GOLDMAN: I want to introduce statements into the record if you will permit me, Mr. Chairman. With reference to certain of the depositions that we received from France, I wish to make the following announcement: Many of the depositions included in the folders concerning Copenhagen and Royan give their names. A great number of them were made by émigrés who are now in an illegal situation. Due to the impossibility of legalizing their depositions by official means, the French Committee for an Inquiry into the Trials has created a commission entrusted with the certification of the depositions. The members of this Commission are Alfred Rosmer, well known in the workers’ movement in France, Fernand Charbit, militant syndicalist, and Andre Breton, author. The signers of the depositions presented themselves before the Commission which certified their depositions by the three signatures of its members and by the seal of the Committee.
Another statement I would like to make refers to the very important question, although not so relevant, the question of Mr. Trotsky’s attitude in the Spanish situation, Naturally, his English is a barrier which makes it somewhat difficult for him to explain clearly what he thinks about the situation, For the sake of complete clarity I wish to read into the record: Answers to Certain Questions of the Representative of Havas, the French Newspaper Agency.
TROTSKY: And the date,
GOLDMAN: February 19th, 1937. It reads:
Have I or have I not given “instructions” to aid the Republican front with volunteers? I have given “instructions” to no one. In general, I do not give “instructions,” I express my opinion in articles. Only cowards, traitors, or agents of fascism can renounce aid to the Spanish Republican armies. The elementary duty of every revolutionist is to struggle against the bands of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler.
On the left wing of the Spanish Governmental coalition, and partly in the opposition, is the POUM. This party is not “Trotskyite.” I have criticized its policies on many occasions, despite my warm sympathy for the heroism with which the members of this party, above all the youth, struggle at the front. The POUM has committed the error of participating in the electoral combination of the “Popular” Front; under the cover of this combination, General Franco during the Course of several months boldly prepared the insurrection which is now ravaging Spain. A revolutionary party did not have the right to take upon itself, either directly or indirectly, any responsibility for a policy of blindness and criminal tolerance. It was obliged to call the masses to vigilance. The leadership of the POUM committed the second error of entering the Catalonian Coalition Government; in order to fight hand in hand with the other parties at the front, there is no need to take upon oneself any responsibility for the false governmental policies of these parties. Without weakening the military front for a moment, it is necessary to know how to rally the masses politically under the revolutionary banner.
In civil war, incomparably more than in ordinary war, politics dominates strategy. Robert Lee, as an army chieftain, was surely more talented than Grant, but the program of the liquidation of slavery assured victory to Grant. In our three years of civil war the superiority of military art and military technique was often enough on the side of the enemy, but at the very end it was the Bolshevik program which conquered. The worker knew very well what he was fighting for. The peasant hesitated for a long time, but, comparing the two régimes by experience, he finally supported the Bolshevik side.
In Spain the Stalinists, who lead the chorus from on high, have advanced the formula to which Caballero, president of the Cabinet, also adheres: First military victory, and then social reform. I consider this formula fatal for the Spanish revolution. Not seeing the radical differences between the two programs in reality, the toiling masses, above all the peasants, fall into indifference. In these conditions, fascism will inevitably win, because the purely military advantage is on its side. Audacious social reforms represent the strongest weapon in the civil war and the fundamental condition for the victory over fascism.
The policies of Stalin, who has always revealed himself as an opportunist in revolutionary situations, are dictated by a fear of frightening the French bourgeoisie, above all the “200 families” against whom the French Popular Front long ago declared war – On paper. Stalin’s policies in Spain repeat not so much Kerensky’s policies in 1917 as they do the policies of Ebert-Scheidemann in the German Revolution of 1918. Hitler’s victory was the punishment for the policies of Ebert-Scheidemann. In Germany the punishment was delayed for fifteen years. In Spain it can come in less than fifteen months.
However, would not the social and political victory of the Spanish workers and peasants mean European war? Such prophecies, dictated by reactionary cowardice, are radically false. If fascism wins in Spain, France will find itself caught in a vise from which it will not be able to withdraw. Franco’s dictatorship would mean the unavoidable acceleration of European war, in the most difficult conditions for France. It is useless to add that a new European war would bleed the French people to the last drop and lead it into its decline, and, by the same token, would deal a terrible blow to all humanity.
On the other hand, the victory of the Spanish workers and peasants would undoubtedly shake the régimes of Mussolini and Hitler. Thanks to their hermetic, totalitarian character, the fascist regimes produce an impression of unshakable firmness. Actually, at the first serious test they will be the victims of internal explosions. The victorious Russian revolution sapped the strength of the Hohenzollern régime. The victorious Spanish revolution will undermine the régimes of Hitler and Mussolini. For that reason alone the victory of the Spanish workers and peasants will reveal itself at once as a powerful force for peace.
The task of the true Spanish revolutionists consists in strengthening and reinforcing the military front, in demolishing the political tutelage of the Soviet bureaucracy, in giving a bold social program to the masses, in assuring thereby the victory of the revolution and, precisely in that way, upholding the cause of peace. Therein alone lies the salvation of Europe!
TROTSKY: It was also published in the United States, if I remember correctly.
GOLDMAN: This statement was published in the French press.
TROTSKY: And in the New York Post, where Lore works.
STOLBERG: The New York Post?
GOLDMAN: The New York Evening Post. Now, the next point I will take up is the question of the international situation. By that I mean, what Mr. Trotsky’s attitude has been on the international relations of the Soviet Union and its foreign policy, and his attitude also with reference to a possible attack by Hitler against the Soviet Union and by Japan against the Soviet Union. Necessarily, some of the questions have already been covered, but some of them are not. I want to take up more of the material under this heading.
FINERTY: I suppose this will be directed to the question of his complicity or non-complicity in the intervention of Germany and Japan, or the alleged intervention of these two countries.
GOLDMAN: Will you state, Mr. Trotsky, what basic principles determined the foreign policy of the Soviet Union during the time when Lenin and you played leading rôles in guiding the destiny of the Soviet Union?
TROTSKY: We considered the Soviet Union as a part of the world revolutionary movement of the working class. We considered it our duty to take every measure which could save and preserve the Soviet Union. We considered that the revolutionary movement in every country – that its success would best guarantee the stability of the Soviet Union. We never tried to submit the revolutionary movement in any country to the specific interests of the Soviet Union, because such a submission signifies the weakening of the workers’ movement in that country – in all countries. Our doctrines, in our opinion, coincided totally with the independent revolutionary development of the proletariat across the world. I can remember – it was in 1922, in the last year of Lenin’s active life – when Zinoviev and Bukharin – more Zinoviev – directed by mere organizational narrowness, tried to revise the leadership of certain countries by measures of pressure from above. Lenin wrote then – this letter is published: “By such measures you will make only a selection of docile and stupid people. That is not what we want in the CI docile and stupid people.” I regret it very much, but I am obliged to say that this selection has since made very great progress, because the method of pressure from Moscow, of replacing all leaders in the conjunctural interests of the Moscow bureaucracy, became the rule.
GOLDMAN: In what way has the foreign policy, in your opinion, changed since Stalin has assumed control?
TROTSKY: The first thing which was proclaimed was the theory of “Socialism in One Country.” The posing of “Socialism in One Country” signifies that all the other sections lose for a long period, an indeterminate period, their independent rôle. They represent now only the “guard” of the Soviet Union. “Socialism” is applied in the Soviet Union independent of the happenings in the world.
We see now the struggle with fascism in Spain, fascism in Germany, fascism in Austria and Italy, but the Socialist bureaucracy says that the revolution progresses in the Soviet Union. In our Marxist eyes, the reaction in the Soviet Union is only a part of this tremendous world-reaction. If this world-reaction continues as now, the Soviet Union as a Soviet proletarian state is doomed.
GOLDMAN: Did you ever believe that the Soviet Union should send the Red Army into other countries for the purpose of overthrowing the rule of the capitalist classes?
TROTSKY: In such an abstract form, it is difficult to answer. It is possible to imagine a situation where civil war is developing in one country. The proletariat creates one government, and the fascists another government. Then the government of the proletariat appeals to the Soviet Government for aid. Naturally, I will not refuse if I can. Imagine the situation in Spain. And Spain, imagine, is a neighboring country of the Soviet Union. Caballero appeals to us for help. It would be the elementary duty – as during a strike it is the duty of the trade unionists in every country to help the strike, the same duty it is to help by military force if it is not imposed on them and if they themselves ask for the aid.
GOLDMAN: But assuming there is no dual power in a country. Assuming that the proletariat does not attempt to take power. Did you ever believe or advocate the idea that the Red Army should be sent into other countries?
TROTSKY: A revolution by the Red Army would be the worst adventurism. To try to impose revolution on other people by the Red Army would be adventurism.
GOLDMAN: When you were one of the leading figures of the Soviet Union, did you ever advocate this idea: That the Soviet Union should have no political or economic relations with the capitalist world?
GOLDMAN: What was your general conception with reference to that problem?
TROTSKY: It is unfortunately a question dealing with an objective situation we cannot escape. It would be the same as if I said I would not use a train because the owner is a capitalist. You cannot wait for the moment of the proletarian dictatorship to use the train.
The same rule – from all sides we are surrounded by capitalist countries. We must buy and we must sell. We must have the possibility of sending our citizens to other countries to learn, to buy and sell. We must have relations, economic, political and diplomatic relations, with them. It is absolutely natural. I give a better example:
It would be the same if the trade unions should cease or refuse any conversations with the boss. It is impossible. We were, in our opinion, a trade union which became the state. The other states are the bosses, and we must have conversations with them. It is absolutely necessary, even, to make concessions to them, as workers make concessions to their bosses after a strike has not succeeded. We are the only workers’ state in the world, surrounded by hostile capitalist nations.
FINERTY: Mr. Goldman, I think it would be a help if Mr. Trotsky would define the period in which he had joint responsibility with Stalin for the Russian Government, the Soviet Government.
