Leon Trotsky - Wikipedia
The relationship of Lenin and Trotsky is complicated but they were definitely He waged Russia's revolution alongside Vladimir Lenin, and , the issue came to a head when several of Trotsky's supporters were. Leon Trotsky: On the Suppressed Testament of Lenin (December ) was, as Trotsky says in his biography of Stalin, “Lenin's last advice on how to The relation between them constitutes, in my opinion, a big half of the. A detailed biography of Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronshtein) that includes His greatest victory was over the issue of the size of the Iskra editorial board to To stop this happening Stalin established a close political relationship with.
The mood of the listeners was indeed tense in the highest degree. But so far as I can restore the picture from memory, I should say that those who already knew the contents of the document were incomparably the most anxious. The troika introduced, through one of its henchmen, a resolution previously agreed upon with the provincial leaders: With the gentle insistence characteristic of her, Krupskaya argued that this was a direct violation of the will of Lenin, to whom you could not deny the right to bring his last advice to the attention of the party.
But the members of the Council of Elders, bound by factional discipline, remained obdurate; the resolution of the troika was adopted by an overwhelming majority.
Lenin always stood up against these voices. My union with Lenin had been predetermined by the logic of ideas and the logic of events. I have do reason to dispute him. In answer to this, the less restrained leaders of the opposite camp had reminded Zinoviev of his conduct during the period of the October insurrection.
Thinking over from all sides on his deathbed how relations would crystallize in the party without him, Lenin could not but foresee that Stalin and Zinoviev would try to use my non-Bolshevik past in order to mobilize the old Bolsheviks against me.
The testament tries, incidentally, to forestall this danger, too. Here is what it says immediately after its characterization of Stalin and Trotsky: This warning stands, however, in no relation with the remark about Trotsky. In regard to him it is merely recommended not to use his non-Bolshevik past as an argument ad hominem. I therefore had no motive for putting the question which Radek attributes to me.
Least of all did the testament set out to make a guiding role in the party work difficult for me. As we shall see below, it pursued an exactly opposite aim.
On the other side Lenin writes: Stalin, having become General Secretary, has concentrated an enormous power in his hands; and I am not sure that he always knows how to use this power with sufficient caution. The testament insists upon an increase of the number of members of the Central Committee to fifty, even to one hundred, in order that with this compact pressure it may restrain the centrifugal tendencies in the Political Bureau. This organization proposal has still the appearance of a neutral guarantee against personal conflicts.
But only ten days later it seemed to Lenin inadequate, and he added a supplementary proposal which also gave to the whole document its final physiognomy: I propose to the comrades to find a way to remove Stalin from that position and appoint to it another man who in all other respects  differs from Stalin only in superiority — namely; more patient, more loyal, more polite and more attentive to comrades, less capricious, etc.
During the days when the testament was dictated, Lenin was still trying to give to his critical appraisal of Stalin as restrained an expression as possible. In the coming weeks his tone would become sharper and sharper right up to the last hour when his voice ceased forever.
But even in the testament enough is said to motivate the demand for a change of General Secretary: At this point the characterization becomes a heavy indictment. As will appear later, the testament could not have been a surprise to Stalin. But this did not soften the blow.
Upon his first acquaintance with the document, in the Secretariat, in the circle of his closest associates, Stalin let fly a phrase which gave quite unconcealed expression to his real feelings toward the author of the testament.
The conditions under which this phrase spread to wide circles, and above all the inimitable quality of the reaction itself, is in my eyes an unqualified guarantee of the authenticity of the episode. Unfortunately this winged phrase cannot be quoted in print. To remove Stalin — just him and him only — meant to cut him off from the apparatus, to withdraw from him the possibility of pressing on the long arm of the lever, to deprive him of all that power which he had concentrated in his hands in this office.
