The Assassination Of Leon Trotsky

For a time in the 1920s Leon Trotsky was second in importance in Soviet Russia only to Lenin himself.  Many believed him to be the natural choice to succeed Lenin.  But it was not to be; in the Byzantine power struggles that characterized Soviet politics, Trotsky would prove to be an amateur.  His personality—arrogant, dismissive, and lacking in tact and forbearance—would ensure that few voices were raised in his defense as Stalin slowly put him in a vice.  Trotsky was eventually stripped of his posts and forced into internal exile; he would eventually have to flee the country.

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Rolling The “Iron Dice”: Outbreak Of The First World War (Podcast)

Bismark had an expression for taking great and fateful decisions:  he called such actions “rolling the iron dice.”  Stephen Kotkin’s masterful biography of Joseph Stalin (click on the image above) contains a keen discussion on the outbreak of the First World War.  I discuss some of the relevant points made; from there we draw general conclusions that apply to contemporary events.

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