One Hundred Red Days: A Personal Chronicle of the Bolshevik Revolution

By Edgar Sisson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
January 28--February 3, 1918. Trotsky's "Pedagogical
Demonstration." Lenin's "Looters." Radek's "Sly
Muzhik." Zorin as Palace Guide.

1.

WHILE the All-Russian Congress was sitting, the Central Executive Council also was unremitting in its labors. Trotsky appeared before it to secure the order for the confiscation of the Rumanian gold reserve, and before it he also outlined his "novel," or as he himself called it, his "pedagogical demonstration," expressing it in the form, "We shall stop the war without signing the Peace Treaty." He got the plan indorsed, although not without disagreement and debate.

In a preliminary draft of this chapter, I wrote, " Trotsky and Lenin may have been in opposition, though it is more than likely that Lenin had given consent to Trotsky's proposal, not because he believed in it, but because he was willing to let the enthusiastic Trotsky test out his pet idea."

Later, in Trotsky book, Lenin,1 I found his own admission that this was so. He wrote that he made the first proposal by letter to Lenin while he was at Brest-Litovsk prior to his return for the Congress and received reply that they would talk the matter over later in Petrograd. Trotsky recorded that he suspected from the noncommittal response that Lenin did not agree. When they met for discussion Lenin said that the only result of the attitude would be a quick invasion of Russia by picked German troops, and asked Trotsky what he would do then. Trotsky wrote that he replied that they would be forced to sign a peace treaty, it being clear to everyone that they had no other way out. In that fashion also, he contended, as he explained, a decisive blow would be struck "at the legend that we are in league with the Hohenzollerns behind the scenes." He had stated earlier in his account that this was the reason for the "demonstration":

As is well known, even in Germany among the Social Democratic

____________________
1
Published by Minton, Balch & Co., 1925.

-274-

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