Who, then, should be named General Secretary? Someone who, having the positive qualities of Stalin, should be more patient, more loyal, less capricious. This was the phrase which struck home most sharply to Stalin. Lenin obviously did not consider him irreplaceable, since he proposed that we seek a more suitable person for his post.
In tendering his resignation, as a matter of form, the General Secretary capriciously kept repeating: Ilyich suggested that you find another who would differ from me only in greater politeness. Well, try to find him. Our whole party is rude, proletarian. As to the accusation of inadequate loyalty, neither Stalin nor his friends had a word to say.
It is perhaps not without interest that the supporting voice came from A. Politics knows no gratitude. Radek, who was then still a member of the Central Committee, sat beside me during the reading of the testament.
The troika were compelled to forestall the possible effect of the testament by placing the party as soon as possible before a fait accompli. The leaders of the delegations in their reading would swallow some words, emphasize others, and offer commentaries to the effect that the letter had been written by a man seriously ill and under the influence of trickery and intrigue. The machine was already in complete control. The mere fact that the troika was able to transgress the will of Lenin, refusing to read his letter at the Congress, sufficiently characterizes the composition of the Congress and its atmosphere.
The testament did not weaken or put a stop to the inner struggle, but on the contrary lent it a disastrous tempo.
Leon Trotsky: On Lenin's Testament ()
It can press into its service even those who demonstratively turn their backs to it. But Ludwig means something more. He wants to suggest an exceptional closeness to the teacher of this particular pupil. As an especially precious testimony Ludwig cites upon this point the words of Stalin himself: Ludwig becomes here a mere transmitter of the official legend manufactured during these recent years. I doubt if he has the remotest idea of the contradictions into which his indifference to facts has brought him.
If Stalin actually was following Lenin up to his death, how then explain the fact that the last document dictated by Lenin, on the eve of his second stroke, was a curt letter to Stalin, a few lines in all, breaking off all personal and comradely relations?
Yet we hear not a word about this from Ludwig. As a matter of fact the testament, as also the letter breaking off relations, was written in those months December to the beginning of March during which Lenin in a series of programmatic articles gave the party the most mature fruits of his thinking.
That break with Stalin did not drop out of a clear sky. It flowed from a long series of preceding conflicts, upon matters of principle and upon practical matters alike, and it sets forth the whole bitterness of these conflicts in a tragic light. But Lenin was far from thinking that these gifts, even on an extraordinary scale, were sufficient for the leadership of the party and the state. Lenin saw in Stalin a revolutionist, but not a statesman in the grand style.
Theory had too high an importance for Lenin in a political struggle. Nobody considered Stalin a theoretician, and he himself up to never made any pretense to this vocation. On the contrary, his weak theoretical grounding was too well known in a small circle.
Stalin is not acquainted with the West; he does not know any foreign language. And finally Stalin was not — this is less important, but not without significance — either a writer or an orator in the strict sense of the word. But even here Lenin made substantial reservations, and these increased during the last period. Lenin despised idealistic moralizings. But this did not prevent him from being a rigorist of revolutionary morals — of those rules of conduct, that is, which he considered necessary for the success of the revolution and the creation of the new society.
He knew people too well and took them as they were. He would combine the faults of some with the virtues of others, and sometimes also with their faults, and never cease to watch keenly what came of it. He knew also that times change, and we with them. The party had risen with one jump from the underground to the height of power.
This created for each of the old revolutionists a startlingly sharp change in personal situation and in relations with others. What Lenin discovered in Stalin under these new conditions he cautiously but clearly remarked in his testament: Ludwig missed these hints. It is in them, however, that one can find the key to the relations between Lenin and Stalin in the last period. Lenin was not only a theoretician and technician of the revolutionary dictatorship, but also a vigilant guardian of its moral foundations.
Every hint at the use of power for personal interests kindled threatening fires in his eyes. And he would not infrequently add on the subject of parliamentarism one of his rich definitions. Stalin meanwhile was more and more broadly and indiscriminately using the possibilities of the revolutionary dictatorship for the recruiting of people personally obligated and devoted to him.
