Without monarchies or standing armies

Jack Conrad explores Leon Trotsky’s strategic thinking

Leon Trotsky: consistently defended the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan

Comintern’s draft programme - published in May 1928 under the signatures of Nikolai Bukharin and Joseph Stalin - excluded all mention of the United States of Europe. This was no oversight, but a consequence of the headlong retreat away from the goal of world revolution. Not surprisingly, given the effective closure put on genuine debate, the draft was agreed without any substantial alterations at the 6th Congress, meeting over July-September 1928. From now onwards official hopes rested on the Soviet Union catching up and overtaking the advanced capitalist countries and the dead-end theory of socialism in one country.

Leon Trotsky - architect of the Red Army’s victory in the civil war - subjected the whole draft to a detailed and devastating analysis (punishment soon followed - internal exile became exile abroad). The ‘United States of Europe’ slogan featured prominently: “There is no justifying the omission,” protested Trotsky.1

His trenchant defence of the slogan - not only in 1928, but as far back as 1914 - deserves serious study. Apart from the lunatic fringe, Trotsky nowadays has a secure reputation as one of the 20th century’s foremost Marxist thinkers.2 Any socialist who fails to engage with the highest achievements of Marxist theory - not least Trotsky’s programmatic and strategic ideas, including, of course, the United States of Europe slogan - disarms themselves. Certainly, when it comes to the forthcoming referendum, such socialists will achieve nothing more than constituting themselves as a trivial leftwing rump. Eg, on the ‘remain’ side, ‘Another Europe is possible’, backed by Left Unity, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty and the Green Party; on the ‘leave’ side, ‘Lexit’, promoted by the Morning Star’s Communist Party of Britain, Socialist Workers Party and Counterfire.

Equally worthless, when it comes to the class struggle, are those wedded to the parrot-like repetition of various formulations plucked from Trotsky. Yet truth that is frozen perishes. The results owe everything to theology, nothing to science (ie, rational debate and testable investigation). Once upon a time such an approach might have had certain justification - guarding the flame of Trotsky’s Marxism against the calumnies and quackery of the Stalinites. But if we are to avoid the trap they have unintentionally fallen into of turning Trotsky’s Marxism into its opposite - fought over by warring sects using calumnies and quackery - there must be critical engagement.


Trotsky responded to the outbreak of World War I in a broadly similar fashion to the Bolsheviks. Having escaped from Vienna in August 1914, he found safety in Zurich and immediately took to writing his pamphlet War and the international - first published in serial form by Golos (The Voice), the Paris-based daily paper of Jules Martov’s Menshevik Internationalist faction. Incidentally, Trotsky went on to collaborate with Martov in Paris … that despite Martov’s wobbling, sliding and backtracking over decisively and irrevocably splitting with the Menshevik social chauvinists.

Basically Trotsky argued that capitalism, having economically outgrown national borders, had inevitably triggered a horrific struggle between nations. Under these circumstances,

the working class, the proletariat, can have no interest in defending the outlived and antiquated national ‘fatherland’, which has become the main obstacle to economic development. The task of the proletariat is to create a far more powerful fatherland, with far greater power of resistance - the republican United States of Europe as the foundation of the United States of the World.


Trotsky concluded that “peace should be concluded - the peace of the people themselves, and not the reconciliation of the diplomats” - on the basis of three key demands. Firstly, “no reparations”, secondly, “the right of every nation to self-determination”, thirdly, “the United States of Europe - without monarchies, without standing armies, without ruling feudal castes, without secret diplomacy”.

These three demands were highlighted in the Zimmerwald manifesto of September 1915 (drafted by Trotsky). Significantly, there was a Zimmerwald left, which constituted, in effect, the precursor of the Third International. “N Lenin, G Zinoviev, Radek, Nerman, Hoglund, Winter” voted for the stirring, but rather vague manifesto. However, in an agreed addendum, they put on record their two main objections. No condemnation of “opportunism”, barefaced or shamefaced, no willingness to spell out the necessity of using revolutionary “methods” in “fighting against the war”.3 In short, the Bolsheviks and their Zimmerwald left allies advocated revolutionary defeatism and a new International purged of all opportunism.

Of course, in August 1915, Lenin published his article, ‘On the slogan for a United States of Europe’ - and in 1928 Stalin and Bukharin were using this text to attack Trotsky. I discussed this in my last article and came to the conclusion that Lenin wrongly “gave away” the slogan because of its close association with Karl Kautsky.4

Suffice to say though, Kautsky was not Lenin’s sole target. While he did not say it openly, Lenin also had his sights on Trotsky - who during this period can best be described as a left centrist. Lenin attacked the unnamed Trotsky with cutting remarks about the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan being employed as a cover to excuse revolutionary inaction.

