Leon Trotsky

Topics: Leon Trotsky, Vladimir Lenin, Marxism Pages: 5 (1373 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Evaluate the impact that Leon Trotsky had on national and international history.

Lev Davidovich Bronstein was a major political figure in the turn of the twentieth century for the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialists Republics) aka Russia. Bronstein’s impact was greater with national history than international history. He was born on November 7, 1879, Ukraine (Yanovka) and later changed his name to Leon Trotsky, the name of his prison guard at Odessa prison whilst in exile in Siberia. Trotsky was introduced to Marxism at a young age of 17 at a school in Nikolayev. Marxism is a political ideology crated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that presents the idea of having a revolution involving violence in order to obtain a classless society. The rise of Trotsky’s political power starts during his first jail sentencing in 1898 where he had joined the ‘Russian Social Democratic Labour Party’ (RSDLP). This was the initial development of Leon Trotsky and his road to important political positions. It was these significant political roles that strongly impacted the, not only Russian, but International history as we know it today.

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) was the current leader after the fall and collapse of the Romanov Dynasty, and failure of seizure of power by the provisional government. Lenin and the Bolsheviks (majority communist party) were in power of Russia post 1917. Trotsky was a member of the Menshevik party (minority men), but in August 1917, joined the Bolshevik party, always having some “Bolshevik spirit”. Following the creation of the ‘SOVNARKOM’, a council of people’s Commissar’s, Trotsky was appointed ‘Commissar for Foreign Affairs’. During this four month duration of ‘Commissar for Foreign Affairs’, Trotsky introduced his ideal of “no war, no peace”. This merely was the intention of neither fighting Germany, nor making peace with it. This was an ignorant claim by Trotsky, being strongly opposed by Lenin, as he demanded peace with Germany before they conquered Petrograd. During Trotsky’s negotiations with Germany, he came to the realisation that Lenin was right. The peace treaty with Germany (Treaty of Brest-Litovsk) was signed 16th of March 1918. However, the treaty was meant to be signed by Trotsky, but he disagreed with the conditions Russia had to face. This resulted in Trotsky sending Sokolnikov in his place to sign the peace decree with Germany. Lenin’s thesis was that Russia must sign peace with Germany at any cost to keep themselves in a safer position than war or invasion. Trotsky clearly opposed this thesis, resulting in the resignation of his role as ‘Commissar for Foreign Affairs’. This decision by Trotsky not to sign the peace decree was a substantial influence on the international history as it delayed the treaty and created harsher conditions for Russia and also impacted the Triple Entente (France, Britain and Russia), as they lost one of their most significant allied forces.

Due to the harsh conditions outlined in the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Russia was experiencing civil war during the middle of 1918. Lenin, hoping for him to lead the Bolsheviks to victory, appointed Trotsky as ‘Commissar for War’. This role largely focused on the national history, Russia, and the civil war that was now Trotsky’s responsibility. Trotsky was now the leader of the ‘Red Army’, which was the Bolsheviks, fighting against the ‘Whites’ that consisted of mainly Tsarist supporters and those who wanted Russia back in the war. The Whites aim was to remove the Bolsheviks entirely whereas the Reds claimed to hold on to power “at any cost”. Trotsky used brute force and cruellest measures to ensure the maintenance of the Red Army. He travelled by train to give orders to his men and army, motivating them and setting the plan of attack. On the train with him was his armoured Rolls Royce. Moving around to support the Red Army was a practical action by Trotsky as that’s what helped the success of the Bolsheviks in the civil...

Bibliography: * Bruce Dennett, Stephen Dixon (2008) Key Features of Modern History 4th Edition. Retrieved 21th May 2013. Published by: OUP Australia and New Zealand.
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