In his position as General Secretary he became the dispenser of favor and fortune. Here the foundation was laid for an inevitable conflict. Lenin gradually lost his moral trust in Stalin.
If you understand that basic fact, then all the particular episodes of the last period take their places accordingly, and give a real and not a false picture of the attitude of Lenin to Stalin. Sverdlov and Stalin as Types of Organizers In order to accord the testament its proper place in the development of the party, it is here necessary to make a digression. Up to the spring of the chief organizer of the party had been Sverdlov.
He did not have the name of General Secretary, a name which was then not yet invented, but he was that in reality. Sverdlov died at the age of 34 in Marchfrom the so-called Spanish fever. In the spread of the civil war and the epidemic, mowing people down right and left, the party hardly realized the weight of this loss. In two funeral speeches Lenin gave an appraisal of Sverdlov which throws a reflected but very clear light also upon his later relations with Stalin.
His appraisal of Sverdlov was at the same time a characterization of the task of the organizer: Only thanks to the fact that we had such an organizer as Sverdlov were we able in war times to work as though we had not one single conflict worth speaking of.
So it was in fact. In conversations with Lenin in those days we remarked more than once, and with ever renewed satisfaction, one of the chief conditions of our success: In spite of the dreadful pressure of events and difficulties, the novelty of the problems, and sharp practical disagreements occasionally bursting out, the work proceeded with extraordinary smoothness and friendliness, and without interruptions.
With a brief word we would recall episodes of the old revolutions. But in the inner mechanics of this unexampled unanimity the chief technician had been Sverdlov. The secret of his art was simple: No one of the party workers had any fear of intrigues creeping down from the party staff.
The basis of this authority of Sverdlov was loyalty. Having tested out mentally all the party leaders, Lenin in his funeral speech drew the practical conclusion: Such a man we can never replace, if by replacement we mean the possibility of finding one comrade combining such qualities The work which he did alone can now be accomplished only by a whole group of men who, following in his footsteps, will carry on his service.
These words were not rhetorical, but a strictly practical proposal. And the proposal was carried out. Instead of a single Secretary, there was appointed a Collegium of three persons. From these words of Lenin it is evident, even to those unacquainted with the history of the party, that during the life of Sverdlov, Stalin played no leading role in the party machinery — either at the time of the October Revolution or in the period of laying the foundations and walls of the Soviet state.
Stalin was also not included in the first Secretariat which replaced Sverdlov. Perhaps also Lenin, like many others, did not adequately realize the danger in time. On December 7, in taking his departure upon the insistence of his physician, Lenin, little given to complaining, wrote to the members of the Political Bureau: I am leaving today. In spite of my reduced quota of work and increased quota of rest, these last days the insomnia has increased devilishly.
I am afraid I cannot speak either at the party Congress or the Soviet Congress. In May he has the first stroke. For two months Lenin is unable to speak or write or move. In July he begins slowly to recover. Remaining in the country, he enters by degrees into active correspondence. In October he returns to the Kremlin and officially takes up his work. I formerly sat too steadily at my post and failed to observe many things; the long interruption has now permitted me to see much with fresh eyes.
What disturbed him most, unquestionably, was the monstrous growth of bureaucratic power, the focal point of which had become the Organization Bureau of the Central Committee. The necessity of removing the boss who was specializing in peppery dishes became clear to Lenin immediately after his return to work. But this personal question had become notably complicated. Lenin could not fail to see how extensively his absence had been made use of by Stalin for a one-sided selection of men — often in direct conflict with the interests of the cause.
The General Secretary was now relying upon a numerous faction, bound together by ties which, if not always intellectual, were at least firm. A change of the heads of the party machine had already become impossible without the preparation of a serious political attack. The fact of this conversation as well as its content soon found their reflection in documents, and they constitute an episode of the party history undeniable and not denied by anyone.
