April 22, 2017

Trotsky Stalin and Lenin - notes

TROTSKY SAYS STALIN IS HIS ENEMY

Stalin is my enemy.

Trotsky, Leon, Stalin. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1941, p. 372

TROTSKY WAS A PROLIFIC WRITER ALWAYS READY TO LIE ABOUT OPPONENTS

Trotsky was a fierce hater and a prolific writer, a polemicist rather than a historian, who was always ready to distort and invent evidence against his enemy.

Grey, Ian. Stalin, Man of History. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1979, p. xii

Trotsky was a fierce hater and a prolific writer, a polemicist rather than a historian, who was always ready to distort and invent evidence against his enemy.

TROTSKY WAS AN ANTI-BOLSHEVIK MENSHEVIK AT HEART

Whatever may have been the various causes which incited it, the great reason for Trotsky's schism is chiefly his conception of political principles. Even if the incidental cause is vanity, the fundamental cause is ideological. It is based upon a fundamental divergence of tendencies between his own and Lenin's principles of Bolshevism. It reveals a different political temperament, a different set of values and different methods. And it is as a result of the intensive and bitter development of these fundamental differences and of their exploitation that Trotsky gradually took an opposition stand against the whole of the official Bolshevik policy.

Menshevik to start with, Trotsky always remained a Menshevik. He may have become anti-Bolshevik because he was a Trotskyist, but he certainly did so because he was an old Menshevik. Let us put it, if you wish, that the Trotskyist aroused the old Menshevik in him. Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 166



TROTSKY OPPOSED BOLSHEVIKS


Trotsky's experience in the Russian working-class movement prior to 1917 was essentially the experience of an emigre. From the outset of his acquaintance with Lenin he became an opponent of the Bolsheviks in general and of Lenin in particular. At first he was definitely on the side of the Mensheviks. Then he broke with them to take up a position between the two contending forces, calling for unity where unity was impossible, while reserving for Lenin and the Bolsheviks the most bitter of his polemics. On the wave of the revolution of 1917 he capitulated to Lenin as the master Revolutionary, in the hope that in due time the Master's mantle would fall upon him.

Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 67


Yet it had occurred to me that Trotsky, who was essentially an intellectual aristocrat, not to say an intellectual snob, was somewhat out of place in the Bolshevik milieu.

Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 199

In point of fact, I was resisting art as I had resisted revolution earlier in life, and later, Marxism; as I had resisted, for several years, Lenin and his methods.

Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 148

TROTSKYISM HAS NEVER SUCCEEDED IN LEADING ANY NATION

Trotskyites have never ever made a successful revolution nor will they ever be able to make a revolution unless and until they shed their Trotskyism...

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 335

LENIN OPPOSES TROTSKY ON MAJOR ISSUES

Proceeding from the theory of 'permanent revolution' Trotskyism cannot but attack Leninism. Leninism says that the proletariat in a single country can build socialism, whereas Trotskyism says that it cannot. Leninism holds that the peasantry is a reliable and firm ally of the proletariat, while Trotskyism says it is not. Leninism says that under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the working-class it is possible to mobilize the poor and middle peasantry in the task of building socialism, whereas according to Trotskyism this is an impossibility.

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 150




TROTSKY DENOUNCES LENINISM


That Trotsky launched vicious attacks against Leninism and Lenin is not an 'invention' of Stalin's, as the Trotskyites usually assert, can be seen from the following extracts from a letter of Trotsky's to Chkiedze written in 1913:

"The entire edifice of Leninism is built on lies and falsification and bears within itself the poisonous elements of its own decay."

Further on in the same letter Trotsky describes Lenin as: "a professional exploiter of every kind of backwardness in the Russian working-class movement."

Here, straight from the horse's mouth, you have in unadulterated form the true regard that Trotskyism has for Leninism....

Brar, Harpal. Trotskyism or Leninism. 1993, p. 82

TROTSKY DENOUNCED LENIN FOR BEING A REACTIONARY DICTATOR

Trotsky in turn denounced Lenin as the "head of the reactionary wing of our party" and a "dull caricature of the tragic intransigence of Jacobinism." He further observed that Lenin's conception of centralism would lead to a situation in which "the organization of the party takes the place of the party itself, the Central Committee takes the place of the organization, and finally the dictator takes a place of the Central Committee." The Bolsheviks under "Maximilien Lenin," he contended, were aiming at "a dictatorship over the proletariat."

Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 49

Trotsky condemned Lenin for "sectarian spirit, individualism of the intellectual, and ideological fetishism."

Trotsky in turn wrote to Chkheidze that Lenin was a master at "petty squabbling" and that Leninism "flourishes on the dung-heap of sectarianism" and is "founded on lies and falsifications and carries within itself the poison germ of it's own decomposition.” (Souvarine pp. 131 -- 32)

Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 51

[In a speech on the Trotskyist Opposition delivered at a joint plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of the CPSU on October 23, 1927 Stalin quoted Trotsky's letter to Chkheidze in 1913 denouncing Lenin and said] Is it surprising, then, that Trotsky, who wrote in such an ill-mannered way about the great Lenin, whose shoelaces he was not worthy of tying should now hurl abuse at one of Lenin's numerous pupils--Comrade Stalin?

Stalin, Joseph. Works. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1952, Vol. 10, p. 178

TROTSKY ATTACKED LENIN

In a pamphlet entitled Our Political Tasks, published in 1904, Trotsky accused Lenin of trying to impose a "barracks-room regime" on the Russian radicals. In language startlingly similar to that which he was later to use in his attacks on Stalin, the young Trotsky denounced Lenin as "the leader of the reactionary wing of our party."

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 188


Abroad again, after the defeat of the 1905 Revolution, Trotsky set up his own political headquarters in Vienna, attacking Lenin as "a candidate for the post of dictator," launched a propaganda campaign to build his own movement....

"The whole construction of Leninism," wrote Trotsky in a confidential letter to the Russian Menshevik leader Tscheidze, on February 23, 1913, "is at present built up on lies and contains the poisonous germ of its own disintegration." Trotsky went on to tell his Menshevik associate that, in his opinion Lenin was nothing more than "a professional exploiter of every backwardness in the Russian workers movement."

