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Leon Trotsky

Parted red curtains; in the center, in a trench, a German soldier, eyes closed, hands in overcoat pockets, leans against one side of a trench, smoking a pipe, his rifle resting on the other side of the trench. To the right, a Red soldier, red from red fur hat to red boots, holds two rifles. To the left, a Russian soldier casts away his his hat, backpack, and rifle. Across the bottom of the stage it reads, 1918. Operett: "Trockij", Operetta Trotsky. A watercolor postcard by Schima Martos.

Parted red curtains; in the center, in a trench, a German soldier, eyes closed, hands in overcoat pockets, leans against one side of a trench, smoking a pipe, his rifle resting on the other side of the trench. To the right, a Red soldier, red from red fur hat to red boots, holds two rifles. To the left, a Russian soldier casts away his his hat, backpack, and rifle. Across the bottom of the stage it reads, 1918. Operett: "Trockij", Operetta Trotsky. A watercolor postcard by Schima Martos.

Image text

1918. Operett: "Trockij", Operetta Trotsky

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A leader of the Soviet strike in St. Petersburg (later Petrograd) during the 1905 Revolution, Leon Trotsky was an actor in New York when the February Revolution deposed Tsar Nicholas II, and established the Provisional government. He arrived in Petrograd in May after the return of Vladimir Lenin. The revolutionary programs of the two were closely aligned, and Trotsky became Lenin's closest aide.

In July 1917, in the turmoil after the Kerensky Offensive and the failed coup attempt by the conservative General Kornilov, the provisional government first imprisoned leaders opposing the war, then freed and armed them to defend against Kornilov's coup.

Kerensky's failure increased the calls for an immediate end to the war. Lenin returned from Finland to Petrograd on October 23, and began organizing an armed revolt with Trotsky. The Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution. Lenin was named chairman of a Bolshevik executive created by the soviets.

As the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Trotsky headed the Brest-Litovsk peace negotiations with the Central Powers. Anticipating a workers' revolution in Germany, Trotsky drew out the negotiations until abandoning them with a position that there would be no peace and no war. Germany responded by occupying vast swaths of Russia, threatening Petrograd, shelling Helsinki, and occupying the Crimean Peninsula.

Focused on internal affairs, Lenin had opposed Trotsky's policy. Its failure convinced Trotsky to finally sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Trotsky organized the Red Army that defeated the White Army in the Russian Civil War.

Trotsky was murdered by a Soviet agent in Mexico City in 1940.

Russia

Roles held by Leon Trotsky

Role Start Date End Date
Political Activist
Minister of War

Books by or about Leon Trotsky (2)