Not only continual work, but also executive conversations with the comrades were again forbidden by his physicians. He had to think out further measures of struggle alone within four walls. To control the backstage activities of the Secretariat, Lenin worked out some general measures of an organizational character.
On January 23, through Krupskaya, Lenin sent for publication in Pravda an article on the subject of his proposed reorganization of the central institutions. Fearing at once a traitorous blow from his disease and a no less traitorous response from the Secretariat, Lenin demanded that his article be printed in Pravda immediately; this implied a direct appeal to the party. Stalin refused Krupskaya this request on the ground of the necessity of discussing the question in the Political Bureau.
But the very procedure of referring it to the Political Bureau boded no good. I demanded an immediate meeting of the Political Bureau. I rejected with indignation the proposal to hoodwink Lenin, spoke essentially in favor of the reform proposed by him, and demanded the immediate publication of his article.
I was supported by Kamenev who had come in an hour late. The attitude of the majority was at last broken down by the argument that Lenin in any case would put his article in circulation; it would be copied on typewriters, and read with redoubled attention, and it would be thus all the more pointedly directed against the Political Bureau.
The article appeared in Pravda the next morning, January This episode also found its reflection in due season in official documents, upon the basis of which it is here described. I consider it necessary in general to emphasize the fact that since I do not belong to the school of pure psychology, and since I am accustomed to trust firmly established facts rather than their emotional reflection in memory, the whole present exposition, with the exception of specially indicated episodes, is set forth by me on the basis of documents in my archives and with a careful verification of dates, testimony and factual circumstances in general.
The November Plenum of the Central Committeesitting without Lenin and without me, introduced unexpectedly a radical change in the system of foreign trade, undermining the very foundation of the state monopoly. On December 13 he wrote me: I earnestly urge you to take upon yourself at the coming Plenum the defense of our common view as to the unconditional necessity of preserving and enforcing the monopoly The previous Plenum took a decision in this matter wholly in conflict with monopoly of foreign trade.
Refusing any concessions upon this question; Lenin insisted that I appeal to the Central Committee and the Congress. The blow was directed primarily against Stalin, responsible as General Secretary for the presentation of questions at the Plenums of the Central Committee.
That time, however, the thing did not go to the point of open struggle.
But never mind — the impression is clearly conveyed. We are far from that, it seems. But let us not give up the hope that it will happen, that we shall not escape it. It seemed a sinister joke. But Lenin was not joking, nor was the revolution joking. He spoke for an organised seizure of the land by the peasants, not anticipating That alone was enough in those days to make his listeners dizzy!
The most responsible workers were here. But for them too the words of Ilych were a veritable revelation.
They laid down a Rubicon between the tactics of yesterday and today. There was no discussion of the speech. All were too much astounded, and each wanted a chance to collect his thoughts.
Only one thing was clear: There was no place for me, a non-party man, beside Lenin! The next day Lenin presented to the party a short written exposition of his views, which under the name of Theses of April 4 has become one of the most important documents of the revolution. The theses expressed simple thoughts in simple words comprehensible to all: The republic which has issued from the February revolution is not our republic, and the war which it is now waging is not our war, The task of the Bolsheviks is to overthrow the imperialist government.
But this government rests upon the support of the Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who in turn are supported by the trustfulness of the masses of the people. We are in the minority. In these circumstances there can be no talk of violence from our side. We must teach the masses not to trust the Compromisers and defensists.
We will break absolutely with capital, publish its secret treaties, and summon the workers of the whole world to cast loose from the bourgeoisie and put an end to the war. We are beginning the international revolution. These theses of Lenin were published in his own name and his only. The central institutions of the party met them with a hostility softened only by bewilderment.
Nobody — not one organisation, group or individual — affixed his signature to them. Even Zinoviev, arriving with Lenin from abroad, where for ten years his ideas had been forming under the immediate and daily influence of Lenin, silently stepped aside, Nor was this side-stepping a surprise to the teacher, who knew his closest disciple all too well.