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 189

He [Trotsky] had passed the earlier 13 or 14 years in factional struggle against Lenin, assailing him with ferocious personal insults, as "slovenly attorney," as "hideous caricature of Robespierre, malicious and morally repulsive," as "exploiter of Russian backwardness," "demoralizer of the Russian working-class," etc., insults compared with which Lenin's rejoinders were restrained, almost mild.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 249


Stalin had some cause to regard Trotsky's elevation as a grievance, especially considering that this man had for a decade been one of Lenin's most vociferous factional opponents.

McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 36

TROTSKY USES LEFTIST RHETORIC BUT IS ACTUALLY DEFEATIST AND PESSIMISTIC

The bold revolutionary, who always liked to pose as being more resolute than anyone else, is clearly exaggerating the difficulties.

This was always a characteristic of Trotsky. While he seldom missed an opportunity of adopting a revolutionary pose, of "being more revolutionary than anyone else," very often the pose concealed the profoundest pessimism; concealed the fact that the poseur had no faith in the Russian masses and was preparing to surrender to capitalism.

Campbell, J. R. Soviet Policy and Its Critics. London: V. Gollancz, ltd., 1939, p. 45




LENIN IS CLOSEST TO STALIN AND FAVORS HIM OVER TROTSKY


The log of Lenin's activities during this time (May 25-Oct. 2, 1922) indicates Stalin to have been the most frequent visitor to Gorky, meeting with Lenin 12 times; according to Bukharin, Stalin was the only member of the Central Committee whom Lenin asked to see during the most serious stages of his illness. According to Maria Ulianova, these were very affectionate encounters: "Lenin met [Stalin] in a friendly manner, he joked, laughed, asked that I entertain him, offer him wine, and so on. During this and further visits, they also discussed Trotsky in my presence, and it was apparent that here Lenin sided with Stalin against Trotsky.” Lenin also frequently communicated with Stalin in writing. His archive contains many notes to Stalin requesting his advice on every conceivable issue, including questions of foreign policy. Worried lest Stalin overwork himself, he asked that the Politburo instruct him to take two days' rest in the country every week. After learning from Lunacharsky that Stalin lived in shabby quarters, he saw to it that something better was found for him. There is no record of similar intimacy between Lenin and any other member of the Politburo.

After obtaining Lenin's consent and then settling matters among themselves, the triumvirate [Stalin, Zinoviev, Kamenev] would present to the Politburo and the Sovnarkom resolutions that these bodies approved as a matter of course. Trotsky either voted with the majority or abstained. By virtue of their collaboration in a Politburo that at the time had only seven members (in addition to them and the absent Lenin, Trotsky, Tomsky, and Bukharin), the troika could have its way on all issues and isolate Trotsky, who had not a single supporter in that body.

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 464-466


Until the end of 1922, Stalin's relations with Lenin were extremely close. From the end of May until the beginning of October in that year, Stalin visited Lenin at Gorky 12 times, more often than any other person. As Lenin's sister Maria wrote to the Presidium of the Combined Plenum of the Central Committee and Central Control Commission of July 1926:

"Lenin valued Stalin very highly.... Lenin used to call him out and would give him the most intimate instructions, instructions of the sort one can only give to someone one particularly trusts, someone one knows as a sincere revolutionary, as a close comrade.... In fact, during the entire time of his illness, as long as he had the possibility of seeing his comrades, he most frequently invited Comrade Stalin, and during the most difficult moments of his illness Stalin was the only member of the Central Committee he invited."

This letter was written to bolster Stalin in the savage internecine struggle going on in the leadership, but it nevertheless reflects the reality.

Volkogonov, Dmitrii. Lenin: A New Biography. New York: Free Press, 1994, p. 268


STALIN MERELY FOLLOWED LENIN


All efforts to whiten Lenin and make a saint of him are useless: 50 years of history tell a different story. Stalin did not discover or devise anything new.

Alliluyeva, Svetlana. Only One Year. New York: Harper & Row, 1969, p. 182


Anyone who wished to attack the status quo would have serious difficulty demonstrating that either the leadership personnel or the policies were not those established by Lenin, the barely surviving founder whose image was increasingly revered. Had not Lenin, while still alive, participated in the election of the present Central Committee, Politburo, Secretariat? Had he not inaugurated the New Economic Policy? Had he not established a correspondingly moderate foreign policy, which favored cooperation with reformist socialists in the West and with nationalist revolutionaries in semi-colonial countries, such as China? And had he not shaped the domestic political order, whatever he might say about its 'bureaucratiism'? Most particularly, had he not banned 'factions' within the Communist Party?

McNeal, Robert, Stalin: Man and Ruler. New York: New York University Press, 1988, p. 82




LENIN’S SHUT HIMSELF IN LIBRARY TO WRITE MATERIALISM AND EMPIRIO-CRITICISM


For a time Lenin detached himself from day-to-day politics and, to the grave embarrassment of his pupils, shut himself up in the Paris libraries in order to produce his philosophical magnum opus, Materialism and Empirio-criticism, in which he flayed the neo-Kantians, the God-seekers, and all the other questioners of Marxist philosophy.

Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 106


CLASSICS WERE NOT MEANT TO KNOW ALL & PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO ALL LATER PROBLEMS

[Report to the 18th Congress on March 10, 1939]

We cannot expect the Marxian classics, separated as they were from our day by a period of 45 or 55 years, to have foreseen each and every zigzag of history in the distant future in every separate country. It would be ridiculous to expect that the Marxian classics should have elaborated for our benefit ready-made solutions for each and every theoretical problem that might arise in any particular country 50 or 100 years afterwards, so that we, the descendants of the Marxian classics, might calmly doze at the fireside and munch ready-made solutions.

Franklin, Bruce, Ed. The Essential Stalin; Major Theoretical Writings. Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1972, p. 383


TROTSKY SAYS HE CAME FROM THE UPPER CLASS

This, however, scarcely affected my own position. As the son of a prosperous landowner, I've belonged to the privileged class rather than to the oppressed.

Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. 86

TROTSKY HAD A HUGE EGO

Here is how war commissar Trotsky, addressing one of his spectacular mass rallies in Moscow, was described by the famous American foreign correspondent, Isaac Marcosson:

"Trotsky made his appearance in what actors call a good entrance...after a delay, and at the right psychological moment, he emerged from the wings and walked with quick steps to the little pulpit....

He inundated his hearers with a Niagara of speech, the like of which I have never heard. Vanity and arrogance stood out pre-eminently.

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 186

Trotsky left nothing to chance. He was fond of quoting the words of the French Anarchist, Proudhon: "Destiny -- I laugh at; and as for men, they are too ignorant, too enslaved for me to feel annoyed at them."

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 212

Trotsky lacked much of the quality of the true statesman and leader. His brilliant gifts were marred, as his works continually show, by an extraordinary vanity. He was almost pathologically egocentric. He always played the strong, self-confident man; yet many of his actions showed that he was tortured by inhibitions, often, behind the mask of superiority, anything but sure of himself, and, in fact, that he was far from being the strong personality he tried to appear in public.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 118

The combination, so often found, of great gifts and unbounded vanity gave Trotsky from the outset a revolutionary career whose tragic end might be foreseen. For Trotsky was never ready to learn, wanted always to teach, could never endure the second-place but must always have the first.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 119

Thus there was much in Trotsky's existence that flattered his almost morbid vanity and gave support to his self-insurance.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 123

When people say that Trotsky had an attractive personality, they are speaking mainly of his public persona, his appearance before great meetings, his writings, his dignity. But even so, he repelled many who felt him to be full of vanity, on the one hand, and irresponsible, on the other, in the sense that he tended to make a bright or "brilliant" formulation and press it to the end regardless of the danger.

Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 413

Trotsky was above politics, but he was imperious, flushed with an exaggerated sense of his importance, and flaunted his ego in a manner that made people think of Napoleon’s in embryo.

Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 164

TROTSKY WAS A FANATICAL DOGMATIST WHO REFUSED TO RECANT WHEN WRONG

Another of Trotsky's weak points was his lack of substance as a theoretician and thinker. He was more of a fanatical believer. First he believed in Marxism, then in its interpretation by Lenin. His faith was profound and unshakable. He never manifested doubt or hesitation as to the dogma. He was unable to capitulate except in the face of his Party, which he believed to be the perfect instrument of universal revolution. He never recanted his ideas and believed in them fanatically to the end of his days.

Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 117


He [Trotsky] rejected Kamenev's promptings with scorn and contempt. He declared that he would do nothing to "ease" his own re-entry into the party and that he would not beg his persecutors to recall him to Moscow. It was up to them to do so if they wished, but even then he would not cease to attack them and the capitulators as well.

This was Trotsky's reply not only to Kamenev's suggestions, but also to Stalin's vague and allusive blandishments. Conciliation between them was out of the question. He responded far more favorably to Bukharin's appeal [to unite against Stalin].

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 447




TROTSKY NEVER UNDERSTOOD PEOPLE


Another Trotsky trait that always surprised me: his astonishing naivete and incomprehension of people. One would think that he'd spent his entire life dwelling on abstractions without ever seeing living people as they really are. In particular he never understood anything of Stalin, although he wrote a long book about him.

Bazhanov, Boris. Bazhanov and the Damnation of Stalin. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, c1990, p. 122





HOW ARE STALIN AND TROTSKY DIFFERENT


Trotsky detested Stalin so heartily that he studiously insulted him in public; for instance, in committee meetings he would ostentatiously pick up a newspaper and begin to read to himself whenever Stalin made a speech.

The difference in their characters was, of course, profound. Stalin, a passionate politician, above all a creature of committees; Trotsky, a lone wolf, a violent individualist, who for 20 years could not bear to shackles himself with allegiance to either the Bolshevik or Menshevik divisions in the party. Stalin, patient as an icon; Trotsky, vivacious as a satyr. Stalin, immobile, silent, cautious; Trotsky, a lively, frank, and inveterate conversationalist. Stalin, a bomb-thrower, literally; Trotsky, horrified by sporadic violence. Stalin, a hard-headed practical wire puller, unyieldingly jealous of his career; Trotsky, lover of the abstract, impulsive, vain. Stalin, a supreme organizer; Trotsky, a bad politician, incapable of compromise, very hard to work with. Observe their smiles. Stalin's smiles like a tiger who is just swallowed the canary. Trotsky smiles brightly and spontaneously like a child. Observe their escapes from Siberia, Stalin went about it soberly, efficiently, with methodical coldness; Trotsky--puff!--has disappeared into clear air; he escapes like Ariel.

Gunther, John. Inside Europe. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, c1940, p. 525




TROTSKY IS DECEPTIVE, CUNNING, NON-BOLSHEVIK, DIVISIVE AND INDIVIDUALISTIC


The triumvirs were anxious to bring the contest to a speedy conclusion. They replied to Trotsky's letter [a December 8th open letter to party meetings in which he made clear his position] with a deafening barrage of counter-accusations. It was, they said, disloyal on Trotsky's part to vote with the whole of the Politburo for the New Course and then to cast aspersion upon the Politburo's intentions. It was criminal to incite the young against the Old Guard, the repository of revolutionary virtue and tradition. It was wicked of him to try to turn the mass of the party against the machine, for every good old Bolshevik was aware how much importance the party had always attached to its machine and with how much care and devotion it had surrounded it. He equivocated over the ban on factions: he knew that the ban was essential to the party's unity and did not dare to demand plainly that it be revoked; but he sought to sap it surreptitiously. He played falsely when he described the party regime as bureaucratic; and he played with fire when he aroused an exaggerated and dangerous appetite for democracy in the masses. He pretended to speak for the workers, but played up to the students and the intelligentsia, that is to the petty bourgeois gallery. He spoke about the rights and responsibility of the rank-and-file only to cover up his own irresponsibility, and frustrated dictatorial ambition. His hatred of the party machine, his contumelious attitude towards the Old Guard, his reckless individualism, his disrespect for Bolshevik tradition, yes, and his notorious "underestimation" of the peasantry--all this clearly indicated that at heart he had remained something of a stranger in the party, an alien to Leninism, an unreformed semi-Menshevik.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 125


