On the 73th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky, we are republishing this article which had originally come out in “The Militant” which was the newspaper of the US section of the Fourth International in 1940.

The life of Leon Trotsky is written into the history of nearly 50 years filled with world-transforming events. The story of his life is part and parcel of the story of the three Russian revolutions in 1905 and 1917 and of the tremendous events that have since taken place.

Around the life of this titanic figure in the history of man’s struggle for liberation, Stalin and his journalistic and professional hacks tried with total lack of success to weave a web of lies and falsifications. The living Trotsky towered ever far above his miserable would-be traducers. The Trotsky who has now entered into memory as well as into history will tower still higher as the heavy pressure of events bring home to greater and greater masses everywhere the revolutionary lessons of which he was so great a teacher.

Lenin’s Summary

A succinct summary of Trotsky’s political biography appeared as a note to the first edition of Lenin’s Collected Works, in Volume XIV, part 2, pp. 481-482, published by the State Publishing House in Moscow in 1921. Here in these few lines, edited under the sharp eye of Lenin himself, were the answers concocted in later years by the usurpers and betrayers of the revolution.

“L. D. Trotsky, born 1881 (1879), active in the workers’ circles in the city of Nikolayev; in 1898 exiled to Siberia; soon after escaped abroad and participated in the Iskra. Delegate from the Siberian League at the Second Congress of the Party. After the split in the Party, adhered to the Mensheviks. Even prior to the revolution, in 1905, he advanced his own and today particularly noteworthy theory of the permanent revolution, in which he asserted that the bourgeois revolution of 1905 must pass directly into socialist revolution, being the first of the national revolutions; he defended his theory in the newspaper Nachalo, the central organ of the Menshevik faction published during November – December, 1905, in Petersburg.

After the arrest of Khrustalov Nussar, he was elected Chairman of the First Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. Arrested together with the Executive Committee on December 3rd , 1905, he was sent into life exile to Obdorsk, but escaped en route and emigrated abroad.

Joins Bolsheviks

“Trotsky chose Vienna to live in, and there he issued a popular labor newspaper, Pravda, to be circulated in Russia. He broke with the Mensheviks and attempted to form a group outside of all factions; however, during the factional struggle abroad he made a block with the Mensheviks and the Vyperod group against the block between Lenin and Plekhanov who fought the liquidators. From the very beginning of the imperialist war he took a clear cut internationalist position, participated in the publication of Nashe Slovo, in Paris, and adhered to Zimmerwald.

“Deported from France, he went to the United States. On his return from there after the February Revolution, he was arrested by the government of Kerensky and indicted for “leading the insurrection”, but was shortly freed through pressure from the Petersburg proletariat. After the Petersburg Soviet went over to the Bolsheviks, he was elected Chairman and in this capacity he organized and led the insurrection of October 25th. Standing member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union since 1917; member of the Council of People’s Commissars; Commissar of Foreign Affairs up to the signing of the Brest Treaty then People’s Commissar of War.”

As Commissar of War, Trotsky organized and led the Red Army to victory in the Civil War, 1918-22. He formed the Left Opposition to fight Stalin in 1924. He was expelled from the party by Stalin in 1927 and exiled to Alma Ata in 1928 and to Turkey in 1929. Then his odyssey led him to France in 1933, to Norway in 1935, and to Mexico in 1936. And in Mexico, in 1940, Stalin’s assassin’s finally took his life.