GOLDMAN: Did you understand the question, Mr. Trotsky?
FINERTY: With Lenin, I mean.
GOLDMAN: Will you give us the period during which you assumed joint responsibility with Lenin for determining the foreign policy of the Soviet Union?
TROTSKY: Until 1922 Government responsibility was complete. During 1922, during the illness of Lenin, it was the transitory period of the illegal “Troika.” From 1923, came the struggle of the Opposition.
GOLDMAN: And from then on you assumed no responsibility for the conduct of the Soviet Government’s policy?
TROTSKY: Until 1927, I remained a member of the Politburo. I was in opposition in the Politburo, but before the world I had my part of the responsibility.
GOLDMAN: Now, what is your theory concerning the possibility of a peaceful coexistence of the Soviet Union, the only country where capitalism does not rule, with the capitalist countries?
TROTSKY: The theory is simple. We needed that the others let us alone in peace. We were not interested in war, in provoking wars. We were interested in peace. That is the reason for the great concessions we made to the capitalist countries during this time, beginning in 1918 to 1924. But in 1933 or 1934, Stalin sold to Japan the Chinese Eastern Railroad. He was attacked by many Left elements in Europe, and I believe also unnecessarily, for this concession. I defended him in 1933. I explained that if it was a question of peace and war, if we have a reason for war with Japan, if it is necessary, it would not be a question only of the railroad. If we can, by a concession of the railroad, gain one or two or three years of peace, we must make that concession. I had great discussions about this, international discussions, with my own friends.
GOLDMAN: Now, can you tell us your theory in general about the possibility of the existence of the Soviet Union, the workers’ country, for a long period of time in the midst of a capitalist world?
TROTSKY: It cannot be indefinitely – such a coexistence. Because the capitalist world is not stable – excuse me, I am tired. [At this point Trotsky halted in his answer – A.M.G.] It is not a stable one, and every country is gravitating either to workers’ revolution or to fascist dictatorship. In both cases, the relations between the Soviet Union and the capitalist states must change. For many years there was a certain friendship between the Soviet Union and Germany. It changed after the victory of Hitler. If the proletariat is victorious in Spain, the relations will be the best, I hope, between the Soviet Union and Spain. If it is fascist, the Soviet Union will have a mortal foe, one mortal foe more.
GOLDMAN: One more mortal foe?
TROTSKY: Yes, one more mortal foe. It is not a stable situation. And we are interested in prolonging this situation, to give the possibility to the revolutionary workers’ movement to develop, not to provoke ruptures, because the Soviet Union can be abolished as a workers’ state. The capitalist states are now more powerful, many times more powerful, than the Soviet state. But we must understand that this situation is not an eternal one, that the existence of the Soviet state depends in the last analysis on the development of revolution in the capitalist countries.
GOLDMAN: And I gather that your idea is that in the state of capitalism at the present time, in the state of decline, you don’t think that the Soviet Union can last for a very long period as an isolated Socialist stronghold in the capitalist world?
TROTSKY: No, it is excluded. When they say in the Soviet Union I am a pessimist. I can only be astonished, because it is a question of the world proletariat. Why must I be pessimistic about the world proletariat? I am especially optimistic about their establishing international Socialism. I hope the world proletariat will win power so that humanity will not decline totally. The situation is such: Either capitalism will abolish human culture through fascism, or the working class will win power and create a new basis for the new civilization. This is the only possibility. In that situation, I am optimistic. I don’t believe our civilization will perish. I believe the new development will begin, the Socialist development across the world.
In this life process, I see the fate of the Soviet Union. It is not a special paradise – the Soviet Union – for a select nation. It is part of human civilization, and no more. And I must recognize even the backward aspects in spite of the very important progress made.
GOLDMAN: Then. I take it that you believe that in order to save the Soviet Union, you have to extend the workers’ revolution to capitalist countries?
TROTSKY: Yes, it is the reason also for the creation of the Fourth International.
GOLDMAN: What is your opinion about the desirability of war as furthering the interests of Socialism?
TROTSKY: It is almost the same as if the question were asked: What is your opinion of cholera and epidemics for human civilization? (Laughter) When there was cholera – there was in Russia, and is now from time to time – we revolutionists sought by illegal leaflets to help the peasants. We denounced the régime of the Tsar. You know it is an interesting parallel. The Black Hundreds, our specific Russian reactionaries, accused us of spreading the germs of cholera. There were pogroms against the doctors, the students, the radical intelligentsia, and Jews, as a vengeance for spreading cholera. It was the measure of the reaction to reject the responsibility about sanitary conditions and to place it on the radical elements. I thank you very much for your question because I find the analogy very important. I assure you, under Tsarism we had twenty-five years of revolutionary activity, and I never asked for cholera. (Laughter) The same with war. If war comes in spite of us, we will use all the means to place the responsibility on the ruling classes and to accelerate the revolution. But to wish a war – it is absurd from every point of view. What do we need with artificial means for revolution? We have a revolution in Spain without war, but we are not capable of being victorious yet. We had in Germany two and three revolutions. There was in 1918, and in 1923 during the Ruhr occupation, a totally revolutionary situation. Before the victory of Hitler we had a totally revolutionary situation. The lack was not objective revolutionary situations, but revolutionary parties which had the necessary confidence of the masses and adequate leadership. Now, we need the creation of such parties and such leadership. For that we need time, and not to provoke artificial revolutionary situations with the purpose of losing them and so to allow millions of workers, hundreds of thousands, to perish in the defeat.
GOLDMAN: May I ask if you have always in your writings agitated against war?
TROTSKY: Yes. I believe the more a party, a workers’ party, is revolutionary, the less is the danger of war, because the only handicap for the imperialists in beginning a new war is the fear of a new revolution. If the danger is real, if the working class is penetrated with a revolutionary spirit, we can postpone the war and the revolution can proceed and not only make war impossible, but the revolution can replace war.
GOLDMAN: Is it not one of your theories that a war might destroy civilization altogether?
TROTSKY: Yes. If we have now in Europe a war without revolutionary parties, the danger is very great that the war will finish with the decline of European civilization. I wrote many times that in such a case civilization will find its new fatherland in the New World. Europe will become a backward province for a long period.
GOLDMAN: What has been your attitude towards German fascism both before and after it took power?
TROTSKY: I tried – I quoted, I believe, the first or the second day of the sessions, I quoted many articles and pamphlets written by me on the question: Why we can hinder Hitler to take power.
INTERPRETER: You mean how.
TROTSKY: Yes; how we can. I have many pamphlets, brochures and articles beginning in 1930. I tried to draw the attention of the Comintern to this tremendous danger, and they accused me of being in a panic, that I overestimated the Nazis in Germany, and that the most immediate foe was the Social-Fascists.
STOLBERG: You mean the so-called Social-Fascists?
TROTSKY: The Social Democrats.
STOLBERG: You don’t subscribe to that characterization?
TROTSKY: No. I was also a Left Social-Fascist, not a genuine fascist, but a Left Social-Fascist. The reason was, I insisted upon the necessity of the united front between the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, the united front against Hitler. But you know that in Germany the Communist Party concluded a united front with Hitler in Prussia against the Social-Democratic Government on the 9th of August 1931. It was the famous Prussian plebiscite initiated by Hitler and supported by the Communists. During all this time, I wrote those many pamphlets, and they are named in the list I presented to the Commission.
GOLDMAN: You wrote at that time the famous pamphlet, Germany, the Key to the International Situation?
TROTSKY: It was published in part by Von Ossietsky. He is now the winner of the Nobel Prize, and was in a concentration camp in Germany. He published my first pamphlet in his magazine, with a favorable introduction. He tried to interest the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party in the question.
GOLDMAN: You also wrote What Next? Vital Questions for the German Proletariat?
TROTSKY: Yes; it is a pamphlet of one hundred and fifty pages, where I accuse the Soviet bureaucracy of preparing the victory of Hitler by its policy.
GOLDMAN: Now, after Hitler ―
TROTSKY: Excuse me; I named Hitler at that time the future super-Wrangel. Wrangel was the last General-in-chief of the White Guards in Russia. He was a great danger for us. I said: “By your policy, you prepare a new Wrangel, a super-Wrangel on a worldwide scale. He will be Hitler.”
GOLDMAN: After Hitler took power, what was your attitude towards the relationship between Hitler and the Soviet Union?
TROTSKY: I didn’t try to provoke a war. But I showed in my writings how the Soviet bureaucracy in their hopes to remain in good relations with Hitler were absolutely wrong. Then I wrote in the French press in 1933 or 1934 – I wrote a series of articles in the bourgeois press denouncing the genuine plans of Hitler. You know, Mr. Chairman, I had a very peculiar manner of serving my allies, Hitler and the Mikado.
GOLDMAN: You mean your alleged allies.
TROTSKY: Yes, my alleged allies. (Laughter)
GOLDMAN: I introduce into evidence a pamphlet by Leon Trotsky entitled: What Hitler Wants, one of the John Day pamphlets, which is a translation of the articles written by Trotsky in the French press in 1933.
TROTSKY: Permit me to show a quotation in this connection – it is an official paper of the Soviet Union. It is about the 15th of March 1933. I have not the exact date, but we will find it. It is a quotation, not indicating the exact date, about the 15th of March 1933. I quote: “The USSR is the only state which is not nourished on hostile sentiments towards Germany and that, independent of the form and the composition of the government of the Reich.” [Isvestia, March 4, 1933 – Ed.] That was the official line.
GOLDMAN: At that time, just immediately after Hitler took power, the rulers of the Soviet Union attempted to continue their relations with Germany as they were before – is that right?
TROTSKY: Yes; Stalin declared and it was repeated in the press, that “we never opposed the movement in Germany.”
GOLDMAN: Where did you first point out in a series of articles the danger to the Soviet Union after Hitler came into power?
