Natalia Sedova Trotsky
Written: December 21, 1941.
Source: Fourth International, Vol. III No. 1, January 1942, pp. 9–11.
Online Version: Natalia Sedova Internet Archive, March 2005.
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Mike Bessler.
Proofread: Einde O’Callaghan (July 2015).
Before his death Lenin wrote a note which was published some time ago; in it he warned against Stalin: “This cook will prepare only peppery dishes.” For this reason, Lenin demanded Stalin’s removal from the post of General Secretary, because this office, as Lenin explained, “carried with it unlimited powers.” Only desperation and the impasse in which he now finds himself could have compelled Stalin to call public attention back to the Moscow trials which have so discredited him; and to try to serve up again to public opinion this “peppery dish,” warmed up for the occasion. The fulfillment of this task has been undertaken by Mr. Davies, the former representative of the United States to Soviet Russia. It must be said that Mr. Davies is fulfilling this assignment with such shamelessness and moral irresponsibilty as to cause astonishment even in our harsh epoch.
Mr. Davies has come to the fore in the role of Stalin’ s defender in the case relating to the frame-ups committed by the latter in 1936–38 in the country which is under the banner of socialism. It must be acknowledged that this charge against Stalin is murderously grave. His crimes are unique in the history of mankind for their unbridled lies, their bestiality and their fatal consequences. Only the historians of the future will be able to give a full account of them.
Mr. Davies seeks to clear his client no less heedlessly than was done in his time by Señor Sodi, the attorney for the Stalinist agent Siqueiros – the organizer of the attempt against Leon Trotsky on May 24, 1940, in Mexico. He deports himself in the self-same manner as his colleague Señor Ostis, the attorney for Jacson, the hired assassin of the GPU whom Stalin had summoned in order to rectify the failure of his predecessor.
Mr. Davies calls the crime of August 20, 1940 – the murder of Leon Trotsky – “enigmatic.” He thus casts a malignant shadow of suspicion on the friends of L.D. Trotsky; and, at the same time, leaves open for himself the possibility of taking the offensive against them, whenever this is demanded by “circumstances” (i.e., Stalin’s tasks). “The bigger the lie all the more readily will people believe it,“ reads an aphorism by Hitler. All the attorneys of the GPU together with its chieftain apply unswervingly this principle of the conqueror of continental Europe. This remarkable identity of tastes is by no means accidental. What constitutes the bond between them is the baseness of their respective interests, the unconscionable-slanderous absence of restraint in the pursuit of their selfish goals.
And yet the evidence gathered by the Mexican judicial authorities has established the perpetration of crimes unquestionably connected with the GPU. If Mr. Davies were honestly interested in clarifying this perfidious and outrageous Stalinist affair, he would have made at least an effort to acquaint himself with the above-mentioned evidence, and to lay bare the irrefutable conclusions. But the whole point is that a conscientious exposition and an honest clarification of the facts do not at all enter into the task of the former Ambassador of the United States to Soviet Russia. He confines himself to a criminally light-minded insinuation concerning the “enigma” of the events of August 20 – and then passes on.
During his term as Ambassador to Soviet Russia, the tragic falsehood of the Moscow trials was quite clear to Mr. Davies. But after an interval of four years, he has re-read what he had written (did he, indeed, write it down?) – and has capitulated to the Moscow stage-director. During these four years a great many changes have taken place in the world political situation.
In the beginning, Stalin, who stands in awe of Hitler, was driven by his great fear of Hitler to conclude a friendly alliance with the latter. He broke with the imperialist bourgeois democracies and proclaimed them to be the “incendiaries” of the war which evoked at the time indignation against and contempt for Stalin in “democratic” circles. Still more, the “Father of the Peoples” came out in defense of fascist Germany as “fighting for peace”! It was along these lines that Communist propaganda was conducted on a broad scale in the period of the Stalin-Hitler pact against the war of bourgeois democracies, England and the United States. And corresponding to this policy, all the honest ideological and political opponents of Stalin became transformed overnight from “agents of Germany” into “agents of England.” In view of all this, the question naturally arises: For what then did Stalin execute either openly or secretly those participants of the Moscow trials who were accused of being “agents of Germany” but who did not capitulate and who were not permitted to appear in court?
Mr. Davies does not pose this question. The overwhelming contradictions of the Kremlin’s monstrous crimes do not embarrass him. His aim is – to defend the organizer of the crimes. Apparently, Mr. Davies does not follow events carefully, nor has he noticed that after Hitler’s assault on Russia, “agents of England” had suddenly once again become transformed into “agents of Germany,” as if some magic wand had been waved.
Every serious and honest reader would unfailingly try to probe into the meaning of this infamous propaganda. Stalin’s politics are empirical. He lacks the capacity of foresight – hence flows the long series of his fatal mistakes with their bloody consequences. Soviet workers and peasants are now paying for the Kremlin’s miscalculations, just as four years ago the Bolshevik Old Guard, the selected old generation of the Great Russian Revolution paid with their honest revolutionary lives. The historians of the future will make an accounting of everything. The lie always leads to tangles and absurdities which, in the last analysis, serve to expose it.
