Lenin and World Revolution

By Stanley W. Page | Go to book overview

5
TROTSKY AND LENIN

OUT OF THE EVENTS of October and November, Trotsky emerged as the coleader or, at worst, as the number two man in the Bolshevik party. In the months leading to November, Lenin had perforce been invisible to the party's rank and file. To newly recruited Bolsheviks he had been merely a name. By contrast, the ever-present Trotsky, exhorter of the garrison troops, president of the Soviet, and field general of the November triumph, loomed up as a giant among men. Also, among the old Bolsheviks Trotsky had gained immense stature. During the crucial weeks before the coup d'état, he, almost alone in the Central Committee, had sided with Lenin on the issue of seizing power. The very idea of the "workers' state," in addition, was linked in Bolshevik minds with Trotsky's theories. Since Lenin himself appeared to have accepted Trotskyism, Trotsky's prestige was further enhanced.

As never before in Bolshevik history, there existed after November, 1917, a second pole of power in the party. In the months following the coup d'état particularly, Trotsky was a factor with which Lenin had to reckon. The struggle between the two in that period is best understood in the light of the entire history of their relationship.

It was at the Russian Social Democratic Congress of 1903 that Trotsky initiated his long-enduring dispute with Lenin. Shocked by Lenin's expressed intention of dumping the revolutionary elders Axelrod and Zasulich from the editorial board of Iskra,1 the youthful and yet unhardened Trotsky joined the Mensheviks in denouncing Lenin's centralistic scheme for the organization of the Russian Social Democratic party. Trotsky's autobiography, written in 1930, explains that his break with Lenin

occurred on what might be considered "moral" or even personal grounds. But this was merely on the surface. At bottom, the separation was of a

Notes begin on page 214.

-74-

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Lenin and World Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Russian Proletariat and World Revolution: Lenin's Views to 1914 1
  • 2 - Lenin's Assumption of International Proletarian Leadership 12
  • 3 - The April Theses and the Three Crises 27
  • 4 - The Seizure of Power 55
  • 5 - Trotsky and Lenin 74
  • 6 - Brest-Litovsk: The Opening Moves 81
  • 7 - Brest-Litovsk: The End Game 91
  • 8 - After Germany--The World! 111
  • 9 - The Third International 119
  • 10 - Violence When Necessary 134
  • 11 - Lenin and the East 141
  • 12 - The Second Congress of the Comintern 154
  • 13 - The Course is Set 185
  • Bibliography 245
  • Index 249
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