The previous month, Lenin had appointed Stalin to the new post of Central Committee General Secretary. Some historians believe if he had not subordinated himself to Lenin during the Bolshevik Revolution, the history of the Soviet Union might have been very different. His father, David Leontyevich, had lived in Poltava, and later moved to Bereslavka, as it had a large Jewish commu… "use strict";(function(){var insertion=document.getElementById("citation-access-date");var date=new Date().toLocaleDateString(undefined,{month:"long",day:"numeric",year:"numeric"});insertion.parentElement.replaceChild(document.createTextNode(date),insertion)})(); Subscribe to the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives. Ramon Mercader, an undercover agent for the Soviet Union's secret police, attacked Trotsky with a mountaineering ice ax, puncturing his skull. Francisco Madero was a reformist politician who successfully removed dictator Porfirio Diaz from office in Mexico. Attacks on Trotsky did not cease. During the 1930s, Stalin conducted political purges and named Trotsky, in absentia, a major conspirator and enemy of the people. Leon Trotsky was born on 7 November 1879 in Ukraine. Provisional Government and Soviet Leadership. For most of his life Leon Trotsky was a “man without a country,” banished from one land to another. Although focusing his review on a discussion of what he interprets as the negative side to Trotsky's personality, Gray claims that Service's work is "scrupulously balanced". On August 20, 1940, Trotsky was sitting at his desk in his study in Mexico City. He was held there for a month, before the Russian provisional government demanded his release. He disapproved of the provisional government because he felt it was ineffectual. https://www.biography.com/scholar/leon-trotsky. However, 10 years after the collapse of the Soviet government, in 2001, Trotsky's reputation was officially "rehabilitated" by the Russian government. While in prison, he met and married Alexandra Lvovna, a co- revolutionary who had also been sentenced to Siberia. Fourteen historians and sociologists signed a letter to the publishing house. In 1937, Trotsky moved to Mexico, eventually settling in Mexico City, where he continued to criticize Soviet leadership. As the Soviet government developed, he engaged in a power struggle against Joseph Stalin, which he lost, leading to his exile again and, eventually, his murder. It also didn't help that some members of the Soviet leadership, including Lenin, became involved in military strategy, redirecting the Red Army's efforts and countermanding some of Trotsky's orders. Leon Trotsky was a Russian politician, a Marxist revolutionary and the founder and the first leader of the Red Army. He was clearly positioned as the Soviet Union's number-two man, next to Lenin. In November 1917, the provisional government was overthrown and the Soviet Council of People's Commissars was formed, with Vladimir Lenin elected chairman. Leon Trotsky biography Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) was a Russian Marxist and leading figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Leon Trotsky. "[7], In contrast, Tariq Ali, socialist activist and a former Trotskyist still appreciating Trotsky,[8] produced a negative review of Service's book for The Guardian. At a meeting at the Tenth Party Congress in March 1921, the issue came to a head when several of Trotsky's supporters were replaced by Lenin's lieutenants. Coming after his previous biographies on Lenin and Stalin, Service claims that Trotsky is the "first full-length biography of Trotsky written by someone outside Russia who is not a Trotskyist" (xxi). Trotsky wanted to wait out the German government, in hopes that it would be defeated by the Allies or suffer internal insurrection. However, Stalin, contrary to his opponent, was a brilliant politician and political tactician, who was among the few who genuinely understood the consequences and means of political maneuvering in an environment in which appeals to the masses (where the other leaders were strong) had been systematically cut out of the equation by the means of the red-terror and prohibition of most means and vehicles of opposition that they had themselves promoted and embraced. Between 1925 and 1928, Trotsky was gradually pushed from power and influence by Stalin and his allies, who discredited Trotsky's role in the Russian Revolution and his military record. He was arrested within a year and spent two years in prison before being tried, convicted and sent to Siberia for a four-year sentence. One of his housekeepers in Mexico, a peasant woman urbanized, proletarianized, and radicalized by coming to the city, is as good at microfilming as at dusting. Albert Camus was a French Algerian writer best known for his absurdist works, including 'The Stranger' and 'The Plague.' Having converted to the Marxist revolutionary movement in early life, Trotsky (1879–1940) had been a member of the Bolshevik Party and a significant figure in the October Revolution of 1917 which brought the Bolsheviks to power in the Russian Empire. Talks began in January 1918, and Germany had a long list of demands for territory and reparations. The couple had two sons. During the winter of 1920-21, as the Soviet government moved from war to peace-time operations, an increasingly acrimonious debate grew over the role of trade unions. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev publicized Stalin's crimes, was a major player in the Cuban Missile Crisis and established a more open form of Communism in the USSR. During the early years of the Social Democratic Party, there were often disputes among the party's leadership over its form and strategy. In May 1940, on the outskirts of Mexico City, a detachment of Mexican Communists dressed as policemen attack the house of the former leader of the Russian revolution, Leon Trotsky. Trotsky's extraordinary life and extensive writings have left an indelible mark on revolutionary conscience, yet there was a danger that his name would disappear from history. The new prime minister, Alexander Kerensky, saw Trotsky as a major threat and had him arrested. In January 1907, Trotsky escaped prison and traveled to Europe, where he spent 10 years in exile in various cities, including Vienna, Zurich, Paris and New York, spending much of the time writing for Russian revolutionary journals, including Pravda, and advocating an anti-war policy. While there, he became enthralled with Marxism. She was murdered, along with her entire family, in 1918. Through comrades loyal to my person, I regularly read snippets of Trotsky's biography of me, entitled with appropriate simplicity: STALIN. Though not a significant post at the time, it gave Stalin control over all party-member appointments. Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein in Yanovka, Ukraine — in the Russian Empire — on November 7, 1879. Stalin then set out to assassinate Trotsky. By an incredible coincidence, Trotsky and his wife survive. Andrei Chikatilo was a former school teacher who murdered more than 50 young people in the Soviet Union. He was elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, a strong hold of dissent against the provisional government. After he arrived in Russia in May 1917, he quickly addressed some of the problems forming in post-revolutionary Russia. After the White Army surrendered, Trotsky was elected a member of the Communist Party central committee. Julius Martov advocated for a larger, more democratic organization of supporters. Nicolae Ceausescu was the leader of Communist Romania for more than two decades until his execution in 1989. In its struggle the working class has no … The mainstream British and American press was overwhelmingly positive, but reviews in peer-reviewed, academic journals were more critical, highlighting factual errors throughout the text. Deutscher was a disciple of Trotsky. In May, he suffered his first stroke and questions arose over who would succeed him. Apparently, that was not far enough for Stalin, so in February, 1929, Trotsky was banished entirely from the Soviet Union. The material here presented in article form is, perhaps, Leon Trotsky’s best contribution toward clarifying the differences between the views held by himself and those of Lenin in the period before 1917 on the historical character of the Russian Revolution. Overview. At his trial, he put on a spirited defense and increased his popularity among the party's elite. Leon Trotsky, byname of Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, (born November 7 [October 26, Old Style], 1879, Yanovka, Ukraine, Russian Empire—died August 21, 1940, Coyoacán, Mexico), communist theorist and agitator, a leader in Russia ’s October Revolution in 1917, and later commissar of foreign affairs and of war in the Soviet Union (1917–24). Patenaude, reviewing Service's book alongside a rebuttal by the Trotskyist David North(In Defence of Leon Trotsky), charged Service with making dozens of factual errors, misrepresenting evidence, and "fail[ing] to examine in a serious way Trotsky's political ideas". In the late 1920s, Trotsky lost position after position in the party. Trotsky finally dropped his opposition and, to show his allegiance to Lenin, ordered the suppression of the Kronstadt Rebellion (an uprising of sailors and longshoremen protesting heavy-handed Bolshevik tactics). [2] Patenaude, reviewing Service's book alongside a rebuttal by the Trotskyist David North (In Defence of Leon Trotsky), charged Service with making dozens of factual errors, misrepresenting evidence, and "fail[ing] to examine in a serious way Trotsky's political ideas". Leon Trotsky's revolutionary activity as a young man spurred his first of several ordered exiles to Siberia. Lenin favoured Stalin until, too late, their fallout in 1923 really opened Lenin's eyes to the danger of a future with Stalin in power. His legacy of being the most brilliant intellect of the Communist Revolution and his reputation as a tireless worker, rousing public speaker and decisive administrator was restored. In August 1936, 16 of Trotsky's allies were charged with aiding Trotsky in treason. Although Trotsky's followers clung to the stubborn view of him as a pure revolutionary and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin, the reality is very different. He was born in Ukraine of Jewish parents named Bronstein. He waged Russia's 1917 revolution alongside Vladimir Lenin. The first edition cover of the book, depicting Trotsky. Immediately download the Leon Trotsky summary, chapter-by-chapter analysis, book notes, essays, quotes, character descriptions, lesson plans, and more - everything you need for studying or teaching Leon Trotsky. Here is the story behind the book. Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein to David Leontyevich Bronstein (1847-1922) and Anna Lvovna (née Zhivotovskaya, 1850-1910) on 7 November 1879, the fifth child of a Ukrainian-Jewish family of wealthy farmers in Yanovka or Yanivka, in the Kherson governorate of the Russian Empire (now Bereslavka, in Ukraine), a small village 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the nearest post office. Trotsky had himself aided the cutting off the only branch which might have supported him. by Bertrand M Patenaude 352pp, Faber, £20 For over half a century, Isaac Deutscher's three-volume biography of Trotsky, a literary-historical masterpiece in … Lenin died on January 21, 1924, and Trotsky was isolated and alone, outmaneuvered by Stalin. Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky. His early life. It was first published by Macmillan in 2009 and later republished in other languages. By Tim Lambert. Vladimir Lenin was founder of the Russian Communist Party, leader of the Bolshevik Revolution and architect and first head of the Soviet state. Prior to the publication of Trotsky: A Biography, Service had written a number of historical studies and biographies of Russia in the period of revolution: The Bolshevik Party in Revolution 1917-23: A Study in Organizational Change (1979), A History of Twentieth-Century Russia (1997), The Russian Revolution, 1900-27 (1999), A History of Modern Russia, from Nicholas II to Putin (1998, Second edition in 2003), Lenin: A Biography (2000), Russia: Experiment with a People (2002), Stalin: A Biography (2004) and Comrades: A World History of Communism (2007). While in jail, Trotsky was admitted to the Bolshevik Party and released soon after. He reasoned that this would give officials a tighter control over labor and facilitate a greater integration between government and the proletariat. I'm finishing up reading Gulag: A history, and I'm very interested in reading more about Stalin and to a lesser extent Lenin and Trotsky. He was taken to the hospital, but died a day later, at the age of 60. However, Lenin felt that peace with Germany needed to be made so they could concentrate on building a communist government in Russia. In 1900 he was exiled to Siberia for his revolutionary activities, but he escaped abroad by using a forged passport bearing the name Trotsky. By the end of 1905, he had become a leader of the movement. On January 22, 1905, unarmed demonstrators marching against the Russian Tsar were killed by the Imperial Guard. Ser… Looking for best biography on Stalin? Isaac Deutscher's superb biographical trilogy will probably remain the standard work on Trotsky for many years: The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879-1921 (1954); The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky, 1921-1929 (1959); and The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky, 1929-1940 (1963). I've read Robert Service's biography of modern Russia and it was excellent. His father was a prosperous Jewish farmer. [3] Service responded that the book's factual errors were minor and that Patenaude's own book on Trotsky presented him as a "noble martyr". Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein in Yanovka, Ukraine — in the Russian Empire — on November 7, 1879. The letter cited "a host of factual errors", the "repugnant connotations" of the passages in which Service deals with Trotsky's Jewish origins, and Service's recourse to "formulas associated with Stalinist propaganda" for the purpose of discrediting Trotsky. As Trotsky dug in and refused to modify his position, the dissention grew and Lenin feared the conflict would splinter the party. Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky, “Robert Service has written a diatribe, not a scientific polemic!”, "European historians oppose publication by Suhrkamp of Robert Service's Trotsky biography", "Trotsky: past, present… future? In July 2009, prior to the publication of his own book, Robert Service had written a review of Partenaude's publication Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky which he applauded for being "vividly told" but also criticised for neglecting Trotsky's crimes while sharing power in the USSR. In the early months of 1940, Trotsky's health was failing and he knew he was a marked man. Leon Trotsky's unfinished biography of Stalin, the most extensive ever edition of the book completed from the original archive material. However, Trotsky had allowed his intelligence and arrogance to antagonize those less able than himself, and in the end, alienated many around him, allowing deceitful men like Stalin to take advantage. He quickly consolidated his power and started lining up allies against Trotsky. Second, only to Lenin, Trotsky was a key figure in the Russian