"I have read a good deal of Trotsky's book Life of Stalin....
As for the suggestion that Stalin was responsible for Lenin's death,
Trotsky does not claim to be able to prove it
but merely puts it forward as something inherently probable
and presents a certain amount of supporting evidence."
ORWELL ON TROTSKY ON STALIN
"It was unfinished when he was murdered and was completed by the translator....
The circumstances of Trotsky's assassination
may have been partly decided on because of the knowledge that
he was writing this very book."
~ George Orwell, May 1946
To Orwell Today,
Hi. I have a question.
How does the inclusion of Goldstein's Book in 1984 reflect George Orwell's views on Trotsky and Communism? If you could get back to me, it would be greatly appreciated.
Emmanuel Goldstein's book, THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM, isn't at all about Trotsky who was merely a character in the Communist Revolution in Russia which itself was just a practice run for what Goldstein's oligarchical collectivists (corporate communists) plan to do everywhere in the world. See GOLDSTEIN'S PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION.
If you want Orwell's views on Trotsky you should read "Animal Farm" which is a parallel of the Bolshevik (Communist) Revolution that took over Russia in 1917, and it features the pigs "Snowball" as Trotsky and "Napoleon" as Stalin. In real life Orwell hated pigs and that is probably the main reason he chose pigs to portray the Communists.
After the Communists came to power in Russia there were fightings amongst themselves as to who would replace Lenin as leader of the Party when he died. Stalin (real name Dzhugashvili) and Trotsky (real name Bronstein) were competitors.
Trotsky had been living in New York during the years leading up to the Communist Revolution. His job had been to collect money from Communists in America and deliver it to the Communists in Russia to pay for the overthrow of the Czarist government. This he did, and afterwards he wanted to aggressively spread the Communist Revolution to every nation (the Comintern*). But Stalin and others (after Lenin's death) wanted to concentrate on destroying Russia first and keeping their plans for conqueuring the rest of the world "secret" from the other nations.
Stalin - a thug for Lenin prior to the revolution - won out over Trotsky who, on fear of death, left Russia and went to live in exile in Mexico. There he wrote a book entitled LIFE OF STALIN which included the allegation that Stalin had murdered Lenin. Stalin tried to stop Trotsky from writing the book and managed finally to infiltrate Trotsky's household and have him murdered by a supposed servant.
Orwell himself was worried about being on Stalin's hit-list ever since escaping his death squads in Spain after which he wrote HOMAGE TO CATALONIA exposing how the Communists helped Franco destroy the Spanish working-man's Revolution.
In the spring of 1946 someone sent Orwell a copy of Trotsky's book, LIFE OF STALIN, which was being suppressed, and Orwell tried to get his publisher, Fred Warburg, to publish it.
Here's the letter Orwell wrote to his publisher: (The time period is post-war London just before Orwell moves to the island of Jura for the purpose of writing "1984".)
27B Canonbury Square
4 May 1946
I am sending under separate cover on Monday Trotsky's Life of Stalin and Victor Serge's memoirs, which I received yesterday. I have only looked at the latter to the extent of seeing that it is an untidy manuscript, but if it is up to the extracts which were printed in Politics it should be a worth-while book. I thought it better to send it straight on because I might not get time to read it. I have been called out of London at rather short notice. I am sorry to say one of my sisters has died unexpectedly, and I have to go up to Nottingham on Monday. However, I'll be back in London before finally leaving about next Friday, and I hope to see you and Roger then.
As to the Trotsky book. I haven't read all of it, but I have read a good deal of it, mostly the bits dealing with Stalin's childhood, with the civil war and with the alleged murder of Lenin. With regard to the reason for its previous withdrawal by Harper's, an editorial note in the Partison Review for March-April 1942 states:
Three books, either critical or definitely hostile to the present
regime in Russia, have been withdrawn from publication after
having been publicly announced . . . also Trotsky's Life of Stalin.
The latter book was actually sent out for review, only to be
recalled a few days later (on December 12) by a note signed by
President Cass Canfield which concludes, 'We hope you will
co-operate with us in the matter of avoiding any comment
whatever regarding the biography and its postponement.'
I think it is clear, especially having regard to the date (a week after the USA entered the war) that the reason for withdrawal must have been to avoid offending Russian sentiment and not, as subsequently alleged, because of objections raised by the Trotskyists. If there had been any of the latter I should have heard of them, especially as I have once or twice referred in print to the existence of this suppressed book. And in any case, if Harper's previously withdrew the book because the Trotskyists objected, why are they reissuing it now?