But not only that. Lacking inner discipline, his mind is completely incapable of theoretical work, and his thoughts dissolve into formless intuitions of the agitator. Thanks to an exceptionally quick scent, he can catch out of the air whatever formulas are necessary to him — those which will exercise the most the most effective influence on the masses.
Both as journalist and orator he remains an agitator, with only this difference — that in his articles you usually see his weaker side, and in oral speech his stronger. Although far more bold and unbridled in agitation than any other Bolshevik, Zinoviev is even less capable than Kamenev of revolutionary initiative. He is, like all demagogues, indecisive. Passing from the arena of factional debate to that of direct mass fighting, Zinoviev almost involuntarily separated from his teacher.
There have been plenty of attempts of late years to prove that the April party crisis was a passing and almost accidental confusion. They all go to pieces at first contact with the facts. Simultaneously with the All-Russian Conference of representatives of 82 soviets, where Kamenev and Stalin voted for the resolution on sovereignty introduced by the Social Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, there took place in Petrograd a party conference of Bolsheviks assembled from all over Russia.
This conference, at the very end of which Lenin arrived, has an exceptional interest for anyone wishing to characterize the mood and opinions of the party and all its upper layers as they issued from the war. A reading of the reports, to this day unpublished, frequently produces a feeling of amazement: A month had already passed since the uprising — a long period for a revolution, as also for a war.
Nevertheless opinions were not defined in the party on the most basic questions of the revolution. Extreme patriots such as Voitinsky, Eliava, and others, participated in the conference alongside of those who considered themselves internationalists. The percentage of outspoken patriots, incomparably less than among the Mensheviks, was nevertheless considerable. The conference as a whole did not decide the question whether to break with its own patriots or unite with the patriots of Menshevism.
In an interval between sessions of the Bolshevik conference there was held a united session of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks — delegates to the Soviet conference — to consider the war question.
The most furious Menshevik-patriot, Lieber, announced at this session: All of them together, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, patriots and internationalists, were seeking a common formula for their attitude to the war.
The views of the Bolshevik conference undoubtedly found their most adequate expression in the report of Stalin on relations with the Provisional Government. It is necessary to introduce here the central thought of this speech, which, like the reports as a whole, is not yet published. There is debate and struggle between them, and there ought to be. The Soviet has in fact taken the initiative in the revolutionary transformation; the Soviet is the revolutionary leader of the insurrectionary people; an organ controlling the Provisional Government.
The Soviet mobilizes the forces, and controls. This situation has disadvantageous, but also advantageous sides. It is not to our advantage at present to force events, hastening the process of repelling the bourgeois layers, who will in the future inevitably withdraw from us.
We recognize here the traditional conception of the Mensheviks, incorrectly modelled after the events of The idea that it is disadvantageous to hasten the withdrawal of the bourgeoisie from the revolution, has always been the guiding principle of the whole policy of the Mensheviks.
In action this means blunting and weakening the movement of the masses in order not to frighten away the liberal allies. The right Bolshevik Nogin declared: There is a conspiracy of the Provisional Government against the people and the revolution.
Stalin banishes Trotsky - HISTORY
The delegate from Saratov, Vassiliev, not untruthfully declared: Although he eliminated the open mention of support, Stalin did not eliminate support. Krassikov did not hesitate to seize the bull by the horns. Is this then a dictatorship of the proletariat you are about to inaugurate? But the conference passed over his irony, and along with it passed over this question as one not deserving attention.
The next day they considered the proposal of Tseretelli for a union of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. Stalin was wholly in favour of the proposal: It is necessary to define our proposal for a basis of union; union is possible on the basis of Zimmerwald-Kienthal. Tseretelli wants to unite heterogeneous elements, he himself calls himself Zimmerwaldist; a union on that basis is wrong. But Stalin stuck to his guns: There is no party life without disagreements.