civil war and the formative years of the Soviet Union. Considering the book to be "[r]igorously researched," he notes that Service "surpasses himself", painting a portrait of Trotsky that is "genuinely revelatory" and "very different from the one celebrated by bien pensants." On forged papers, he changed his name to Leon Trotsky, a moniker he would use the rest of his life. Are there any books and/or biographies that are a must read? Following the death of Vladimir Lenin, Trotsky's rival Joseph Stalin ascended to the Soviet leadership, with Trotsky fleeing into exile, where he was murdered in Mexico. To know more about this man, biography, profile, childhood, life & timeline, read on. In late 1920, the Bolsheviks finally won the Civil War, ensuring Bolshevik control of the Soviet government. (1879–1940). In 1903, Trotsky married his second wife, Natalia Ivanovna. But he had offended many in the Politburo (the Communist Party's executive committee), and a group of Politburo members, led by Stalin, joined forces to oppose him. The book has also been harshly criticized by the German historian of communism Hermann Weber who led a campaign to prevent Suhrkamp Verlag from publishing it in Germany. Originally published in 1954, Deutscher's magisterial three-volume biography was the first major publication to counter the powerful Stalinist propaganda machine. Trotsky is perhaps the most intriguing and, given his prominence, the most understudied of the Soviet revolutionaries. Introduction by New International. Describing the work as "stodgy", Ali claims that the work is highly politically motivated by Service's anti-communist views, believing that Service's view "can be summarised in a sentence: Trotsky was a ruthless and cold-blooded murderer and deserves to be exposed as such." Alexandra Feodorovna was consort of the Russian Czar Nicholas II. There he was writing and preaching revolution, until he was assassinated by Spanish communist Ramon Mercader, … The book received a mixed reception upon publication. Believing that it offered a much-needed "scholarly revision" of the revolutionary's "historical reputation", he praised the way that it explored "the ugly egotism and unpleasant, overweening arrogance, the belief in and enthusiastic practice of killing on a colossal scale, the political ineptitude [and] the limit of ambition [of Trotsky]. In December, the rebellion was crushed, and Trotsky was arrested and once again sent to Siberia. When he was 8 years old, Trotksy went to school in Odessa, then moved in 1896 to Nikolayev, Ukraine, for his final year in school. He died a gruesome death. His real name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein. He became president in 1911, but was assassinated two years later. [4][5] Suhrkamp published the German translation in July 2012. But the damage was done, and Trotsky had lost much of his political influence over the dispute. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries who would lead a large contingent of non-party supporters. One small autobiographical piece by Rorty bears the title 'Wild Orchids and Trotsky.' Trotsky tried to reconcile the two factions, resulting in numerous clashes with both groups' leaders. Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein on 7 November 1879 in Yanovka, Ukraine, then part of Russia. In 1902, after serving only two years of his sentence, Leon Trotsky escaped exile, abandoning his wife and daughters. Trotsky disagreed and resigned from this post. The ability to think theoretically, appeal in writing or speech to the public had rapidly diminished in political value by 1924 and was steadily declining in political value, and only alliances counted, which was Stalin's strength. After she and her family were executed, rumors claimed that she might have survived. The task was difficult, as Trotsky directed a war effort that was at times on 16 different fronts. The army's first orders were to neutralize the White Army (Socialist revolutionaries opposed to Bolshevik control) during the Russian Civil War. Trotsky's neutrality was seen as disloyal. He's a scholar of Russian history and he's written lengthy biographies of Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky.I think you should give him a try. Believing that the workers should have nothing to fear from the government, Trotsky advocated the state control the trade unions. Trotsky proved to be an outstanding military leader, as he led the army of 3 million to victory. His parents, David and Anna Bronstein, were … Born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein on November 7, 1879, Leon Trotsky's revolutionary activity as a young man spurred his first of several ordered exiles to Siberia. He argues that Trotsky has been romanticized by western leftists for decades, instead claiming that Trotsky laid the groundwork for the Stalinist totalitarian state in the Soviet Union and that had he become Soviet leader rather than Stalin, the end result would have been very similar. Trotsky and his arch-rival Joseph Stalin struggled for power after Lenin's death in 1924. We strive for accuracy and fairness. When word reached Leon Trotsky, he returned to Russia to support the