Stalin made more than one attempt to eliminate Leon Trotsky physically. I shall not dwell upon them here. They are well known. In organizing and staging the crudely falsified Moscow trials during which, as is well known, not a single fact was established, not a single document was produced, and, in general, not a scrap of material evidence was adduced to cover up the glaringly obvious white stitching, Stalin feared most the revelations of the leader of the October revolution and, therefore, wanted to silence him at all costs. Fully cognizant of the fact that the press of the entire world was paying attention to Trotsky’s opinions, Stalin had to find some way of preventing him from defending himself.
At the end of 1936, in Norway, after the publication of Trotsky’s first statements to the press refuting the slanders of the Moscow frame-ups, he was thrown into jail by the authorities. The miserable representatives of the social-democratic government of Norway tried to justify themselves in the eyes of public opinion by the plea that the Soviet government had threatened to suspend the fish trade. The degrading capitulation of the Norwegian bureaucracy was not accidental. Nor are such dishonest actions committed with impunity. In 1939 the Norwegian Social-Democracy capitulated to Hitler.
Mr. Davies must surely be aware of the fact that L.D. Trotsky and his son, L. Sedov, were the chief defendants in the Moscow trials and that they were sentenced to death by the Moscow court. Both L.D. Trotsky and his son, L. Sedov, knew that the verdict of the Moscow court was not platonic in character and that it would be carried out in one way or another. As is well known, this has been confirmed by the tragic events that followed.
Beginning with 1933, Leon Trotsky persistently warned in a series of declarations published in the world press that “the basic task of Stalin’s foreign policy is to reach an agreement with Hitler.” In 1939 this agreement was reached. It was concluded by the bureaucratic summits and their chieftain behind the back of the masses and against their will. What was this if not a Fifth Column betraying the Soviet workers and peasants? The masses, who had accomplished under the glorious leadership of Lenin and Trotsky the great revolution in 1917, had remained true to it. They were imbued with hatred toward fascism, the polar opposite of socialism. They learned not only to hate fascism but also to struggle against it ceaselessly as a hostile force. They understood that fascism is a mortal enemy to the development of the socialist order. The conscious goal of the Soviet workers and peasants was and remains – to realize in life the ideas of October. They never retreated from them in the face of any and every difficulty. It was the Soviet bureaucracy that retreated. The ideas of socialism were not imposed upon the masses by any outside force: these ideas flowed from the social and economic position of the masses in the conditions of the general imperialist-capitalist system with its class struggles and its terrible contradictions. To carry out in life the ideas of socialism, and to extend them to other capitalist countries in the world – an extension upon which the forms of their own social and economic order depended in no small degree – this was their task.
As early as September 28, 1930, in Prinkipo, Leon Trotsky wrote:
“Fascism has become a real danger as the expression of the acute impasse of the bourgeois regime, the conservative role of the Social-Democracy in relation to this regime, and the constantly growing weakness and inability of the Communist Party to replace this regime. Whoever denies this is a blind braggart.”
As can be seen from this quotation, Leon Trotsky warned about the danger of fascism with growing alarm ten years ago, long before Hitler came to power. At the same time he pointed out the necessity and possibility of an immediate irreconcilable struggle against fascism by the German working class under the guidance of the Communist Party.
But the epigones, incapable of analyzing an objective political situation, were not capable of taking all its elements into account and, consequently, were unable to draw the necessary conclusions. Lacking the gift of foresight, they failed to understand the impending mortal danger. They replied to Trotsky’s warnings, first, by accusing him of falling into a panic at the very sight of fascism, and, then, of being himself a fascist. But in 1933, three years after Trotsky’s first warning, Hitler came to power. With a few blows he destroyed the Communist Party of Germany and seized the German working class in an iron fist. In This way the Soviet workers lost their chief ally, the German Communist Party.
If the Soviet bureaucracy (the Fifth Column), blinded by its unbridled power, had not committed this monstrous blunder in 1930, it would not have been compelled to commit the subsequent and no less monstrous mistake of entering into a pact with fascist Germany in 1939. The catastrophe into which the revolutionary country has been led would not have taken place.
The Soviet Union extends, as is well known, over one- sixth of the earth. She possesses a great army almost equal in number to all the European armies taken together. This army is excellently armed and equipped. It is inspired as no other army in the world with the will to struggle. The break between the Soviet bureaucracy and Hitler was met by the Soviet peoples with the greatest upsurge. It led the Soviet masses out of the degrading and stifling docility and compulsory silence. They raised their heads. The unconditional moral readiness of the Red Army to defend itself to the very end is unquestionable.
