Trotsky, Lev Davidovich
(1879–1940)
   One of the primary leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein - he assumed the name Trotsky in 1902 - the son of a Jewish farmer in a small village in the Ukraine. His early revolutionary activities resulted in his arrest, exile, and eventual movement abroad, where he met V. I. Lenin in London in 1902. In the 1903 meeting of the Russian Social Democrats, Trotsky rejected Lenin’s idea of a small, restrictive party, preferring that of Julius Martov, who favored a broader party membership, open to all who embraced Marx’s theories. Over the next years, Trotsky remained more or less isolated, not linked to any one revolutionary group, criticizing Lenin and warning that his vision for a centralized party would inevitably result in the dictatorship of one man. Despite his isolation, Trotsky became well known, largely on the strength of his exceptional writing and oratory skills.
   In early 1905, Trotsky emerged as a leader of the Petersburg Soviet, although he was later arrested and again went abroad. During the spring of 1917, he returned to Russia and joined the Bolsheviks and by the early fall, he was leading the party while Lenin was in hiding. When the actual insurrection began in late October, Trotsky directed the revolutionaries’ activities, ordering the seizure of major city installations, such as phone and transportation offices. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, when some socialists refused to participate in the new government, Trotsky gave his famous speech in which he told these opponents to go “into the dustbin of history.” In the new Soviet government, Trotsky took the position of Commissar of Foreign Affairs. In 1918, as commissar of war, he was the Soviet representative during the negotiations for the Treaty of Brest Litovsk with Germany. After Lenin’s death in 1924, Trotsky was isolated and expelled from the party by Joseph Stalin’s aggressive maneuvering to become the country’s new leader. Trotsky’s ideas about permanent revolution and world revolution were cast aside in favor of Stalin’s argument for socialism in one country. In 1928, he was forced to leave Russia and moved from country to country until he finally settled in a suburb of Mexico City, where he worked with other Marxists such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Even here he was not outside of Stalin’s reach and ultimately was murdered by one of Stalin’s agents in 1940.
   See also <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Figes, Orlando. A People ’ s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891–1924. New York: Penguin, 1996;
    Trotsky, Leon. My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1970;
    Volkhogonov, Dmitrii. Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary. Translated by Harold Shukman. New York: The Free Press, 1996;
    Wolfe, Bertram D. Three Who Made a Revolution. New York: Dial Press, 1964.
   LEE A. FARROW

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • TROTSKY (Bronstein), LEV DAVIDOVICH — (Leon; 1879–1940), Russian revolutionary, Soviet and Communist leader. Trotsky was the son of a Jewish farmer of Ivanovka, Ukraine. He studied mathematics at Odessa University, but gave up his studies to devote himself to revolutionary activities …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Lev Davidovich Landau — Lev Landau Pour les articles homonymes, voir Landau. Lev Davidovitch Landau (en russe : Лев Давидович Ландау) (22 janvier 1908 1er avril 1968) était un physicien théoricien russe, prix Nobel de physique en 1962 pour ses… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lev Davidovich Bronstein — noun Russian revolutionary and Communist theorist who helped Lenin and built up the army; he was ousted from the Communist Party by Stalin and eventually assassinated in Mexico (1879 1940) • Syn: ↑Trotsky, ↑Leon Trotsky • Derivationally related… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Trotsky, Leon (Bronstein, Lev Davidovich) — (1879 1940)    Born in Yanovka in the Ukraine, he was involved in revolutionary groups and arrested in 1898 and exiled. He escaped in 1902 and went to London where he joined Lenin. He then moved to Geneva. In 1905 he returned to Russia and was… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Trotsky, Leon (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) — (1879 1940) A Bolshevik revolutionary leader, Foreign Minister, and Commissar of War after the 1917 Revolution, who was ousted by Stalin in 1927, exiled in 1929, and murdered in Mexico in 1940. In 1938 he founded the Fourth International in order …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Trotsky — noun Russian revolutionary and Communist theorist who helped Lenin and built up the army; he was ousted from the Communist Party by Stalin and eventually assassinated in Mexico (1879 1940) • Syn: ↑Leon Trotsky, ↑Lev Davidovich Bronstein •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Trotsky, Leon — (Lev Davidovich Bronstein) (1879–1940)    Russian revolutionary leader. The son of a farmer, Trotsky grew up in the Ukraine. Scholars disagree about the extent of his Jewish education in any case, he quickly rebelled against his origins. He… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Lev Trotski — Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Лев Давидович Бронштейн), popularmente conocido como Lev Trotski (Троцкий) o León Trotsky. Revolucionario judío ucranio ruso, nacido en Yanovka, Ucrania, el 26 de octubre (según el calendario juliano pre revolucionario)… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Trotsky — [trät′skē] Leon (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein) 1879 1940; Russ. revolutionist: commissar of war (1918 24) under Lenin: exiled (1929) Trotskyism n. Trotskyist adj., n. (often considered disparaging)Trotskyite …   English World dictionary

  • Trotsky — Lev Davidovich Bronstein …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

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