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To What Extent Does History Present Us With A Balanced Interpretation Of Leon Trotsky?

727 words - 3 pages

Trotsky, one of the prominent figures in early Soviet Union history has continually been assessed by many historians. Many historians such as Aronson, Lynch, Lunacharsky, Thatcher, other Bolshevik members and Trotsky himself have documented the life of this prominent personality. However, to what extent does the information provided about Trotsky truly reflect his life?Trotsky's life in his younger years were not documented, however historians rely on his account of his childhood. Lev Davidovich Bronstein or Trotsky as he was later known, was born on the 7th of November 1879. In Trotsky's autobiography 'My Life' it is stated that he had a close sympathy to the peasants who worked his father's farm, as Trotsky writes they seemed forever "oppressed, downtrodden and miserable through no fault of their own." Trotsky's narration of his childhood and earlier life is questionable as it was written to protect his credibility after being ousted from the Communist Party in 1927. In London in1902, Woods tells us that Trotsky 'turned up on Lenin's doorstep' and it was from this point that Trotsky began to become actively involved with the push towards Russian Revolution, with his membership of the RSDLP. He joined Lenin's Iskra newspaper and became one of its most prominent contributors, earning himself the nickname 'Pero' or 'Pen' as a result. Trotsky's potential was realised, with Lenin remarking that 'he will not only be useful, but quite indispensable.' However, it was only in 1905 that Trotsky was thrusted into the public arena. Here, says Thatcher, Trotsky gained 'practical revolutionary experience' that would serve as a 'dress rehearsal' for 1917. Trotsky was a notable figure amongst socialist circles during the 1905 revolution, both as a propagandist, which Thatcher believes was his chief contribution and also in the St Petersburg Soviet. However, the significance of his role during 1905 is debateable as Trotsky claims that he was the chief and most influential figure in 1905, Thatcher begs to differ. In My Life, Trotsky wrote 'there was no one whom I could turn to for advice; on the contrary I had to assume the role of teacher myself…' Certainly, Lunacharsky (the Bolshevik biographer) agrees that Trotsky was influential in 1905, saying that Trotsky pushed himself to the "forefront of the revolution and gained credibility." Ian Thatcher, however,...

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