Fourth International

At first Trotsky was opposed to the idea of establishing parallel Communist parties or a parallel international Communist organization that would compete with the Third International for fear of splitting the Communist movement. However, he changed his mind in mid-1933 after the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 takeover in Germany and the Comintern's response to it, when he proclaimed that:

In 1938, Trotsky and his supporters founded the Fourth International
Fourth International
The 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...

, which was intended to be a revolutionary and internationalist alternative to the Stalinist Comintern.

Dies Committee

Towards the end of 1939 Trotsky agreed to go to the United States to appear as a witness before the Dies
Martin Dies, Jr.
Martin Dies, Jr. was a Texas politician and a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. His father, Martin Dies, was also a member of the United States House of Representatives.-Biography:...

 Committee of the House of Representatives, a forerunner of the House Un-American Activities Committee
House Un-American Activities Committee
The House Committee on Un-American Activities or House Un-American Activities Committee was an investigative committee of the United States House of Representatives. In 1969, the House changed the committee's name to "House Committee on Internal Security"...

. Representative Martin Dies
Martin Dies, Jr.
Martin Dies, Jr. was a Texas politician and a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. His father, Martin Dies, was also a member of the United States House of Representatives.-Biography:...

, chairman of the committee, demanded the suppression of the American Communist Party
Communist Party USA
The Communist Party USA is a Marxist political party in the United States, established in 1919. It has a long, complex history that is closely related to the histories of similar communist parties worldwide and the U.S. labor movement....

. Trotsky intended to use the forum to expose the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

'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
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

.

Final months

After quarreling with Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego 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...

, Trotsky moved to his final residence on Avenida Viena. He was ill, suffering from high blood pressure
Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a cardiac chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. What that means is that the heart is having to work harder than it should to pump the blood around the body. Blood pressure involves two measurements, systolic and...

, 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
Natalia Sedova
Natalia Ivanovna Sedova is best known as the second wife of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary. She was, however, also an active revolutionary in her own right and wrote on cultural matters pertaining to Marxism...

, for their loyal support:

Assassination

On 24 May 1940, Trotsky survived a raid on his home by Stalinist assassins led by GPU
State Political Directorate
The State Political Directorate was the secret police of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the Soviet Union from 1922 until 1934...

 agent Iosif Grigulevich
Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich
Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich was one of the most remarkable Soviet illegal operatives during the 1930s and 1940s, when he took a leading role in assassinating leftists who were not loyal to Joseph Stalin. Under a false identity as Teodoro B...

, Mexican painter and Stalinist David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

, and Vittorio Vidale. In this attack a young assistant and bodyguard of Trotsky, Robert Sheldon Harte
Robert Sheldon Harte
Robert Sheldon Harte was an American Communist who worked as one of Leon Trotsky’s assistants and bodyguards in Coyoacán, Mexico...

, was abducted and later murdered.

On 20 August 1940, Trotsky was attacked in his home in Mexico
Leon Trotsky Museum, Mexico City
The Leon Trotsky House Museum is a museum honoring Leon Trotsky and an organization that works to promote political asylum, located in the Coyoacán borough of Mexico City. The center of the complex is the house in which Trotsky lived with his wife from 1939 to 1940, and where the Russian dissident...

 with an ice axe
Ice axe
An ice axe, is a multi-purpose ice and snow tool used by mountaineers both in the ascent and descent of routes which involve frozen conditions. It can be held and employed in a number of different ways, depending on the terrain encountered...

 by undercover NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 agent Ramón Mercader
Ramón Mercader
Jaime Ramón Mercader del Río Hernández was a Spanish communist who became famous as the murderer of Russian Communist ideologist Leon Trotsky in 1940, in Mexico...

. 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
James P. Cannon
James Patrick "Jim" Cannon was an American Trotskyist and a leader of the Socialist Workers Party.Born on February 11, 1890 in Rosedale, Kansas, he joined the Socialist Party of America in 1908 and the Industrial Workers of the World in 1911...

, the secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (USA)
Socialist Workers Party (United States)
The Socialist Workers Party is a far-left political organization in the United States. The group places a priority on "solidarity work" to aid strikes and is strongly supportive of Cuba...

, Trotsky's last words were "I will not survive this attack. Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 has finally accomplished the task he attempted unsuccessfully before."

Epilogue

Trotsky's house in Coyoacán
Coyoacán
Coyoacán refers to one of the sixteen boroughs of the Federal District of Mexico City as well as the former village which is now the borough’s “historic center.” The name comes from Nahuatl and most likely means “place of coyotes,” when the Aztecs named a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore...

 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
Carlos Ramirez Sandoval
Carlos Ramirez Sandoval was born in Morelia in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. He studied at the National Autonomous University of Mexico as well as the San Carlos Academy . He later obtained his Ph.D from the University of Paris...

. 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
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

-era rehabilitation of most other Old Bolshevik
Old Bolshevik
Old Bolshevik , also Old Bolshevik Guard or Old Party Guard, was an unofficial designation for those who were members of the Bolshevik party before the Russian Revolution of 1917, many of whom were either tried and executed by the NKVD during Stalin era purges or died under suspicious...

s killed during the Great Purges. In 1987, under President Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, Trotsky was referred to as "a hero and martyr". His son, Sergei Sedov
Sergei Sedov
Sergei Lvovich Sedov was Leon Trotsky's younger son by his second wife, Natalia Sedova, and an engineer. He was killed in the Great Purges.Sedov was a Moscow-based engineer who published works on thermodynamics and diesel engines...

, killed in 1937, was rehabilitated in 1988, as was Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Bukharin
Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin , was a Russian Marxist, Bolshevik revolutionary, and Soviet politician. He was a member of the Politburo and Central Committee , chairman of the Communist International , and the editor in chief of Pravda , the journal Bolshevik , Izvestia , and the Great Soviet...

