What impact did Trotsky's armoured train have on the Russian civil war?

What impact did Trotsky's armoured train have on the Russian civil war?


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I remember learning about Trotsky's giant armoured personal train at school and how it helped ensure he could quickly travel to different front lines and help lead the Red Army.

I was wondering if there were many sources or speculation on how much of an impact his use of the train had on the war effort?

Whether it was just kinda useful or if the quick and protective transportation aided the fight in a big way

(First question, sorry if I've messed up)


Trotsky's "giant armoured personal train" was officially the 'train of the Predrevoyensoviet' - the train of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council. During the period of the civil war from 1918 to 1920, the train was the mobile home and base of operations for Leon Trotsky, in his role as War Commissar of the government of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.

According to Rex Winsbury, writing in History Today, the train:

"… acquired an almost mystical significance for the commanders and men of the Red Army, as it steamed into critical sectors of the fluctuating front line, bringing trained officers and specialists, fresh supplies, news of other sectors, and above all the reassuring and sometimes terrifying presence of the War Commissar himself, who harangued and inspired the slack - and sometimes had them shot."

Trotsky's War Train, History Today Volume 25 Issue 8 August 1975

or, as Trotsky wrote in his autobiography:

"during the most strenuous years of the revolution, my own personal life was bound up inseparably with the life of that train. The train, on the other hand, was inseparably bound up with the life of the Red Army. The train linked the front with the base, solved urgent problems on the spot, educated, appealed, supplied, rewarded and punished."

Trotsky: My Life, p411


It is, perhaps, worth noting however, that Jonathan Smele described Winsbury's article as:

"An insubstantial account of Trotsky's peripatetic leadership of the Red army, drawn largely from his autobiography"

  • [Smele, 2006, p174]

Sources

  • Smele, Jonathan: The Russian Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921: An Annotated Bibliography, A & C Black, 2006
  • Trotsky, Leon: My Life, Courier, 2007
  • Winsbury, Rex: Trotsky's War Train, History Today Volume 25 Issue 8 August 1975

CHAPTER XXXIV THE TRAIN

N ow it is time to speak of “The train of the Predrevoyensoviet.” [1] During the most strenuous years of the revolution, my own personal life was bound up inseparably with the life of that train. The train, on the other hand, was inseparably bound up with the life of the Red Army. The train linked the front with the base, solved urgent problems on the spot, educated, appealed, supplied, rewarded, and punished.

An army cannot be built without reprisals. Masses of men cannot be led to death unless the army command has the death-penalty in its arsenal. So long as those malicious tailless apes that are so proud of their technical achievements – the animals that we call men – will build armies and wage wars, the command will always be obliged to place the soldiers between the possible death in the front and the inevitable one in the rear. And yet armies are not built on fear. The Czar’s army fell to pieces not because of any lack of reprisals. In his attempt to save it by restoring the death-penalty, Kerensky only finished it. Upon the ashes of the great war, the Bolsheviks created a new army. These facts demand no explanation for any one who has even the slightest knowledge of the language of history. The strongest cement in the new army was the ideas of the October revolution, and the train supplied the front with this cement.

In the provinces of Kaluga, Voronezh, and Ryazan, tens of thousands of young peasants had failed to answer the first recruiting summons by the Soviets. The war was going on far from their provinces, the registration of conscripts was inefficient, and consequently the draft to service was not taken seriously. Those who failed to present themselves were known as deserters. It became necessary to launch a strong campaign against these absentees. The war commissariat of Ryazan succeeded in gathering in some fifteen thousand of such deserters. While passing through Ryazan, I decided to take a look at them.

Some of our men tried to dissuade me. “Something might happen,” they warned me. But everything went off beautifully. The men were called out of their barracks. “Comrade-deserters – come to the meeting. Comrade Trotsky has come to speak to you.” They ran out excited, boisterous, as curious as schoolboys. I had imagined them much worse, and they had imagined me as more terrible. In a few minutes, I was surrounded by a huge crowd of unbridled, utterly undisciplined, but not at all hostile men. The “comrade-deserters” were looking at me with such curiosity that it seemed as if their eyes would pop out of their heads. I climbed on a table there in the yard, and spoke to them for about an hour and a half. It was a most responsive audience. I tried to raise them in their own eyes concluding, I asked them to lift their hands in token of their loyalty to the revolution. The new ideas infected them before my very eyes. They were genuinely enthusiastic they followed me to the automobile, devoured me with their eyes, not fearfully, as before, but rapturously, and shouted at the tops of their voices. They would hardly let me go. I learned afterward, with some pride, that one of the best ways to educate them was to remind them: “What did you promise Comrade Trotsky?” Later on, regiments of Ryazan “deserters” fought well at the fronts.

I recall to mind the second grade of the St. Paul realschule in Odessa. The forty boys there did not differ materially from any other group of forty boys. But when Burnande, with the mysterious cross on his forehead, superintendent Mayer, superintendent Wilhelm, inspector Kaminsky, and director Schwannebach struck with all their force at the daring and more critical group of boys, the tale-bearers and envious dullards promptly reared their heads and led the others after them.

Every regiment, every company, comprises men of different qualities. The intelligent and self-sacrificing are in the minority. At the opposite pole is an insignificant number of the completely demoralized, the skulkers, and the consciously hostile. Between these two minorities is a large middle group, the undecided, the vacillating. And when the better elements have been lost in fighting or shoved aside, and the skulkers and enemies gain the upper hand, the unit goes to pieces. In such cases, the large middle group do not know whom to follow and, in the moment of danger, succumb to panic. On February 24, 1919, I said to the young commanders gathered in the Hall of Columns in Moscow: “Give me three thousand deserters, call them a regiment I will give them a fighting commander, a good commissary, fit officers for battalions, companies and platoons – and these three thousand deserters in the course of four weeks in our revolutionary country will produce a splendid regiment .

“During the last few weeks,” I added, “we tested this again by experience in the Narva and Pskov sections of the front, where we succeeded in making fine fighting units out of a few scattered fragments.”

For two and a half years, except for comparatively short intervals, I lived in a railway-coach that had formerly been used by one of the ministers of communication. The car was well fitted out from the point of view of ministerial comfort, but it was scarcely adapted to work. There I received those who brought reports, held conferences with local military and civil authorities, studied telegraphic despatches, dictated orders and articles. From it I made long trips along the front in automobiles with my co-workers. In my spare time I dictated my book against Kautsky, and various other works. In those years I accustomed myself, seemingly forever, to writing and thinking to the accompaniment of Pullman wheels and springs.

My train was hurriedly organized in Moscow on the night of August 7, 1918. In the morning I left in it for Sviyazhsk, bound for the Czecho-Slovak front. The train was continually being reorganized and improved upon, and extended in its functions. As early as 1918, it had already become a flying apparatus of administration. Its sections included a secretariat, a printing-press, a telegraph station, a radio station, an electric-power station, a library, a garage, and a bath. The train was so heavy that it needed two engines later it was divided into two trains. When we had to stop for some time at some one section of the front, one of the engines would do service as courier, and the other was always under steam. The front was shifting constantly, and one could take no chances.

I haven’t the history of the train at hand. It is buried in the archives of the war department. At one time it was painstakingly worked over by my young assistants. The diagram of the train’s movements prepared for the civil-war exhibition used to attract a great many visitors, as the newspapers reported at the time. Later it was put in the civil-war museum. To-day it must be hidden away with hundreds and thousands of other exhibits, such as placards, proclamations, orders, flags, photo graphs, films, books and speeches reflecting the most important moments of the civil war and connected, in some way or other, with my part in it.

During the years of 1922 to 1924, that is, before repressions were begun against the opposition, the military publishing house managed to bring out five volumes of my works relating to the army and the civil war. The history of the train is not dealt with in these volumes. I can only partially reconstruct the orbit of the train’s movements from the place names under the leading articles in the train newspaper, En Route – Samara, Chelyabinsk, Vyatka, Petrograd, Balashov, Smolensk, Samara again, Rostov-on-Don, Novocherkask, Kiev, Zhitomir, and so on, without end. I haven’t even the exact figures of the total distance covered by the train during the civil war. One of the notes to my military books mentions 36 trips, with a total run of over 105,000 kilometres. One of my former fellow travellers writes that he reckons from memory that in three years we circled the earth five and a half times – he gives, that is, a figure twice as large as the one mentioned above. This does not include thousands of kilometres done by automobile from the railway line into the heart of the front lines. Since the train always went to the most critical points, the diagram of its journeyings gives a fairly exact and comprehensive picture of the relative importance of the different fronts. The greatest number of trips was in 1920, the last year of the war. My trips to the southern front were especially frequent, because all during that period it was the most stubborn, dangerous and extended of all the fronts.

What was the train of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council seeking on the civil-war fronts? The general answer is obvious: it was seeking victory. But what did it give the fronts? What methods did it follow? What were the immediate objects of its endless runs from one end of the country to the other? They were not mere trips of inspection. No, the work of the train was all bound up with the building-up of the army, with its education, its administration, and its supply. We were constructing an army all over again, and under fire at that. This was true not only at Sviyazhsk, where the train recorded its first month, but on all the fronts. Out of bands of irregulars, of refugees escaping from the Whites, of peasants mobilized in the neighboring districts, of detachments of workers sent by the industrial centres, of groups of communists and trades-unionists – out of these we formed at the front companies, battalions, new regiments, and sometimes even entire divisions. Even after defeats and retreats, the flabby, panicky mob would be transformed in two or three weeks into an efficient fighting force. What was needed for this? At once much and little. It needed good commanders, a few dozen experienced fighters, a dozen or so of communists ready to make any sacrifice, boots for the barefooted, a bath-house, an energetic propaganda campaign, food, underwear, tobacco and matches. The train took care of all this. We always had in reserve a few zealous communists to fill in the breaches, a hundred or so of good fighting men, a small stock of boots, leather jackets, medicaments, machine-guns, field-glasses, maps, watches and all sorts of gifts. Of course, the actual material resources of the train were slight in comparison with the needs of the army, but they were constantly being replenished.

But – what is even more important – tens and hundreds of times they played the part of the shovelful of coal that is necessary at a particular moment to keep the fire from going out. A telegraph station was in operation on the train. We made our connections with Moscow by direct wire, and my deputy there, Sklyansky, took down my demands for supplies urgently needed for the army, sometimes for a single division or even for a regiment. They were delivered with a despatch that would have been absolutely impossible without my intervention. Of course, this is not exactly a proper way of doing things – a pedant would tell us that in the supply service, as in military departments in general, the most important thing is system. That is absolutely true. I am myself rather inclined to err on the side of pedantry. But the point is that we did not want to perish before we could build up a smoothly running system. That is why, especially in that early period, we had to substitute improvisations for a system – so that later on we might develop a system on their foundations.

On all of my trips, I was accompanied by the chief workers in all the principal departments of the army, especially in those connected with the supply service. We had inherited from the old army supply service officers who tried to work in the old way or in even worse fashion, for the conditions became infinitely more difficult. On these trips, many of the old specialists had to learn new ways, and new ones received their training in live experience. After making the round of a division and ascertaining its needs on the spot, I would hold a conference in the staff-car or the dining-car, inviting as many representatives as possible, including those from the lower commanding force and from the ranks, as well as from the local party organizations, the Soviet administration, and the trades-unions. In this way I got a picture of the situation that was neither false nor highly colored. These conferences always had immediate practical results. No matter how poor the organs of the local administration might be, they always managed to squeeze a little tighter and cut down some of their own needs to contribute something to the army.

The most important sacrifices came from institutions. A new group of communists would be drawn from the institutions and put immediately into an unreliable regiment. Stuff would be found for shirts and for wrappings for the feet, leather for new soles, and an extra hundredweight of fat. But of course the local sources were not enough. After the conference, I would send orders to Moscow by direct wire, estimating our needs according to the resources of the centre, and, as a result, the division would get what it desperately needed, and that in good time. The commanders and commissaries of the front learned from their experience on the train to approach their own work – whether they were commanding, educating, supplying or administering justice – not from above, from the stand point of the pinnacle of the staff, but from below, from the standpoint of the company or platoon, of the young and inexperienced new recruit.

Gradually, more or less efficient machinery for a centralized supply service for the front and the armies was established. But, alone, it did not and could not satisfy all needs. Even the most ideal organization will occasionally misfire during a war, and especially during a war of manoeuvres based entirely on movement – sometimes, alas! in quite unforeseen directions. And one must not forget that we fought without supplies. As early as 1919, there was nothing left in the central depots. Shirts were sent to the front direct from the workshop. But the supply of rifles and cartridges was most difficult of all. The Tula munition factories worked for the needs of the current day. Not a carload of cartridges could be sent anywhere without the special authorization of the Commander-in-chief. The supply of munitions was always as taut as a string. Sometimes the string would break, and then we lost men and territory.