TROTSKY: I wrote an article about the Red Army. It was published in March, 1934, in ten languages. I wrote it especially also for the United States. It was published in the Saturday Noon Post, a large weekly.
FRANKEL: Evening Post.
TROTSKY: Yes, the Saturday Evening Post; I believe it is one of the important conservative weeklies in the country. A long article about the Red Army with the purpose – everybody knows that I am an exile. On one side, they can suppose that I am more critical than the officials. On the other side, I took part in the organization of the Red Army, and am acquainted with the question. By my article, I tried to give the Red Army more authority in the eyes of world opinion. I repeat, the article was printed in ten languages. It says: “To appreciate the strength of the Red Army, there is no necessity to idealize it.’ It is the final paragraph.
To speak of the prosperity of the people of the Soviet Union is, at least, premature. There is still too much misery, suffering, injustice, and, consequently, discontent. But the idea that the Soviet masses are inclined to await aid from the armies of the Mikado or Hitler cannot be appreciated except as delirium. In spite of all the difficulties of the transitional regime, the political and moral cohesion of the peoples of the USSR is sufficiently strong, in any case stronger than that of their possible adversaries. What has just been said does not at all mean that a war, even if victorious, will correspond to the interests of the Soviet Union. On the contrary, it will thrust her backward. But maintenance of peace depends at least on two parties. The facts must be taken as they are; not only is war not excluded, but rather it is almost inevitable. He who knows how and reads the book of history, he will understand in advance that if the Russian Revolution, which has lasted with ebb and flow for almost thirty years (since 1905), is forced to direct its course in the channel of war, it will unroll a formidable and destructive force.”
GOLDMAN: Where was that article written in the United States?
GOLDMAN: In what magazine did it appear in the United States?
TROTSKY: It was published in the Saturday Evening Post.
GOLDMAN: Will you furnish the Commission with the date?
TROTSKY: I will furnish a copy. It was published in my Bulletin on March 13th, 1934. It was during my alliance with the Mikado and Germany – my alleged alliance. (Laughter) It was published in the French paper, l’Instransigeant. In German, it was published in Czechoslovakia. It was published in ten languages.
GOLDMAN: Now, I forgot to number the exhibit I introduced just a while ago. The pamphlet What Hitler Wants I introduce into evidence as Exhibit No.28.
GOLDMAN: Now, did you write any articles –
RUEHLE (LaFollette translating from the German): I would like to know your opinion of the policy of the German Communist Party, and why it did not struggle at the time Hitler took power, why it did not struggle in opposition to Hitler.
TROTSKY: It is a very important question. The Communist Party conceded all the positions to Hitler without a blow. I declared – it was my crime in the eyes of the CI – that it was one of the greatest treasons of a revolutionary party in all history. With the bitterest enemies seizing power, the leaders had their passports for abroad, and the story was finished. It was a miserable attitude, and I accused the Comintern openly of betrayal of the German working class. It is not our position to provoke an artificial revolution; but it is a situation where I am in my home, in a worker’s home, the enemy enters by violence, and I sit in my place or go abroad. It was one of the most miserable treasons in history, and I accused them openly of it. I can say that they were objectively the allies of Hitler in that situation, and not myself.
RUEHLE (LaFollette translating from the German): One more question. What was the official Comintern position to Hitler’s seizure of power, and what was your reaction?
TROTSKY: The Communist Party and the Comintern, in order to justify their position, declared: “It is very good that Hitler comes into power now. He will last two or three weeks or two or three months, and then we will be the bosses in the house.” It was the current formula. I mentioned it yesterday in my writings presented to the Commission. I affirmed, “It is the greatest defeat, and the consequences will become more and more profound for years, and maybe for a decade.”
GOLDMAN: Have you ever written any articles dealing with the situation of Japan and the possibility of war between Japan and the Soviet Union?
TROTSKY: Yes; I wrote an article also in 1934. It was written in the beginning of 1934 and it was published – it was written July 1933 and published in the Bulletin in February 1934 under these two dates, July 12th, 1933, and February 1934. It was published in several foreign languages. It was published in the United States, in France, and I believe also in Czechoslovakia and in Denmark – in different countries. The title of the article is, Japan Advances Toward Catastrophe. I will give you a quotation. It begins:
Without doubt, the ruling classes of Japan have had their heads turned ... Economically Japan is weaker than any of her possible adversaries in a great war. Japanese industry is incapable of assuring, to an army of many millions of men, arms and military equipment over a period of many years. The Japanese financial system, which does not support the weight of militarism in time of peace, will undergo a complete retrenchment at the very beginning of the war. The Japanese soldier, in the mass, does not respond to the needs of the new technique and the new tactics. The population is profoundly hostile to the régime. The ends of the conquest will be incapable of welding together a divided nation. With the mobilization there will enter into the army hundreds of thousands of revolutionists or candidates for the title of revolutionists. Korea, Manchuria, and, behind them, China, will disclose, in fact, an implacable hostility for the Japanese yoke. The social thread of the country is broken, the lines are distended. In the steel frame of the military dictatorship, the Japanese official seems powerful, but war will pitilessly unveil this myth.
We have said nothing on the qualities compared with the Red Army; this question must be submitted to an independent examination. But even if, manifestly violating the proportions in favor of Japan, one admits the equality of material conditions in the two countries, there will remain the profound difference of moral factors. History tells us how military defeats give birth to revolution; but it will teach us how victorious revolutions, arousing the people and uniting its spirit, will give it an enormous dynamic force on the field of battle ...
In the interests of the two peoples and in that of the entire human civilization, we hope that Japanese militarism will not tempt fate.
I understand very well that history is not made by articles. But in so far as an article can have influence, I tried to make the Japanese general staff understand that it is not facing the Tsarist army. The whole article is constructed with the idea that the Japanese army as now compared with the Soviet Army is the same as the old Tsarist army compared with the Japanese army, and that Japan can meet on the fields of Siberia the same fate as the Tsarist army in the fields of Manchuria. That was the general idea of the article.
GOLDMAN: Do you know a man by the name of Hess?
TROTSKY: Yes; I learned his name from the papers and from the Verbatim Report.
GOLDMAN: He is connected with the fascists in Germany.
TROTSKY: Rudolf Hess is one of the Ministers of Hitler.
GOLDMAN: Did you ever see him?
TROTSKY: Only in the photos.
GOLDMAN: Did you have connections with him?
TROTSKY: No; I only heard his voice on the radio.
GOLDMAN: Did you ever communicate with any official of the fascist régime of Hitler?
GOLDMAN: Did you ever come to any agreement with them with reference to the surrender of Soviet territory?
GOLDMAN: I ask the same questions about the Japanese militarists.
TROTSKY: I gave you the same answers.
GOLDMAN: This next section is on the international situation. Mr. Glotzer is very anxious to rest his hand now.
DEWEY: We will take a short recess.
GOLDMAN: There are several questions that I want to ask you, Mr. Trotsky, before we proceed to the next section. When you played a leading rôle in the Soviet Union, did you express yourself in any way as against making any alliance between the Soviet Union and the capitalist countries?
GOLDMAN: What is your general attitude towards making alliances for war purposes or other purposes between the Soviet Union and a capitalist country?
TROTSKY: In so far as it can serve to preserve the Soviet Union, an alliance becomes a necessity. It is only a question of not hindering by this alliance the workers’ movement abroad. But in principle I admit it – the necessity of an alliance to preserve the Soviet Union.
GOLDMAN: In other words, in principle you admit that under certain circumstances it is necessary to make an alliance with a capitalist country?
TROTSKY: Under the condition that the Communist Party of the allied country is not obliged to support its Government, and that the Communist Party remains free in its opposition against the Government.
GOLDMAN: Concretely speaking, you have no objection to the Soviet Union making an alliance with France, a military alliance, but at the same time you object to the Communist Party voting in favor of the war budget of the French militarists?
GOLDMAN: Now, a question has been asked many times in reference to this point. I would like to have you clear it up. Lenin accepted aid from the German Kaiser in the sense that he accepted permission of the Kaiser to go through Germany to Russia. Would you accept that aid?
TROTSKY: To go to Russia? Hitler would help me with pleasure in this direction – to go to Russia.
GOLDMAN: For the purpose of getting rid of you?
TROTSKY: Yes; I understand your question.
GOLDMAN: Another question that is raised in the Communist press and by some well meaning people is to this effect: That in order to achieve your motives you would even be willing to make an alliance with Hitler. I think you answered it once before.
TROTSKY: I will answer it again. This argument is made often by intellectuals friendly to the Soviet Union. The accusation against me seems so absurd to them, even when they are my adversaries. The accusations are politically and psychologically unexplainable, and they must try to help themselves in finding some precedent. They say, “Lenin used a German car during the war and why cannot Pyatakov use a German airplane?” It is almost a transportation question, and no more! But I find there is an important difference between the two cases. Lenin was in Switzerland during the war. He tried to go through England to Russia, but England did not permit it. The only way to Russia was across Germany. Lenin proclaimed it clearly and openly to everybody. He convoked a conference in Switzerland of the German internationalists and the French internationalists and others, and said: “Ludendorff hopes that Russia will break apart through internal fights. He hopes to have help in that way from the radical and revolutionary elements. That is his hope. My hope is another one; but I will use his help. Are you in agreement with me?” They discussed it and said, “Yes, it is totally permissible in this connection.” And they signed a statement, all of them, the Germans and the Frenchmen, as a sort of international commission. Then he entered into the car and closed the door. There were twenty persons in the car. Nobody could enter the car during its trip across Germany. He came to Russia with the statement signed by the conference, and he explained openly to the workers, the first Soviet in Petrograd; “My situation was such and such. The only way possible was to go across Germany. The hopes of Ludendorff are his hopes, and mine are totally different. We will see who will be victorious.” He explained everything. He concealed nothing. He said it before the whole world. He was an honest revolutionist. Naturally, the chauvinists and patriots accused him of being a German spy, but in his relationship with the working class he was absolutely impeccable.