Trotsky, as readers of the Bolshevik press knew, had appeared to suggest that there must be a simultaneous revolution across the whole European continent. That or nothing. How did Trotsky respond?

In his ‘The programme of peace’ (written as a series of articles over 1915-16, but republished, in revised form, in June 1917 by the Bolshevik press) Trotsky shows that he and Lenin were actually very close politically.

“[A] halfway complete and consistent economic unification of Europe coming from the top by means of an agreement of the capitalist governments is sheer utopia,” Trotsky declares. “Here, the matter can go no further than partial compromises and half-measures.” He continues: the “economic unification of Europe, which offers colossal advantages to producer and consumer alike, and in general to the whole cultural development, becomes the revolutionary task of the European proletariat in its struggle against imperialist protectionism and its instrument - militarism.” Hence for Trotsky the “United States of Europe - without monarchies, standing armies and secret diplomacy - is therefore the most important integral part of the proletarian peace programme.”5 Remember this was written during World War I when Germany and Austria-Hungry were still ruled by autocratic monarchs.

To serve his argument, Trotsky imagines a German victory - unlikely, but an outside possibility, at least within the first six months of hostilities - and its consequences for Europe:

German imperialism would have doubtless made the gigantic attempt of realising a compulsory military-tariff union of European states, which would be constructed completely of exemptions, compromises, etc, which would reduce to a minimum the progressive meaning of the unification of the European market. Needless to say, under such circumstances no talk would be possible of an autonomy of the nations, thus forcibly joined together as the caricature of the European United States.


Trotsky admits that certain “opponents of the programme of the United States of Europe have used precisely this perspective as an argument that this idea can, under certain conditions, acquire a ‘reactionary’ monarchist-imperialist content”. Yet, he says, “it is precisely this perspective that provides the most graphic testimony in favour of the revolutionary viability of the slogan”.

Say German militarism did succeed “in actually carrying out the compulsory half-union of Europe”: would this be in any way essentially different from Bismarck’s Prussian “half-union of Germany” in 1871? Under such circumstances how should Marxists proceed? Trotsky asks if they would call for the “dissolution of the forced European coalition and the return of all peoples under the roof of isolated national states”. Would they demand the restoration of “autonomous tariffs, national currencies, national social legislation, and so forth”? Certainly not, thunders Trotsky. No, he says, the programme of the European revolutionary movement would be:

The destruction of the compulsory anti-democratic form of the coalition, with the preservation and furtherance of its foundations, in the form of complete annihilation of tariff barriers, the unification of legislation, above all of labour laws, etc. In other words, the slogan of the United States of Europe - without monarchies and standing armies - would under the indicated circumstances become the unifying and guiding slogan of the European revolution.6


An absolutely correct approach in my opinion and surely highly relevant when it comes to current debates on the left about the half-democratic European Union.


Looking back, the Trotsky of 1928 readily concedes that there had been no example of working class rule in a single country, nor any theoretical clarity on this possibility amongst Marxists, till the reality of Soviet Russia. So in 1915 the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan “might” have given rise to the notion that proletarian revolution could only take place simultaneously across the whole of Europe. But he pleads not guilty to advocating any such thing. Indeed Trotsky quotes himself from 1915, insisting: “Not a single country must ‘wait’ for the other countries in the struggle.” Moreover, in 1915 he lambasted the idea of substituting temporising international inaction for “parallel revolutionary action” - conclusive proof if it was needed. Trotsky unhesitatingly called for beginning and continuing the revolutionary struggle on “national grounds”, in the conviction that all initiatives provide inspiration and will enhance the “struggle in other countries”.7

Trotsky considered that an isolated revolutionary Russia might well take the lead, but could not indefinitely hold out against counterrevolutionary Europe. The same applied, he said, to an isolated Germany. Yet by 1928 any such suggestion had become heresy. For Stalin such “Trotskyism” went hand in hand with “lack of faith” in the inner forces of the Russian Revolution. Trotskyism had already been officially deemed antithetical to the new party-state cult of Leninism. Of course, Trotsky could, and did, cite Lenin on any number of different occasions saying exactly the same kind of things as he did. Eg, “Without a revolution in Germany, we shall perish”, etc.