TROTSKY WON’T ADMIT MISTAKES

His lack of self-criticism prevented Trotsky from ever remedying his defects. Typical of this was the following little-known incident. A conference took place in 1921 in the Kremlin Palace between the foremost leaders of the Communist International. At that time this 'Third International' was not merely the instrument of Russian policy. The subject under discussion was whether a rising should be started in Germany. The majority of those present were in favor of the idea. Lenin came to the meeting, and in a lengthy speech opposed the suggested rising. A rising was actually started in central Germany, ending in a disastrous defeat for Communism. Subsequently another discussion took place in that hall. Trotsky had not been present at the first discussion, but had set down his opinion in writing. Some Russian leaders who had voted in favor of the rising admitted their mistake. This time Trotsky was present, and he made a speech attacking those who had been in favor of the rising. In astonishment his hearers pointed out that he himself had supported the proposal. He denied this, and was reminded that he had actually set down his opinion in writing. His letter was produced. Meanwhile the discussion continued. Trotsky read the letter, said not a word, and went away, with the document in his pocket.

Such was the man who set out to fight his historic duel with Stalin.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 126

LUDWIG COMPARES STALIN TO TROTSKY

I never saw Lenin. But I met Trotsky a few years ago on Princes Island, near Stamboul, and I can compare Stalin with him, for it is only recently that I have been conversing with Stalin in the Kremlin.... Except for their energy, they have not a single characteristic in common. Trotsky's head is remarkable for the brow and the eyes, whereas in the case of Stalin these two are insignificant. This does not mean, however, that Stalin is not a thinker and an observer.... The only thing common to Trotsky and Stalin in their physical appearance is the delicate hands, which seem to be a general characteristic of dictators.

The peculiarities of character which one finds in each of these two are in keeping with the contrast in their physical appearance. As the leading disciples of Lenin, they showed the mini-sidedness of their teacher. Trotsky has the same kind of elan as Lenin, Stalin the same kind of perseverance. Trotsky works from above through speeches and the arousing of mass emotion, whereas Stalin works from below by developing the individual. Trotsky is an enthusiast, Stalin a politician. Trotsky is the strategist, Stalin the tactician. Trotsky inspires the masses, Stalin organizes them. Trotsky is frank and expansive and talkative, Stalin reserved and silent. Trotsky is pleasantly witty, Stalin destructively humorous. In Trotsky everything is quick and brilliant. The Word is his weapon. It is with that that he destroys his opponent. He can speak it and write it in several languages. Over against this brilliant and alert and versatile Trotsky, everything in Stalin is slow and ponderous. He annihilates his opponent with the weight of his carefully gathered material. Trotsky is a prophet, Stalin a father. We might compare Trotsky to a high-powered motor-car that can take all gradients on first speed and will win in almost any speed test. And we may compare Stalin to those tractors that he has introduced into Russia and that turn up the earth in their slow plodding movement, preparing it for the seeds of the new State, silently and inexorably breaking through the hardest soil.

Ludwig, Emil. Leaders of Europe. London: I. Nicholson and Watson Ltd., 1934, p. 358-359


TROTSKY LIED ABOUT STALIN AND UNJUSTLY ACCUSED HIM

Nevertheless, in composing the portrait [of Stalin], he [Trotsky] uses abundantly far too often the material of inference, guess, and hearsay. He picks up any piece of gossip or rumor if only it shows a trait of cruelty or suggests treachery in the young Djugachvili. He gives credence to Stalin's schoolmates and later enemies who in reminiscences about their childhood, written in exile thirty or more years after the events, say that the boy Soso "had only a sarcastic sneer for the joys and sorrows of his fellows": that "compassion for people or for animals was foreign to him"; or that from "his youth the carrying out of vengeful plots became for him the goal that dominated all his efforts."...

There is no need to go into many examples of this approach. The most striking is, of course, Trotsky's suggestion, mentioned earlier, that Stalin had poisoned Lenin....

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 452

Yet he never states whether he himself had conceived the suspicion or conviction of Stalin's guilt already in 1924 or whether he formed it only during the purges, after Yagoda and the Kremlin doctors had been charged with using poison in their murderous intrigues. If he had felt this conviction or suspicion in 1924, why did he never voice it before 1939? Why did he, even after Lenin's death, describe Stalin as a "brave and sincere revolutionary" to none other than Max Eastman?... Thus he still treats the Stalin of 1924 as a basically honest though short-sighted man, who would have hardly been capable of poisoning Lenin. Such inconsistencies suggest that in charging Stalin with this particular crime, Trotsky is projecting the experience of the great purges back to 1923-24.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 454


Trotsky's Stalin is implausible to the extent to which he presents the character as being essentially the same in 1936-38 as in 1924, and even in 1904. The monster does not form, grow, and emerge--he is there almost fully-fledged from the outset. Any better qualities and emotions, such as intellectual ambition and a degree of sympathy with the oppressed, without which no young man would ever join a persecuted revolutionary party, are almost totally absent. Stalin's rise within the party is not due to merit or achievement; and so his career becomes very nearly inexplicable. His election to Lenin's Politburo, his presence in the Bolshevik inner cabinet, and his appointment to the post of the General Secretary appear quite fortuitous.... Yet even from Trotsky's disclosures it is evident that Stalin did not at all come to the fore in this way: that he had been, next to Lenin and Trotsky, the most influential man in the party's inner councils at least since 1918; and that it was not for nothing that Lenin in his will described Stalin as one of the "two most able men of the Central Committee."

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Outcast. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1963, p. 455

Trotsky would have us believe that even before Lenin's first stroke, Stalin had been maneuvering to isolate and replace the grandmaster of Bolshevism. It is a fascinating theory, but there is not a shred of evidence to support it. At the time Lenin was stricken, there was animus between him and Stalin, but of a transitory character.

Levine, Isaac Don. Stalin. New York: Cosmopolitan Book Corporation, c1931, p. 201



TROTSKY WAS TOO INDECISIVE, IMPRACTICAL, AND VACILLATING TO LEAD


...But, above all, the two people [Lenin and Trotsky] are not on the same scale, and in any case, one cannot reasonably put any other personality on a parallel with the gigantic figure of Lenin.