Without constant changes and improvisations, the war would have been utterly impossible for us. The train initiated these, and at the same time regulated them. If we gave an impulse of initiative to the front and its immediate rear, we took care to direct it into the channels of the general system. I do not want to say that we always succeeded in this. But, as the civil war has demonstrated, we did achieve the principal thing – victory.

The trips to the sections of the front where often the treason of the commanding officers had created catastrophes were especially important. On August 23, 1918, during the most critical period before Kazan, I received a coded telegram from Lenin and Svyerdlov: “Sviyazhsk Trotsky. Treason on the Saratov front, though discovered in time, has yet produced very dangerous wavering. We consider your going there at once absolutely necessary, for your appearance at the front has an effect on soldiers and the entire army. Let us together arrange for your visits to other fronts. Reply stating date of your departure, all by code, August 22, 1918. Lenin. Svyerdlov.”

I thought it quite impossible to leave Sviyazhsk, as the departure of the train would have shaken the Kazan front, which was having a difficult enough time as it was. Kazan was in all respects more important than Saratov. Lenin and Svyerdlov themselves soon agreed with me on this. I went to Saratov only after the recapture of Kazan. But telegrams like this reached the train at all stages of its travels. Kiev and Vyatka, Siberia and the Crimea would complain of their difficult positions and would demand, in turn or at the same time, that the train hasten to their rescue.

The war unrolled on the periphery of the country, often in the most remote parts of a front that stretched for eight thousand kilometres. Regiments and divisions were cut off from the rest of the world for months at a time. Very often they had not enough telephone equipment even for their own intercommunication, and would then succumb to hopelessness. The train, for them, was a messenger from other worlds. We always had a stock of telephone apparatus and wires. A wireless aerial had been arranged over a particular car in our train, so that we could receive radio messages from the Eiffel Tower, from Nauen, and from other stations, thirteen in all, with Moscow, of course, foremost. The train was always informed of what was going on in the rest of the world. The more important telegraphic reports were published in the train news paper, and given passing comment, in articles, leaflets and orders. Kapp’s raid, conspiracies at home, the English elections, the progress of grain collections, and feats of the Italian Fascismo were interpreted while the footprints of events were still warm, and were linked up with the fates of the Astrakhan or Archangel fronts.

These articles were simultaneously transmitted to Moscow by direct wire, and radioed from there to the press of the entire country. The arrival of the train put the most isolated unit in touch with the whole army, and brought it into the life not only of the country, but of the entire world. Alarmist rumors and doubts were dispelled, and the spirit of the men grew firm. This change of morale would last for several weeks, sometimes until the next visit of the train. In the intervals, members of the Revolutionary Military Council of the front or the army would make trips similar in character, but on a smaller scale.

All my work in the train, literary and otherwise, would have been impossible without my assisting stenographers, Glazman and Syermuks, and the younger assistant, Nechayev. They worked all day and all night in the moving train, which, disregarding all rules of safety in the fever of war, would rush over shaken ties at a speed of seventy or more kilometres an hour, so that the map that hung from the ceiling of the car would rock like a swing. I would watch in wondering gratitude the movements of the hand that, despite the incessant jerking and shaking, could inscribe the finely shaped symbols so clearly. When I was handed the typed script half an hour later, no corrections were necessary. This was not ordinary work it took on a character of heroic sacrifice. Afterward, Glazman and Syermuks paid dearly for their sacrifices in the service of the revolution. Glazman was driven to suicide by the Stalinites, and Syermuks has been shut away in the wilds of Siberia.

Part of the train was a huge garage holding several automobiles and a gasoline tank. This made it possible for us to travel away from the railway line for several hundred versts. A squad of picked sharpshooters and machine-gunners, amounting to from twenty to thirty men, occupied the trucks and light cars. A couple of hand machine-guns had also been placed in my car. A war of movement is full of surprises. On the steppes, we always ran the risk of running into some Cossack band. Automobiles with machine-guns insured one against this, at least when the steppe had not been transformed into a sea of mud. Once during the autumn of 1919, in the province of Voronezh, we could move at a speed of only three kilometres an hour. The automobiles sank deep into the black, rain-soaked earth. Thirty men had to keep jumping off their cars to push them along. And once, when we were fording a river, we got stuck in midstream. In a rage, I blamed everything on the low-built machine which my excellent chauffeur, an Esthonian named Puvi, considered the very best machine in the world. He turned round to me, and raising his hand to his cap, said in broken Russian:

“I beg to state that the engineers never foresaw that we should have to sail on water.”

In spite of the difficulty of the moment, I felt like embracing him for the cold aptness of his irony.

The train was not only a military-administrative and political institution, but a fighting institution as well. In many of its features it was more like an armored train than a staff head quarters on wheels. In fact, it was armored, or at least its engines and machine-gun cars were. All the crew could handle arms. They all wore leather uniforms, which always make men look heavily imposing. On the left arm, just below the shoulder, each wore a large metal badge, carefully cast at the mint, which had acquired great popularity in the army. The cars were connected by telephone and by a system of signals.

To keep the men on the alert while we were travelling, there were frequent alarms, both by day and by night. Armed detachments would be put off the train as “landing parties.” The appearance of a leather-coated detachment in a dangerous place invariably had an overwhelming effect. When they were aware of the presence of the train just a few kilometres behind the firing-line, even the most nervous units, their commanding officers especially, would summon up all their strength. In the unstable poise of a scale, only a small weight is enough to decide. The rôle of that weight was played by the train and its detachments a great many times during its two and a half years of travel. When we took the returned “landing party” aboard, we usually found some one missing. Altogether, the train lost about fifteen men in killed and wounded, not counting the ones who joined the units in the field and disappeared from our view. For instance, a squad was made up from our train crew for the model armored train named for Lenin another joined the troops in the field before Petrograd. For its share in the battles against Yudenich, the train as a whole was decorated with the order of the Red Flag.

Sometimes the train was cut off and shelled or bombed from the air. No wonder it was surrounded by a legend woven of victories both real and imagined. Time and again the commander of a division, of a brigade, or even of a regiment would ask me to stay at his staff headquarters for an extra half-hour, just whiling away the time, or to drive with him by automobile or on horseback to some distant sector, or even to send a few men from the train there with supplies and gifts, so that the news of the train’s arrival might be spread far and wide. “This will be as good as a division in reserve,” commanders would say. The news of the arrival of the train would reach the enemy lines as well. There people imagined a mysterious train infinitely more awful than it really was. But that only served to increase its influence on morale.

The train earned the hatred of its enemies and was proud of it. More than once, the Socialist-Revolutionists made plans to wreck it. At the trial of the Socialist-Revolutionists, the story was told in detail by Semyonov, who organized the assassination of Volodarsky and the attempt on Lenin’s life, and who also took part in the preparations to wreck the train. As a matter of fact, such an enterprise presented no great difficulty, except that by that time the Socialist-Revolutionists, weakened politically, had lost faith in themselves and no longer had much influence with the younger generation.

On one of our trips south, the train was wrecked at the station of Gorki. In the middle of the night, I was suddenly jerked out of bed, and was seized by that creepy feeling one has during an earthquake, of the ground slipping away under one“s feet, with no firm support anywhere. Still half-asleep, I clutched the sides of the bed. The familiar rumbling had stopped at once the car had turned on its edge, and stood stock-still. In the silence of the night, a single, pitiful voice was the only thing to be heard. The heavy car-doors were so bent that they could not even be opened, and I could not get out. No one appeared, which alarmed me. Was it the enemy? With a revolver in my hand, I jumped out of the window and ran into a man with a lantern. It was the commander of the train, unable to get to me.

The car was standing on a slope, with three wheels buried deep in the embankment, and the other three rising high above the rails. The rear and front of the car had crumpled. the front grating had pinned down a sentry, and it was his pitiful little voice, like the crying of a child, that I had heard in the darkness. It was no easy matter to release him from the grating covering him so tightly. To every one’s surprise, he got off with nothing but bruises and a scare. In all, eight cars were destroyed. The restaurant car, which was used as the club for the train, was a heap of polished splinters. A number of men had been reading or playing chess while they waited for their turn to go on duty, but they had all left the club at midnight, ten minutes before the accident. The trucks with books, equip ment and gifts for the front were all badly damaged as well. None of the men was seriously hurt. The accident was due to faulty switching, whether because of negligence or deliberate action we never found out. Fortunately for us, the train was passing a station at the time, running at a speed of only 30 kilometres.

The train crew performed many other tasks besides their special duties. They lent their help in time of famine, during epidemics of disease, in propaganda campaigns, and at international congresses. The train was the honorary head of a rural district and of several children’s homes. Its communist local published its own paper, On Guard. Many an incident of adventure and battle is recorded in its pages, but unfortunately this, like many other records, is not in my present travelling archives.

When I was leaving to prepare an offensive against Wrangel, who had intrenched himself in the Crimea, I wrote in the train newspaper En Route, on October 27, 1920:

“Our train is again bound for the front.

“The fighting men of our train were before the walls of Kazan in the grave weeks of 1918, when we were fighting for the control of the Volga. That fight ended long ago. To-day the Soviet power is approaching the Pacific Ocean.

“The fighting men of our train fought gallantly before the walls of Petrograd. Petrograd has been saved and has since been visited by many representatives of the world proletariat.

“Our train visited the western front more than once. To day, a preliminary peace has been signed with Poland.

“The fighting men of our train were on the steppes of the Don when Krasnov and, later, Denikin advanced against Soviet Russia from the south. The days of Krasnov and Denikin are long since past.

“There now is left only the Crimea, which the French government has made its fortress. The White Guard garrison of this French fortress is under the command of a hired German Russian general, Baron Wrangel.

“The friendly family of our train is starting on a new campaign. Let this campaign be the last.”

The Crimean campaign was actually the last campaign of the civil war. A few months later, the train was disbanded. From these pages, I send fraternal greetings to all my former comrades-in-arms.

Notes

1. The train of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council. – Trans.


Trotsky's Train

Post by Tom Houlihan » 22 Jul 2006, 12:32

Does anyone have any information on Trotsky's personal train, used when he was head of the Red Army? I found a reference to it, but when I searched for it on the net, all I could find was that it was armed, armored, and had two engines.

I'm not looking for great detail, but a couple of decent photos, maybe number of cars, guns, etc.

Post by RCW Mark » 02 Aug 2006, 17:09

Well, like all trains, it varied in size. It eventually got so large that it got divided into two. Some details can be found in "Armoured Units of the Russian Civil War: Red Army" which is the Osprey New Vanguard #95. This, and the matching White Army volume, are pretty good on the trains of the civil war (as well as doing tanks and armoured cars).

Trotski's train wasn't well armed, because it was a rear echelon unit. Some MGs and perhaps a field gun. But it did carry an elite fighting unit for boosting morale and plugging holes. Some of them wore a uniform of red leather!

What it did carry was tons of propaganda stuff (printing presses, theatre troupe, loudspeakers) and supplies.

Photos is tricky: trains are a bit big to fit into a 1920 era frame, so there aren't many good ones of whole trains. You'll see bits of the one in question behind some pictures of Trotsky though.


Trotsky train

That train was 'the train of the Predrevoyensoviet' - the train of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council, which for two and a half years carried Leon Trotsky, War Commissar of the new government of the Soviet Union, from one battle front to another during the chaotic civil war years of 1918 to 1920, when the Bolsheviks were fighting for their survival The train was not only a military-administrative and political institution, but a fighting institution as well. In many of its features it was more like an armored train than a staff head quarters on wheels. In fact, it was armored, or at least its engines and machine-gun cars were. All the crew could handle arms

During the Russian Civil War of 1919-1921, Bolshevik-Russian politician and military leader Leon Trotsky (b.1879-1940), rode throughout Russia in his grand armored train visiting towns, battles, and the front lines to meet with soldiers, generals, and local political leaders Trotsky's giant armoured personal train was officially the 'train of the Predrevoyensoviet' - the train of the Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council.During the period of the civil war from 1918 to 1920, the train was the mobile home and base of operations for Leon Trotsky, in his role as War Commissar of the government of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic Trotzkis Zug war der persönliche Panzerzug Leo Trotzkis, der auf seine Initiative hin im August 1918 geschaffen worden war. Darin reiste er fortan bis 1920 von einer Front des Bürgerkrieges zur nächsten. During the most strenuous years of the revolution, my own personal life was bound up inseparably with the life of that train. The train, on the other hand, was inseparably bound up with the life of the Red Army. The train linked the front with the base, solved urgent. Leon Trotsky speaks from the Armoured Train during the Russian Civil War in 1920 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 Een geheim agent van Stalin, Ramón Mercader, verwierf op 20 augustus 1940 toegang tot het zwaarbewaakte verblijf van Leon Trotski door zich voor te doen als de verloofde van de zus van de secretaresse.Hij deed zich voor als Jacques Mornard, een Belgische journalist, die aan Trotski een net geschreven artikel wilde voorleggen.Toen deze aan een bureau ging zitten om de tekst te lezen, sloeg de.