I ask where is the relationship, the analogy? I write articles and letters absolutely hostile to Hitler, to fascism and to the Japanese militarists. But, in secret, I enter into relations with Hess. My work, however, according to that opinion, signifies that ninety-nine, or more, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandths of my time is devoted to camouflage. My whole life is a camouflage, but my real work and action take only one or two hours. I find Hess – or, rather, I am alleged to have found Hess and discussed with him the manner of the dismemberment of the Soviet Union. After the discussion, I write a new article, in effect contrary to my supposed real work. Do you see here any similarity with Lenin’s trip across Germany? “Similar.” that is the word – yes?
TROTSKY: It was the contrary. Lenin’s attitude was honest. The attitude which they attribute to me characterizes these people as absolutely demoralized people, demoralized by irresponsibility and an arbitrary régime – that is, a totalitarian régime which forces everybody to lie in a manner approved by the bureaucracy.
BEALS: Can I ask one question, Mr. Trotsky? When you were in charge of the Red Army, the Soviet Army during the war ―
BEALS: During the war with Poland, did you not feel that as you advanced into Poland the Polish proletariat would rise to support you, would rise and throw off the Polish military regime?
TROTSKY: Repeat that.
BEALS: Did you think that the Polish proletariat would rise and throw off the Polish military regime?
TROTSKY: I explained before to the Commission that we had some differences with Lenin on this question. Lenin considered it simply under the influence, and from the information on Poland given through the Polish émigrés. The Polish émigrés, like all émigrés, were very optimistic about the possibility of revolution in their country. They made very optimistic observations. I was in the military train. I had no time to speak with the Polish émigrés, and I considered the situation more from a military point of view and the situation of the army. I was opposed to the war.
The war was imposed by Pilsudski. We did not begin the war. Pilsudski began the war. We did our best to defend ourselves. Then it was a question of prolonging the war, the defensive war. Our discussions began. I was skeptical concerning the possibility of an upheaval of the Polish proletariat. Rut I recognized the superiority of Lenin in this respect, that he was better informed. I fought against it, and Rykov fought with me. I believe we had two or three votes against it, or four votes.
BEALS: Do the Communists now charge you with being responsible for that advance?
BEALS: Don’t the Communists blame you for this advance?
TROTSKY: No. If they do, it is absolutely false. It is known in Russia by everybody, our discussions are known. Lenin said at a Congress that he had made a great mistake. Lenin was a very honest adversary.
BEALS: How about the idea of imposing Bolshevism in Poland?
TROTSKY: In that case, I was personally opposed to that idea. I repeat, it was not a war which we began for the purpose of imposing the revolution. It was only a question to what limits the defense should continue. It was a war of defense which, by the logic of the struggle, transformed itself into a war of aggression against Warsaw.
The question was whether we would be supported or not by the Polish proletariat. In that case I was opposed. It is known, it is written about, and articles were printed on this question. And also discussions held in our Congresses.
BEALS: May I ask one other question along the same line? I believe following the World War the American forces occupied a part of Soviet soil in various places. There was a charge that these forces supported, either directly or indirectly, the White Army. That was evidently for the purpose of spreading American democracy in the Soviet Union. Now, how would you go about spreading your ideas in the United States?
TROTSKY: At the moment, I have not at my disposition any armed force, nor use of them. (Laughter) I believe the danger for the United States from my side is not so tremendous for a long period. But I tried to explain that it is absolutely an absurd idea to try to impose on another country revolution against its own will, because we know that Napoleon tried to do it in Spain. Spain was a weak country. But there was a great defeat for Napoleon in Spain. He had only to fight against guerillas with his well organized army, but he was defeated. Even Robespierre said that people did not like missionaries with bayonets. Robespierre was right in this question.
GOLDMAN: Any other questions the Commissioners would like to put?
GOLDMAN: The next section – the general section that deals with the struggle between the Left Opposition and the Stalinist majority in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the methods of that struggle and the developments in that struggle. In order to give us a picture of that general political situation ―
FINERTY: Will you read that, Mr. Reporter? (Last remark read by reporter.)
GOLDMAN: Describe briefly the struggle between the Left Opposition and the Stalinists.
TROTSKY: I have already testified in part on this question. Because of the two attacks of illness of Lenin – Lenin was afraid of the development of the bureaucracy. It was a correct impression he had for some months during the interruption of his work. He proposed, and I described that in “My Life” – he proposed that I create a sub-commission for the purpose of fighting against bureaucracy, bureaucratism in the state apparatus. I answered: “It is not sufficient, because the origin – because it is connected with the Party.” He answered me: “You mean the Orgburo and the Central Control Commission?” It was his manner of making it precise. The Orgburo was a fortress of Stalin. The Political Bureau was the body – Lenin, Zinoviev and myself and others were on it – where all important questions were decided. The Orgburo was a subordinate body. Stalin was the general secretary of the Organizational Bureau. After Lenin’s illness and my illness, and under the “Troika,” the Orgburo became the genuine center. The apparatus was in the hands of the Orgburo. When I answered Lenin that the fight against bureaucratism of the state was impossible without a fight against the bureaucracy in the Party, he said: “You mean the Orgburo and the Central Control Commission.” It is the organizational bureau of the Central Committee. He said: “I propose to you a bloc.” I answered, “A good bloc with a good man is a good thing.” He said, “In a few days we will make plans for the fight.” It was our last discussion.
Then, after his second illness, they became bolder. It would be very interesting to give that procedure from a psychological point of view. Stalin never dared to believe that it would be possible to advance in such a manner, but when he began to speak against the international revolution and the permanent revolution he found immediately from all sides sympathy and support. Then the bureaucracy said: “We are in office, we are resolving our social questions. They, the adventurists, they want permanent revolution and the international revolution.” Stalin found immediately a tremendous echo. Then he began to feel he was the man in power. And then the bureaucracy began to elaborate its new ideas. The transformation of the revolutionary formulae of the proletarian revolution began. To the conservative bureaucracy, the formulae were just that. It is interesting from a theoretical, political and psychological point of view. It is not the personal falsification of one man, but the falsification of a whole caste of parvenus. They became totally satisfied, and they had to teach the people that they must also be satisfied. That was the mentality of the bureaucracy. It proceeded to do this in a short time. It was necessary to be more hasty than in the plans for collectivization and industrialization, and to elaborate new formulae to replace the old; all the old formulae of Bolshevism were named “Trotskyist.” That was the trick. What was the genuine thing in Bolshevism is opposed to every privilege, to the oppression of the majority by the minority. It was named “the program of Trotskyism” That was the beginning of the frame-up.
When you have only the Verbatim Report and read it, it seems to me absolutely incredible that one man or two men, Stalin and Vyshinsky, could elaborate such a dialogue as we heard yesterday, the dialogue between Drobnis and Vyshinsky. That was only a small part. Altogether, it is a libretto, a libretto by two or three or four people. It is absolutely impossible to understand how they could dare to do it. I want you to consider it not as a thing in itself, but as a part of a thing long prepared, beginning with the camouflage of the privileges of the bureaucracy. Then it is absolutely a natural thing. You can see the coefficient of the lie, the coefficient of the calumny, the coefficient of slander and the coefficient of falsification. When you establish this movement and the elements of its coefficient, you can predict what will be next time, next year. We predicted, without having the gift of prophecy, but only with simple observation and analysis.
GOLDMAN: The struggle between you and the Stalin majority began with the struggle by you against the bureaucratic tendencies of that majority – is that right?
TROTSKY: Yes; it began at first as an empirical difference. We asked them for more loyal preparation of the Party Congresses; to give more possibility to the members to express their opinions; not to forget that the functionary is himself connected with the Party secretary, and that it is necessary to be more severe with the bureaucracy.
I myself, for example, was afraid at the end of 1924, when they began to pay the leaders of the workers’ movement in Great Britain. I will not give here the names. I will communicate the names. They gave to the wives of the leaders – they dared not give money – they gave jewelry to the wives who visited Russia, to win their sympathy. The Irish-English author, O’Flaherty, describes that in his book in a very cynical manner. He himself took a thousand rubles. He said, “In every country it is the custom to buy some authors, but nowhere is it done with such cynicism as in the Soviet Union.” That was in 1925 or 1926.
GOLDMAN: The Left Opposition fought for greater democracy?
TROTSKY: Yes, greater democracy and greater honesty, also.
GOLDMAN: Will you give us an idea of the development of the struggle and the issues that came up, up to the time of the expulsion?
TROTSKY: We tried not to lose our Party. We thought we could re-establish the Party with a Marxist program, without splits and without danger to the Soviet state. In 1926, the struggle was very acute. Then we tried to find some compromise between us and the apparatus, to introduce the struggle into more statutory channels. But then came the Chinese Revolution. The attitude of the Stalinists in the Chinese Revolution was as dangerous as now in Spain. It was in 1927, in October, when the Central Committee, behind our backs, sent a telegram – it is also published – to the Chinese Central Committee to stop the agrarian movement because it was the time of an alliance between Stalin and Chiang Kai-Shek.
GOLDMAN: You mean the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party?
TROTSKY: The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party – to stop the agrarian movement because the Generals and officers of the National Armies were in their majority landlords and rich farmers. The agrarian movement of the poorer peasants, which was the genuine Chinese revolutionary movement, was dangerous to the higher stratum of the officers. Stalin was afraid to lose his alliance, as now with France. He sent a cable. He has assured the French bourgeoisie not to be afraid of a revolutionary policy in Spain. He reflects the French bourgeoisie. The same thing in China. Then the struggle became very acute for many months on the basis of our differences concerning the Chinese revolution.
GOLDMAN: In the previous sessions, during the former direct examination, you mentioned among the differences the question of democracy, Soviet democracy, trade-union democracy, and party democracy. You also mentioned the question of industrialization as being one of the issues between you and Stalin.
