Trotsky and the Bolsheviks 1917-1924 pt1 | The History Faculty

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Podcast on Trotsky and the Bolsheviks. Leon Trotsky joined the Bolsheviks in August 1917 after many years of separation. He was nevertheless a key figure in the establishment and maintenance of Soviet power. It was Trotsky’s strategy by which the Bolsheviks came to power. As Commissar for Foreign Affairs, it was Trotsky’s ‘no peace, no war’ policy that in the debates about whether to sign a separate peace with Germany saved the Bolsheviks from splitting down the middle. In his next post, Commissar for War, there has been no historical agreement about the impact of Trotsky’ military strategy, but the Red Army was formed on Trotsky’s principles and it was Trotsky who protected the specialists that led the Red Army to victory. Trotsky was undoubtedly a major propagandist for the Bolsheviks; his civil war train was a legend in its own time. Trotsky did not, however, establish a firm support base at the peak of the Bolshevik elite. Many leading Bolsheviks, especially Stalin, resented Trotsky as an anti-party figure. Trotsky’s economic policies and prognoses found little support. Devoid of Lenin’s backing nothing was more certain than Trotsky’s defeat in the power struggle to be the next leader of the Soviet state. There is no better illustration of Trotsky’s isolation than his decision not to return to Moscow for Lenin’s funeral.

Suitable for A-Level

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About Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
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