Trotsky_Train 1 post karma 99 comment karma send a private message. get them help and support. redditor for 2 years. TROPHY CASE. Two-Year Club. Verified Email. remember me reset password. . Get an ad-free experience with special benefits, and directly support Reddit. get reddit premium D e Russische revolutionair, politicus en theoreticus Leon Trotski (1879-1940) behoorde de hoogste kringen van het Russisch communisme.Hij was de oprichter en organisator van het Rode Leger.Trotski stond bekend als een geweldige redenaar, maar ook als bruut man die niet zoveel gaf om een leven meer of minder

(2013). Where Trotsky's Train Comes From: A Literary Scholar's View of a Revolutionary's Biography. Terrorism and Political Violence: Vol. 25, The Intellectuals and Terror: A Fatal Attraction, pp. 576-586 Trotsky's train was the personal armoured train of Leon Trotsky, the Soviet People's Commissar of Defense. In 1918 Trotsky had a train that was formerly used by one of the Czar's ministers of communication converted into an armored train for him to quickly visit areas in the Russian civil war where the Red Army needed leadership. The train included a telegraph station, a library, a printing. The train also has a nice dining car designed with an atmosphere of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Leo Tolstoy lived and worked. Passengers of the Lev Tolstoy train can arrange to transport their cars in a specialized vehicle carriage. Tax Free Refund service is available on board. Runs every day. Take Trotsky's train remained within reach of enemy fire. The local commissars proposed that he should move to a safer place on a steam boat on the Volga, but he refused, fearing the effect this might have on the troops. However, Trotsky did go with sailors from Kronstadt on a torpedo boat, part of a tiny flotilla, on an adventurous night raid on. Excerpt from Absolute Beginners the sixth episode of the 1974 British television program Fall of Eagles.Trotsky arrives in London and discusses the revolu..

Trotsky's War Train History Toda

Le train de Trotski était le train blindé personnel de Léon Trotski, le Commissaire populaire de la défense d'Union soviétique, dont il prit possession en août 1918. Le train était en fait composé de quatre locomotrices et de deux trains avec plusieurs wagons [ 1 ] Leon Trotsky and his wife on a train from Esbjerg to Copenhagen, where Trotsky was to give a lecture to the students at the University. Trotsky had been exiled from the USSR by Stalin. 1932. | Location: Between Esbjerg and Copenhagen, Denmark He traveled extensively around Russia on a train, forming and managing military units. According to his own estimates, the train traveled more than 65,000 miles during the war. Trotsky's greatest. Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein on 7 November 1879 in Yanovka, Ukraine, then part of Russia. His father was a prosperous Jewish farmer. Trotsky became involved in underground activities. Such draconian policies helped to instill into the Red Army the very discipline that was fundamentally missing in the various White armies. Trotsky frequently visited his troops at the front in his famous armoured train so he could never be seen as a military commander who stayed away from the fighting

Leon Trotsky: My Life (34

Media in category Leon Trotsky's Armored Train The following 13 files are in this category, out of 13 total. Leon Trotsky Armored Train 1920.jpg 1,009 × 1,582 940 K Trotsky's Armored Train . During the Russian Civil War, Trotsky is the chairman of the Supreme Military Council and uses a personal armored train as his mobile headquarters. In the series, the train is a computer generated image Leon Trotsky—once a vocal critic of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party—joined the Bolsheviks in August 1917. Trotsky quickly rose to a position of power in the party: just before the October Revolution, he was elected to the Bolshevik Central Committee.During the revolution, Trotsky oversaw Soviet military operations in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), the capital of the Russian Empire The World Premiere Screening of Trotsky, presented by Channel One and Sreda Production, will be the flagship event of the Russian Content Revolution showcase..

Due especially to Trotsky's hand in the murder of millions of people under the Lenin regime, as well as the ongoing global recession causing many fence sitters to take a side in these affairs, Rightists have a real opportunity to shut the lid on this word once and for all, simply by telling the truth about who invented the word and what its purpose was (and is) With Trotsky's troops on his tail, Kolchak directed the train further east, as far away from the enemy as possible. He brought the train to Irkutsk, a trading city near Lake Baikal. And that's.

Trotsky was then appointed to transform the Red Army from a disorganised group of volunteers into an effective military machine. Commanding the Red Army from his iconic train, Trotsky became known for his organisational ability, and for the strict discipline he expected of the revolutionary army Le train de Trotski était le train blindé personnel de Léon Trotski, le Commissaire populaire de la défense d'Union soviétique, dont il prit possession en août 1918.Le train était en fait composé de quatre locomotrices et de deux trains avec plusieurs wagons [1].Il comprenait une station de télégraphe, une imprimerie, une station de radio, un garage automobile et un petit escadron. Babylon Berlin's story gets rolling when they hijack a train in the Soviet Union, murdering all the railway workers. Their plan: to smuggle gold from Russia to their exiled leader in Istanbul. Leon Trotsky, once the leader of the Petrograd Soviet and the Red Army, had been in Turkish exile on the island of Prinkipo since 1929

Weird Warriors: The Red 100, Trotsky's Armored Train Cre

  1. Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Bolshevik revolution and early architect of the Soviet state, is deported by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to Alma-Ata in remote Soviet Central Asia. He lived there in.
  2. Trotsky's war train. Publisher. Not set Type Serial component part. Place of publication. Not given. Date of publication. Not given. Subjects. JOURNALS. Volumes. History Today Vol. 25, no. 8 (August 1975), p. 523-531. Note. For two and a half years during the Russian Civil War, Trotsky's headquarters were his mobile train
  3. Trotsky divided the train into 2 echelons during the second half of the war. According to eyewitness Victor Serge, the train had 1 gun and a separate train followed with 300 cavalry. On board were five automobiles, one of them Trotsky's command car. Several light trucks could detrain and carry emergency supplies to the front
  4. Trotsky travelled in an armoured train to the front lines to encourage troops. At times of crisis, he readily assumed personal command of areas under threat
  5. The train was given a high traffic priority by the Germans. Crown Prince Wilhelm, the eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, was delayed for two hours to let Lenin's train to pass. There was a several hours' layover in Berlin during which some members of the German Social Democratic Party boarded the train but were not allowed to communicate with Lenin

The two-minute trailer for Trotsky is enough to leave a lasting impression. It contains the ridiculous - an oversized armoured train that dwarfs the cast - as well as the shocking, ending with. Trotskyism 101: Leon Trotsky's Armoured Train, Pizzeria & Coffee House ☭★ has 2,619 members. Discussion about topics regarding Bolshevism-Leninism, memes, anti-stalinism and scholary works. This is a Leftist/Trotskyist group . Leo Trotzki (russisch Лев Троцкий Lew Trozki, wiss. Transliteration Lev Trockij * 26. Oktober jul. / 7. November 1879 greg. als Lew Dawidowitsch Bronstein, russisch Лев Давидович Бронштейн, Transliteration Lev Davidovič Bronštejn in Janowka, Gouvernement Cherson, Russisches Kaiserreich † 21. August 1940 in Coyoacán, Mexiko) war ein russischer Revolutionär.

Leon Trotsky and his wife on a train from Esbjerg to Copenhagen, where Trotsky was to give a lecture to the students at the University. Trotsky had been exiled from the USSR by Stalin. 1932. |. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Image Some transitions between scenes are among the best I've ever seen in any movie or series. The only moments when the show doesn't look splendid are the scenes showing historical sites or Trotsky's armored train, when CGI isn't the best. Luckily, these scenes are few and far between. All in all, Trotsky is a very well-crafted piece of television Not a word was mentioned about the American instructors Trotsky called in to help train his soldiers. In March 1918 he had 300,000 soldiers at his disposal. Two years later he already had a million. He finally managed to train and equip an army of five million men. He.

Ted Widmer writes about Lenin's train ride to St. Petersburg on the eve of the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the U.S.S.R Trotsky's life before the revolution is more instructive of the networks of Jewish Bolsheviks. Arrested in 1906, he was sent into exile by the tsarist state. He escaped and made his way to. Trotsky chose to strike back where it would hurt most, ridiculing his critics as 'party ignoramuses.' When discussing Lenin's own opinion of Trotsky, Figes goes on to say (pg. 794): Trotsky was a brilliant orator and administrator: he more than anyone had won the civil war

The train referred to in the quote above was Trotsky's personal armored train that he used during the Civil War to visit the most critical sections of the front. While there, he not only planned and supervised military operations, but also used his considerable oratorical talents to inspire Red Army soldiers and even deserters, often with considerable success Trotsky made 36 tours of the front from 1918 to 1921 in what he referred to simply as the train.Formed in Moscow on 7 August 1918 (two armoured engines, 12 wagons), the train immediately reinforced the Volga Front with a shock force of Latvian Riflemen After he has been killed, Trotsky is seen walking into a blizzard before being run over by his civil war armored train, which had appeared in every episode as Trotsky's virtual alter-ego.

Trotsky commandeered a train and made that his HQ. His orders for the Red Army was to hit hard and be ruthless with enemies. The new force enthusiastically followed this orders. Russians who were unfamiliar with proletarian slang were shot and anyone who spoke another language besides Russian were placed in prison With Konstantin Khabenskiy, Mikhail Porechenkov, Maksim Matveev, Evgeniy Stychkin. 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. By an incredible coincidence, Trotsky and his wife survive. Having lost during the eleven years of expulsion almost all close ones. The Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky was assassinated by a Stalinist agent on August 21, 1940. Many today who are interested in socialism know little or nothing about him. And yet Trotsky was a key leader of the only successful working-class revolution in history—the 1917 October Revolution. In the face of [

Leon Trotsky was a Soviet politician, theorist and a Marxist revolutionary, who was the founding leader of the Red Army. With onset of the October revolution in 1917, Trotsky was instrumental in the transfer of total political power to the Soviets As the train left the station, Lenin reached out the window to bid farewell to a friend. Either we'll be swinging from the gallows in three months or we shall be in power, he predicted Trotsky gained his release only after vehement protests in Russia he reached Petrograd a month after Lenin.) The cover of Lenin on the Train portends the trouble to follow

On April 16, 1917, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the revolutionary Bolshevik Party, returns to Petrograd after a decade of exile to take the reins of the Russia Enjoy the best Leon Trotsky Quotes at BrainyQuote. Quotations by Leon Trotsky, Russian Revolutionary, Born October 26, 1879. Share with your friends

Russia - What impact did Trotsky's armoured train have on

  1. According to the image below, racist is a made up word by Leon Trotsky in 1927.I searched in the Online Etymology Dictionary and found that. racist (n.). 1932 [as a noun], 1938 as an adjective, from race (n.2) racism is first attested 1936 (from French racisme, 1935), originally in the context of Nazi theories
  2. De Dobbeleer, M. (2015). Chronotopes on wheels: Anna Karenina and the train episodes in Trotsky's Balkan war reports. In D. Stamatopoulos (Ed.), Balkan nationalism(s) and the Ottoman empire : political violence and the Balkan Wars) (Vol. 2, pp. 165-186). Istanbul: Isis Press
  3. In October, 1906 Trotsky was sentenced to internal exile and deprived of all civil rights for an indefinite period, and every attempt at escape carried the additional punishment of three-years hard-labour. Trotsky and thirteen other prisoners were taken by fifty-two soldiers to Tyumen by train. They continued the journey on horse-drawn sleighs
  4. Trotsky remarked in the margins of the order: What scoundrels! 106 Trotsky was taken by train from Alma Ata to Odessa, placed on a Soviet ship and sent to Constantinople in Turkey. This photo was taken on February 12th 1929, as Trotsky was being driven to the Soviet embassy in Constantinople for a short stay there. Chapter 4: Exil

Trotzkis Zug - Wikipedi

  1. ate inefficiency and corruption from every branch of the civil service and to train a new corps of civil servants
  2. 'Chronotopes on Wheels: Anna Karenina and the Train Episodes in Trotsky's Balkan War Reports'. In: D. Stamatopoulos (ed.), Balkan Nationalism(s) and the Ottoman Empire (vol. 2: Political Violence and the Balkan Wars): 165-186
  3. Apr 30, 2019 - Explore Nicholas Wurst's board Trotsky on Pinterest. See more ideas about Léon trotsky, Russian revolution, Russian history
  4. Our trotsvb albumor see trotsky. Back. Update. 2021 Jan 23. Trotsvb album. image. Image Trot (music) - Wikiwand. image. Image Felicitatiekaart - Super Trots - Stipjes Okergeel. image. Image Motivation Quotes : Trots Op Jou Quotes Google Zoeken image. Image Zooo Trots Op Jou. image. Image Moderne Felicitatiekaart Super Trots