But Trotsky's very qualities had serious counterparts which easily changed them into defects. His critical sense, hypertrophied but without any broadness (Lenin's, like Stalin's, was encyclopedic), rivetted his attention upon details, prevented him from visualizing situations as a whole and made him pessimistic.

Besides, he had too much imagination. He had an uncontrolled imagination. And this imagination, jostling against its own self, would lose its balance, and cease to be able to distinguish the possible from the impossible (which, in any case, is not the function of the imagination). Lenin used to say that Trotsky was perfectly capable of producing nine good solutions and a Tenth disastrous one. The men who worked with Trotsky will tell you that, every morning when they awoke, they murmured, as they opened their eyes and stretched themselves: "I wonder what Trotsky is going to invent today."

He saw all the alternatives too clearly, so that all sorts of doubts would assail him. The thesis and the antithesis haunted him at the same time. "Trotsky is a human shuttle cock," said Lenin. So he would hesitate and vacillate. He was unable to make a decision. He was afraid, and consequently always instinctively opposed the actual work in hand.

Again, he was too fond of talking. He would become intoxicated by the sound of his own voice. "Even when speaking confidentially to a single person, he becomes declamatory," said one of his former companions. To sum up, Trotsky possessed the eminent qualities of an advocate, of a debater, of an art critic, and of a journalist--but not that of a statesman having to break new ground. He lacked the exclusive and absolute sense of reality and of life. He lacked the great straightforward ruthlessness of the man of action. He did not possess really strong Marxist convictions. He was afraid. He had always been afraid. It was out of fear that he remained a Menshevik, and it is equally out of fear that he has become unbalanced and is sometimes seized with frantic attacks of extremeness. One cannot understand Trotsky unless one can discern his weakness through his fits of violence.

In a general survey Manuilsky has given us an even broader view of the matter: "The almost uninterrupted succession of Oppositions was the expression of the retirement of the feebler elements of the Party from Bolshevik positions." All Opposition is a confession of retrogression, discouragement, incipient paralysis, and sleeping sickness.

It was the same abroad: "During the period of the actual and relative stabilization of Capitalism, Socialists began to waiver and to leave the ranks of the Communist International." It is hard work having to keep on marching forward, constantly bearing that manner. After a certain time one's feet grow tired, one's fingers lose their grip--unless one has a vocation for it.

It is because of the platitude, the bustling pettiness and the impotence of Menshevism, because of what Stalin has called "the dissolute character of the Mensheviks in the matter of organization, "that Trotsky was beaten. If Trotsky had been right he would have won. In the same way as the Bolsheviks who, at the dawn of the New Era, opposed the Mensheviks in the heart of the Social-Democratic Party and forced a separation, would themselves have been beaten--if they had been wrong.

Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 167-169

Trotsky appears to me as the type of the pure revolutionary: of great service in the emotional stress of war, but of no further use when all that is needed is calm, steady, systematic work instead of exultation. As soon as the heroic period of the revolution was past, his vision of men and affairs became distorted and he began to see all things in a false light. Obstinately, long after Lenin had adapted his views to the facts, Trotsky clung to the principles which had been proved during the heroic, emotional, but which were bound to go awry the moment they had to serve everyday needs. As his book shows, Trotsky knows how to carry away crowds in moments of great excitement. Certainly when feelings ran high he was able to let loose a mighty flood of enthusiasm, but what he could not do was to "canalize" the flood and turn it to account in the building up of a great state.

This Stalin can do.


Trotsky is the born writer. His affectionate descriptions of literary activities make good reading, and I take him at his word when he says: "A well-written book, in which one finds new thoughts, and a good pen, with which one can communicate one's own thoughts to others, have always been and still are for me the most precious and intimate products of civilization." Trotsky's tragedy is that he was not content with being a great writer. This insatiability turned him into a contentious doctrinaire who, by the mischief he made, and meant to make, caused innumerable people to forget his merits.

I know this type of writer and revolutionary well, even if only in miniature. Certain leaders of the German revolution, the Kurt Eisner's and Gustav Landauers, had much in common with Trotsky, although, of course, on a smaller scale. Their rigid adherence to a dogma, their inability to adapt themselves to changed circumstances, in short, their lack of practical political psychology, made these theorists and doctrinaires fitted for political action for a short time only. For the greater period of their lives they were good writers, but no politicians. They did not find the way to the heart of the people. They did not know enough of popular and mass psychology. They felt a kinship for the masses which the masses did not feel for them.

While the great conflict between Trotsky and Stalin rests on differences of opinion on all-important points, these differences arise from a more fundamental divergence. It was the natures of the two men which led them to opposite conceptions in regard to the most important questions of the Russian Revolution, to the nationality problem, the peasant problem, and to the question whether it was possible to establish socialism in any one country. Stalin held the opinion that complete and practical socialism could be established without a world revolution, and, moreover, that by the protection of the national interests of the various Soviet peoples, it could be established in one separate country; he believed that the Russian peasant had the possibility of socialism within him. Trotsky disputed that. He declared world revolution to be a necessary condition for the establishment of socialism; he adhered rigidly to the Marxist doctrine of absolute internationalism; he advocated the tactics of the permanent revolution and demonstrated with a great show of logic the correctness of the Marxist position that the establishment of socialism in any one country was impossible....


Before the end of 1935 at the latest, the whole world recognized that socialism had been established in one country and that, what was more, the military resources had been created for the defense of this new structure against any conceivable foe.

What could Trotsky do? He could keep quiet. He could admit himself beaten and say he had been wrong. He could reconcile himself with Stalin.

He found it impossible. He could not conquer himself. The man who had seen so much that others had not seen, now failed to see what every child saw. Food was being produced at a great pace; the machines were functioning; raw materials were being reclaimed as never before; the country was electrified and motorized. Trotsky would not admit it. He said that the very fact that all this had been accomplished so quickly, and the feverish tempo of the construction, must result in fragility. The Soviet Union, the " Stalin State," as he called it, must sooner or later fall to pieces of its own accord, and it was bound to collapse in any case as soon as the Fascist powers attacked it. And Trotsky launched forth into extravagant outbursts of hatred against the man in whose name the construction had become a fact.

