If you know anything about the history of communism and the Russian Revolution, then you’ve probably heard of Leon Trotsky. Best known for being Vladimir Lenin’s right-hand man during the rise of the Bolsheviks and the overthrow of Tsarism in Russia, Trotsky would eventually come up against the might of Josef Stalin – but there’s lots more to learn in between. Here are some interesting facts about Leon Trotsky to keep in mind for the next pub quiz.
1. Trotsky was one of the most important communist revolutionaries.
Born in 1879, Leon Trotsky was a Marxist theorist and military planner extraordinaire, proving highly supportive to Vladimir Lenin in the setting up of the Soviet Union. For all he was a brilliant man, he was behind a brutal regime – and eventually met a brutal death of his own.
2. He was a prolific speaker.
Trotsky was well-known among the Bolsheviks for his mastery of public speaking. In fact, he was also a celebrated writer and is believed to have been one of the driving forces behind spurring revolution in the first place.
3. He was exiled many, many times.
If there was one thing Trotsky became known for beyond the revolution, it was his tendency to hop from country to country while in exile. Josef Stalin, who beat Trotsky to the leadership of the USSR after Lenin’s death, had him cast out of Russia, forcing him to live as far afield as France at one point.
4. Trotsky predicted Hitler’s rise to infamy.
Leon Trotsky was regarded as something of a Nostradamus when it came to political theory. He reportedly advised American media in 1939 that he assumed Adolf Hitler would abandon plans to conquer France and the United Kingdom, and instead attempt to take on Russia. He was correct.
5. Trotsky believed Stalin killed Lenin.
It’s safe to say that Stalin and Trotsky didn’t exactly see eye to eye. In fact, Trotsky believed that Stalin was responsible for Lenin’s death, alleging that the former poisoned the latter and swooped in to seize power. He based this on the fact that Lenin had asked Stalin to procure cyanide for him in case his illness worsened.
6. He started a ranch in Mexico.
Trotsky seemed to be something of an animal lover. During one of his many exiles, he raised rabbits and chickens on a farm in Mexico, though he continued to fight for communism while doing so.
7. Trotsky had an affair with Frida Kahlo.
Frida Kahlo, the celebrated Mexican artist, is said to have been very close to Leon Trotsky – to the extent that the pair had an illicit relationship while both were married to other people. Trotsky himself, in fact, was married twice.
8. Trotsky was eventually assassinated.
While Leon Trotsky had fled to Mexico amid exile from Russia, it unfortunately didn’t stop communist assassins trying to take his life. He’d survived a machine gun attack on his home in the May of 1940, but was eventually killed – extremely painfully – with an ice pick to the head the following August.
9. Stalin is believed to have ordered Trotsky’s death.
While Stalin exiled Trotsky to keep him out of sight and out of mind, that didn’t stop Lenin’s confidante from continuing revolutionary activities from abroad. Trotsky was assassinated by Ramón Mercader, a Spanish national and communist. However, historians believe that Stalin ordered the hit on Trotsky – and in all honesty, it’s a believable theory.
FAQs about Leon Trotsky
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