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Leon Trotski - Wikipedi

  • 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
  • Armored trains were feared wherever they went and Trotsky's train, Revvoyensovet, was especially feared by even his own Red Army comrades. Often times wherever an armored train went, death and hardship followed. A critical tactical component linked to the effectiveness of most of the armored trains in this period was the raiding party
  • That is the refined world of high-end train travel aboard Belmond's Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. The Orient Express launched service back in 1883 and has welcomed guests ranging from Tolstoy and Trotsky to Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Photo courtesy of Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Expres
  • Trotsky on the D Train. His exile in New York, 1927. A poor, sick, tired old Jew in steel-rimmed spectacles, pressed between clerks and secretaries, rattling and swaying beneath the streets of that city which must have been, to him of all people, Golgotha
  • Russian Civil War, 1919-1921. During the Russian Civil War of 1919-1921, the Bolshevik-Russian politician and military leader Leon Trotsky (b.1879-1940) rode throughout Russia in his great armored train visiting towns, settlements, and the front lines to meet with soldiers and officers
  • Trotsky's armoured train could only get as far as Simbirsk, on the outskirts of Kazan. The enemy forces were superior both in numbers and organisation. Some White companies were composed exclusively of officers and proved more than a match for the poorly trained and ill-disciplined Red forces

Overview for Trotsky_Train - Reddi

  1. As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the 'sacredness of human life.' We were revolutionaries in opposition, and have remained revolutionaries in power. To make the individual sacred we must destroy the social order which crucifies him. And this problem can only be solved by blood and iron
  2. Leon Trotsky awaited the inevitable as he fed his rabbits on the afternoon of August 20, 1940. Marked for death by Joseph Stalin, the 60-year-old intellectual architect of the Russian Revolution.
  3. Jonathan Adam Saunders 'Jay' Baruchel (Ottawa, 9 april 1982) is een Canadees acteur.Na voornamelijk televisieseries en bijrollen in onder meer Almost Famous, Million Dollar Baby en Knocked Up, promoveerde hij in 2010 tot hoofdrolspeler in films als She's Out of My League en The Sorcerer's Apprentice.Daarnaast sprak hij dat jaar de stem in van hoofdpersonage Hiccup voor de animatiefilm How to.
  4. Trotsky may never have returned to the US, but his time in New York City did not pass unnoticed. As the Bronx Home News wrote later in 1917: Bronx Man Leads Russian Revolution. A century has now passed since Trotsky first set foot in the city of John D. Rockefeller and Wall Street
  5. During its time, the train carried passengers including Tolstoy, Trotsky, Marlene Dietrich, Lawrence of Arabia and the spy Mata Hari. To the present day, movies about the service have starred Sean Connery (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1963), Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express, 2017), among others
  6. Trotsky's father, a prosperous grain merchant, is set upon by a suddenly inflamed mob. The series' signature—and sinister—image is that of Trotsky's armored train, literally the locomotive of history, hurtling from one weakening front with the Whites to another to shore up the Red Army
  7. WARNING! Jewish Director of U.S. National Institute of Health Is The Great-Granddaughter Of Jewish Russian Bolshevik Communist Revolutionary Leon Trotsky Who Massacred 66-Million Christian Russians ()the apostle [Muhammad] said, Whoever wants to see Satan let him take a look at Nabtal b. al-Harith!He was a sturdy black man with long flowing hair, inflamed eyes, and dark ruddy.

Leon Trotski (1879-1940) - Russische revolutionair Historie

  • 40) All these revolutionaries had played important roles, particularly as members of the military secretariat or on Trotsky's armed train during the civil war. But Stalin, as Trotsky remarked, Was conducting the struggle on a different plane, and with different weapons
  • The official website for planning your Rocky Mountaineer train journey. Here you can learn more about how to experience the Canadian Rockies by rail
  • WALL STREET AND THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION By Antony C. Sutton TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface Chapter I: The Actors on the Revolutionary Stage Chapter II: Trotsky Leaves New York to Complete the Revolutio
  • Chapter 3. LENIN AND GERMAN ASSISTANCE FOR THE BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. It was not until the Bolsheviks had received from us a steady flow of funds through various channels and under varying labels that they were in a position to be able to build up their main organ Pravda, to conduct energetic propaganda and appreciably to extend the originally narrow base of their party
  • Reading this article, I can agree with Stanley's point that Trotsky invented the word racist, which was first seen in Trotsky's book The History of the Russian Revolution. But Stanley has a skewed vision of Lenin's and Trotsky's roles in the Russian revolution, and blatantly misrepresents that history by attempting to lay the holocaust of the Russian Jews squarely on their shoulders

Where Trotsky's Train Comes From: A Literary Scholar's

Then they travelled by train to Petrograd. There, on May 4, a crowd with red banners met Trotsky at the train, and carried him on its shoulders through the streets. He headed for the Smolny Institute Weird Warriors: The Red 100, Trotsky's Armored Train Crew Weird Warriors is an ongoing series of posts featuring obscure military units throughout the history of warfare. This series seeks to spotlight a variety of obscure and exotic units ranging from Micronesian warriors armed with shark-tooth weapons to the Italian human torpedoes of World War 2 Trotsky was 'distinguished And this would, Lenin believed, both help train many more potential leaders and reorient the leadership towards grassroots concerns and sensibilities Trotsky Shrewd, paranoid Stalin Stalin maneuvered to strip Trotsky of his communist party membership. Fearing for his life, Trotsky fled into exile. Stalin sent his agents after Trotsky while he was in exile in Mexico In reality, all four children supported their parents' political activity, especially Leon Sedov, Trotsky's closest collaborator and promoter, and the main organizer of the clandestine Russian Left Opposition. What's more, the great Larissa Reissner is reduced to a femme fatale, the (mainly sexual) companion of Trotsky on the armored train

Wikizero - Trotsky's train

  • Leon Trotsky: A Life From Beginning to End - Kindle edition by History, Hourly. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Leon Trotsky: A Life From Beginning to End
  • An insider's guide to the Rocky Mountaineer, Canada's most scenic train ride through the Rockies between Vancouver & Banff, Calgary, Jasper. Shedules, fares, advice on which Rocky Mountaineer route to choose, advice on whether to go Red Leaf or Gold Leaf, what is the train really like, what do you see from the Rocky Mountaineer train? Also covers the Whistler Mountaineer train from Vancouver.
  • Commando #4592: Last Train From Trotskygrad (English Edition) eBook: Macdonald, Mac, Kennedy, Ian, Forns, Jaume: Amazon.nl: Kindle Store Selecteer uw cookievoorkeuren We gebruiken cookies en vergelijkbare tools om uw winkelervaring te verbeteren, onze services aan te bieden, te begrijpen hoe klanten onze services gebruiken zodat we verbeteringen kunnen aanbrengen, en om advertenties weer te geven
  • Trotsky's 'ABC of Materialist Dialectics' is a brilliant short explanation of Marxist philosophy. It was written as part of a defence of Marxism against a middle class revisionist tendency in the American Trotskyist movement in the late 1930s, which attempted to challenge its basic principles

Lev Tolstoy train, Buy Lev Tolstoy train tickets online

In March 1918, Trotsky became people's commissar for military affairs, organizing the Red Army and directing military operations on the various civil war fronts from his famous armored train. After the bloody suppression of the Kronstadt fleet mutiny, aimed against the Bolshevik dictatorship, he took the salute at the victory parade in April 1921 J. Posadas. Photo: Russian Wikipedia CC BY SA 4.0. Posadas (1912-1981) is one of the most famous - and ridiculed - of Trotskyists, notorious both for the cults he named after himself and his claim that UFOs were evidence of communist societies in other galaxies


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Leon Trotsky played a really important function in the Bolshevik success in the period 1917-1924. Harmonizing to A. J Koutsoukis. ‘his parts in the old ages 1917 to 1924 had been 2nd.

if non equal to that of Lenin himself. Trotsky played a important function in set uping Bolshevik control in Russia. He was besides really instrumental and one of the grounds for the Red Army winning the civil war.

Trotsky was regarded by his protagonists as the Jesus for his state for his attempts in organizing the Red Army during the Civil War. Harmonizing to historian E. H Carr. ‘Trotsky was a great decision maker. great rational. and a great orator…’ but at times was overbearing and lead to his eventual ruin.Leon Trotsky had a prima function in the Bolshevik ictus of power in the October Revolution of 1917.

Leon Trotsky was a superb speechmaker. mind and organizing mastermind. His actions before and during the revolution were critical to the success of the Bolshevik Revolution. Trotsky organised many of the instructions that Lenin sent him from his expatriate in Finland ( what to take over. and the subdivision of the party ) and harmonizing to L. Hartley ‘this was a critical occupation as the slightest error could intend failure’ .

The success of the revolution was based on the fact that the huge bulk of military personnels in the capital sided with the Sovietss. This assemblance of support can be mostly attributed to Trotsky. Trotsky association with the Petrograd Soviet [ as president ] brought the support of the hesitating people. willing merely to back up the Soviet. to the Bolsheviks when he joined them in July. Since he had regained his place as president of the Soviet. Trotsky was.

harmonizing to B. Williams. ‘in a place to organize the revolution itself’ . In add-on to Trotsky’s function in winning support was his preparation of Bolshevik agents who were placed in mills throughout Petrograd to ‘spread hatred against the Probationary Government and to teach work forces in how to fix themselves for a revolution when the clip came’ .One of the strong points of Trotsky’s personality was his ability in persuasive oratory. which could win over crowds. In respects to constructing support he.

as stated by L. Hartley. ‘inspired many people…especially after 23rd October when he knew the revolution would take place’ . His oratorical accomplishments were really evident on the dark of the revolution. where he and other Bolshevik leaders hurried from Garrison to garrison floging up support for the crisis to come. Most significantly.

Trotsky convinced the Petrograd Garrison of the Peter and Paul fortress to back up the socialist revolution. This support and the huge Numberss arms proved to be critical to Bolshevik success on the eventide of the revolution. Trotsky was indispensable in planning and transporting out the revolution.

On the 12th October a Military Revolutionary Committee was established by the Petrograd soviet. which was lead by Trotsky.This Committee was. harmonizing to Graeme Gill. in charge of organizing the ‘actual mechanics of prehending power’ . The Military radical Committee appointed commissars. or representatives.

to all military personnels in the capital. They persuaded the huge bulk of units to obey their bid non the Probationary Government. The military radical commission directed units loyal of the Red Guard whose constitution can big be attributed to Trotsky.

to prehend cardinal points in the metropolis. the Bridgess. the railroad Stationss.

the cardinal station office and the cardinal telephone exchange. Therefore. Trotsky’s function in the October Revolution was really of import. and if he was non at that place the revolution would non take topographic point.Trotsky function in the consolidation of power is mostly concerned with his function in making the Red Army.

and its function in supporting the new communist party against any menace. In March 1918 Trotsky was appointed Commissar of War and President of the Supreme War Council. and harmonizing to I. Deutscher ‘he did non even set down his pen to take up his sword-he used both’ .It is Trotsky’s feats as Commissar of the War in the Russian Civil War that defines his image as a hero of the revolution. An ground forces had to be organised supplied and led efficaciously. As leader of the Supreme Military Council. Trotsky was able to mend the Red ground forces from an undisciplined voluntary force without officers.

into a regular ground forces with muster and terrible subject imposed by former imperial officers. and even those soldiers within the ground forces. Trotsky undertook to raise an ground forces of noticeable nothingness. The armed forces of the old government had vanished. and the figure of work forces was highly low. and unimpressive. From slender beginnings grew the Red Army which.

after two and a half old ages. had five million work forces under weaponries. He introduced a government of Terror. and he created policies for within the ground forces that included ‘Anyone who incites anybody to withdraw. to abandon.

or to non fulfil orders will be shot’ .Former officers or ‘military specialists’ of the Czar government were invited by Trotsky to move as teachers. Political commissars were appointed to these ‘military specialists’ to guarantee trueness.

As a consequence of this rigorous government. Trotsky was able to make a united force. capable of get the better ofing the disorganized ‘white forces’ . and therefore repressing a possible menace to the new communist authorities.

Due to the leading of Trotsky. the Red Armies were winning over the Whites. The White Army could ne’er derive the support of the peasantry. but they could hold done this by reapportioning the land. something which the Bolsheviks had ever talked about.

“Peace. Bread. and Land. ”Alternatively. the Whites restored the belongings of landlords in countries they temporarily controlled. Furthermore. the White Army lacked a skilled and extremely organized bid.