TROTSKY: It was the first question. It began with the question of industrialization, and at that time it was not a question of two principles. We began new economic orientations. We were all pupils of history. The question of industrialization was a new one. We looked for a good road. I proposed a more courageous policy in this respect. Stalin was very timid, but at the beginning this question took on a venomous character and connected fully with the question of democracy and the bribery of our functionaries. Then we had this feeling, that it was not incidental differences, but that there were two minds, two methods, two moods, and two moralities, if you wish. Then it became a factional struggle.
GOLDMAN: And the fundamental theory upon which the whole struggle revolved was the question or the theory of “Socialism in one country”?
GOLDMAN: That was adopted by Stalin?
TROTSKY: That was adopted by Stalin. In the Spring of 1924 he rejected the theory.
GOLDMAN: In the Spring of 1924 he rejected this theory?
GOLDMAN: When did he adopt it?
TROTSKY: In the Fall he adopted it for the first time. All the dates are established. You know, everybody in Russia who has the quotation of Stalin back from the Spring 1924 – if the GPU finds this quotation and Lenin’s testament on a student, it is a sign that he is an Oppositionist. Then he is accused of having conspiratorial counter-revolutionary literature – that is, Lenin’s testament and Stalin’s statement of the Spring of 1924. It is not an exaggeration. I affirm that with full responsibility.
GOLDMAN: Some of these questions ―
TROTSKY: Why he adopted it? Because the bureaucracy had a feeling that we had accomplished our work with the revolution, and now we must enjoy the fruits of this work. The theory that our revolution was connected with the revolutions abroad was a menace to a calm situation. It was necessary to give assurance to the bureaucracy that the revolution was finished. It was our national revolution and we were now in peace. That is why Stalin, to satisfy his own apparatus, must adopt the theory he rejected six months before:
GOLDMAN: And all of these issues culminated in the expulsion of the Left Opposition at the Fifteenth Congress; is that right?
TROTSKY: The beginning of the discussion was at the Thirteenth Congress, before the Thirteenth Congress.
GOLDMAN: When did the Thirteenth Congress take place?
TROTSKY: The Thirteenth Congress took place in 1925.
GOLDMAN: And the Fourteenth Congress?
TROTSKY: In 1926. It was the Congress where Zinoviev and Kamenev for the first time appeared as Oppositionists.
GOLDMAN: At the Fourteenth Congress, you had already made a bloc with Zinoviev and Kamenev?
TROTSKY: No. You know, the explosion was absolutely unexpected by me, I was in the Politburo, They had there ―
GOLDMAN: A caucus?
TROTSKY: A caucus, but a secret caucus, unpenetrable by me. The expectation of a struggle between Stalin and Zinoviev and Kamenev was unsuspected at the Congress. During the Congress I waited in uncertainty, because the whole situation changed. It appeared absolutely unclear to me, It characterized in what manner the apparatus was separated from the masses when I, a member of the Politburo, was absolutely ignorant of the doings in their caucus. At the Congress, I pronounced only one word, a characterization of Zinoviev’s speech. He said Stalin accused him, Zinoviev, of being too sharp against me. Zinoviev answered, “After all the accusations were launched against Trotsky, I believed it was impossible to have him in the Politburo.” I cried, “Totally correct!”
But only after the Congress did Zinoviev and Kamenev look for a new orientation in their depreciation before the workers of Leningrad and Moscow. They were chairmen of the two Soviets, Then they could find no other way than the program of the Left Opposition. Zinoviev declared three months after the Party Congress that Trotsky was right in his accusations.
GOLDMAN: And after that Congress, the Fourteenth Congress, you made a bloc with Zinoviev and Kamenev?
GOLDMAN: That bloc lasted until when?
TROTSKY: Until the Fall of 1927.
GOLDMAN: And when was the Opposition expelled?
TROTSKY: It was December 1927.
GOLDMAN: At the Fifteenth Congress. Now, you have already answered this question, but I want you to answer it again. What was the attitude of the Left Opposition to the Party and Communist International after your expulsion?
TROTSKY: We regarded ourselves, in spite of our expulsion, as part of the Party and part of the Communist International, among the leaders, I can state, Zinoviev gave his capitulation the formula: “To enter the Party” But he must keep quiet. We were expelled, but we could openly proclaim our opinions and, in that way, discuss with the Party. We were actually members of the Party.
GOLDMAN: I believe you told us before, your attitude on this matter changed after Hitler took power.
TROTSKY: Then we declared that the historical event was the defeat of the German proletariat. We said, “By the attitude of Stalin’s Politburo and the CI, they are a hindrance to the understanding of the lessons of this defeat. We cannot wait for a long time for historical miracles. The Comintern as a revolutionary organization is dead. We must create a new organization.”
GOLDMAN: Can you tell us briefly if there were any new questions that arose after your expulsion from the Party, upon which there were differences of opinion between the Left Opposition and the Stalinist majority?
TROTSKY: New events in the Party?
GOLDMAN: Between 1927 and 1933, were there any new questions that arose upon which there were differences between you and Stalin?
TROTSKY: Yes; there was the question of the Five-Year Plan, of collectivization and industrialization, and then the question also concerning the Right Wing. The Right-Wing question was an important question. During the Fourteenth Congress, Zinoviev accused Bukharin and Rykov of a right deviation. And Stalin took their defense. He proclaimed, “You call for the blood of Bukharin.” He cried: “Zinoviev, you want the blood of Bukharin. We will not give you the blood of Bukharin.” Zinoviev answered: “It is not a question of blood, it is a question of a political tendency. We will condemn some ideas of Bukharin at this Congress and remain good friends.”
GOLDMAN: Where is Bukharin?
TROTSKY: Bukharin is now awaiting the moment when Stalin will take his blood.
GOLDMAN: Were there any questions with regard to Germany where there was a difference of opinion?
TROTSKY: Yes, in 1923. Back in 1924, or the end of 1923.
GOLDMAN: I mean between 1927 and 1933.
TROTSKY: It was the beginning of the fight against fascism.
GOLDMAN: On the united front?
TROTSKY: The united front with the Social Democracy.
GOLDMAN: Stalin was against the united front with the Social Democracy?
TROTSKY: At that time he gave the famous slogan that the Social Democracy and fascism were not antipodes, but – what is the word?
TROTSKY: Twins, and not antipodes. That is why, when I asked or when I demanded an exact formula – I demanded the united front – he declared I was a Social-Fascist.
GOLDMAN: Now, describe briefly the methods of the struggle.
TROTSKY: I must say, it is a tragic situation that in the Politburo no one – they direct not only Russian politics, but the politics of the Comintern – not one of them knows any foreign language. It is not a reproach; it is not the duty of everybody to know a foreign language. How can they in such a despotic manner guide sixty sections of the Comintern without knowing any foreign language?
GOLDMAN: You mean Stalin does not know any language outside of Russian?
GOLDMAN: He knows Georgian? (Laughter)
TROTSKY: Yes; it is a very important language for the Georgian people.
GOLDMAN: Now tell us briefly the methods which the Left Opposition used, beginning with 1923 or 1922, to get the majority of the Party to adopt its ideas, what methods were used by the Left Opposition?
TROTSKY: The methods were the common methods of Party life, we made speeches and we wrote articles.
GOLDMAN: Were these articles printed?
TROTSKY: In 1923 and 1924, part of the articles were printed from time to time. But in every case, where the article was very persuasive and important, there was a special decision of the Central Committee not to print it. It was – for example, there was for our discussions in the Central Committee a stenographer.
GOLDMAN: Taken down by a stenographer?
TROTSKY: Yes, but after the defeat of the Chinese Revolution we had all the documents in order to answer – all documents concerning Stalin’s cable to stop the agrarian revolution, and then the story about submitting the Communist Party to the dictates of the bourgeoisie in China, the decision was that this question was very dangerous from the international point of view, that is why the discussion must be held without a stenographer and behind closed doors. It was the ordinary procedure. Then they refused to print our articles at all.
GOLDMAN: And what did you do when they refused?
TROTSKY: We typed them on a machine and then gave them to friends. They typed them again, and so we had some primitive method of printing,
GOLDMAN: Was that done ―
TROTSKY: The young comrades, they were more impatient. They secured a mimeograph machine. They were discovered. That was the case when the GPU agent, the former Wrangel officer, proposed to get them connections for paper and so on. The GPU accused them of being in an alliance with a White Guard officer.
GOLDMAN: When was the first time that violence was used against the Left Opposition?
TROTSKY: In 1927 were the first arrests officially.
GOLDMAN: Who was arrested?
TROTSKY: I believe it was Mrachkovsky. It was a question of a “conspiracy.” Another agent of the GPU, Tverskoi, was involved. I have all the documents, and I would be glad if the Commission would create a sub-commission to study them. They reveal the embryo of the present frame-up. There was a young man by the name of Shtsherbakov. He had in his room a “printshop,” that is, a hectograph. Another was Stroilov of the GPU, the former officer of Wrangel. This same Stroilov allegedly discovered a military plot of the White officers in Siberia through a man named Tverskoi. There was the former officer of Wrangel, the agent of the GPU who proposed to get paper for the young Oppositionist. This same former officer of Wrangel was connected with Tverskoi. He had nothing to do with the Opposition. Both were agents of the GPU. Then the GPU and Stalin affirmed that this printing job, through a Wrangel officer and Mrachkovsky, was connected with a military plot in Siberia. At the session of the Central Committee Menzhinsky, chief of the GPU, read some papers and documents on the “conspiracy.” That was in 1927. The overwhelming majority of the Central Committee were absolutely perplexed. Komensky was there. He was a member of the Central Committee and is now Minister of Health. He was close to Stalin, a friend of his group. He became pale as the wall. Everybody was so shaken by the falsehood that the chairman had to interrupt the session. Stalin was too impatient in this question. It was not prepared well. It was necessary to implicate everybody and demoralize them by specific methods. He began too early. The embryo of the frame-up was totally abandoned, as a painter abandons a sketch which is not good. They began another – a bigger sketch. Here is a map of the sketches for the frame-up in Moscow. (Trotsky indicates a number of files.) It was necessary to educate not only the prosecutor, for example – because Vyshinsky was not born as he is now. It was necessary for Stalin to educate himself as well as all the others. Ulrich, the chairman of the Military Court, was named by me. I knew him when he was a boy of ten.