. 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
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, is an active promoter of his grandfather. Trotsky's great-granddaughter, Mexican-born Nora Volkow
Nora Volkow
Nora Volkow is director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse . She is the great-granddaughter of Russian revolutionary leader and Head of the Fourth International, Leon Trotsky. Her father was the son of Leon Trotsky’s elder daughter.Born in Mexico City, Volkow and her three sisters grew up...

 (daughter of Esteban Volkov), is currently head of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a United States federal-government research institute whose mission is to "lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction."-History:...

.

Contributions to theory

Trotsky considered himself a "Bolshevik-Leninist", arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party
Vanguard party
A vanguard party is a political party at the forefront of a mass action, movement, or revolution. The idea of a vanguard party has its origins in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

. He considered himself an advocate of orthodox Marxism. His politics differed in many respects from those of Stalin or Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, most importantly in his rejection of the theory of Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country
Socialism in One Country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin in 1924, elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925 and finally adopted as state policy by Stalin...

 and his declaring the need for an international "permanent revolution
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

". Numerous Fourth International
Fourth International
The 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...

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
Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is a political system where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible...

, advocating political revolution
Political revolution
A political revolution, in the Trotskyist theory, is an upheaval in which the government is replaced, or the form of government altered, but in which property relations are predominantly left intact...

, arguing that socialism cannot sustain itself without democracy.

Permanent Revolution

Permanent 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
Karl Marx
Karl 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...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

 in March 1850, in the aftermath of the 1848 Revolution, in their Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League
Communist League
The Communist League was the first Marxist international organization. It was founded originally as the League of the Just by German workers in Paris in 1834. This was initially a utopian socialist and Christian communist group devoted to the ideas of Gracchus Babeuf...

:
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
Alexander Parvus
Alexander Lvovich Parvus , born Israel Lazarevich Gelfand , was a Marxist theoretician, a Russian revolutionary, and a controversial activist in the Social Democratic Party of Germany...

 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
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 (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 Front

Trotsky was a central figure in the Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 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
United front
The united front is a form of struggle that may be pursued by revolutionaries. The basic theory of the united front tactic was first developed by the Comintern, an international communist organisation created by revolutionaries in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.According to the theses of...

, 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 Kahlo
    Frida Kahlo
    Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican painter, born in Coyoacán, and perhaps best known for her self-portraits....

    , Diego Rivera
    Diego Rivera
    Diego 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 Breton
    André Breton
    André 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 Surrealism
    Surrealism
    Surrealism 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 Rivera
    Diego Rivera
    Diego 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 Kahlo
    Frida Kahlo
    Frida 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 Crossroads
    Man at the Crossroads
    Man 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 Universe
    Man, Controller of the Universe
    Man, 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...

    (1934).
  • In 1969 German playwright Peter Weiss
    Peter Weiss
    Peter 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 Trotsky
    The Assassination of Trotsky
    The 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 Losey
    Joseph Losey
    Joseph 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 Burton
    Richard Burton
    Richard 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 Trotsky
    Variations on the Death of Trotsky
    Variations 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 Ives
    David Ives
    David 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 Frida
    Frida
    Frida 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 Rush
    Geoffrey Rush
    Geoffrey 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 Heroes
    No 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 Stranglers
    The Stranglers
    The 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 Snowball
    Snowball (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 Goldstein
    Emmanuel Goldstein
    Emmanuel 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 Orwell
    George Orwell
    Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

    's novels, Animal Farm
    Animal Farm
    Animal 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-Four
    Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Nineteen 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's
    Roberto Bolaño
    Roberto 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 Detectives
    The Savage Detectives
    The 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 Bolt
    Robert Bolt
    Robert 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 Revolution
    State of Revolution
    State 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 album
    Concept album
    In 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 Revolution
    Permanent 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 Kingsolver
    Barbara Kingsolver
    Barbara 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 Trotsky
    The Trotsky
    The 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 Baruchel
    Jay Baruchel
    Jonathan 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 Reloaded
    Marx Reloaded
    Marx 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 Marx
    Karl Marx
    Karl 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 fiction
    Science fiction film
    Science 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 film
    Action film
    Action 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 Matrix
    The Matrix
    The 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 Žižek
    Slavoj Žižek
    Slavoj 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 Entertainment
    The End of the World News: An Entertainment
    The 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 Burgess
    Anthony Burgess
    John 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 libretto
    Libretto
    A 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-Broadway
    Off-Broadway
    Off-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...

     musical.
  • He was portrayed by Brian Cox in the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra
    Nicholas and Alexandra
    Nicholas 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 Python
    Monty Python
    Monty 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 Kitt
    Eartha Kitt
    Eartha 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...

     simultaneously.
  • Trotsky's arrival in France, and his departure, punctuate the main plot of the 1974 French film Stavisky
    Stavisky
    Stavisky... 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...

    .

Selected works


See also

  • Ash heap of history
    Ash heap of history
    The ash heap of history is a figurative place to where objects such as persons, events, artifacts, ideologies, etc...

  • Bolsheviks
  • Fourth International
    Fourth International
    The 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 Centralism
    Group of Democratic Centralism
    The 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 Russia
    History of Russia
    The 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 army
    Labor army
    The 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
  • Marxism
    Marxism
    Marxism 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 Life
    My 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.
  • Stalinism
    Stalinism
    Stalinism 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...

  • Trotskyism
    Trotskyism
    Trotskyism 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 Trotsky
    Variations on the Death of Trotsky
    Variations 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 Lenin
    Vladimir Lenin
    Vladimir 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...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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