The intercession of allied military personnels was ineffective and really deficient. and when the Alliess threw their support behind the White persons. more injury was done than good. The Red Army could talk of themselves as the defenders of the state while portraying the Whites as the victims of foreign authoritiess. This charge had already been leveled against the Bolsheviks after Brest-Litovsk.In add-on to his function as War Commissar.

Trotsky lifted the morale of his arm of consolidation ( the Red Army ) by looking in his celebrated armoured train at critical points. He spent much of his clip on this train. and as the train rushed from forepart to look it cut off several different maps.

another mastermind thought by Trotsky. It printed and distributed propaganda and educational literature. It carried supplies. including a choice of points to be used as awards for outstanding behavior at the forepart.

Overall. Lev davidovich bronstein was the public face of the Red Army. and he provided it with an animating front man.

As a leader Trotsky displayed a willingness to look personally on the front line. exposing himself to several hazards. which is rare for a adult male of his stature.Trotsky’s function in the Kronstadt rebellion is strongly debated over. but it does demo his strong committedness to the party. The horrors of war communism. combined with a lay waste toing drouth.

forced life criterions to worsen dramatically. In February 1921. a moving ridge of mass meetings swept through Petrograd. most notably the rebellion at Kronstadt originating. The Kronstadt crewmans had become disillusioned with the Bolshevik authorities.

They were angry about the deficiency of democracy and the policy of War Communism. On 28th February. 1921.

the crew of the battlewagon. Petropavlovsk. passed a declaration naming for a return of full political freedoms.Lenin denounced the Kronstadt Uprising as a secret plan instigated by the White Army and their European protagonists. On 6th March. Leon Trotsky announced that he was traveling to order the Red Army to assail the Kronstadt crewmans. However. it was non until the 17th March that authorities forces were able to take control of Kronstadt.

An estimated 8. 000 people ( crewmans and civilians ) left Kronstadt and went to populate in Finland. Official figures suggest that 527 people were killed and 4. 127 were wounded. Historians who have studied the uprising believe that the entire figure of casualties was much higher than this. Harmonizing to V. Serge over 500 crewmans at Kronstadt were executed for their portion in the rebellion. His function was to stamp down the mutiny which he did successful.

but many historiographers argue whether or non this is necessary.Trotsky besides played an of import function in policy design. and he was one of the several observers to observe the negative impact of Bolshevik nutrient policy. The provincials had adopted several schemes to besiege the province requisition of excess stocks.

Trotsky tried to cover with the state of affairs he began to turn to occupations. the black market and loss of industry. Trotsky arrived at the thought of the mobilization of labor.

The revolution had aloud proclaimed the responsibility of every citizen to work and it declared that ‘he who does non work shall non eat’ . The clip had now come. Trotsky argued. to implement that responsibility.

Unfortunately this was non accepted by the party. and Trotsky once more searched for redresss. nevertheless he was looking beyond war communism. Trotsky returned to Moscow with the decision that a step of economic freedom should be restored to the peasantry.In clear and precise footings Trotsky outlined the reform which entirely could take the state out of the deadlock.

There must be an terminal to the requisitioning of harvest. and the provincials must be encouraged to turn and sell excesss and to do a net income on them. However.

at the Central Committee his statements carried no strong belief. Lenin was non prepared to halt the requisitions. The reform Trotsky preposed to him looked unreal and was excessively much a spring in the dark. However.

merely one twelvemonth subsequently. after the failure of war communism. Lenin took up the same proposal and set them into consequence as the New Economic Policy ( N. E. P ) . This clearly shows that Trotsky was responsible for more than the Russian people had thought of. but he was non ever recognised for his work.Trotsky played an of import function in assisting Lenin keep onto his power.

He frequently gave Lenin advice. and every bit early as 1920 Trotsky had urged Lenin to pacify Great Britain but it was merely some clip subsequently that this advice was acted upon. Trotsky’s most of import enterprise in the diplomatic field came early in 1921. when he set afoot a figure of bold and extremely delicate moves which finally led to the decision of the Rapallo Treaty with Germany. As Commissar of War Trotsky was dying to fit the Red Army with modern arms. and the crude.

creaky Soviet armament industry could non provide them.Through his agents abroad he purchased weaponries wherever he could. even every bit far as the United States.

The Red Army was perilously dependent on foreign beginnings. Trotsky began to look for other options and Germany presented itself as a great 1. Through his contacts.

Trotsky began collaborating with Germany in April 1921. The idle armament industry in Germany was used. and besides the officers’ corps was employed. Thus the basis was laid for the long co-operation between the Reichswehr and the Red Army which was to outlive Trotsky’s term of office of office by a full decennary and which contributed greatly to the modernization of the Soviet armed forces before the Second World War.Towards the beginning of 1923 Trotsky’s function began to alter. As Lenin’s wellness began to bit by bit acquire worse. Trotsky was being attacked by his fellow party members. Trotsky stood about entirely in the Politbureau.

He was being attacked by Stalin with ‘unwonted fierceness and venom’ . Stalin attacked Trotsky because he felt that he had a craving for power. He so mounted Trotsky with many accusals of pessimism. bad religion. and even of defeatism. all on flimsy evidences.

One a adult male in a place similar to Trotsky’s is charged with him desiring power. no denial on his portion can chase away the intuition aroused. unless he resigns all office on the topographic point and stops voicing his positions. Of class Trotsky was non traveling to make this. and he denied everything said by Stalin.

Trotsky believed this was traveling to alter. when later that twelvemonth Lenin sent Stalin a missive to interrupt off all personal dealingss because Stalin behaved in an violative mode towards Lenin’s married woman. However.

after Lenin’s decease Stalin began to pull strings Trotsky and the party. in his favor. It would non be long before Trotsky begins his great ruin in the party by being removed and expelled.

In decision. Leon Trotsky was a really of import in the Bolshevik success. His belief in universe revolution resulted in a committedness to extremist domestic policies and to the usage of terrible steps wheresoever necessary. For Trotsky.

the success of the Bolshevik revolution was a necessary portion of the procedure of universe revolution. and therefore he did non shy off from the usage of force against the Bolsheviks’ oppositions. Trotsky played an of import function in the October Revolution. and was regarded every bit of import as Lenin by many historiographers. Trotsky besides led the Red Army to triumph. and it was because of his great organizational. oratorical accomplishments that they had won.

He was besides indispensable in the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion in February 1921 that was a possible menace to their power. He was a really intelligent adult male. and after the Civil War. influenced policy. He besides played an of import function in build uping the Red Army. with his superb thoughts of utilizing Germany. However.

Trotsky’s function began to alter after 1923 and particularly after Lenin’s decease because he was disliked by many party members because he is smart. Judaic. and at times overbearing. Overall. Lev davidovich bronstein did a good occupation in assisting Bolshevism win from the October Revolution.Bibliography*Irving H.

Smith. Trotsky. 1973*A. J Koutsoukis. Transportation of Tyranny: Russia 1800-1945. 2000*E. H Carr.

Socialism in One State. 2000*J. N. Westwood? Endurance and Endeavour Russian History. 1981*L Hartley. The Russian Revolution.

1980*B Williams. Lenin. 2000*Michael Lynch.

Reactions & A Revolutions: Russia 1881-1924. 2000*Graeme Gill. The Origins of the Stalinist Political System. 2002*Isaac Deutscher. The Prophet Armed. 2003*Isaac Deutscher.

The Prophet Unarmed. 1959*Victor Serge. The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky. 2001*Joel Carmichael. Trotsky. 1975


Ukraine’s train war

The first two years of Zammurets’ life are largely a mystery. Few records of the machine’s travels exist today, but this is what we do know.

Laborers constructed the train at the Odessa rail yards in 1916, and the train entered service with the Tsarist army in October of that year. During the following winter and spring, it served as mobile anti-air platform on the Galician Front, where Russia fought the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Rail historian Christian Wolmar places the Zaamurets with Tsarist forces in Poland at that time in his book Engines of War: How Wars Were Won & Lost on the Railways.

Zaamurets was the king of the mechanical beasts. It had two fully-traversible 57-millimeter Nordenfelt gun turrets — and eight machine guns for close-in protection.

Three to four inches of armor protected the vessel’s carriage and crew from incoming fire. Underneath the armor, two Italian Fiat 60 horsepower petrol motors could push the railcar to a top speed of 28 miles per hour.

In September 1917, Zaamurets returned to Odessa for a refit. Workers mounted square fire-control pillars to both turrets, and raised the turrets for better clearance when firing.

But the train had returned to Russia just in time for momentous events. The next month, the October Revolution erupted. The Tsar was gone. By January 1918, Red Guard expeditionary force commander Mikhail Artemyevich Muravyov had taken control of the war train.

Muravyov sent the machine to win control over the region’s bread basket — Ukraine.

But the communists weren’t going to get it easy. The Russian Empire’s collapse left Ukraine in chaos. Germany invaded and installed a nationalist government — a means to secure the country’s extensive food supplies.

German-backed nationalists fought the communists, who had an on-again, off-again relationship with anarchists, who fought the nationalists and the communists at different times. Local peasant uprisings added to the mess. War trains crisscrossed the country.

In March 1918, the Bolsheviks combined Zaamurets with another train — the BP-3. The latter machine served with nationalists in Ukraine until anarchist guerrillas derailed and captured it.

BP-3 was a mean weapon. One of four Khunkhuz-class trains built in Kiev in 1915, it carried three-inch mountain guns for long-range firepower. For close-in protection, it sported 12 machine guns.

Zaamurets — now coupled with BP-3 — went back into action. But German artillery soon ripped the train apart, so it limped back to Russia for repairs. The revolutionaries patched it up and then sent it south to fight the counter-revolutionary Whites.

When the train changed hands, the owners often changed its name — and at this point in the story, it’s known as the Lenin. But we’re using its original name Zaamurets to be consistent.

Zaamurets in the hands of the Czech Legion. Public domain photo

Trotsky Succeeds Lenin

1917: The October Revolution is a success. The two paramount leaders are Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Lenin is the head of the Bolshevik Party and Trotsky is a former Menshevik who comes over to the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. While Lenin is undisputed political leader, Trotsky is a close partner, leading the Petrograd Soviet and its Military-Revolutionary Committee. It is the MRC which storms the Winter Palace and ejects the liberal Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky.

1918-1922: Revolutionary and Reactionary armies fight across Russia in the Russian Civil War. Trotsky leads the Red Army (which he is credited with creating) as War Commissar. His armored train flies from front to front, battling the Whites and foreign armies. Stalin and Trotsky clash in the Ukraine and Stalin is sent packing. The Reds win the Civil War and Trotsky is hailed as a hero.

1922-23: Lenin’s health declines, partially as a result of an assassination attempt in 1918 that left bullets in his system. Two strokes cripple Lenin in 1923 but he still writes as brilliantly as ever. One of his last efforts is his testament which criticizes Stalin and asks the Communist Party Central Committee to remove him from his office as General Secretary. Lenin wants the testament read at the XII Party Congress in 1923, but he is paralyzed and his wife, Krupskaya, wants to keep the testament secret in hopes he will recover.

Trotsky is seen by many as the likely successor to Lenin, but he is disliked as arrogant. His sharp wit and criticism took aim at Lev Kamenev and Gregori Zinoviev. Lenin called them the “Strikebreakers of the Revolution” for their open opposition to the October Revolution but they were rehabilitated and played important roles in the new Soviet state. Kamenev and Zinoviev opposed the rise of Trotsky and considered an alliance with Stalin, the centrist on the Central Committee and no match for the more skilled and educated duo.

But at the XII Party Congress, Krupskaya decides to publish Lenin’s testament. As a revolutionary, she decides the party needs to hear the words of Lenin and take appropriate action. Stalin is humiliated, but the Congress does not immediately remove him from his position. He is, however, on the defensive.

Trotsky is proud and considers it beneath him to fight for top position after Lenin, but reconsiders after the Party Congress. The party is in turmoil as members rally for or against Stalin. Trotsky decides to stake his claim and asks Zinoviev to support him. Trotsky appeals to their ideological closeness (the three are the “left wing” of the Central Committee) and Trotsky gives his personal pledge of support. Zinoviev and Kamenev, afraid to lose their chance to back a winning candidate, back Trotsky.

1924: Lenin dies in January and the Central Committee meets to nominate a successor for the Communist Party (and effectively for the government, which is dominated by the party). Trotsky is made Chairman and also becomes Premier of the Soviet government. Stalin loses his position on the Central Committee but remains a party member.