Feuchtwanger, Lion. Moscow, 1937. New York: The Viking Press, 1937, p. 97-101

During the crisis [Brest Litovsk] the 'deserter and strike-breaker' of October, Zinoviev, rallied to his [Lenin] side; and Lenin was as quick in forgetting an old grievance as he had been ruthless in voicing it. On the other hand, Trotsky suffered a temporary eclipse. He had laid bare an important weakness of his--a certain lack of plain realism, a propensity to verbal solutions and theatrical gestures in a situation which brooked neither. His eclipse was not serious. His moral authority was still second only to Lenin's.

Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 192

(by Joseph Hansen)

Even Deutscher viewed Trotsky's engagement in building a world party of socialist revolution as a "foible."

Trotsky, Leon. My Life. Gloucester, Massachusetts: P. Smith, 1970, p. v


He [Trotsky] was, as I have hinted, an intellectual's politician not a politician's. He was arrogant, he was a wonderful phrase-maker, he was good at points of dramatic action. But, as with Churchill (there are some resemblances), his judgment, over most of his career, tended to be brilliantly wrong. In politics, particularly in the life-and-death politics of revolution, you can't afford to be brilliantly wrong.

...He was a brave and dashing extemporizer: but when it came to steady administrative policies, he could suddenly swing into a bureaucratic rigidity stiffer than any of the others'.

Above all, he [Trotsky] hadn' the animal instinct that a politician needs. When Lenin died, he was convalescing in the Crimea. He didn't return to Moscow. He did not obey one of the oldest of political rules: never be too proud to be present. In a time of crisis, the first essential is to be on the spot, in physical presence, in the flesh.

Snow, Charles Percy. Variety of Men. New York: Scribner, 1966, p. 255


TROTSKY’S EGO CAUSED HIM TO OPPOSE DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM

Trotsky apparently opposed "centralism" then, as he was to do a quarter of a century later, less out of attachment to Democratic methods than out of opposition to dictation by anyone but itself. For the next fourteen years he fought Lenin. But also quarreled intermittently with the Menshevik leaders. He was detested by Plekhanov, although at times they made common cause against Lenin.

Schuman, Frederick L. Soviet Politics. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1946, p. 48


By comparison with what he had said about Stalin, his [Lenin] characterization of Trotsky was more critical, in spite of the tribute to his greater talents. Lenin recalled a recent instance of Trotsky's 'struggle against the Central Committee', in which Trotsky displayed 'too far-reaching a self-confidence and a disposition to be too much attracted by the purely administrative side of affairs '. If the party were to choose between the 'two most able men' on the basis of these remarks only, the odds might have been slightly in Stalin's favor. Not only were Trotsky's shortcomings stressed with the greater emphasis; Lenin also hinted at Trotsky's inclination to oppose himself to the Central Committee, a grave fault in the leader of a party which was bred in discipline, team-work, and was suspicious of 'individualism'.

Deutscher, Isaac. Stalin; A Political Biography. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967, p. 248



CHURCHILL BLASTS TROTSKY AND HIS IMMENSE EGO


It is probable that Trotsky never comprehended the Marxian creed: but of its drill-book he was the incomparable master. He possessed in his nature all the qualities requisite for the art of civic destruction--the organizing command of a Carnot, the cold detached intelligence of Machiavelli, the mob oratory of a Cleon, the ferocity of Jack the Ripper, the toughness of Titus Oates. No trace of compassion, no sense of human kinship, no apprehension of the spiritual, weakened his high and tireless capacity for action. Like the cancer bacillus he grew, he fed, he tortured, he slew in fulfillment of his nature. He found a wife who shared the Communist faith. She worked and plotted at his side. She shared his first exile to Siberia in the days of the Czar. She bore him children. She aided his escape. He deserted her. He found another kindred mind in a girl of good family who had been expelled from a school at Kharkov for persuading the pupils to refuse to attend prayers and to read Communist literature instead of the Bible. By her he had another family. As one of his biographers (Max Eastman) put it: “If you have a perfectly legal mind, she is not Trotsky's wife, for Trotsky never divorced Alexandra Sokolovski who still uses the name of Bronstein.” Of his mother he writes in cold and chilling terms. His father--old Bronstein--died of typhus in 1920 at the age of 83. The triumphs of his [Trotsky’s father] son brought no comfort to this honest hard-working and believing Jew. Persecuted by the Reds because he was a bourgeoisie; by the Whites because he was Trotsky's father, and deserted by his son, he was left to sink or swim in the Russian deluge, and swam on steadfastly to the end. What else was there for him to do?


... All the collectivism in the world could not rid him [Trotsky] of an egoism which amounted to a disease, and to a fatal disease. He must not only ruin the State, he must rule the ruins thereafter. Every system of government of which he was not the head or almost the head was odious to him. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat to him meant that he was to be obeyed without question. He was to do the dictating on behalf of the proletariat. “The toiling masses,” the “Councils of Workmen, Peasants and Soldiers,” the gospel and revelation of Karl Marx, the Federal Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, etc., to him were all spelt in one word: Trotsky.

Churchill, Winston. Great Contemporaries. New York: Putnam, 1937, p. 170

The Army must be remade; victory must be won; and Trotsky must do it and Trotsky must profit from it.... He used his exceptional prowess to the full. The officers and soldiers of the new model army were fed, clothed and treated better than anyone else in Russia. Officers of the old Czarist regime were wheedled back in thousands. "To the devil with politics--let us save Russia." The salute was reintroduced. The badges of rank and privilege were restored. The authority of commanders was reestablished. The higher command found themselves treated by this Communist upstart with a deference they had never experienced from the Ministers of the Czar.

Churchill, Winston. Great Contemporaries. New York: Putnam, 1937, p. 171

TROTSKY JOINED PARTY WITH ULTERIOR MOTIVES


When he joined the Bolshevik party he did not regard it as a collective body which would have any power over him. On the contrary Trotsky regarded his joining as a means of acquiring power over the party and becoming second in command to Lenin.

Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 101

Characteristically Trotsky made a spectacular entry into the Bolshevik Party. He brought with him into the Party his entire motley following of dissident leftists.

