Leon Trotsky, a Marxist revolutionary and theorist, played a huge part in Soviet history in the 1900s. He helped transfer political power to the Soviets with the October Revolution in 1917 and helped form the Red Army. During the Revolution he held high standing with the Bolsheviks and was one of the major figures in the Bolshevik’s victory in the Civil War. Although he had gained power throughout war, it did not hold. He began to oppose the rise of Stalin and aligned himself with the Left Opposition. He was removed from power in 1927 and later exiled to Turkey in 1929. Although cut off from the Soviet Union, Trotsky did not stop opposing Stalin. In 1930 he founded the International Left Opposition. Trotsky was very determined not to lost power and momentum in his opposition. He did all that he could from outside the country to get support of opposition. This group was too easily expelled from the Comintern so it was reorganized and in 1933 the ILO was renamed to the International Communist League (ILC).
To me, Trotsky is a driven man with a goal that he won’t stop to achieve at any cost. His life was threatened and he was ultimately thrown out of his own country because he stood up for his beliefs. He wanted to see the working class come to power. Even in exile he continued to build support of a movement he thought would bring those people to power. He thought that the Comintern, or the Third International, has become lost to Stalinism. It has become incapable of upholding the views and rights of the working class. So the ILC, or Fourth International was formed in Paris, France in 1938.
Trotsky knew that the working class movement still had enough strength to cause real change not only in Russia but across the world. Even out of the country Trotsky was making a lot of noise so he was sent to Mexico in 1936. He was then represented as the principal conspirator in the treason trials of former communist opposition leaders. Although the evidence of treason was later proven false, he was found guilty. Ramón Mercader, a man who gained the confidence of Trotsky as a Spanish communist, assassinated Trotsky with an ice pick in 1940.
Trotsky said the following in his Testament:
I shall die a proletarian revolutionist, a Marxist, a dialectical materialist and, consequently, an irreconcilable atheist. My faith in the communist future of mankind is not less ardent; indeed, it is firmer today than it was in the days of my youth.
I think this is really cool. He took a lot of hard hits in his life but the fact that he is unwavering in his beliefs until the very end is really inspiring. I think that there are a lot of people today who say that they are devout in a belief yet when things get hard, they switch sides. Seeing a man stand resolute in his beliefs, values, and ultimately who he is to the core, is refreshing. I also find Trotsky’s journey to power, his downfall, and his assassination a thrilling ride.