uprisings. He was exiled and later assassinated by Soviet agents. info) (Russian: Лев Давидович Троцкий; also transliterated Leo, Lev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij and Trotzky; October 26 = November 7 (), 1879 in Kropyvnytskyi (nowadays Ukraine) - August 21, 1940 in Coyoacán, Mexico) was the public name of Leib or Lev Davidovich Bronstein.He was a Russian revolutionary and political theoretician. Trotsky had a stellar record as a military leader and administrator and seemed the obvious choice among the rank and file membership of the Communist Party. In October 1927, Trotsky was expelled from the Central Committee and exiled the following January to the very remote Alma-Ata, located in present-day Kazakhstan. If you are willing to invest the time, Isaac Deutscher's three volume biography of Leon Trotsky is rewarding. It is very well-written; it is thorough (if at times tedious) and it is enlightening (especially on his wary relationship with Lenin and his warring relationship with Stalin). Between 1922 and 1924, Lenin tried to counter some of Stalin's influence and support Trotsky on several occasions. After the Bolsheviks took control of the Soviet government, Lenin ordered the formation of the Red Army and appointed Leon Trotsky its leader. Over the next seven years, he lived in Turkey, France and Norway, before arriving in Mexico City. Reviews in the mainstream British press were predominantly positive. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! His parents, David and Anna Bronstein, were prosperous Jewish farmers. Following his death, various biographers produced works studying Trotsky; Service's differs from many of these in its emphasis. While there, they had two daughters. Service's biography will not convince them otherwise. If you need a quick fix on Lenin, his life and political career, then this is the best standard popular biography to date. In 1897, Trotsky helped found the South Russian Workers' Union. Trotsky continued to write and criticize Stalin and the Soviet government. Trotsky failed to form alliances and was socially inept and never fully accepted in the Bolshevik party leadership, which he had joined late. Lenin criticized Trotsky, accusing him of harassing the unions and abandoning his support for the proletariat. In The Daily Telegraph, the popular historian Simon Sebag Montefiore described Trotsky as "an outstanding, fascinating biography of this dazzling titan." "[6] Writing for the Literary Review, the political philosopher John N. Gray claimed that "the full extent of Trotsky's role in building Soviet totalitarianism has not been detailed – until now". As commissar of war in the new Soviet government, he helped defeat forces opposed to Bolshevik control. All 16 were found guilty and executed. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957. His eulogy for the late party leader was, in effect, delivered in a biography of Lenin that Trotsky wrote for the 13th edition (1926) of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Anastasia was the daughter of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II. Leon Trotsky’s first role in the new government was serving as commissar for foreign affairs and making peace with the Germans. From that point on, Trotsky was steadily pushed out of important roles on Soviet government and, eventually, pushed out of the country. Trotsky stood alone as the champion of revolutionary socialism and Cliff's biography is the best possible tribute: The essence of Marxism is action. Leon Trotsky was one of the leading figures in the Communist Revolution in Russia in 1917 which created a brutal and repressive regime. On Lenin: Notes Towards a Biography by Leon Trotsky . Wellred Books proudly presents a work eighty years in the making. His father was a well-off farmer. But for those with an open mind, Trotsky: A Biography shows that in the end, Stalin and Trotsky were blood brothers. His biography of Trotsky was positively reviewed in the British and American press on its publication, but two years later was strongly criticized by Service's Hoover Institution colleague Bertrand Patenaude in a review for The American Historical Review. The new edition of Leon Trotsky’s biography of Joseph Stalin, published in 2016 by Wellred Books, is a significant contribution to our understanding of Trotsky’s thinking in the last years before his assassination in August 1940. Summing up his review, Gray proclaims that Service has authored the "best biography of Trotsky to date, and there seems little reason why anyone should write another. For decades, Trotsky was discredited in the Soviet Union, the result of Stalin's hatred and his totalitarian control. Trotsky: A Biography is a biography of the Marxist theorist and revolutionary Leon Trotsky written by the English historian Robert Service, then a professor in Russian history at the University of Oxford. 74 reviews. He presided over the complete transformation of his country, not merely a change of government but a total restructuring of society on every level. Countless studies of the Russian revolutionary movement and the Revolution exist. 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