First as Foreign Commissar and then as War Commissar, Trotsky was the chief spokesman of the so-called Left Opposition within the Bolshevik Party.

Footnote: Following his removal from the post of Foreign Commissar, Trotsky publicly admitted the error of his opposition to Lenin at Brest-Litovsk and again offered unreserved co-operation with Lenin.

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 191

In August 1917 Trotsky made a sensational political somersault. After 14 years of opposition to Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Trotsky applied for membership in the Bolshevik Party.

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 190

I had been told, for instance, that Trotsky as a former Menshevik did in a sense represent a kind of minority section in the Bolshevik party, which he had joined only in 1917,...

Duranty, Walter. I Write as I Please. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935, p. 213


TROTSKY’S HUGE EGO AND NOT A TEAM PLAYER

The disagreement [between Trotsky and the Bolsheviks] was fundamental and was never eliminated. It was now to appear again in quarrels with Stalin concerning the Red Army. The fact is, he [Trotsky] never really accepted the principal governing the relationship of Lenin's party with the masses because he was incapable of believing in the creative power of the proletariat. He was an egotist, with all the over-confidence of the egotist. He was of the stuff of which dictators are made, and his conception of leadership had as its premise the recognition of his abilities plus a proletariat which would do as he ordered. They had to be organized. He would organize them as part of a machine under the control of a staff drawn from the middle classes--the intelligentsia and the Army officers, with himself at the head. He was efficient. He admired efficiency. But he could never surrender himself to the idea of integrating himself with the proletariat, or believe that the qualities he saw in the middle-classes were latent in the proletariat also and that the revolutionary struggle would bring the working-classes into the ranks of leadership. They could be educated in the long run, he thought, but not in the short. His intellectual snobbery ruined him as a revolutionary.

Murphy, John Thomas. Stalin, London, John Lane, 1945, p. 125

In his memoirs British agent Bruce Lockhart writes, "we had not handled Trotsky wisely. At the time of the first Revolution he was in exile in America. He was then neither a Menshevik nor a Bolshevik. He was what Lenin called a Trotskyist -- that is to say, an individualist and an opportunist. A revolutionary with the temperament of an artist and physical courage, he had never been and never could be a good party man."

Sayers and Kahn. The Great Conspiracy. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1946, p. 190

Before the Revolution the Bolshevik and Menshevik wings of the Russian social democracy were in perpetual conflict. The head of the former was Lenin, the highest authority among the latter was held by Plekhanov. Trotsky could recognize no other authority than his own. His temperament and his whole nature drove him to radicalism.

It is remarkable that everything in Trotsky’s character and career that helped him forward also contributed to his fall. Why? Because everything promoted his radical defect, his vanity.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 119

It was entirely intelligible that the young Trotsky should join the revolutionaries.... Very soon, however, he lost the vivid concrete love and compassion for the individual human being. More and more he saw only the masses in whose name and for whose benefit he pursued his social and political ideas. The sense of being an intellectual revolutionary leader lifted Trotsky in his own estimation above the masses. He felt his superiority to all whom he met; he never felt close to the masses, whether Russian or Jewish, but enthroned himself, quite unconsciously, in Olympian aloofness above real life, above the masses. He remained essentially an aristocrat.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 121

Trotsky's habit of always taking up a standpoint of his own and his clearly paraded sense of his own superiority were bound, when Lenin died, to lead to trouble. His first personal conflict then came in the Politbureau, and it was with Zinoviev.

Kamenev was entirely loyal to Zinoviev, and in politics almost servile.

Basseches, Nikolaus. Stalin. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952, p. 129


Perusal of those articles which have survived from Stalin's writings in Turukhansk shows that their author's distaste for the methods and the personality of Trotsky was not dimmed since their last clash. In one of these he suggests with some truth that as a result of the years spent in pretending to stand above the Party squabbles, Trotsky had become congenitally incapable of sharing anyone else's position but must at all costs differentiate himself from all other groups. In view of the fact that Trotsky had adopted such a pointless stand on the war question, this suggestion is perhaps the most charitable of all.

Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 36

Two more completely contrasting personalities cannot be imagined. Trotsky, the revolutionary per excellence, brilliant as an orator and the ablest polemical writer of his time, but deficient in constructive ability and congenitally incapable of working in harmony with others.

Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 62

One further point in Stalin's favor was the personal relations existing between Trotsky and the other leading figures. For this Trotsky had only himself to blame. Arrogant, cynical, contemptuous of mediocrity, his whole career had been dotted with violent outbursts directed against innumerable lesser personages.

Cole, David M. Josef Stalin; Man of Steel. London, New York: Rich & Cowan, 1942, p. 63

Both temperamental and political factors were involved in Trotsky's fall. Throughout his long revolutionary career, up to 1917, Trotsky was a man of such strong individuality that he could never remain long within the ranks of an organized political party or group. He had to be leader or nothing. He came into frequent and bitter clashes with Lenin, whom, as late as 1913, he called "that professional exploiter of every backwardness in the Russian labor movement," adding: "the whole edifice of Leninism at the present time is based on lies and falsifications, and contains within itself the poisonous beginning of its own disintegration."

Chamberlin, William Henry. Soviet Russia. Boston: Little, Brown, 1930, p. 94

In this process, the factor of purely individual interest plays a much less important role than we ourselves might be tempted to believe. Animosity between individuals, though it may often have resulted from Opposition, has never in any circumstances been the cause of it. And it is only in the case of Trotsky that we have to take into account a certain amount of strictly personal element, namely Trotsky's opinion of his own importance, which he possesses in a very high degree. His very self-willed nature, his intolerance of any form of criticism ("He never forgets an attack on his ambition," said Lenin) and his disappointment at not being put at the head of affairs without any associates, have a great deal to do with his hostility. Ideology is the arsenal in which this hostility naturally equips itself with a perfect armament.

Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 159



...he [Trotsky] finds the support and complicity of a motley collection of enemies of the Soviet regime, and even without referring to his present political activities, one cannot blind one's eyes to the dagger-thrusts which have been aimed by him and his followers at the USSR and at the Communist International. They really constituted an attempt to assassinate them, an effort to destroy them.

