“We Brand Stalin as the murderer of Trotsky”
August 21, 2012 4 Comments
On the 72nd anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky, we are republishing this article which had originally come out in “the militant” which was the newspaper of the US section of the fourth international in 1940. The article can also be seen in the website of our international http://www.litci.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2128:we-brand-stalin-as-the-murderer-of-trotsky&catid=41:world .
[This article was originally published on August 24, 1940 in The Militant, Official Weekly Newspaper of the former U.S. Socialist Workers Party, Section of the Fourth International.]
Trotsky’s Fight Goes On Under the Banner of The Forth International.
Death follows brutal attack.
Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the Russian Revolution, died in Mexico City on August 21 at 7:30 P.M., victim of a brutal assault by GPU assasin. He fought for life for 26 hours after Stalin’s hired murderer had driven a pickaxe into his brain. It was his last battle.
But he did not surrender until he had indicted the monster in the Kremlin as the organizer of his murder. He did not surrender until, in his very last words which he insisted upon dictating before he lost consciousness, he had handed on the banner of the Fourth International to the men and women throughout the world whom he had gathered together in the World Party of Socilaist Revolution. “Please say to our friends,” he concluded, “ that I am sure of the victory of the Fourth International. Go forward!”.
It was characteristic of his great genious that, certain he was dying – immediately after the attack he told Joseph Hansen that “I will not survive this attack” – he devoted his last moments of conciousness to urging forward the activities of the Fourth International.
Equally characteristic was his conduct as he tell under the mortal blows of the GPU assassin and Trotsky’s secretary-guards rushed in, arms in hand, and flung themselves upon the assasin. “Let him live!” cried Trotsky repeatedly. Not out of kindness! But to assure the possibility that from the assasin might be wrested additional confirmation which would help to damn the Kremlin Cain in the eyes of the working class of the world.
The Hand of the GPU
Thanks to Trotsky’s dissection of every available bit of evidence, key participants in the May 24 attempt to murder him are now in prison formally charged with that crime, a number of them having confessed their complicity. Having learned from the unfolding of that crime how Stalin’s GPU works, the federal police authorities were quick to recognize its trademark in the succesful follow-up to the May 24 attempt.
Col. Leandro Sanchez Salazar, chief of the detective bureau, told reporters yesterday that he is convinced the assasin’s real name is Monrod, that he is a Belgian, and that he came to this continent as an agent of the GPU, the Stalinist secret police.
General Jose Nunez, Mexico’s chief of police, also said yesterday:
“We are working on the theory that Monrod had accomplices and we are making a munute investigation”. The assassin says “They” had threatened to kill his mother if he failed.
After reporting Monrod’s alibi, that the attack came in the midst of a political quarrel, Nunes dismissed it by saying: “He premetitated the attack on Trotsky, for he went to Trotsky’s home with the pick concelaled under his raincoat and also carrying a revolver and a poniard (dagger)”.
Other methods failed
Stalin’s GPU undoubtedly resorted to the desperate device of compelling one of its creatures to kill Trotsky without much chance of the assailant escaping, when it became clear that a repetition of the May 24 attempt could not succeed. All weak chinks in the fortifications of the house had been taken care of since May 24. Even an army could succeed only by laying long siege. Hence the method used by Monrod.
The limitless power of the GPU over its creatures was indicated when the assasin cried out, as the guards seized him after the attack:
“They made me do it. Otherwise they would have killed my mother”.
No amount of questioning afterward would get him to reveal the whereabouts of his mother. He had recovered his poise and proceeded to act out the part assigned him by the GPU.
To justify Stalin’s crime, he had been instructed to say that he “broke with Trotsky” when the latter asked him to go to Russia to commit “acts of sabotage.” A thoroughly preposterous alibi, for every person with the slightest understanding of Marxist politics knows that such methods are alien to Trotsky and the Fourth International. But Stalin’s arsenal is reduced to such flimsy arguments–and to the assasin’s weapon.
Was long prepared
Undoubtedly, but one of many plots simultaneously being carried forward by the GPU against Trotsky’s life, this one had been even longer in preparation than the May 24 attempt. In the latter, participants confessed, direct preparations began some five months before the attempt. In the final attempt, preparations began as long as two years ago.
It was then that Jacques Monrod managed an introduction in Paris to some Americans visiting there who had connections with the Trotskyst movement. He played the oldest game of all: pretended attachment to a girl. He followed her to the United States, arriving here shortly after the outbreak of the war. He himself was careful not to come in direct contact in the United States with the organized Trorskyst movement. He reserved all his chances of escaping detection for one try in Mexico.
There, through his American wife, he secured the opportunity to become acquainted with the Trotsky household by occasional visits. Undoubtedly the information he gathered made easier the work of the assasins’ band of May 24. When that failed Monrod was compelled by his superiors in the GPU to do the job himself.
Came with weapons
With his weapons concealed under his clothes, he went to the house Tuesday at about 5:30 p.m. He met Trotsky in the patio near the chicken yard, where he told Trotsky he had written an article on which he wished advice.
Trotsky then invited Jackson into his study but without previously notifying his secretaries. The first indication of something wrong was the sound of terrible cries and a violent struggle in Trotsky’s study. The two secretary-guards who were closest immediately left their post and rushed to the dining room next to Trotsky’s study.
Here they met Trotsky coming from his study with blood streaming from his face. One of the guards – Joe Hansen – immediately overpowered the assasin, felling him with a blow. The other, Harold Robbins, helped Trotsky to recline on the floor of the dining room.
Apparently the assassin had hoped that Trotsky would drop unconscious under the first blow from behind with the pick-axe. Instead Trotsky had struggled as he received repeated blows on his head and throat.
Trotsky thought that first blow had been a bullet. As he lay on the floor he told Joe Hansen: “Jackson shot me with a revolver. I am seriously wounded. I feel that this time it is the end.”
Joe Hansen tried to convince him that it was only a surface wound and that it could not have been a revolver. Trotsky would not be convinced. “No, he told Joe, “I feel here (pointing to his heart) that this time they succeeded.”
His final concern
But not on that fact did Trotsky dwell in those last minutes of consciousness left to him. Not on Stalin’s success in murdering him, but on what must now be done by those whom he called upon to carry on the banner of the Fourth International.
At the hospital he asked Joe Hansen if he had a notebook so that he could jot down precisely a declaration. Two things were in it. The indictment: “I am close to death from the blow of a political assasin.” And the conclusion: “Please say to our friends – I am sure of the victory of the Fourth International. Go Forward!”
That was just before he lost consciousness. When he did, he never regained it. Thereby his declaration became his last words.
We can be sure that he would have wished it that way. If there were to be no more words, then let the last ones be the words of a fighter exhorting those who come after to continue the fight. For that was Leon Trotsky.