1924-29: Trotsky and the government embark on an industrialization program and collectivization of agriculture. Conflict breaks out with the peasants and the government is once again forced to compromise and allow some private enterprise (a return to the New Economic Program). Industry continues to be the economic priority. Soviet government continues to be dominated by the Communist Party but power is exercised through the government organs. Lively debates continue within the party and on the Central Committee between the “Left Communists” led by Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev and the “Right Communists” led by Bukharin and Tomsky. The rhetoric is fierce but the Leninist principle of democratic centralism (decisions of the Central Committee are supported by everyone) maintains a fragile unity. Party democracy substitutes for the absence of competing parties, and former Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries enter the Communist Party (and competing factions). Stalin makes several attempts to build his own faction, but no one is willing to be tainted by “Lenin’s Testament.” Internationally, the Soviet Government supports the Comintern – the international party organization. The rise of Fascism in Italy is seen as a challenge to the revolutionary socialist movement. The Soviet government flirts with formation of popular fronts with liberal and socialist parties to oppose Fascist parties in Italy, Germany, France, Britain and Spain, but the Communists are unwilling to compromise with “bourgeois democrats.”

1929-32: The Depression hits the Capitalist states in Europe and North America. Soviet Russia, with its centrally managed economy (and dependent on its own economy because of isolation from the West) is able to weather the Depression better than most countries. Communist parties surge in strength, as do the Fascists, as citizens look for a radical solution to the economic crisis. In Germany, the Nazis come to power, and the Soviet Union and the Communist Party face a deadly new ideological and national enemy.

1932-39: Germany rearms and it is obvious to everyone that the Western democracies are unwilling or unable to stand up to the madman. The Rhineland is re-militarized and Austria is annexed. Italy aligns with Germany in a Fascist “Axis.” Spain erupts in a civil war in which the Soviets and the Fascists support competing sides. The civil war continues in a seesaw between Socialists and Anarchists on one side and Phalangists on the other. In 1938, Europe is on the brink of war over German demands in the Sudetenland that would dismember the democratic state of Czechoslovakia. The worst capitulation comes in Munich, when France and Britain give in to Hitler and force the Czechs to give up their borderlands. Shortly afterwards, Hitler tears up the agreement and marches into Bohemia-Moravia, making a new German protectorate. The Western democracies finally begin to arm for war with Germany. Soviet Russia commits the western Communist parties to the Popular Front against the Fascists. In Spain, Communists make common cause with the other parties of the left, helping maintain a unified front against Franco’s armies. The Spanish civil war continues as all of Europe is set aflame. Hitler is determined to have war, and secretly seeks the support of Soviet Russia. Trotsky’(because his family is Jewish, but Trotsky is an athiest) flatly turns down the German overtures but remains neutral because of Western fears of the “Bolshevik menace.”

1939-40: The Second World War starts with German attacks into Poland. The Poles are quickly overwhelmed but refuse to allow Soviet aid because of memories of the Russo-Polish War and Trotsky’s leadership of the Red Army attack. The Soviet Union partially mobilizes its defenses, but the Germans swiftly switch most of their armed forces to the Western Front. After months of “phony war,” Germany attacks the Allied forces in France. Surprisingly, the mighty French army is overwhelmed by an attack through the Ardennes. France falls and the British Expeditionary Force barely escapes at Dunkirk. Things look grim for the Allies.

1941: Britain is given a reprieve by the German attack on Russia. German forces tear into Russian defenses, but suffer their own terrific losses against a Red Army that is ready for the attack from the “Fascist aggressor.” Britain and the Soviet Union sign an immediate pact, with Churchill praising the valor of the Red Army and their generalissimo, Trotsky. Communist parties across the world rally to the “socialist and democratic war against Fascism.” When Germany’s ally, Japan, attacks the United States, America joins Britain and the Soviets. A small German force under Erwin Rommel is dispatched to Spain to fight the anti-Fascists forces there, but victory in Spain eludes Hitler as it did Napoleon. The Western allies are buoyed by the fight in Russia. The Red Army is one of the largest armies in Europe, with a fighting tradition and top leadership experienced from the days of the Russian Civil War. Tukachevsky, commander of the Red Army, has applied many of the lessons of armored warfare based on the experience of the Spanish “volunteers” and supported by Premier Trotsky, a practitioner of his own form of armored strikes during the Civil War. In a terrific battle outside of Leningrad, the panzer corps of Germany are broken by the Red Guards. Germany is still a potent foe, but time is working against Hitler and Mussolini.

1942-43: Germany and Italy are ground down from the punishing attacks of Britain, Russia, and America. In ’42, the strategic air war cripples German industry as bombers crisscross Germany from air fields in England and Russia. A joint British-Soviet offensive in the Balkans forces Germany’s Eastern European allies to bow out of the war, while American forces gather for an assault across the English Channel. In spring ’43, the cross-channel attack is launched. German forces collapse in France and reel back into the Reich. In Italy, Mussolini is overthrown by monarchists and disaffected members of his own Fascist party. Finally, in July 1943, Hitler is assassinated by a coalition of German Generals and other anti-Nazi groups. The Second World War was over in Europe, and soon the allies broke the back of the Japanese Empire as well.

The Post-War World: Tensions threatened to break out between the victorious powers, but somehow peace prevailed. The support of the Communists in the Popular Fronts before the war made them more acceptable as political parties in the post-war period. The Comintern encouraged “democratic engagement” in the Western democracies. Communist guerrilla movements in Yugoslavia and Greece dominated their political scenes, but democracy remained the norm throughout Europe (encouraged by the “big brother” in the Soviet Union). American financial aid through the Marshall Plan was welcomed in Europe and the Soviet Union, helping to foster good feelings by Soviet citizens toward their “rich cousins” in the United States. The opening of the United Nations was the opening of a new age for the nations of the world. Leon Trotsky, now white haired but still the commanding figure of Communism, attended the opening ceremonies, side by side with the wary American president, Harry Truman. Truman liked to make his judgments on the basis of personal contact, and said of Trotsky, “He’s one frosty Russkie, but when the chips are down, he’s on our side.” America and Soviet Russia found common ground in pushing for the “decolonization” of European imperial possessions. Joint Soviet-American efforts led to the independence of India and French Indochina. Both powers were wary of the new Communist government that came to power in China under Mao Zedong.

The End of the Soviet One-Party State: In post-war Russia, victory in the war and a rising standard of living led to demands for change within the Communist state. Factional leaders and their supporters began demanding openly competitive elections for all offices in the Soviet state. Democratic leaders pointed to the support for debate under Lenin and the rough and tumble politics of the Trotskyist party. At the XXXIII Party Congress, democrats finally forced through their own slate for the Central Committee. Trotsky remained on the CC but was now surrounded by “New Democrats.” Bowing to the inevitable, Comrade Trotsky announced the legalization of political parties and new elections. The resurgent Social Revolutionary Party, the old party of the peasants, is the winner of the first democratic elections in the Soviet Union.


The Point of Departure in this history is the decision of Lenin’s wife to publicize his political testament at the XXII Party Congress. In our history, Krupskaya did not release the testament until after Lenin’s death. By that time, the alliance among Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev was in place and the testament was suppressed. If the testament had been read to the Congress while Lenin still lived, Stalin’s hopes would have been crushed and another power would have emerged in the party. Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev were ideological allies – even if they were rivals for power – and they did form an alliance after Stalin won the first round with Trotsky. By that time it was too late and Stalin was on his way to total control. Trotsky was more likely to maintain Lenin’s “democratic centralism” and “party democracy” than Stalin. The massive purges of the party and ruthless dictatorship would not have been necessary for one of the founding fathers of the Soviet state. Trotsky would have had more use for the mechanisms of Soviet government, since his revolutionary activity was based on leadership of the Petrograd Soviet and his service as Foreign Commissar and War Commissar. Stalin’s devious and brutal twists and turns within Russia were also reflected in the international Communist parties. Stalin’s party line equated the democratic parties of the West with the Fascists, and in Spain the parochialism of the Communists split the anti-Fascist movement. An earlier and more consistent Popular Front is one of the reasons the Spanish Civil War continued past its historical end. In domestic policy, Stalin in fact adopted the “pro-industrialization” line of Trotsky and the Left Communists after he disposed of them. Stalin was willing to force collectivization regardless of the consequences (death and repression). Trotsky might have taken Lenin’s approach of “two steps forward, one step back” and alternated between collectivization and moderate private enterprise (NEP). Russia is still supposed to be relatively isolated from the Western democracies and autarchic because of continuing anti-Bolshevik sentiment.

The Russian war effort goes much better under Trotsky for several reasons. Russia was not on a peace-time deployment as it was under Stalin. The purge of the Red Army did not take place and competent generals remained in place. German gains had a lot to do with the disorganization of the Soviet Army, which had more and better equipment than the Germans. With a capable and prepared Red Army, the Germans were turned back much earlier and more certainly. Russia did not have to fight the Finns, who were antagonized by Stalinist aggression into fighting on the side of the Germans.

Post-war relations got better than historical. Popular support for Russia was high during the war under Stalin, and the same would have happened under Trotsky. But there is no “Hitler-Stalin Pact” and early war support for Germany in the background and early Popular Front participation would have provided a sounder footing for post-war democratic participation. America was anti-imperialist and a less aggressive Soviet Union makes a good ally in “teaching” the former imperial powers. Intraparty democracy was part of the Leninist heritage, although the seed of authoritarianism was also present. Trotsky could have led the Communist Party and still allowed debate – he was enough of an egotist to believe he could always prevail. As a former Menshevik, he would not have been in a position to suppress other points of view, nor to stem the entry of former Mensheviks and SR’s into the party. Without Stalinist paranoia and the isolation of the Iron Curtain, Soviet Russia could have evolved into a more democratic state instead of collapsing.


What impact did Trotsky's armoured train have on the Russian civil war? - History

Chapter 63: Posters of the Russian Civil War of 1917-1921 and Soviet Propaganda posters

In the early 20th century, Russia was a vast empire, stretching from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic to the borders of Afghanistan covering one-sixth of the land surface of the globe, and was populated by almost 150 million people of more than a hundred different nationalities. With the outbreak of the World WAR I, in 1914, the country, suffering from years of autocratic policies, a recent defeat in the Russo-Japanese war and internal class conflicts, was totally ill-prepared for the war.

Nevertheless, despite the lack of any social reforms after its 1905 revolution, in which the Tsar was forced to concede civil rights and a parliament, workers and landless peasants rallied to the Tsarist flag and marched off to fight against the Central Powers. However, the war went terribly wrong and in 1914, Russians lost two entire armies with over 250,000 men, and by the middle of 1915 all of Russian Poland and Lithuania, and most of Latvia, were overrun by the German army. In 1915, Nicholas II went to the front to assume nominal leadership of the army. His German-blood tsarina, Alexandra, and Rasputin, a debauched faith healer, who was apparently able to stop the bleeding of the hemophiliac heir to the throne, tried to dictate policy and make ministerial appointments. As a result of the war, and their mismanagement, the economic situation deteriorated and many citizens became suspicious and many wondered if Russia's loss of 1,700,000 military dead and 5,000,000 wounded - were a consequence of treason and espionage. The fact that the aristocratic tsarist Russian General Staff's strategy was to forego the lives of hundreds of thousands of destitute peasants and proletariat was adding to the predicament.

Police. Roman Catholic Priest. Tsar. Pope. Rabbi. Bourgeois, 1919

"Delusions of William." (1914)

In the winter of 1917, the economic mismanagement caused acute food and fuel shortages, which resulted in riots and strikes. On March 8 -- International Woman's Day -- Petrograd's organized feminists paraded with placards calling for equality and freedom. Labor leaders held back from joining the march in support of the women, but some striking male workers joined the demonstration. And the marchers were joined by hungry women who had been turned away from bread lines empty handed. The march developed to a size that was a surprise to all who could see it. Demonstrations got larger and more boisterous every day. On Sunday March 11, large banners were plastered around Petrograd announcing that all demonstrations and assemblies would be dispersed and all those who were not back at their jobs Monday would be conscripted into the military and sent to the front! Troops were summoned to quell the disorders. In the afternoon, a military unit -- the Pavlovski Guard -- fired into a group of demonstrators, killing forty or fifty and wounding others. Some soldiers who had been ordered to fire, fired into the air. Elsewhere more marchers were shot, but marchers continued to feel the power of their numbers. Next day on Monday, soldiers began shooting their officers instead of firing at demonstrators, and about half of the soldiers joined the protesters, some of them in armored cars, with the other half stood by passively. The crowd were shouting "down with the war" and "down with the Romanovs."

Alexander Apsit, Tsar, Pope, and the Rich on the Worker's Shoulders

By March 12, two different groups were claiming to represent the Russian people -- 0ne the Executive Committee of the Duma, and the other the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. On March 15th, with the approval of the Petrograd Soviet the Executive Committee of the Duma organized the Provisional Government chaired by aristocrat and social reformer Georgiy L'vov. A Constituent Assembly, was to be created, but the election was postponed until the fall of 1917. Delegates of the new government met Nicholas that evening at Pskov, where rebellious railroad workers had stopped the imperial train as the tsar attempted to return to the capital. Advised by his generals that he lacked the support of the country, Nicholas informed the delegates that he was abdicating in favor of his brother, Grand Duke Michael. When Michael in turn refused the throne, imperial rule in Russia came to an end.