We will live down petty disagreements within the party. In September Lenin had written through Shliapnikov to Petrograd with special insistence: This furnishes the best criterion for an appraisal of the views held by Stalin at that time.
On April 4 Lenin appeared at the party conference. At the Soviet conference not long before that, Steklov had confusedly explained the reasons for abstaining from the power: That we have to acknowledge. The material force was in the hands of the proletariat, but the bourgeoisie was conscious and ready.
That is the monstrous fact. But it is necessary to acknowledge it frankly, and say to the people straight out that we did not seize the power because we were unorganised and not conscious. The proletariat did not seize the power in February because the Bolshevik Party was not equal to its objective task, and could not prevent the Compromisers from expropriating the popular masses politically for the benefit of the bourgeoisie.
The day before that, lawyer Krassikov had said challengingly: We unquestionably have the physical force for a seizure of power. But Lenin thought that, as the sole practical question, the question of preparing the dictatorship of the proletariat was exactly in order.
A dictatorship of the proletariat exists, but nobody knows what to do with it. They whispered to each other that Ilych had stayed too long abroad, had not had time, to look around and familiarize himself with things.
But the speech of Stalin on the ingenious division of labour between the government and the Soviet sank out of sight once and for ever. Stalin himself remained silent. From now on he will have to be silent for a long time. Kamenev alone will man the defences. Lenin had already given warning in letters from Geneva that he was ready to break with anybody who made concessions on the question of war, chauvinism and compromise with the bourgeoisie. Now, face to face with the leading circles of the party he opens an attack all along the line.
But at the beginning he does not name a single Bolshevik by name. If he has need of a living model of equivocation and half-wayness, he points his finger at the non-party men, or at Steklov or Cheidze. That was the customary method of Lenin: Kamenev and Stalin had thought that in participating in the war after February, the soldiers and workers were defending the revolution.
Lenin thinks that, as before, the soldier and the worker take part in the war as the conscripted slaves of capital. Only the fumes of the revolution can explain that. That is the death of socialism Members of the new guard were in their early 30s and had only recently emigrated 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. In March Lenin wrote: In the section of articles and notes on the events of the day, he will not only be very useful, but absolutely necessary. Unquestionably a man of rare abilities, he has conviction and energy, and he will go much farther.
Because of Plekhanov's opposition, Trotsky did not become a full member of the board. But, from then on he participated in its meetings in an advisory capacity, which earned him Plekhanov's enmity. In lateTrotsky met Natalia Sedovawho soon became his companion. They married in and she was with him until his death. They had two children together, Lev Sedov 24 February — 16 February and Sergei Sedov 21 March — 29 Octoberboth of whom would predecease their parents.
Regarding his sons' surnames, Trotsky later explained that after the revolution: Trotsky never used the name "Sedov" either privately or publicly. Natalia Sedova sometimes signed her name "Sedova-Trotskaya". Split with Lenin — [ edit ] In the meantime, after a period of secret police repression and internal confusion that followed the First Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party inIskra succeeded in convening the party's Second Congress in London in August 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 Bundwhich had co-founded the RSDLP in but wanted to remain autonomous within the party.
Lenin and his supporters, the Bolsheviks, argued for a smaller but highly organized party, while Martov and his supporters, the Mensheviksargued 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 andmany members changed sides in the factions. Plekhanov soon parted ways with the Bolsheviks. Trotsky left the Mensheviks in September over their insistence on an alliance with Russian liberals and their opposition to a reconciliation with Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
He worked between and 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 revolutionand developed a close working relationship with Alexander Parvus in — This single strike grew into a general strike and by 7 Januarythere werestrikers in Saint Petersburg.
The Palace Guard fired on the peaceful demonstration, resulting in the deaths of some 1, demonstrators. Sunday, 9 Januarybecame known as Bloody Sunday. There he worked with both Bolsheviks, such as Central Committee member Leonid Krasinand 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.