Stalin rested his case ‘theoretically’ on the undeniable fact that capitalism develops unevenly - supposedly a brilliant discovery made by Lenin. True, Lenin’s writings are full of rich observation about uneven development. But the same can be said for those of Marx and Engels - eg, in regard to their native Germany.

Anyway, according to Stalin, uneven development - supposedly brought about by imperialism - virtually precluded simultaneous or parallel revolution. Furthermore, as revolution would typically break out in one country at a time, the primary task of communists lay not so much in spreading the conflagration. Instead of international socialism he preached national socialist construction. His island socialism in the USSR would become a paradise on earth and henceforth the object of unalloyed admiration by the whole of humanity. The USSR’s success would thereby stimulate attempts at emulation - that truly dreadful book Imagine (2000) written jointly by Tommy Sheridan and Alan McCombes has exactly the same premise.

Needless to say, Stalin was radically shifting the political-linguistic meaning of the term ‘socialism’. Socialism, according to Stalin, is post-capitalism and entailed little more than the universal nationalisation of industry and agriculture. He had at his command the full might of the Soviet state to give a crushing authority to his every pronouncement.

The Soviet Union, he famously stated in the second edition of his pamphlet Foundations of Leninism (late 1924), did not simply aspire towards socialism - previously understood as the rule of the working class, plus substantial moves towards global communism. No, Stalin maintained that the Soviet Union, in isolation, possessed everything required by way of human material and natural resources to proceed all the way to a national communism.8 Note, in the first edition of Foundations of Leninism (early 1924) he had emphatically discounted such an idea.9

In the mid-1930s Stalin triumphantly proclaimed that the Soviet Union had achieved full socialism. The high road to national communism now lay wide and open before its happy peoples. Actual reality was, however, altogether different: counterrevolution within the revolution.

The Soviet Union expropriated capitalists and landlords and set itself on a course of rapid accumulation. But, with 1928 and the first five-year plan, the working class were forcibly reduced to an exploited slave class. As for the peasants, they were effectively re-enserfed. The Soviet Union was post-capitalist, but had become anti-socialist.

Admittedly, Trotsky continued to categorise the Soviet Union as a workers’ state - albeit a degenerate one - till his murder by Stalin’s agent, Ramón Mercader, in August 1940. Indeed some of his epigones - eg, in Socialist Resistance and Workers Power (now Red Flag) - actually maintained that Boris Yeltsin’s Russian Federation was still some kind of workers’ state, because 50% of the means of production, or some such figure, remained nationalised. These supposed conquests of the October Revolution in reality had as much to do with socialism as does Railtrack in today’s Britain.

But let us pick up the main thread. Trotsky explained Lenin’s rejection of the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan in 1915 as being of a “restricted, tactical and, by its very essence, temporary character”. That, says Trotsky, is best proven by the “subsequent course of events”.10

And, the fact of the matter is that in summer 1923, at Trotsky’s urging, Comintern agreed to couple the slogans, “a workers’ and peasants’ government”, and “a United States of Europe”.11 If, as Stalin maintained, the slogan of the United States of Europe was unacceptable on the basis of principle, why did Comintern adopt it? Why didn’t Lenin object?

In point of fact, the slogan prominently featured in Comintern’s perspectives well into 1926. Eg, Comintern’s executive committee, in an extended plenum, February 17 to March 15 1926, agreed a long resolution which included a four-fold explanation about how the United States of Europe should be envisaged by communists.

Firstly, as a “political organisation uniting and controlling the relations between the soviet socialist republics of Europe, which will come into being as a result of a victorious proletarian revolution in the European countries”. Secondly, the victorious proletarian revolution in Europe should not necessarily mean a “simultaneous revolution throughout the whole of Europe”. Rather the revolution may be victorious “first in separate countries” and only later extend to “all the countries of Europe”. Thirdly, a “federated United States of Europe” will proceed on an “entirely voluntary basis”. There will be the right of nations to self-determination. Fourthly, the victory of proletarian revolution in Europe “carries with it at the same time the liberation of the colonial and semi-colonial countries”. Crucially:

[T]he United States of Europe in alliance with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in alliance with the oppressed peoples of the world, in alliance with the socialist nucleus of the American proletariat, would represent a tremendous force, against which imperialist America would be helpless …12


Comintern’s publishing house issued The United Socialist States of Europe (1926). Written under the name, John Pepper (aka the Hungarian communist, József Pogány13), the pamphlet polemicised against the “bourgeois-social democratic slogan” of a ‘pan-Europe’ to be brought about peacefully under capitalism. Communists, the author advised, must not only demolish the “fraudulent pacifist” content of the ‘pan-Europe’ slogan, but should set up against it a “positive slogan”. For the “next period” the “slogan of the United States of Socialist Europe” is to serve as the “comprehensive slogan for the European communist parties”.14

However, as it turned out, the slogan quickly fell from grace. Factional consideration saw it expunged. Firstly, it was now closely associated with the pariah, Trotsky. Secondly, it ran completely against the Stalin-Bukharin national socialist programme.