STOLBERG: He was appointed?
TROTSKY: He was appointed as a military judge by me. He was an honest young man. I knew his father in Siberia. He was of German Baltic origin, but totally Russianized. His father and mother, I knew them in Siberia. When I visited them, Ulrich was a boy of ten years. He had a hole in his trousers. I remember well how he covered this hole with his hand. He was at that time a boy of ten years. I had sympathy for this boy. Then he became a jurist and was recommended to me by one of my close collaborators as a good young man. He produced on me the best impression, and I named him a military judge. Stalin must have educated him during the ten years to become what he is now. With the others it is the same. It is a system of demoralizing good people. Stalin also was not born a master of frame-ups. He was a good learner. If he could have had more imagination, historical imagination for ten years, he would never have begun his plots. It was only his lack of historical imagination and the shortness of his vision, which is penetrating, but very short and for empirical things. By and by, he became an instrument of the bureaucracy himself, its leader only because he follows it. He became demoralized himself. Such is the ultimate logic of the bureaucratic system.
GOLDMAN: In 1927, November 7th, during the celebration of the October Revolution – was there any incident at that time between the Left Opposition and the Stalinist majority?
TROTSKY: Yes. It was the incident which is presented now by the official historians and by Mr. Louis Fischer, for instance, in the last copy of The Nation. But it is impossible to read his article, because it is better to read the official documents. He gives only a mechanical interpretation of the last official documents of the Soviet Union. I prefer the original to a belletristic copy. It is a semi-official, novelistic copy. He affirms that it was an insurrection – not the beginning of an insurrection. We participated in the official anniversary manifestation with our slogans. In the past, it was the right of every Party section to have some slogans, some specific slogans, and so on. Our slogans were: “Fight against the kulak and against the Nepman [the “Nepman” was the new speculator] and against the bureaucrats, we will accomplish the testament of Lenin.”
TROTSKY: Fulfill the testament of Lenin – something of that kind. You know it was pretty difficult to accuse them officially about the testament of Lenin in the Soviet Union at that time. In spite of that, the GPU squads – they took the manifestoes and they annihilated ...
TROTSKY: Destroyed, rather, the placards, and they arrested some people. Then I visited my friend Smilga in his room. I believe Zinoviev was in Leningrad. I read you a letter of Zinoviev from Leningrad at that time. The letter ends with the words: “I admit entirely that Stalin will tomorrow circulate the most venomous versions. – We are taking steps to inform the public. Do the same. Warm greetings, Yours, Zinoviev.” They had in Leningrad the same experiences as we in Moscow.
FINERTY: You mean they had street demonstrations in Leningrad?
TROTSKY: It was called officially a street demonstration. Radek and Zinoviev were pushed into a closed room and arrested for hours by the GPU in advance, and accused of preparation of an insurrection. It was our first insurrection.
TROTSKY: Yes, alleged.
FINERTY: Mr. Goldman, Mr. Trotsky referred to a file with sketches of the frame-ups. Are you introducing that into evidence?
GOLDMAN: Yes; it is a folder for introduction.
TROTSKY: It is not quite ready. If the Commission this afternoon is not working with us. Why, during this afternoon I will prepare it better.
DEWEY: May I ask just one question: Was there any popular response or reaction to the attack on the demonstration?
TROTSKY: There was. You know, the official demonstration, Mr. Chairman, was this time prepared in an absolutely military and GPU manner. You had, at the head of every column – you have a squad of the GPU, only in civil clothes. The bureaucratic elements, as a nucleus, are incorporated in the demonstration. All the preparation is minute. There is the director of the factory, the secretary of the factory, and a section of the factory. They know everybody, and everybody follows them, under the control of his superiors. It is a question of the existence of his family, because in the hands of the rulers are the means which they can employ to eliminate him from the factory. Then he must die, because all the means of production are concentrated in the same hands. In 1936 – I will ask for the introduction of this document – in 1936, before the trial, before the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial, during the purge of the Party – “purge,” not?
TROTSKY: There was an order in Pravda saying: “When it is a man who is not politically dangerous, but only corrupt” – it was expressed in other words – “we can use him at another job. Only if he is a political adversary, that is, an Oppositionist, then nobody has a right to give him work.” What does it mean in the Soviet Union not to get work? He cannot go to a private capitalist. He supports himself by material means. The wife of Joffe, the famous Soviet diplomat who committed suicide as an Oppositionist in 1927, his wife is in Siberia, or was in Siberia, and the last news was that she committed suicide also. She was sent to Siberia because of her activity and help to people who were deprived of any means of existence.
DEWEY: I suppose there was a danger created by this celebration. There must have been a great many people.
TROTSKY: Yes, a half a million, or even a million.
DEWEY: Now, I was simply asking whether there was any reaction on the part of this guard against the inferences of the banners or placards, and the spectators – from the spectators?
TROTSKY: There were no spectators. All the people were marching in a military manner. There was no place for spectators.
DEWEY: I mean the guard.
TROTSKY: The guard is a military organization. The attitude of the guard was simply the attitude of the members of the Central Committee.
DEWEY: There was no reaction?
TROTSKY: No active reaction.
DEWEY: That is all I wanted to know.
GOLDMAN: It was after the expulsion that wholesale arrests began of the Left Opposition, after the expulsion at the Fifteenth Congress?
TROTSKY: After the expulsion, immediately.
FINERTY: May I ask one question, Mr. Trotsky? How many of that half a million or million people would you say were sympathetic to you?
TROTSKY: It is very difficult to say, because there was a change in the structure of the Party. It is not the people, it is the Party organization which decides, even the attitude of the guard. In the beginning – in 1924, the Party changed totally its composition – the Party was composed of revolutionaries who participated in the October Revolution. But in 1924, the best qualification of a new member of the Party was to be a worker who had been twenty or twenty-five years in the same factory. In Russia, who could be in the same factory twenty or twenty-five years? In every strike, every progressive worker was arrested and sent to Siberia, and only the pious, religious people, the docile people, could have remained twenty to twenty-five years in the same factory. Now, these people, hearing new authorities, say, “Now we must have the same attitude, whoever are the new authorities.” The new composition was a minority of the proletariat – the minority of the politically active proletariat. Then there was an intermediary stratum, and they formed the reactionary element. The reactionary elements became the best supporters of the majority after they entered the Party.
FINERTY: What I mean is this: The implication is that you organized street demonstrations of large proportions in Moscow. Is that the fact, or did you plant in this general Party celebration – did you plant banners and slogans at certain points?
TROTSKY: It was a silent manifestation with placards. In the guard, in the organized guard, were comrades who belonged to a factory and who participated with their own factory. It is very important. When they left the factory with their slogans, the workers did not protest. They came with the factory workers in a general column.
TROTSKY: Yes, procession. Then when the GPU squads took them ―
GOLDMAN: Did the masses know the differences that divided the Left Opposition from the Stalinist majority?
TROTSKY: It depends. In the more progressive factories, the greater part of the workers understood it, but many workers were more backward. The old workers, the old reactionary workers – or, rather, the conservative workers.
FINERTY: What I would like to find out is whether your demonstration, such as it was, was accomplished by means of a few sympathizing sectors of the various units in this parade, or whether you had a large mass of the parade organized by you?
TROTSKY: We had, in Moscow, active members of the Opposition, I believe twenty thousand or thirty thousand workers. They were among their factories; in the factories, where we had support, they entered into the manifestations with their placards. They were tolerated and even passively and actively supported by the other workers. I believe – I can say, not in an active manner, the sympathy of the workers was on our side. But it was not a spirit of fight. The masses said: “We will see what we can do. We will see.” It was a moment when the Opposition had been banned two or three times.
FINERTY: Was this an attempted organization of a coup d’état?
TROTSKY: No; absolutely no. We did not overestimate our forces. We had an absolutely clear reckoning on the forces. It was only to show to the Party that we were calumniated in the press and that we said not to fire against the progressive worker but against the speculator, and to fulfill the testament of Lenin, and so on. It was our defense against calumnies, against the frame-up, against the first amalgam.
FINERTY: I was going to ask: Did Stalin understand it at that time and approve this removal?
TROTSKY: Yes, I believe so. What we proposed was to the Party by legal Party means.
DEWEY: I just wanted to ask whether there was documentary evidence of what was on these placards. Is there a record of the actual content?
TROTSKY: The text of them?
DEWEY: Yes, the text.
TROTSKY: I believe there were seven slogans. I believe I can find them in my archives.
DEWEY: I think that should be in the record at the disposal of the Commission.
GOLDMAN: All right.
DEWEY: We will take a short recess now.
GOLDMAN: Now, Mr. Trotsky, you told us during the previous sessions what the methods were that were used by the Left Opposition after the expulsion. Will you repeat that answer briefly so that we can get it into the record at this time?
TROTSKY: During my sojourn in Siberia, the Left Opposition was permitted correspondence in Siberia. It was proposed to give to the GPU the possibility to follow our inner life, and to see which one was inclined to capitulate, which one was opposed, et cetera. During the first eight or nine months our activity consisted of writing the principal political and theoretical theses, and so forth.
GOLDMAN: Have you any idea, approximately, how many Left Oppositionists were arrested and deported to Siberia at that time?
TROTSKY: At that time our appraisal was that there were about eleven thousand.
INTERPRETER: You mean estimate.
TROTSKY: We estimated about eleven thousand.
