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Quotations From LEON TROTSKY


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  • It was the supreme expression of the mediocrity of the apparatus that Stalin himself rose to his position.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. My Life, ch. 40 (1930). In his last book, Stalin (published 1947), drafted while in exile in Mexico, Trotsky wrote: "Our paths diverged so long ago and so far, and in my eyes he is so much the instrument of historical forces that are alien and hostile to me, that my feelings towards him differ little from those I have towards Hitler or the Mikado. The personal element burned out long ago." Trotsky was assassinated on Stalin's orders before the book could be finished.

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  • Our party's most outstanding mediocrity.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. Quoted in Dmitri Volkogonov, Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, foreword (1989, trans. 1991). In his last book, Stalin, Trotsky wrote: "Our paths diverged so long ago and so far, and in my eyes he is so much the instrument of historical forces that are alien and hostile to me, that my feelings towards him differ little from those I have towards Hitler or the Mikado. The personal element burned out long ago." Trotsky was assassinated on Stalin's orders before the book could be finished.
  • The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. Quoted in Antonio Gramsci: an Introduction to his Thought, preface, Alberto Pozzolini (1970).
  • Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain—at least in a poor country like Russia—and his vanity begins to swell out like his tyres. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. The History of the Russian Revolution, vol. 2, ch. 7 (1933).

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  • Where force is necessary, there it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a manoeuver, a blow with an agreement.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. What Next? Ch. 14 (1932).
  • Life is not an easy matter.... You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. Diary in Exile, entry for April 5, 1935 (1959).

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  • Technique is noticed most markedly in the case of those who have not mastered it.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. Literature and Revolution, ch. 6 (1924). Referring to the "breathless literary schools that followed the revolution."
  • The depth and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of the customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. Diary in Exile, diary entry for April 5, 1935 (1959).

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  • It was the supreme expression of the mediocrity of the apparatus that Stalin himself rose to his position.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. My Life, ch. 40 (1930).

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  • From being a patriotic myth, the Russian people have become an awful reality.
    Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. The History of the Russian Revolution, vol. 3, ch. 7 (1933). On the chaotic aftermath of the October Revolution, 1917.

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