German crisis

Let us examine Trotsky’s case for the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan in 1923. Responding to the French occupation of Germany’s economically vital Ruhr region and the nationwide political crisis it provoked, Trotsky wrote a short discussion piece, dated June 30, for Pravda. In his ‘Is the slogan of the “United States of Europe” a timely one?’ we find Trotsky’s application of that slogan to the immediate post-World War I conditions in all its strategic richness.15

Defeat had reduced Germany from a rabid oppressor nation, bent on the reorganisation of Europe under its militaristic domination, to the status of victim. The country underwent involuntary surgery - the amputation of whole wedges of territory - under the terms of the Versailles treaty. West Prussia, Poznan, Upper Silesia, Alsace-Lorraine, the Hultschin (Hlucín) and the Memel districts. France, Poland and Denmark benefited. Danzig (Gdansk) became a ‘free city’. The Saar region was placed under League of Nations administration for 15 years and a plebiscite was ordered in Northern Schleswig. All colonies in Africa passed to Britain.

Severe limits were also put on Germany’s armed forces. No more than 100,000 men. No tanks, no planes, no submarines. Fortifications along the Rhine were demolished. Merchant ships, fishing boats, railway wagons and locomotives were confiscated too. Furthermore, the allies imposed onerous reparations. In 1920 the Boulogne conference fixed the sum at 269 billion German goldmarks to be paid over in 42 annual instalments.

That proved impossible. In January 1923 Germany announced that it could not pay. Mass unemployment, hyperinflation and political violence threatened mayhem. Compared with 1913, industrial production stood at around 50%. France cynically used the failure to pay the reparations as a pretext to seize the Ruhr. A victor’s aggression that triggered massive protests throughout Germany.

Initially fascist bands and far-right nationalists were to the fore. France was the traditional enemy dating back to well before Napoleon Bonaparte. Even Wilhelm Cuno’s conservative government called for defiance. Strikes in the Ruhr were purportedly financed through the government’s printing presses. Adolf Hitler dared take what the US historian William Shirer calls an “unpopular line”: “No - not down with France, but down with the traitors of the fatherland!” “That must be our slogan,” insisted the National Socialist leader.16 Hitler admits he was “attacked no little” over this by men whose “national attitude” was nothing but an “outward sham”.17

The Communist Party of Germany (KPD) - born amidst the tragic failure of the November 1918 revolution - sought to outflank all such forces. Under the so-called ‘Schlageter line’ - a strategic reorientation promoted by Karl Radek and named after the Freikorp nationalist gunned down by French occupation forces after he was spotted planting a bomb - there was a brief “experiment” in what might be called ‘antagonistic cooperation’ between the KPD and the Nazis.18 Radek, speaking to the executive committee of Comintern, declared that “the great majority of [Germany’s] nationalist-minded masses belong not to the camp of the capitalists, but to the camp of the workers”.19 A mass KPD rally in August 1923 included a speech by a well known Nazi.

Obviously sharing a platform does not imply any softness, any conciliation, let alone signal agreement - it can, however, provide a close-quarter line of attack. Eg, I have spoken alongside Stalinites, Tory MPs, Blairites and AWLers. The KPD had fought Nazi violence with proletarian violence. But it soon became obvious that fascism had to be beaten ideologically. The KPD therefore sought to win over honest members of the rank and file, especially students who formed one of the bastions of the Nazis. So, despite the occasional rhetorical excesses of the Schlageter line, there was no wish to “collude with Nazism”.20 Indeed, “hostility” to and “denunciation” of Nazi doctrines and actions were intensified, reports EH Carr.21 Germany’s national oppression was linked with the KPD’s social programme and willingness to agitate for militant methods, such as the political general strike.

