Personality Study Trotsky
Trotsky, being the Commissar Minister for War and the second most powerful man in Russia during the reign of Lenin, was sent to exile, and assassinated by an ice pick.
His life was filled with honor, pride and most importantly, confidence. His gifted talent of public speak had an overwhelming effect on the people. He believed his theory of “Permanent Revolution” was the perfect structure of revolution suitable for Russia, it was suppose to bring hope and power to the Soviet Union, the communism will spread across the World and finally union the World under the control of Communism.
However, this was never achieved, the Permanent Revolution was nothing but a dream of his, Trotsky was a naive idealist but not a practical revolutionary. During the peace talk with Germans, Trotsky was assigned the main negotiator; it was clear to Trotsky that the Great War was undesirable and should be abandoned as soon as possible. In addition, on an ideological level, the war was one of capitalist where the only victims were the proletariat classes and the only winners were the capitalists.
However on a practical level, the Russian Army was totally exhausted; the extent of the army’s capacity and morale had reached its limit. Nevertheless, Trotsky’s view was in hoping a wave of Communism would flow through other European countries and would overrun Germans’ government, making the treaty irrelevant. However, the Germans were locked in for supporting the Soviet new government, a minimum of 3 million gold mark per month from the mid 1918 and it was contributed to the civil war effort. This idea of receiving benefits from other country by surrendering land itself is capitalist.
And therefore this treaty itself was capitalist just like the Great War, however Trotsky disregarded this fact and signed the treaty due to his naive belief in the “Permanent Revolution”.
This Treaty event was ironic to the new government of they were using capitalism as an excuse to abandon the Great War effort. Nonetheless, Trotsky agreed on this treaty, in fact, he was the one who held the slogan “No peace, no war”, his support for this treaty was clear. His goal of hoping the Communism ideas could overrun the western European Government was lso clear, but these were nothing but ideas, his IDEA was HOPING the “permanent revolution” could take place soon, but the truth was it never happened. Despite the Treaty, Trotsky was sometimes practical, During the Civil War Trotsky had a positive approach towards the War and showed great leadership through the entire war process. Trotsky built the Red army into a fighting force of five million men, and strict discipline was brought out, appeals to the idealistic goals of revolution was also an important feature to Trotsky’s tactics.
His aim was to counter the attacks from other European and capitalist countries, Trotsky believed through this process, the “Permanent Revolution” could be somehow spread across other countries. Trotsky’s determination of wiping away the concepts and ideas of capitalistic enemies was greatly effective, this event demonstrated his other side of contributing a practical approach to the “permanent Revolution” which is by creating stability and positions of the Communists within the country first Trotsky once again showed a practical approach to the “Permanent Revolution”.
On March 1921, an opposition arose, which was the sailors at the naval base of Kronstadt, they produced a list of grievances and complaints regarding the Communists, Trotsky was immediately alerted by this situation and led the army to destroy this “opposition”, on a practical level, these sailors were nothing but citizens making complains and hoping for a modification of a better government system could be brought out, however, on the ideology level, these sailors posed a serious threat to the revolution, their action was a capitalist one, and must be dealt seriously, any form of political opposition must be destroyed to maintain the concepts of Communism. This action was significant, as Trotsky successfully destroyed the ideas, which may affect the “Permanent Revolution” within the country itself. A communist state must be maintained first for the idea of “World Revolution” to take place.
NEP (New Economic Policy) was introduced after the event happened in Kronstadt; it was introduced to rebuild Russia’s devastated economy. Furthermore, the NEP was an economy which socialism and capitalism co-existed.
In 1923 Trotsky was asked to join the “Scissors Committee” he refused, and instead he lead a group of Party members (46 in total) to publish an letter to criticize the NEP, the letter blames the government abandoned socialism and introduced a concept of capitalism. Trotsky’s action had a devastating effect on the government. He pointed out how the Bolsheviks tried year after years to introduce Communism to Russia and abolish capitalism. Finally when they achieved this, a system was introduced to bring Russia back onto the track of capitalism, just as one historian describes “NEP signified in essence .
. . a partial surrender to the peasant majority. ” L. Kochan.
Trotsky was naive, he didn’t realize what kind of state Russia was in, catastrophic famine, death, and fear were commonplace for the peasants.
The NEP however could greatly benefit the economy, but Trotsky didn’t realize the peasant were devastated and upset for the fact the Party did not fulfill their promises of “Land, Peace, Bread”, and these peasants were on the edge of throwing another revolution back at the Bolsheviks for a better living and working condition. Trotsky however, never backed down on his ideas of Communism, his ideas were correct, however, it did not suit Russia during 1923, a consideration for the people was necessary, Trotsky didn’t have that, his actions were not practical, his ideas couldn’t satisfy the needs of the people, and therefore, it did no contribution to the situation at all. Finally, Trotsky’s naive personality is highlighted during the debate about modernization between Stalin and Trotsky, which then became a power struggle between the two over who should succeed Lenin.
Trotsky believed the Communism revolution could only be complete by a world revolution, which is referred as “Permanent Revolution”. On the other hand, Stalin offered the idea of “Socialism in one country”, which meant the strengthening of the country through industrialization, is more important.
Trotsky did not believe a successful revolution in Russia is enough to satisfy the entire theory of “Permanent Revolution” and his idea was clarified as his belief was that the revolution may never be in completion until the world is under the affect of Communism, nevertheless, once again, Trotsky failed to realize this concept that it did not suit the time for Russia and Russian people.
While Stalin’s approach is more powerful to the mass as it emphasis on the development of Russia, and this idea of providing better living condition and having a better life was greatly welcomed by the peasants. During the entire Power struggle between Trotsky and Stalin, Trotsky never backed down on his idea of Permanent Revolution; he saw the demands required by the peasants as pointless complains, he wanted to maintain his idea, while Stalin was able to use this idea to attack Trotsky. Even when he’s in exile, Trotsky continued to criticize Stalin, and finally assassinated by an ice pick. Trotsky never actually back down on his theory of “permanent Revolution” which highlighted the fact, he was not practical and naive to his theory.
Most importantly, Trotsky didn’t realize the importance of being a leader is to firstly satisfy the needs of the people, and obtaining power over the mass. Because of his intellectual qualities, a number of Bolshevik party members see him as an arrogant character and hence he was unable to convince people to side with him. While on the other side, Stalin could do what Trotsky couldn’t. Trotsky’s naive personality allowed him to adapt the concept of “Permanent Revolution” to be his backbone for his argument against Stalin, despite the people were already tired of the fighting and revolution, the pressure upon the peasantry is simply too great, this again allow Stalin to make a direct attack on Trotsky.
Trotsky was a great leader, and a talented speaker, but he couldn’t derive the real important requests as time pass, he couldn’t adapt himself to suit the surrounding situations, his naive and arrogant personality made him believe the “Permanent Revolution” was the only solution for Russia’s future. Yes, he was a great organizer, a great revolutionary, but he wasn’t practical.
As Anatoly Lunacharsky stated:” Whenever a truly great revolution occurs, the great people will always find the right actor to play every part………. outstanding personality who were suited as no others to fulfill whatever political function was called for. ” Lenin was a able to manipulate the situation and make decisions according to the surrounding environment,