Leon Davidovich Trotsky (November 7, 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. An influential politician in the early days of the Soviet Union, Trotsky served as the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs and the People's Commissar of War and was the founder and commander of the Red Army.
After achieving almost saintly status as a hero of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky found his power and reputation slowly stolen by his political opponent .
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 waged Russia's 1917 revolution alongside Vladimir Lenin. As commissar of war in the new Soviet government, he helped defeat forces opposed to Bolshevik control. 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
To mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution, the International Marxist Tendency and In Defence of October campaign present this original documentary celebrating the life and accomplishments of one of the revolution’s main leaders: Leon Trotsky. Alan Woods (editor of the In Defence of Marxism website) narrates Trotsky’s extraordinary career; from his early years as a revolutionary writer and activist, to his leading role alongside Lenin in the October Revolution and Russian Civil War, to his expulsion from Russia and eventual assassination by the murderous Stalinist regime. Featuring footage from the Trotsky museum in Coyoacán Mexico, and first-hand accounts from Trotsky’s grandson, Esteban Volkov, this film is a testament to one of history’s great revolutionaries – whose deeds and ideas are a “shining beacon to all of humankind.”
Warning: The content contained in these videos may be confronting.
WARNING: This programme contains disturbing images, including images of dead bodies, executions, and war. Teacher discretion is advised.
Leon Trotsky is considered one of the most controversial revolutionary figures of his time. Was he a practical revolutionary or a naive idealist? On the practical side, he was the mastermind behind the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, and was totally ruthless during the ensuing Civil War. As an idealist, he was committed to the pursuit of international revolution, but created many political enemies. After Lenin's death, Trotsky lost in a power struggle with Stalin, and later was expelled from the Communist Party. Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union, eventually finding refuge in Mexico. In 1940, Stalin ordered his assassination, and Trotsky died after being struck in the head with an ice-pick. History records that Trotsky was a master theoretician, a skillful propagandist and a brilliant orator.
The purpose of this web site is to provide an overall view of the ideas and struggles of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky played a leading role, together with Lenin, during the 1917 Russian Revolution. It was Trotsky who organised the Red Army as well as the fightback against all the forces of reaction that were attempting to strangle the revolution in blood.
Thatcher, I 2005, 'Leon Trotsky and 1905.', History Review, 52, pp. 21-25, History Reference Center, EBSCOhost, viewed 13 February 2018.