Minds in the Kremlin reawoke to the prospect of revolution in Germany. Trotsky - who was at the time being levered out from the topmost summit of power - was therefore understandably prone to flamboyant gestures. He volunteered to put himself at the service of the German comrades “as a soldier of the revolution”.22 Trotsky did, after all, possess proven qualities, when it came to organising an uprising. Understandably, the ephemeral Stalin-Zinoviev-Kamenev triumvirate was unwilling to allow Trotsky the chance of leading the German revolution - and thus giving him either heroic martyrdom or an unassailable position of world influence. Nevertheless, given the objective balance of forces, plans for an uprising spluttered out into a humiliating fiasco. The KPD was a minority even in the working class. Hence the real task was gaining an effective national majority - not an immediate assault on the citadels of state power. Inevitably divisive recriminations followed.

For our purposes, though, what matters is Trotsky’s overall analysis of Europe and the political solutions he offered. World War I was in essence, he said, a European war. US and Japanese participation did not alter this fundamental fact. Germany in particular - populous and economically dynamic - needed to reach out globally and expand its markets. However, Germany found itself blocked by Britain’s vast official and semi-official empire, on the one hand, and the customs barriers that restricted and divided Europe, on the other. World War I showed that the continent had to be radically reorganised - only the working class could perform that task, using civilised and humane methods.

Germany’s great rival, Britain, had little concern for Europe. Blooded, battered and drained by World War I, what was once the biggest creditor nation found itself in hock to the US. Assets had been sold off in order to finance the titanic struggle against Germany. South America effectively changed hands. From being a British sphere of influence it became a US one. The posturing Monroe doctrine of 1823 at last came to fruition. Britain licked its gaping wounds, and looked to its Asian and African empire, together with the Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African dominions, as the source of recovery.

France could aspire to nothing more than keeping Germany permanently bled white. In any armed conflict the much more numerous and industrially developed Germans would always win. France therefore demanded - and got - debilitating peace conditions. France also encouraged the fragmentation of middle Europe. The Austro-Hungarian and Turkish empires - allied to Germany between 1914 and 1918 - were splintered into innumerable petty states, none of them capable of anything serious. The same applied to those national areas shorn from Russia - Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, etc.

American century

The US now ranked as the world’s leading economic power. Yet, rather than pressing for the dismemberment of the creaking British empire and risking another cataclysmic war, so as to impose its will on the globe, the US proved quite content to let the old world slowly decay. Ruling circles in Washington were convinced that the 20th century was eventually going to be theirs. Patiently bide one’s time until chaos in Europe reached the point where American wealth could buy up and reorganise the whole continent - that sums up US strategy in the 1920s and 30s.

Surveying the sorry mess, Trotsky said that “our unfortunate continent” had been cut up, exhausted, disorganised and “Balkanised” - unlike Charlie Kimber, Peter Taaffe, John Rees, Alan Thornett, Colin Fox et al, he did not welcome the break-up of existing states. Europe had been transformed into a “madhouse”, he mourned.23 Nothing positive could develop from within the petty states and tariff walls created by Versailles. Europe must either remove these barriers or face the threat of complete decomposition.

The methods used by the ruling class to overcome frontiers - total war and military conquest - had left millions dead and inadvertently exacerbated already constricting divisions. Another bourgeois attempt to organise unity would result in either the destruction of European civilisation or US counterrevolutionary domination.

On the basis of this exceptionally far-sighted assessment, Trotsky had no hesitation in declaring that only the proletariat could save Europe. He therefore proposed the old call for a United States of Europe, brought about by the efforts of the workers themselves. Such a route alone offers “salvation for our continent from economic decay and from enslavement to mighty American capitalism”.24

Could this play into the hands of pacifists and bourgeois reformists? Trotsky mocked such silly notions. Like a federal Britain and a united Ireland, or a Sixth Republic in France, or the reunification of the Indian subcontinent, the idea of a United States of Europe could, yes, be taken up by any number of different political parties, causes or trends - that is undoubtedly true. However, the slogan was to be advanced not as a panacea, not as a thing in itself, but as an additional component, or plank, within the overall communist programme.

Trotsky displays an admirable optimism. The rightwing social democrats are losing support. Communist parties are growing in size and experience. Whereas the likes of Philip Snowden, Gustav Noske, Karl Renner, etc, yearned for piecemeal reform delivered from above, Trotsky wanted the communists to combatively link the ‘United States of Europe’ slogan to the tasks of furthering world revolution.

His reasoning is straightforward. The revolutionary wave that exploded in 1917-18 had by 1923 subsided. Communists must actively encourage a fresh upsurge by restoring the confidence of the European working class and overcome their real fears about whether they too would share the awful fate of the workers and peasants in Russia - wars of intervention, misery, blockade, famine and epidemics (the shrivelling of effective democracy was another source of apprehension).