Need one repeat that the personal factor undoubtedly very largely influenced Trotsky's attitude? Even during Lenin's lifetime, his incompatibility with all the other leaders became apparent. "It is very difficult to work with this comrade," grumbled Zinoviev, who, however, was more than once to be found in his camp. Trotsky was much too much of a Trotskyist!

Up to what point was it Trotsky's despotic character, his rancor at being supplanted, at being neglected among the others instead of shining alone, his "Bonapartism," that induced him to break with the Party and to construct for himself a sort of patchwork imitation Leninism, and to start a political war with the more or less implicitly expressed object of the formation of a new Party, namely a Fourth International? It is very difficult to say. One cannot, however, avoid remarking that Trotsky led an intensive Opposition against the Party in 1921 and again in 1923 and that, in the interval, in the year 1922, in a speech before the Fourth Congress, he defended all the points of view of the majority on the thorny question of the NEP in a very concise manner. This did not prevent the Trotskyist Opposition, brandishing the theory of permanent Revolution, from endeavoring to show, on the morrow of the Congress, that the Revolution had come to a standstill and that the NEP was a capitalist degeneration, a kind of Thermidor. These contradictory attitudes which followed one another at such a short interval of time seem to show the intervention of some artificial factor of an exclusively personal nature.

Barbusse, Henri. Stalin. New York: The Macmillan company, 1935, p. 165

Nor was Trotsky's personality an asset. He was widely disliked for arrogance and lack of tact: as he himself admitted, he had a reputation for "unsociability, individualism, aristocratism. Even his admiring biographer concedes he "could rarely withstand the temptation to remind others of their errors and to insist on his superiority and insight. Scorning the collegiate style of Lenin and the other Bolshevik leaders, he demanded, as commander of the country's armed forces, unquestioned obedience to himself, giving rise to talk of "Bonapartist" ambitions. Thus in November 1920 angered by reports of insubordination among Red Army troops facing Wrangel, he issued an order that contained the following passage: "I, your Red leader, appointed by the government and invested with the confidence of the people, demand complete faith in myself." All attempts to question his orders were to be dealt with by summary execution. His high-handed administrative style attracted the attention of the Central Committee, which in July 1919 subjected him to severe criticism. His ill-considered attempt to militarize labor in 1920, not only cast doubts on his judgment, but reinforced suspicions of Bonapartism. In March 1922 he addressed a long statement to the Politburo, urging that the party withdraw from direct involvement in managing the economy. The Politburo rejected his proposals and Lenin, as was his wont with Trotsky's epistles, scribbled on it, "Into the Archive," but his opponents used it as evidence that Trotsky wanted to "liquidate the leading role of the Party."

Refusing to involve himself in the routine of day-to-day politics, frequently absent from cabinet meetings and other administrative deliberations, Trotsky assumed the post of a statesman above the fray. "For Trotsky, the main things were the slogan, the speaker's platform, the striking gesture, but not routine work. His administrative talents were, indeed, of a low order. The hoard of documents in the Trotsky archive at Harvard University, with numerous communications to Lenin, indicate a congenital incapacity for formulating succinct, practical solutions: as a rule, Lenin neither commented nor acted on them.


For all these reasons, when in 1922 Lenin made arrangements to distribute his responsibilities, he passed over Trotsky. He was much concerned that his successors govern in a collegial manner: Trotsky, never a "team player," simply did not fit. We have the testimony of Lenin's sister, Maria Ulianova who was with him during the last period of his life, that while Lenin valued Trotsky's talents and industry, and for their sake kept his feelings to himself, "he did not feel sympathy for Trotsky": Trotsky "had too many qualities that made it extraordinarily difficult to work collectively with him." Stalin suited Lenin's needs better. Hence, Lenin assigned to Stalin ever greater responsibilities, with the result that as he faded from the scene, Stalin assumed the role of his surrogate, and thus in fact, if not in name, became his heir.


[Footnote]: According to her [Lenin's sister] Trotsky, in contrast to Lenin, could not control his temper, and at one meeting of the Politburo called her brother a "hooligan." Lenin turned white as chalk but made no reply:...

Pipes, Richard. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1993, p. 459-460


"But how about Trotsky [Budu said]? He never was corrupt, was he? He always led an orderly private life with his wife, Natalie Sedov."


He [Stalin] looked me straight in the eyes and said, "With Trotsky it's different. He's not corrupt, that's true. But he carries within himself another danger that a popular revolution can't tolerate: He's an individualist to his fingertips, a hater of the masses, a revolutionary Narcissus. Read his books. He writes about us, about men, as 'those tailless, evil, cruel monkeys called men.' He hated us and he despised us because he thought himself the most intelligent and the most brilliant of us all for the sole reason that he knew how to wield his hand and his tongue cleverly. What was he doing in a revolutionary party? He represented only that dying civilization which we are charged with replacing by another, a more fruitful one."

If humanity ever reaches the stage of humanism, it will only get there through a civilization of the masses. Either that, or it will arrive nowhere! It will be destroyed en route!"

Svanidze, Budu. My Uncle, Joseph Stalin. New York: Putnam, c1953, p. 130-131

There was little of that subtlety in Trotsky, who could rarely withstand the temptation to remind others of their errors and to insist on his superiority and foresight.

His very foresight, no less real because of its ostentatiousness, was offensive.... He was the born troublemaker.

Deutscher, Isaac. The Prophet Unarmed. London, New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1959, p. 34

Trotsky was full of his own personality.... My father [Beria] found him [Trotsky] extremely arrogant. In that respect the contrast with Stalin was striking. "In Trotsky's company one felt like an insignificant worm. Stalin, on the contrary, knew how to listen to someone and make him feel he was important." That was his strength.

Beria, Sergo. Beria, My Father: Inside Stalin's Kremlin. London: Duckworth, 2001, p. 290

Yet Trotsky lacked Stalin’s day-to-day accessibility. He had the kind of hauteur which peeved dozens of potential supporters. He was also devoid of Stalin’s tactical cunning and pugnacity, and there was a suspicion among Trotsky’s followers that their idol’s illnesses at crucial junctures of factional struggle had a psychosomatic dimension.

Service, Robert. Stalin. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press, 2005, p. 227