The Red Book

On the Moscow Trials

(The Gestapo)

Is it possible to believe for even one minute in the reliability of the information ... that Trotsky, the former Chairman of the Soviet of Workers Deputies in Petersburg in 1905, a revolutionary who has given decades of unselfish service to the revolution – that this man had ties to a plan subsidized by the “German government”? This is indeed an obvious, unheard of, and unscrupulous slander against a revolutionary.

Lenin, Pravda
April 16,1917

There is a type of slander which you do not refute, that you step over so as not to soil your boots. Such is the slander about “ties with the Gestapo.” But even this was not invented by Stalin. Stalin slavishly repeats the old slander of the English, Russian, and other imperialists about the “German spies Lenin and Trotsky,” only modernizing it with the word Gestapo.

When in 1917 the Russian bourgeoisie and its agents Miliukov, Kerensky and others tried to slander and defame the Bolshevik Party, the party toward which all the hopes of the Russian working class and wide layers of the peasantry were directed, they proclaimed that its leaders, Lenin and Trotsky, were “agents of the German general staff.” If Stalin himself was not at this time included among those leaders slandered (Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev), it is only because in that heroic epoch, he was too little known and was only a third-rate figure. The contemptible and pathetic Kerensky at least remains true to himself when he writes today that there is nothing surprising in the fact that Trotsky and Zinoviev had had connections with the Gestapo, because, you see, Lenin, Trotsky and others were already, in 1917, linked to General Ludendorff!

Kerensky ties the thread of his own past slander against Lenin, Trotsky and Zinoviev to today’s slander hurled by Stalin against Trotsky and Zinoviev. (If Lenin were not dead, he would be, naturally, the first and principal Gestapo agent.) How instructive is this handshake of two slanderers, – Kerensky and Stalin, – across an entire epoch: 1917-1936!

In the quote which we used as an epigraph for this chapter, Lenin says in Pravda of 1917 that “It is an obvious, unheard of, and unscrupulous slander against a revolutionary.” Today these words are more timely than ever. But since then an entire revolution has passed!

When Pravda wrote these lines with indignation, Trotsky was not yet the leader of the October Revolution along with Lenin, when, according to Stalin himself: “all the work of the practical organization of the insurrection was carried out under the direct leadership of Trotsky, Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. One can say with certainty, that for the rapid passage of the garrison to the side of the Soviet and the able organization of the work of the Military-Revolutionary Committee, the party is above all indebted to Cde. Trotsky,” (Article by Stalin in Pravda, Nov. 6, 1918). Trotsky had not yet been, along with Lenin and Zinoviev, the founder and leader of the Communist International. Trotsky had not yet become the leader of the Red Army and the organizer of the victories of the Civil War.

And could there be a better proof of Lenin’s confidence in Trotsky, and Trotsky alone, than the well-known “carte blanche” which Lenin gave him? In 1919, at the height of the Civil War, Lenin sent the following document to L. Trotsky:


Knowing the strict character of Cde. Trotsky’s orders, I am so convinced, absolutely convinced, of the correctness, the expediency and the necessity for the good of the cause of the order given by Cde. Trotsky, that I fully support this order.

V. Ulianov-Lenin

Lenin wrote these lines at the bottom of a blank piece of paper which carried the heading of the Chairman of the Soviet of People’s Commissars (in July, 1919) so that Trotsky could write above Lenin’s signature any of his own decisions, which would have beforehand Lenin’s signature beneath it!

* * *

One of the reactionary French newspapers, the clerical Echo de Paris, now announces that even the French Trotskyists are agents of the Reich. L’Humanité seized on this discovery. Oh, once the Echo de Paris says so, there’s no doubt about it. Of course, the French Trotskyists struggle against the French front which is joined by L’Humanité and Echo de Paris. The French Trotskyists do not demand the suspension of the class struggle, they do not fraternize with the French bourgeoisie and are certainly not inclined to forgive them all their “sins” in compensation for the France-Soviet military alliance. They are also not inclined to cooperate with the transformation of the French workers into an instrument of imperialism and militarism. There is no doubt, they are agents of the Gestapo!

The Polish Bolshevik-Leninists are agents of the secret police, proclaims Pravda. Of course! You cannot force them, like Thorez and Duclos to cry: “Long live the Poland of Pilsudski!” They are preparing a new Poland in the underground and in the prisons, which will not be the Poland of Pilsudski. Of course, – they are agents of the secret police!

This “argument” is not new; Lenin and Liebknecht, Trotsky and Rosa Luxemburg experienced it themselves. Marx also went through it: The French Bonapartist press accused him of being an agent of Bismarck. Well, it’s not such a bad tradition!

Read the German fascist newspapers, see with what furious hatred they speak of Trotsky. These are the ones who advise handing Trotsky over to Stalin! The German fascists can not forgive Trotsky, not only for his revolutionary role in general but for his revolutionary politics in Germany. They know that it’s Trotsky who spread the idea of the United Front in Germany, the only policy which could have defeated fascism, at a time when Stalin only aided fascism by proclaiming that Social Democracy and fascism were “twins” and that Social Democracy was left fascism. Without Stalin, there would have been no Hitler, no Gestapo! It is Stalin who helped Hitler to sit on the back of the German working class. And in this much deeper, historic sense, Stalin is an agent of the Gestapo, and all the pitiful police machinations will not enable him to remove From himself this terrible responsibility. Yes, if today there is fascism and the Gestapo in Germany, they “owe it first and foremost to Stalin.”

Last updated on: 13.2.2005