The loss of class nerve - produced by genuine worries about making revolution on diminutive national ground - was to be assuaged by the perspective of the United States of Europe. This was an extensive continental ground and would, moreover, be free to join together with the Soviet Union to form a mighty combination that could realistically facedown US threats, sanctions and plots.

Europe, for Trotsky, is rightly conceived not as a mere geographical expression. Europe is thought of as a reality, built on layer upon layer of criss-crossing commonalities that long predate capitalism. Hence the US can temporarily stand aloof from Europe. But Germany cannot stand aloof from France. And France cannot stand aloof from Germany: “Therein lies the crux, therein lies the solution to the European problem,” Trotsky maintained.

What of unevenness? The continent consists of many different state units, all displaying marked variations one with another. And yet Europe moves according to a rhythm different to the other side of the Atlantic. Compared to the US, European countries, taken together, exhibit a definite evenness economically and politically due to geography, culture and history. Put another way, European unevenness is relative. Europe exists on one scale of unevenness, the US on another. That is why a general strike or a constitutional crisis in France has a far bigger impact on Germany than it will on the US. Certainly a revolutionary situation in France will touch Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere in Europe in a profound way - something than cannot be said about the US.

In general, Trotsky is of the opinion that, although no-one could predict when exactly Europe would be united under the leadership of the revolutionary working class, the sequence of events would almost certainly put Europe ahead of the US. That, and population numbers and economic weight, is why what happens in Europe is, in the final analysis, of decisive importance for the US as well. Revolution in Europe will surely disabuse those in the American ruling class who believe that they possess a god-given mandate to rule the world.

The United States of Europe is conceived by Trotsky as an historically necessary stage that must be passed through. This transitionary stage arises from the real situation: ie, the profoundly different conditions faced by Europe and the US, not only before, but after, World War I. To deny unevenness by pretending that everywhere is equally ripe, or unripe, for socialist revolution denies reality and obscures the actual path that must be taken.

Naturally the spread of working class power will not stop at a European phase. Trotsky believed that the Soviet Union plus a United Europe would exercise a magnetic attraction for the oppressed peoples of China, India, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Such a mighty bloc would confidently call upon an ever more conscious US proletariat - comrades, you alone in America can finish what October 1917 began.


1. L Trotsky The Third International after Lenin New York 1982, p10.

2. The Daily Worker - forerunner of today’s Morning Star - greeted the assassination of Trotsky under the headline, ‘A counterrevolution gangster passes’ (August 23 1940).

3. www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1914/war.

4. Weekly Worker May 8 2016.

5. www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/fi/vol05/no09/trotsky.htm.

6. www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/fi/vol05/no09/trotsky.htm.

7. Ibid p12.

8. JV Stalin Works Vol 6, Moscow 1953, pp110-11.

9. This is what Stalin wrote in May 1924: “… can the final victory of socialism be obtained in a single country without the joint efforts of the proletariat of several advanced countries? No, it cannot. In order to overthrow the bourgeoisie, the efforts of a single country are sufficient; this is proved by the history of our revolution. For the final victory of socialism, for the organisation of socialist production, efforts of a single country, and particularly of such a peasant country as Russia, are inadequate; for that the efforts of the proletariat of several advanced countries are required” (quoted in L Trotsky The challenge of the Left Opposition 1926-1927 New York 1980, p157.

10. L Trotsky The Third International after Lenin New York 1982, p15.

11. L Trotsky The first five years of the Communist International Vol 2, London 1974, pp341-46.

12. Quoted in XJ Eudin and HH Fisher Soviet Russia and the west, 1920-1927 Stanford CA 1957, pp332-33.

13. For an account of Pepper’s eventful life see T Sakmyster A communist odyssey New York 2012.

14. Quoted in L Trotsky The Third International after Lenin New York 1970, p309n.

15. L Trotsky The first five years of the Communist International Vol 2, London 1974, pp341-46.

16. Quoted in W Shirer The rise and fall of the Third Reich London 1968, p88.

17. A Hitler Mein Kampf London 1992, p625.

18. EH Carr The interregnum Harmondsworth 1969, p191.

19. www.marxists.org/archive/radek/1923/06/schlageter.htm.

20. P Broué The German revolution 1917-1923 Chicago 2005, p728.

21. EH Carr The interregnum Harmondsworth 1969, p192.

22. I Deutscher The prophet unarmed Oxford 1982, p111.

23. L Trotsky The first five years of the Communist International Vol 2, London 1974, p341.

24. Ibid p342.