Real power in the new Russia lay with the socialist leaders of the Petrograd (later All-Russian) Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, who were elected by popular mandate. They Soviet supported a defensive war, and were committing themselves to a peace programme with "no annexations or indemnities' – a formula that neither the Allies nor Germany would ever accept. The Provisional Government, in contrast was chiefly represented the propertied classes, headed by ministers of a moderate or liberal bent, which favored keeping Russia's military commitments to its allies, a position that became increasingly unpopular as the war dragged on. The government suffered its first crisis in the "April Days," when demonstrations against the war forced two ministers to resign, leading to the appointment of moderate socialist Aleksandr Kerensky as war minister. Kerensky, quickly assuming de facto leadership of the government, ordered the army to launch a major offensive in June, which, after early successes, turned into a full-scale retreat in July. By then the ability of Russia's officers to induce their men to obey had been entirely negated by the hopes of social transformation and an end to the war that the February Revolution had unleashed in the trenches.


Anarchist and Bolshevik agitators played their own part in destroying the Russian Army's ability to fight. While the Provisional Government grappled with foreign foes, the Bolsheviks, who were opposed to bourgeois democracy, gained new strength. Lenin, the Bolshevik leader, returned to Petrograd in April 1917 from his wartime residence in Switzerland. Although he had been born into a noble family, from his youth Lenin espoused the cause of the common workers. A committed revolutionary and pragmatic Marxist thinker, he astounded the party by his April Theses, boldly calling for the overthrow of the Provisional Government, the transfer of "all power to the soviets," and the expropriation of factories by workers and of land belonging to the church, the nobility, and the gentry by peasants. Lenin's dynamic presence quickly won the other Bolshevik leaders to his position, and the radicalized orientation of the Bolshevik faction attracted new members. Inspired by Lenin's slogans, crowds of workers, soldiers, and sailors took to the streets of Petrograd in July to wrest power from the Provisional Government. But the spontaneity of the "July Days" caught the Bolshevik leaders by surprise, and the Petrograd Soviet, controlled by moderate Mensheviks, refused to take power or enforce Bolshevik demands. After the uprising died down, the Provisional Government outlawed the Bolsheviks and jailed Leon Trotsky (Lev Trotskii, originally Lev Bronstein), an active Bolshevik leader. Lenin fled to Finland.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to restore order and resist the German counter-offensive, most of the generals and forces of the political right threw their weight behind a plan for a military coup, under the Russian Army's commander-in-chief, General Lavr Kornilov, who protested the influence of the soviets on both the army and the government, and appeared as a counterrevolutionary threat to Kerenskiy, now prime minister. Kerenskiy dismissed Kornilov from his command, but Kornilov, disobeying the order, launched an extemporaneous revolt on September 10. The coup failed, but had two important consequences: on the one hand, the generals and the conservatives who had backed Kornilov felt betrayed by Kerensky (who arrested Kornilov after having appeared to have been in agreement with him) and would no longer defend the government on the other, Kerensky's reputation with the moderate left and with the population at large plummeted when it became clear that he had initially supported Kornilov's plans for the restoration of the death penalty and for the dissolution of soldiers' revolutionary committees. Although the Provisional Government survived the Kornilov revolt, popular support for the government faded rapidly as the national mood swung to the left in the fall of 1917. Workers took control of their factories through elected committees peasants expropriated lands belonging to the state, church, nobility, and gentry and armies melted away as peasant soldiers deserted to take part in the land seizures. The Bolsheviks, skillfully exploiting these popular trends in their propaganda, dominated the Petrograd Soviet and the Moscow Soviet by September, with Trotsky, freed from prison after the Kornilov revolt, now chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. Realizing that the time was ripe for seizing power by armed force, Lenin returned to Petrograd in October and convinced a majority of the Bolshevik Central Committee, which had hoped to take power legally, to accept armed uprising in principle. Trotsky won the Petrograd garrison over to Soviet authority, depriving the Provisional Government of its main military support in Petrograd.

The actual insurrection--the Bolshevik Revolution--began on November 6, when Kerenskiy ordered the Bolshevik press closed. Interpreting this action as a counterrevolutionary move, the Bolsheviks called on their supporters to defend the Petrograd Soviet. By evening, the Bolsheviks had taken control of utilities and most government buildings in Petrograd, thus enabling Lenin to proclaim the downfall of the Provisional Government on the morning of the next day, November 7. The Bolsheviks captured the Provisional Government's cabinet at its Winter Palace headquarters that night with hardly a shot fired in the government's defense. Kerenskiy left Petrograd to organize resistance, but his countercoup failed and he fled Russia. Bolshevik uprisings soon took place elsewhere Moscow was under Bolshevik control within three weeks. The Second Congress of Soviets met in Petrograd to ratify the Bolshevik takeover after moderate deputies (mainly Mensheviks and right-wing members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party) quit the session. The remaining Bolsheviks and left-wing Socialist Revolutionaries declared the soviets the governing bodies of Russia and named the Council of People's Commissars (Совет народных комиссаров - Совнарком -- Sovet narodnykh kommissarov--Sovnarkom) to serve as the cabinet. Lenin became chairman of this council. Trotsky took the post of commissar of foreign affairs Stalin, a Georgian, became commissar of nationalities. Thus, by acting decisively while their opponents vacillated, the Bolsheviks succeeded in effecting their coup d'état.

After taking power, the Bolsheviks promised to deliver 'Peace, Bread and Land' to the beleaguered people of Russia. Lenin seeking to disengage Russia from World War I, called on the belligerent powers for an armistice and peace without annexations. The Allied Powers rejected this appeal, but Germany and its allies agreed to a cease-fire and began negotiations in December 1917. After dictating harsh terms that the Soviet government would not accept, however, Germany resumed its offensive in February 1918, meeting scant resistance from disintegrating Russian armies. Lenin, after bitter debate with leading Bolsheviks who favored prolonging the war in hopes of precipitating class warfare in Germany, persuaded a slim majority of the Bolshevik Central Committee that peace must be made at any cost. On March 3, Soviet government officials signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, relinquishing Poland, the Baltic lands, Finland, and Ukraine to German control and giving up a portion of the Caucasus region to Turkey. With the new border dangerously close to Petrograd, the government was soon transferred to Moscow. An enormous part of the population and resources of the Russian Empire was lost by this treaty, but Lenin understood that no alternative could ensure the survival of the fledgling Soviet state.

Literacy is the road to communism. (1920)

Light and Knowledge, The People (1917-1921)

Take care of your book -it is the true companion in campaigns and in peaceful work.
(1917-1921)

The book is nothing else, but a public speaker. (1921)

Kogout, N., From darkness to light, from battle to books, from sadness to joy. (1917-1921)

Before October, you gathered wheat only for Bourgeois (1917-1921)
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Female peasant and worker.] (1920)


Outraged by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the anti-Bolshevik Russians who had remained loyal to the Allies now took up arms in earnest against the Bolsheviks. They were actively assisted by Allied forces in Russia, who hoped to rebuild the Eastern Front. Notable in this regard was the Czechoslovak Legion, a 40,000-strong army made up of former POWs, who in 1918 seized the entire Trans-Siberian Railway, from the Volga to Vladivostok. By the spring of 1918, these elements dissatisfied with the radical policies of the communists (as the Bolsheviks started calling themselves) established centers of resistance in southern and Siberian Russia. Beginning in April 1918, anticommunist forces, called the Whites and often led by former officers of the tsarist army, began to clash with the Red Army. During these campaigns Admiral Kolchak, the 'Supreme Ruler' of the Whites, attacked across the Urals from Siberia General Denikin advanced on a broad front up the Volga, into Ukraine and to the town of Orel (within 250 miles of Moscow) and General Yudenich's North West Russian Army, based in Estonia, twice reached the outskirts of Petrograd.

Wrangel is advancing! Black robber wants to take our bread, coal and oil, workers and peasants.

The Reds, however, rebuffed these attacks, and survived, and by late 1920 had driven the Whites back into the Black Sea, the Baltic and the Pacific - causing hundreds of thousands of White soldiers and civilians to emigrate. The Reds were able to take advantage of internal lines of communication and could utilise the railways, arsenals and the economy of the most populous provinces of the former empire. In this way they managed to arm, man and manoeuvre an army that by 1921 had grown to almost five million soldiers. The Whites, in contrast, never commanded forces totalling more than 250,000 men at one time, were separated from each other by huge distances, and were based around the less developed peripheries of Russia. Also, crucially, the Whites underestimated the Bolsheviks' capacity to resist. It still seems surprising that Trotsky was able to fashion a Red Army more effective than that of the experienced White generals ranged against him. He, however, enjoyed the material advantages mentioned, and he also introduced some revolutionary innovations: notably the network of Political Commissars - devout Bolsheviks who offered political guidance to the Red Army and who watched over the loyalty of the 50,000 imperial army officers the Reds employed to help command their forces. He also used terror most ruthlessly. The White armies, in contrast, exhibited only brutality, venality, disorder and a lack of political and military direction. Even their most effective fighters, the Cossacks, were more interested in booty and in securing their own regional autonomy than in driving Lenin from the Kremlin.


Join Red Cavalry. (1917-1921)

Russian revolutionaries understood the value and the potency of visual communications. Their posters delivered Proletarian Revolution's slogans to the masses and called on workers and peasants to fight for freedom and justice. In time of Civil War, propaganda posters were sent to the front lines in the same capacity as bullets and artillery shells. They were posted on walls, in cities which were under assault by the White Guard armies and foreign interventionists. The bottom of the vivid, bright-colored poster usually contained a warning: "Anyone who tears down or covers up this poster – is committing a counter-revolutionary act". The poster was a powerful weapon, and just like any weapon, it had to be guarded with utmost care. Poster created an immediate contact with the viewers and conveyed an array of subtle messages beyond the simple textual slogans. These sharp and short slogans engaged the viewers intellect, since the artists took their viewers and their own artistic works seriously. The graphic artistry encountered in these Russian Civil War posters is truly stunning and has captivated the viewers for decades. The visual boldness and departure from established tradition were in themselves statements of how much had changed since the Revolutions of 1917. Artists who had been on the "fringe" before the Revolution moved center stage, and would remain there until the imposition of Socialist Realism under Stalin in the late 1930s.


Putin’s Russia Wrestles with the Meaning of Trotsky and Revolution

On the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, a lavish, big-budget series on state-run Russian television showcases Leon Trotsky’s life but warns of the chaos that rebellion can bring.

On Monday evening, just shy of a hundred years since the Bolshevik Revolution, viewers of Channel One—Russia’s primary state-run television network—were treated to the première of a lavish, big-budget series about Leon Trotsky, one of the main protagonists of the momentous events of October, 1917. In life, Trotsky was a ferociously talented orator and a brilliant organizer, who had grand ideas about the stream of history and his own role in it. The show portrays Trotsky as wielding a charismatic and forceful intellect, and as a man of style and passion, who, with equal alacrity, is able to win over peasant fighters to the Bolshevik cause and women to his embrace—while clad in squishy, head-to-toe black leather. I attended a screening last week, where Konstantin Ernst, the director of Channel One, brimmed with enthusiasm as he introduced the first episode, declaring that Trotsky had the air of a “rock-and-roll star” and could be thought of as the “executive producer” of the 1917 Revolution.

The series is remarkable when compared to the silence with which Putin and others in the Kremlin are greeting the Revolution’s anniversary. As my colleague Masha Lipman noted, there will be no official events in Moscow this week, no gatherings or opportunities for national dialogue or engagement with the legacy of what Trotsky and the rest of the Bolsheviks bequeathed to the world. In part, as I wrote in a piece for the magazine last month, that is because Putin sees the Bolshevik revolutionaries as forerunners to those who might challenge his own power today. “Someone decided to shake Russia from inside, and rocked things so much that the Russian state crumbled,” Putin once warned a gathering of students and young teachers. “A complete betrayal of national interests! We have such people today as well.”

Even more crucially, the legitimacy of Putin’s current ruling system is based on its appeal to the continuity of power, and the belief that it is the heir to the superpower that preceded it. This is not the Soviet Union of idealistic revolution but the powerful state the followed, which secured victory in the Second World War and held its own in the Cold War. Putin, therefore, is faced with an unsolvable puzzle regarding the Revolution itself. “From the Kremlin’s perspective, what’s good about the Bolshevik Revolution is that it created the Soviet Union, which leads into the current system,” Andrei Zorin, a historian at Oxford University, told me. “But what’s bad is that it destroyed the ancien régime,” he said, the gravest of sins in a world view that holds state power to be sacrosanct. “Hence the confusion, and the notion that the best response is to ignore it totally.”

