Trotsky Explains to Kirchwey

(March 1938)

Written: 13 March 1938.
Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 13, 26 March 1938, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Trotsky Internet Archive.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2014. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

The following letter has been sent by Leon Trotsky to Freda Kirchwey, editor of The Nation, in response to a request that Trotsky write for that journal an article expounding his philosophy:

Freda Kirchwey,
The Nation


In your letter of December 20, 1937, you propose that I give an article to The Nation expounding my “philosophy.” My answer has been delayed through a series of circumstances which it is unnecessary to specify here.

During the Moscow trials, my name, the name of Leon Sedov, my deceased son, and the names of my friends were, with the help of the “confessions” of the unfortunate victims of the G.P.U., branded and besmirched and the victims then shot. You occupied a position which in the best case could be classified as benevolent neutrality towards the calumniators, falsifiers and hangmen. Some of your close collaborators like the not unknown Louis Fischer came out as direct literary agents of Stalin, Vyshinsky, Yezhov. You, yourself, madam, left the Trotsky Defense Committee noisily when it appeared to you that the Commission headed by Dr. John Dewey was capable of casting a shadow upon the chastity of the Soviet Themis.

Since you have now asked me to expound my “philosophy” in The Nation you have obviously come to the conclusion that the accusations directed against me are false. Did you declare this openly? The Moscow frame-ups, however, did not fall from the heavens. Have you explained to your readers that you did not timely understand the meaning of the Moscow proceedings because you falsely appreciated the evolution of the Soviet bureaucracy during the whole last period? Have you demarcated yourself from merchants of lies such as Walter Duranty and Louis Fischer, who during a series of years systematically deceived American public opinion and thus facilitated the work of Moscow’s falsifiers and hangmen?

You will, I hope, publish in the pages of The Nation this letter which comprises an essential element of my “philosophy.”

Coyoacan, D.F.,
March 13, 1938

Leon Trotsky

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Last updated on: 11 September 2015