As to the book's intrinsic value. I should think it would be well worth publishing if you could buy sheets for say 1,000 copies and bind them up. To produce it anew would, I suppose, be very expensive and would use up a lot of paper for a rather specialised book. It seems to me that it is quite a bona fide book in the sense of being either Trotsky's own work or, in the uncompleted pasages, the kind of thing that he would have said. It was unfinished when he was murdered and was completed by the translator. Wherever it is not Trotsky this is indicated by square brackets, and one could presumably verify from Trotsky's widow and others near to him that the emendation has been done honestly. I found the earlier parts, referring to Stalin's childhood and early history as a revolutinary particularly interesting because they demonstrate the difficulty of establishing any fact about a public figure who has become a subject for propaganda. I think all this part, and that referring to the civil war, successfully brings out, what can hardly be said too often, that Stalin was a secondary figure until about 1925 and the picture now presented him as Lenin's right-hand man etc is a fabrication. The passages referring to the inner politics of the party are to me somewhat tedious, but I suppose they can have an interest for specialists. By and large I should say that the book has historical value and, though of course it is not unprejudiced, is grown-up compared with what is written about similar subjects on the other side. The whole history of the Russian revolution has to be pieced together from fragments lying here and there among huge mounds of lies and the more unofficial first-hand documents that get into print, the better. As for the suggestion that Stalin was responsible for Lenin's death, Trotsky does not claim to be able to prove it but merely puts it forward as something inherently probable and presents a certain amount of supporting evidence. It seems to me the sort of inference that a historian ought to be allowed to draw, even if one does not agree with it. Stalin, after all, did have Trotsky assassinated.
This is not the sort of book that I myself would want to read in toto for its own sake, but I think it is the sort of book that ought to be in print. If one were adding an introduction for the English edition, it might be worth trying to get a little more information about the circumstances of Trotsky's assassination, which may have been partly decided on because of the knowledge that he was writing this very book. There had been an earlier attempt on his life, and one might be able to infer something from knowing the date of this. . . .
[taken from pages 194-196, Volume IV, In Front of Your Nose, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell]
I hope that answers your question about Orwell's views on Trotsky, ie that he was an insider who had revelations about Communism and Stalin that would be valuable for the Western World to read. Trotsky, like other Communist Capitalists, was a follower of Goldstein's theories and practices which are interwoven into Orwell's nightmare world of "1984".
All the best,
PS - I don't think Warburg or anyone else ever did publish Life of Stalin by Trotsky.
UK Prime Minister reveals an unexpected influence: Trotsky. Independent, Mar 3, 2009 (...PM Tony Blair revealed his favourite reading matter at a World Book Day event in London yesterday. Blair said: "There were people who got me very involved in politics. But then there was also a book. It was a trilogy, a biography of Trotsky by Isaac Deutscher, which made a very deep impression on me and gave me a love of political biography for the rest of my life."...)
How Western capitalists funded Lenin, the Bolsheviks, and the Soviet Union
Trotsky traveled from New York to Petrograd on a passport supplied by the intervention of Woodrow Wilson, and with the declared intention to "carry forward" the revolution. The British government was the immediate source of Trotsky's release from Canadian custody in April 1917...
JOSEPH STALIN (Stalin became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1922 and following the death of Vladimir Lenin, he prevailed over Leon Trotsky in a power struggle during the 1920s. In the 1930s Stalin eliminated effective political opposition both within the Party and among the population (see Gulag) and consolidated his authority with the Great Purge, a period of widespread arrests and executions which reached its peak in 1937, remaining in power through World War II and until his death...Trotsky's August 1940 assassination in Mexico, where he had lived in exile since 1936, eliminated the last of Stalin's opponents among the former Party leadership. Only three members of the "Old Bolsheviks" (Lenin's Politburo) now remained in Politburo — Stalin himself, "the all-Union Chieftain" Mikhail Kalinin, and Chairman of Sovnarkom Vyacheslav Molotov. The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a "river of blood" separated Stalin's regime from that of Lenin. However, it has been argued that Stalin only continued the political repressions that had started under Lenin's regime, such as labor camps and express executions of political opponents.)
...Even in the early decades of the twentieth century, telescoped words and phrases had been one of the characteristic features of political language; and it had been noticed that the tendency to use abbreviations of this kind was most marked in totalitarian countries and totalitarian organizations. Examples were such words as Nazi, Gestapo, Comintern, Inprecorr, Agitprop. In the beginning the practice had been adopted as it were instinctively, but in Newspeak it was used with a conscious purpose. It was perceived that in thus abbreviating a name one narrowed and subtly altered its meaning, by cutting out most of the associations that would otherwise cling to it. The words Communist International, for instance, call up a composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags, barricades, Karl Marx, and the Paris Commune. The word Comintern, on the other hand, suggests merely a tightly-knit organization and a well-defined body of doctrine. It refers to something almost as easily recognized, and as limited in purpose, as a chair or a table. Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily...
ANIMAL FARM PIGS & DOGS and HOMAGE TO CATALONIA and ORWELL'S PUBLISHING PROBLEMS
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