GOLDMAN: Subsequent to that, did you get any information?
TROTSKY: Excuse me, it was immediately after the Fifteenth Congress.
GOLDMAN: Eleven thousand were arrested in that short period after the Fifteenth Congress?
TROTSKY: During the same weeks.
GOLDMAN: From Moscow only or from the whole country?
TROTSKY: From the whole country.
GOLDMAN: Did you receive any information which would enable you to make an estimate as to how many Oppositionists were arrested after that?
TROTSKY: It is difficult to say. I quoted Victor Serge, who affirms in his very serious and cautious appreciation that from Leningrad alone in the last time, before the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial, they banished to Siberia between 60,000 and 100,000 women and children, families of people under suspicion. He had seen them at the railroad station, absolutely helpless, in crowded wagons.
GOLDMAN: Meaning trains.
DEWEY: What date?
TROTSKY: That was 1935 or 1936. Ciliga affirms the same.
GOLDMAN: From 1927, the end of 1927, when you were expelled, up to the present, did the Left Opposition ever use any other methods outside of education and propaganda to win over the masses?
TROTSKY: Not in the slightest degree. We warned in letters and conversations that we must be prepared to have provocations from certain elements to use violence. I warned them against that.
GOLDMAN: Will you prepare for the benefit of the Commission a list of those letters, articles, and documents wherein you predicted that violence would be used against the Left Opposition? Will you prepare such a list?
TROTSKY: Yes; it is only a question of translation. I hope we will succeed in translating it – all the quotations are in my hands. Only it is necessary to translate them into English. I hope to translate them before the Commission leaves for New York.
GOLDMAN: Do you claim that you anticipated the use of violence, the use of frame-ups by Stalin against you?
TROTSKY: I cannot say anticipation, because it was anticipation supported by some sketches from the bureaucracy, and I could appreciate the direction of the bureaucracy. I was sure that – in the session of the Central Committee in the Fall of 1927, I tried to picture it – I was absolutely sure that the next step would be better prepared by Stalin. That was my prediction. It would not be the last attempt. It was only a fiasco, but that fiasco predicted a new attempt, better prepared.
GOLDMAN: Do you refer to that session of the Central Committee in which Stalin came out with the accusation about the Wrangel officer printing the Left Opposition program?
GOLDMAN: Now, will you briefly enumerate the trials that have been held in the Soviet Union since the Kirov assassination, involving you directly or indirectly? Give us in very summary form an idea of the accusations and the results.
TROTSKY: The first trial – before the trial, there were one hundred and four shot according to the Soviet press; they were supposed to be White Guards.
GOLDMAN: After the Kirov assassination?
TROTSKY: After the Kirov assassination?
TROTSKY: During the first sixteen days of December. They communicated themselves that there were one hundred and four shot without trial; that they came from abroad as agents of foreign powers, agents of diversion and terrorism and so on. Without appreciation ―
GOLDMAN: Without what?
TROTSKY: Without appreciation. (Trotsky here spoke in French.)
FINERTY: Without defining the charges?
TROTSKY: Have you the word precise? They did not precise what connection there was between the people shot and the murder.
GOLDMAN: They did not give any definite charges?
TROTSKY: They were in a general formula connected with the murder of Kirov. Then, the first trial was the trial of Nikolayev, the genuine murderer of Kirov, and of his alleged accomplices, on the 28th and z9th of December, 1954; with fourteen condemned to be shot.
GOLDMAN: You are taking your reports from the Soviet press?
TROTSKY: Exclusively from the Soviet press. The indictment in the Nikolayev trial was published, and in this indictment my name appeared for the first time in such a question – that Nikolayev after twenty days of arrest confessed that a foreign consul in Leningrad gave him five thousand rubles for terroristic acts; that the same consul asked if he did not wish to send a letter to Trotsky, because, he, the consul, could possibly transmit the letter. In the indictment there is not a word about the answer of Nikolayev about the letter, only about the proposition of the consul, who gave him five thousand rubles and asked for a letter to me. I abstain from making any comment.
GOLDMAN: You will comment on that in your argument; is that right?
TROTSKY: Yes. I have here the official statement in the press.
GOLDMAN: The witness refers to an edition of the Pravda, the 27th of November 1934. If a translation can be made, it will be made and put into the record.
FINERTY: And the original filed with the record?
GOLDMAN: The original filed with the record.
TROTSKY: I must add that the diplomatic corps asked for the name of the consul because everybody was compromised, all the consuls. Then, after many days, the Soviet Government declared it was a Latvian consul, Bisseneks. His name was Bisseneks. He left Russia for Finland. I believe he was helped on his trip to Finland by some Moscow authorities. He, the consul, said to Nikolayev that he could establish communication with Trotsky if Nikolayev transmitted some letters from his group to Trotsky.
GOLDMAN: When was the next trial?
FINERTY: Will you show for the record whether any proceedings of the Kirov trial were published, or whether they were secret?
GOLDMAN: Were there any proceedings reported and published with reference to this trial?
TROTSKY: Never. In all the following trials, the name of this consul is never even mentioned.
GOLDMAN: What was the verdict in that trial? What happened to the defendants?
TROTSKY: All fourteen were shot.
GOLDMAN: That was for the murder of Kirov?
FINERTY: Was the trial published?
TROTSKY: No; the genuine Kirov trial was secret.
GOLDMAN: When was the next trial?
TROTSKY: The next trial was the trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev on the charge of moral responsibility for the assassination of Kirov, held on the 15th and 16th of January 1935. After the assassination of the fourteen, only after, they opened a new trial against Zinoviev and Kamenev.
GOLDMAN: How many were involved in that trial?
TROTSKY: In that trial, I believe, nineteen. It is not mentioned here.
GOLDMAN: And the indictment charged they were morally responsible?
TROTSKY: The indictment was ambiguous in this sense: It was supposed that there was more than a moral responsibility, but they did not have proof, and that is why the moral responsibility was used.
GOLDMAN: What was the result of that trial?
TROTSKY: Prison, from five to ten years, for all the accused.
GOLDMAN: When was the next trial involving the Kirov assassination?
TROTSKY: It was the trial of the head of the Leningrad section of the GPU, Medved, and also of his associates, on the charge that they “had at their command information on the plot against Kirov,” but “had not taken measures to discover and put an end” to the activity of the terrorist organization.
GOLDMAN: You are quoting from what?
TROTSKY: I quoted from the official statement of the Government in the Soviet press.
GOLDMAN: In the Pravda?
GOLDMAN: Have you a copy of the Pravda that contains that?
TROTSKY: It is not mentioned here.
GOLDMAN: You will furnish the Commission with the original and translation?
GOLDMAN: How many defendants were there during that trial?
TROTSKY: Twelve, all condemned to prison from one to ten years.
GOLDMAN: And Medved?
TROTSKY: And Medved; yes.
GOLDMAN: What did you say the verdict was, condemned to prison for what?
TROTSKY: From two to ten years. I must add that in spite of the fact that all were accused that they knew of the preparation of the Kirov assassination but did not take measures, none of them was quoted as witness in the subsequent trials. Officially it is stated that they knew, but none of them gave testimony in the trial of Kamenev and Zinoviev and others.
GOLDMAN: By the way, were there any official reports issued on that trial?
TROTSKY: Yes; I believe, not the full indictment, but an official communiqué.
GOLDMAN: With the evidence included?
TROTSKY: No; only the general formula that the accused knew of the preparations.
GOLDMAN: But no official report of the evidence?
STOLBERG: Did they all confess?
TROTSKY: Naturally. (Laughter) Nobody appears at the trial unless he is prepared to confess.
FINERTY: In the Kirov trial, did they all confess?
TROTSKY: We know nothing. I believe – it was not made known – it was not the case. Before, they did not publish anything. It was behind closed doors.
FINERTY: How about the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial? Did they all confess moral responsibility?
TROTSKY: There was a trial of Zinoviev and Kamenev in July 1935 ―
FINERTY: The one in January 1935, I mean.
GOLDMAN: Did they confess?
TROTSKY: It was the first sketch of confessions of this kind. It was not perfect. Zinoviev confessed that he made criticisms against the Government, and these criticisms provoked dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction provoked terroristic inspiration. Kamenev confessed only that he did not break off his relations with Zinoviev. It was the confession of Evdokimov, Bakayev, and the other defendants of the next trial – they confessed in the same way.
GOLDMAN: After the Medved trial, when was the next trial?
TROTSKY: The next trial was that of Kamenev and others, held in July 1935 on the charge of preparing a plot against Stalin. Kamenev received five additional years in prison. He had five years already. There was no report, no communiqué, concerning this trial. I can learn about this only from the verdict of the August 1936 trial, where it is mentioned in the enumeration of the defendants, that Kamenev was condemned to five additional years in July 1935.
GOLDMAN: You are reading from what now?
TROTSKY: It is page 174.
GOLDMAN: Of the official report?
TROTSKY: Of the official report of Court Proceedings in the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center.
FINERTY: What was he convicted on?
TROTSKY: Only one thing we know. I repeat it is official that he received five additional years in prison. But we know from Ciliga and Victor Serge that the trial was especially organized in order to educate Kamenev for the next trial and to break his backbone, especially when he was denounced by his own brother, a demoralized artist.
TROTSKY: Bankrupt and totally demoralized. He was the most important witness against Kamenev, and Kamenev told Ciliga and others in prison that he knew only two persons, his own brother and another. Of the thirty defendants, he knew only one. Two were shot. I believe one officer of the Red Army of the Kremlin Garrison and another – I don’t know who the other is.
FINERTY: As a result of this trial?
TROTSKY: It is not official. It is what he knew in private, arising from various other serious sources.
GOLDMAN: After that trial, when was the next trial?
TROTSKY: The next trial was the Zinoviev-Kamenev trial in August 1936. Sixteen defendants were shot.