Almost immediately after it occurred, the Revolution was detached from fact and deployed as a fable and symbol by those who carried it out. It is probably more fair to think of it as a coup: in October of 1917, the Bolsheviks were but one of many socialist factions, and their seizure of power was more a testament to their audacity and the fervency of their own beliefs than to a deep well of popular support. Yet, in the years that followed, during the Civil War, Trotsky travelled the countryside whipping up support for the nascent Red Army by claiming the Revolution as a triumph for the people, a victory of the miserable and impoverished Russian peasant over his once—and, were the Bolshevik project to fail, future—overlords.

The fall of 1927 saw the first mass celebrations of the Revolution’s anniversary, and the nascent creation of its mythology—just as Trotsky was being excommunicated from the Communist Party. Stalin quickly managed to erase Trotsky from the narrative of the Revolution, adding himself and his own trumped-up exploits. Trotsky was hounded out of the Soviet Union, and in 1940 was murdered with an ice pick in Mexico City by an undercover N.K.V.D. intelligence agent. For generations of Soviet citizens, Trotsky was either a scoundrel or a nonentity. By 1991, when the Soviet project finally collapsed, no one really cared about him one way or another. His absence from the consciousness of most Russians makes him an ideal hero for television it’s possible to humanize and even disparage Trotsky without damaging the Putin state’s narrative about the sanctity of Russian state power, and its own continuity with that lineage. At the same time, Zorin said, “bringing him back has the air of novelty and sensationalism.”

The Channel One series opens with an armored train steaming through the snow-covered Russian countryside, a metaphor for Trotsky and his revolutionary power, barrelling through the expanse of Russian history. From there, the first episode jumps among the Odessa prison where Trotsky was held under the Tsar, his exile in frozen Siberia, and the political salons of turn-of-the-century Paris. It is an undeniably attractive, high-budget historical thriller—in his introduction, Ernst spoke of the show’s positive reception at an annual global television fair in Cannes weeks earlier.

After the screening, I talked with Ernst, who, as the head of Channel One, enjoys a status and influence close to that of a government minister. In 2014, I wrote about Ernst when he oversaw the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics, in Sochi, a proud spectacle of Russian history and culture. Like Putin, Ernst is a gosudarstvennik, that is, a statist, and the news programs on Channel One dutifully translate the official line, whether on Putin’s greatness or the nefarious intentions of the West. The talk of Russian interference in last year’s U.S. Presidential election has been roundly dismissed on the network. But Ernst is also a man of diverse, art-house tastes that are often more eclectic than that of the average viewer of Channel One. Last year, for example, he chose to air the American black-comedy series “Fargo.”

Ernst offered his own interpretation of the state’s reluctance to mark the Revolution’s hundredth anniversary. “The Kremlin understands how contradictory it is for the country, that there are people who believe this is the greatest and most important event of the twentieth century, and also a huge number who believe it was a terrible mistake,” he told me. “Since the Kremlin has a connection with all Russian citizens, it does not want to take an unambiguous position, which, from a political point of view, is probably correct.” Instead, he went on, “it gives other institutions—namely, television—the opportunity to speak about this for themselves.”

The Trotsky of Ernst’s show is a dandy and a showman, keeping a box of watches to give away to peasants as a gesture of revolutionary magnanimity. He is also brutal: in one scene, he orders the execution of one in every ten men from a unit that deserted a Civil War battle. Yet he is shown to consistently act from a deep and passionate idealism the show does not give in to the easy trope of slandering him as a power-hungry cynic. I asked Ernst what he made of Trotsky’s motivations, and what drove Trotsky and other Bolsheviks to revolution. “He understood that he could not fit into the social construction that life offered him, and he wanted to change it,” Ernst said. “And when there are a significant enough number of such people, they combine their energies and indeed change this construction.”

I asked Ernst whether he considered such energy noble or dangerous. “It is natural, I would say,” Ernst said. Later, returning to the question, he used a metaphor: “Death is a terrible thing but a natural one. And revolution is the same—terrible, but natural.” That seems to hint at the show’s embedded message: discontent and a yearning for change are just and, in some ways, inevitable, phenomena but, when realized in the form of revolution, they became dangerous and self-defeating. This makes “Trotsky,” the show, at once daring and edgy by the standards of Russian state television, while also pulling up short of making inferences that directly challenge the authority of the Putin system. One scene shows a sharp exchange between a young Trotsky, then still known as Lev Bronstein, and the warden of the Odessa prison, Nikolay Trotsky, from whom Bronstein later takes his revolutionary alias. The two clash over the sources of power and authority, and whether the Russian people would actually benefit from freedom. It’s hard to say exactly where the show’s sympathies lie. “That is brave dialogue,” Arina Borodina, a television commentator for Echo of Moscow, an independent radio station with liberal sympathies, told me. “To talk about who wields force, and why, and raise questions about the very nature of power—it seems to me that, in the mind of the thinking viewer, comparisons with the current moment will be unavoidable.” She hailed the show as “absolutely an experiment, and a risk.”

Yet the series is also laced with themes that align with the Putin state’s view of revolution, especially in its current form: that such movements are rarely the product of genuine intent and yearning from the population but are rather the result of purposeful meddling and geopolitical intrigue, usually led by the West. The first episode has a scene in which a German financier offers his backing for the Revolution, so as to weaken Russia and break it apart. I asked Ernst whether such dialogue carries a message for today. “This is a historical fact, which has a projection into the present,” he said, echoing a familiar refrain in Moscow. “Since, at their root, revolutions always function according to the same model, many things simply coincide.” I asked Ernst if viewers should understand the scene as a warning about supposed Western plots to undermine the Russian state today. “I don’t mind if it’s read that way,” he said.

Watching “Trotsky,” I could not help but think about the protests and rallies organized by Alexei Navalny, the country’s leading opposition politician, who is currently mounting an uphill campaign for President. Deprived of coverage from official media outlets, and stymied by courts and the police, Navalny nonetheless has brought out unprecedented crowds during his rallies across Russia’s regions. Among his more impassioned supporters are students and young people—the intended audience for Channel One’s show. As I noted in a piece about Navalny and his following last spring, “the authorities appear to have lost a certain sway over the country’s youth, and no longer speak their language.” However exciting “Trotsky” is as a piece of television, it alone cannot overcome that more fundamental problem.

Toward the end of our conversation, I asked Ernst whether his show risks glamorizing revolution, which would surely be an undesired outcome for a self-admitted statist. “We make Trotsky look attractive in all the ways he really was,” he said. “He was a brilliant orator. He knew how to use images. He worked on his appearance. He could rely on different methods of interacting with people.” But that’s not all, Ernst added. “We also show him as a charismatic murderer, a man who neglected his children, his wife, other loved ones, who did not show mercy to anyone, who did a lot of terrible and negative things.” As to what sort of impact such a portrait will have on young Russians watching the show, he said, “If they like it, they’ll watch to the end, and reach the conclusion that everything ended badly.”

Perhaps the best description of Trotsky—his intensity, acumen, and self-awareness of his historical import—comes from Edmund Wilson, who, in “To the Finland Station,” his 1940 book on the intellectual path of Marxism, calls Trotsky the “aristocrat of revolution.” Wilson describes a photograph of Trotsky taken in 1905, when he was held in a Tsarist prison after a trial for banned political activity: “He sits in his prison not abashed, not indignant, hardly even defiant, but like the head of a great state who has sat still at a time of crisis to give the photographer a moment.” Wilson goes on to quote the diary of a British diplomat and spy who met Trotsky in 1918: “He strikes me as a man who would willingly die for Russia, provided there was a big enough audience to see him do it.” Now, thanks to a prime-time slot on Channel One, that audience may be larger than he ever imagined.


Leon Trotsky: 6 facts about the disgraced Russian revolutionary

1918: Leon Trotsky attends a parade in Red Square, Moscow, as Lenin reviews his troops.

1. He was always on the move

Leon Trotsky was born Lev Bronstein in 1879 in the village of Yanovka in the southern part of what is today Ukraine. His parents were Jewish landowners who lived a quiet life in the village, but young Lev embraced revolutionary ideas from an early age. When he was just 17, he joined an underground organization and was imprisoned two years later. He spent two years moving between prisons in Nikolayev, Kherson, Odessa and Moscow before being sentenced to four years of exile in Siberia in 1900.

In 1902, Bronstein fled to Europe from Siberia on a forged passport bearing the name Trotsky. He participated in Marxist groups in Europe and returned to Russia to take part in the 1905 revolution. He was imprisoned again, fled to Europe, worked as a war reporter in the Balkans, and during World War I, he left for the United States. He was living in New York when Nicholas II abdicated in February 1917. He decided it was time to return to Russia.

2. Lenin and Trotsky were frenemies

Trotsky met Vladimir Lenin in London in 1902, and Lenin had a great influence on him. The two men fought dramatically from time to time. In 1902-1903, Trotsky supported the moderate Mensheviks while Lenin led the more radical Bolsheviks.

For this, Lenin called Trotsky "Judas," &mdash a reference that would later be recalled by Stalin in his fight against Trotsky. Eventually the two men reconciled and Trotsky supported Lenin in the 1917 Revolution. Lenin and Trotsky also disagreed on how to negotiate the peace with the Germans to pull Russia out of World War I, how to handle agriculture during the war years and how to deal with trade unions. Nevertheless, the men mostly managed to work together for the good of the revolution.

3. He founded the Red Army

When the Russian Civil War broke out between the Bolsheviks and the pro-monarchist &ldquowhite&rdquo forces in 1918, Trotsky effectively created the Red Army from scratch. He traveled extensively around Russia on a train, forming and managing military units. According to his own estimates, the train traveled more than 65,000 miles during the war.

Trotsky's greatest strength was his skill as a speaker. In his biography of Trotsky, &ldquoThe Prophet Armed,&rdquo Isaac Deutscher comparing him to biblical figures in his ability to command and inspire. The authors of The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History attributed the Bolshevik&rsquos victory in the Civil War to Trotsky's administrative and strategic talent.

4. He combined intelligence with ruthlessness

"Trotsky was an intellectual in the truest sense of the word," wrote artist Yury Annenkov. He recalled that Trotsky, in contrast to many other Bolshevik leaders, was educated, polite and happy to talk about art.

Trotsky's intelligence did not make him a gentler person, however. Like other Bolsheviks, he supported the concept of the "Red Terror" &mdash the destruction of all the enemies of the revolution. "Ruthlessness," Trotsky said, "is the highest revolutionary humanism." Once he personally ordered the execution of every 10th man in a regiment that had fled from a battle.

5. He didn&rsquot have Stalin&rsquos personality

In the years of revolution and civil war, Trotsky was the second man in the Bolshevik Party after Lenin. But after Lenin fell ill and died in 1924, his influence began to wane.

In his book "Building Lenin's Russia," Trotsky's contemporary Simon Lieberman notes that Trotsky, a brilliant theorist and speaker, didn&rsquot have many social skills. "His closest aides admired him, to be sure but even at that, he was always a lonely figure [in the party]," Lieberman wrote.

Joseph Stalin, who held a more modest position in the party in the first years after the revolution, seized the initiative and was able to convince other party members to join his side. Trotsky contemptuously called Stalin "the most outstanding mediocrity of our party," but this "mediocrity" managed to quietly win over the majority of rank-and-file Bolsheviks, which brought him the victory in intra-party disputes.

6. He died a gruesome death

In the late 1920s, Trotsky lost position after position in the party. He was accused of "petty-bourgeois deviation," and his supporters were pushed from power. In 1929, he was deported from the Soviet Union. Stalinist propaganda transformed him into a nefarious figure intent on bringing down the revolution.

Leon Trotsky (1879 - 1940, second from left) and his wife Natalia Sedova (1882 - 1962) with Mexican painter Diego Rivera (1886 - 1957, far right) during the Trotskys' exile in Mexico City, circa 1938 / Source: Getty Images

He lived first in Turkey, then in France and then in Norway before being denied asylum and deported to Mexico in 1936. Throughout the years of exile, Trotsky harshly criticized Stalin for betraying Marxism. In his words, "the leaden rump of the bureaucracy outweighed the head of the revolution."

In 1939, Stalin ordered his elimination, and a year later, Trotsky, then 60, was fatally stabbed with an ice pick by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader at his home in Coyoacan, Mexico. Trotsky was buried on the property. A modest obelisk with a hammer and sickle adorns the grave of the once-powerful leader of the revolution.


Watch the video: Den russiske revolution - nyheder