But the tragic beheading of the Red Army perpetrated four years ago by the Stalinist Fifth Column has caused this unyielding resistance to be turned into a heroic effort that threatens to bleed white its ranks. The Red Army has fatally retreated before the enemy, day by day, month by month for a period of five months. Into the hands of the fascist enemy has passed more than two-thirds of those enormous areas of the revolutionary country which are richest in natural resources and which have been the most highly industrialized, along with the population of 70 million. This territory, now called Ostland, and these millions are under the degrading and bestial rule of the zealot Rosenberg. Such are the consequences.
The hypnosis of Hitler’s invincibility is so great that even the ravage achieved by him in Soviet Russia is already being accepted as a kind of accomplishment in the struggle against him. Only those who are completely uninformed and incapable of probing into either the political or general social position of Russia could entertain the idea that the USSR can be captured by the Nazis with the same ease and speed as were the Balkan countries, or Norway, or even France. Mr. Davies has been caught by surprise by the incredible intensity of the Russian army’s resistance to the fascists which he had never expected, and he seeks an explanation for it not in the real conditions as they have unfolded, but in the criminal and fantastic accusation against the innocent victims of the infamous Moscow trials and the Moscow court – all those who were executed without a trial for belonging to the Fifth Column.
Mr. Davies resorts to this degrading subterfuge in order to whitewash in the eyes of the disconcerted public opinion the current ally of the United States, Stalin. It was not the Fifth Column whom Stalin destroyed but his sworn enemies, all those who stood in the way of the preparation of an agreement between Stalin and Hitler. The victims were forced to make the “confessions” demanded of them, in the name of saving the party.
The Commission of Inquiry under the chairmanship of Professor John Dewey established in 1937, in Mexico, on the basis of documentary proofs, the fraudulent character of the Moscow trials. But Mr. Davies is not interested in the records of this Commission which took an objective and impartial position. He is far removed from undertaking any work of investigation into this historical question of utmost importance; he is pursuing aims which have nothing in common with the establishment of the actual facts. And in his zeal, once again unexpectedly for himself, he arrives at a betrayal of the principles of democracy by coming to the fore as an advocate of terror: he is brought to this by the logic of his preconceived position. In order to defend his client, Mr. Davies puts into Stalin’s mouth words which the latter never uttered at the session of the Political Bureau where the question of exiling Leon Trotsky abroad was decided. Davies’ version is one of the innumerable mendacious inventions of a later period.
Back in 1926–27 when the first cautious steps were taken in persecuting the Left Opposition, the ideological leaders of the Opposition, in analyzing the profound crisis which was then occurring, drew the analogy with Thermidor during the Great French Revolution when the guillotine was destroying the great fighters, when the revolution began to “devour its own children.” But (luring the session of March 22, 1929 in Moscow – naturally, after the preliminary decision on the question of exiling Leon Trotsky had already been arrived at in a secret session of the Stalinist tops – the official motives for it were given in the Political Bureau. During the discussion, Stalin said:
“Trotsky must be exiled abroad; 1) because so long as he remains in the country he is able to lead the Opposition ideologically and its numerical strength is constantly growing; 2) in order that he can be discredited in the eyes of the masses as an accomplice of the bourgeoisie the moment that he arrives in a bourgeois country; 3) in order to discredit him in the eyes of the world proletariat: the Social-Democracy will unquestionably utilize his exile against the USSR, and will come out in defense of Trotsky, ‘the victim of Bolshevik terror’; 4) in the event that Trotsky comes out against the leadership with exposures, we shall be able to portray him as a traitor. All this speaks in favor of the necessity to exile him.” (Minutes of the Session of the Political Bureau, Moscow, March 22, 1929)
Against the exile were Rykov, Bukharin, Tomsky; in private discussions another member of the Political Bureau whose identity has not been definitely established expressed his opposition. The assumption is that it was Kuibyshev. The above-cited resolution was published in July 1929 in the Bulletin of the Russian Opposition.
The terrible revelation of Yaroslavsky in connection with the publication of Trotsky’s articles in the foreign press were thus prepared even prior to the exile of Trotsky abroad. Stalin’s abominations, as is well known, are carried out rigidly in accordance with a well-prepared plan. Such is the reality.
At the present time the American press is being agitated by fears lest Stalin enter once again into an alliance with Hitler. The American friends of the Soviet bureaucracy, including Mr. Davies, are now compelled to come forward with reassuring reports on this score. This circumstance itself shows how hopelessly discredited Stalin is in the minds of the public. Should this treachery nevertheless take place, then Mr. Davies, the former head of the American Embassy in the USSR, will have to give the wheel a sharp turn.
The war now embraces the entire world. It must inevitably terminate by arousing the popular masses who are being bled to death. They will put an end to the war, and settle the accounts with the usurpers in power and with all the slanderers.
Coyoacan, December 21, 1941.
Last updated on: 3 October 2015