GOLDMAN: And then the last trial was the one ―
TROTSKY: The Novosibirsk trial on the charge of sabotage and terrorism was held the 19th to the 22nd of November, 1936. Six of the nine accused were shot. It is my explanation, but it is based on the situation, that the Novosibirsk trial was organized especially for Pyatakov, as the trial of July 1935 for Kamenev. In the Novosibirsk trial Drobnis appeared for the first time as a witness against Pyatakov. The nine defendants were presented as the instruments of Pyatakov. Six of them were shot. It seems to me that Pyatakov confessed only after that trial. I believe he confessed only in December, and the trial was held in November. I must verify my affirmation, but I believe it is correct.
GOLDMAN: And after Novosibirsk?
TROTSKY: It was the Pyatakov-Radek trial of January 1937. Thirteen of the seventeen accused were shot.
GOLDMAN: Now, since then, has anything happened in Soviet Russia which was attributed to you or to your followers, that you knew, reported in the press?
TROTSKY: Yes; there was reported the news concerning our son. But it was not so concrete. There was a fire in a school, and the school was demolished. Three Trotskyites were shot because they knew and permitted it in order to set the school on fire with the purpose of the assassination of children, and to provoke dissatisfaction of the population.
GOLDMAN: When you say three Trotskyites, you mean three people alleged to be Trotskyites?
TROTSKY: Yes, yes.
GOLDMAN: Anything else that happened since then attributed to you or your followers, or your alleged followers?
TROTSKY: Yes, I read in a cable that the Government issued a manifesto to the population in which are enumerated acts of sabotage and other crimes. Then are enumerated the factories where Trotskyites, alleged Trotskyites, were saboteurs, and so on. It seems that there can be only the purpose of preparing a new trial; I don’t know.
GOLDMAN: Do you care to give us any opinion about any future trial involving Bukharin and others?
TROTSKY: I heard from private sources that Rykov refused to confess, and that is the reason why the promised trial cannot be materialized. Vyshinsky can accuse only people who confess.
GOLDMAN: Do you expect that Bukharin and Rykov also will be connected with you?
TROTSKY: Everything is possible. It is a witch’s play, a very terrible one, but it is a combination of gunfire and what is necessary for Stalin. I could indicate that he eliminates for the moment Molotov as a national hero, from the list of victims. I could explain it because I knew the material. I can say now what it is about. It is the preparation for a new trial. I don’t know the concrete circumstances. I know only that Bukharin was sent abroad in 1936, the beginning of 1936, for the factories. He was their agent. He was in Prague, a tourist. Now, I ask myself if it was not with the purpose of preparing with him a new combination. He gave a lecture in Prague, totally in the official spirit. But it is possible they sent him in order to have the possibility to affirm that abroad he entered into communications with Trotskyites and German agents. I don’t know, but it is quite possible. The same with Rakovsky. Immediately, he was sent to Japan. I was a bit astonished. What was the meaning of it? It was at the end of 1934, and the British friends of the Soviet Union – the friends of the Soviet Union are everywhere – they are directed by the agents of the GPU, without their knowing; the genuine direction is everywhere in the hands of the GPU. The friends in London declared: “You see, the repentance of Rakovsky is totally sincere. The Government sent him abroad.” But his family remained in Moscow, the family of Rakovsky. At that time I was of the opinion that he was sent for demonstrative purposes in order to show the whole world that he was free, his repentance was sincere. Now, I ask myself if it did not have a second purpose, to frame him afterwards – that he was connected with the Japanese military chiefs in the Government, and so forth.
GOLDMAN: Your archives were stolen in France?
TROTSKY: On the anniversary of the October Revolution, the 7th of November, 1936.
GOLDMAN: Have you any documents, reports, such as you want to give the Commission as to the possible perpetrators of the crime?
TROTSKY: Yes, I have the report of the French police, the testimony of my son to the examining judge, and my own testimony.
GOLDMAN: I will introduce it into evidence.
TROTSKY: It was sent to me by my French lawyer.
GOLDMAN: What is your opinion as to the possible perpetrators of the crime?
TROTSKY: It is not an opinion, it is a certainty. It is the work of the GPU. You know in this institute – it is a scientific institute – they have thousands of manuscripts, and they had eighty-five kilograms of my archives, but the greater part of them was clippings of papers bearing a scientific interest for me, but of no interest to the masters of the frame-up. Another part of it was letters. The people penetrated in there by burning up the door.
INTERPRETER: You mean blowing?
TROTSKY: Burning up the door with such a magnificent technique that the police declared: “Our people are not so educated – the French gangsters.” It was the highest technique in the world. Then they took only the eighty-five kilograms of my archives. There was money – the manager forgot one hundred francs. They did not touch it. Then there were very interesting manuscripts. But they only took my eighty-five kilograms.
GOLDMAN: There were only two parties interested in your documents, you and the GPU?
GOLDMAN: You didn’t steal your own documents?
TROTSKY: No. There were three persons – the Nazis; they tried in Norway in the summer of 1936. It is absolutely parallel, but the GPU was more skilled and more successful.
GOLDMAN: 1 introduce into evidence the report of the French police with respect to the theft of the documents. It is in French, and I hope it will be translated. I also introduce into evidence –
TROTSKY: My deposition to the examining judge.
GOLDMAN: The deposition of Mr. Trotsky to the Presiding Magistrate. I will have these two exhibits marked Nos. 29 and 30, respectively.
TROTSKY: If you permit me, I will add that in this deposition I declared that because the matter concerns also the Soviet Union and France, and my alleged conspiracy with Hitler, I am ready to appear before the French Judge of Instruction or any other authority to respond and answer all questions before the court.
GOLDMAN: And this is a copy of the report you sent in?
GOLDMAN: The report of the police is the original you received from the police?
GOLDMAN: When did you receive it?
TROTSKY: About two or three weeks ago.
GOLDMAN: When did you send the original of the report to the Magistrate?
TROTSKY: The date is indicated. I received a letter from my lawyer – I was in Mexico – that I must send my deposition also.
GOLDMAN: It is dated March 10th, 1937. You have not as yet been accused of any other crimes in the Soviet Union outside of the –
TROTSKY: What other? Where do the others begin?
GOLDMAN: Let us say, crucifying Jesus Christ.
TROTSKY: I have not at this moment.
GOLDMAN: Now, I want to introduce into evidence a list of the defendants in both of the last two trials, giving the dates of their capitulations, their arrest, when they were arrested, when they were released. It will help the Commission in arriving at a conclusion as to the possibility of these defendants having participated in a conspiracy, especially some of the defendants. I will mark this Exhibit No.31.
TROTSKY: Zinoviev and Kamenev were arrested one year or half a year before the assassination, and Smirnov more than two years before the assassination of Kirov. They were all accused of the assassination of Kirov. Vyshinsky says – I am sure that you know this.
GOLDMAN: There are some matters I want to clear up before closing. There was a man by the name of Bukhartsev, the man in the evidence – the man who was supposed to have made the arrangements for the flight of Pyatakov. Will you give me an idea of who he is?
TROTSKY: I depose, absolutely the same as with Vladimir Romm – I regret very much, but I do not know the second correspondent in Berlin, Bukhartsev. I don’t know him, as I didn’t know Vladimir Romm in Washington. I never saw him and never spoke with him, and had no communications with him.
GOLDMAN: You testified at one time that Muralov was a good friend of yours and a very honest man.
GOLDMAN: When he testified at the trial that he received a letter from Sedov about terroristic instructions, was he honest at that time?
TROTSKY: His deposition was false, but I am absolutely sure that it was the false deposition of a simple soldier, to whom they stated after the assassination of all the others: “You are a friend of Trotsky. Now, you understand you cannot have Trotsky here. He is in exile.” They were threatening him: “Stalin is the chief of the state. We have Japan from one side, and Germany from the other. The activity of Trotsky is dangerous. Trotsky completely recognizes Zinoviev and Kamenev. You must confess. You will be shot.” He, as a soldier, confessed.
GOLDMAN: Now, Pyatakov testified to the fact that he gave, at the request of your son – he gave orders, Government orders to several firms in Germany, and that the arrangement was to have a good part of the profits for himself, which he was to turn over to you for counter-revolutionary purposes. Will you furnish the Commission an account of the moneys that you received since you left Russia, how you spent these moneys?
GOLDMAN: Just for the purpose of the record, I am going to enumerate ―
TROTSKY: I have the privilege, that the management of my finances is also organized more or less collectively. I never myself manage the money, but can present witnesses with testimony on the accounts, very exact.
GOLDMAN: You have read all the charges leveled against you in both of the indictments, the indictment involving Zinoviev and Kamenev and the indictment of Pyatakov and Radek, have you?
GOLDMAN: You know all the charges that are made against you in these indictments?
GOLDMAN: What have you to say on each and every allegation in these indictments?
TROTSKY: False; they are completely false from beginning to end.
GOLDMAN: On behalf of Leon Trotsky, we close the case, with permission of the Commission to introduce any other evidence which might turn up between now and the close of the case before this Commission.
FINERTY: Before we adjourn, Mr. Chairman, I would like to know if the correspondent of El Nacional is here. (There was no response from the reporter of El Nacional.)
FINERTY: I would like to correct a statement made in that paper that I am an attorney and friend of Trotsky, in that I am not an attorney or friend of Trotsky. My only previous connection with a Russian matter, if it was a Russian matter, was to represent Mr. Browder in the Supreme Court of the United States just before the last Presidential election in order to have his name restored on the ballot of Illinois. My representation of Browder and association with the Commission in this instance, are entirely in the interests of civil liberties. I will represent Browder or anyone else. I want to make clear. I had no previous connection with Mr. Trotsky or any connection with the Russian question before.
DEWEY: Wait a minute; I would like to announce that there will be no session this afternoon. The next session will be at ten o’clock tomorrow morning. (Beals translated the Chairman’s remarks into Spanish.)
Last updated on: 1.4.2007