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The History of the Russian Revolution

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The Russian Revolution is a widely studied and seemingly well understood time in modern, European history, boasting a vast wealth of texts and information from those of the likes of Robert Service, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Allan Bullock, Robert Conquest and Jonathan Reed, to name a few, but none is so widely sourced and so heavily relied upon than that of the account of Leon Trotsky, his book “History of the Russian Revolution” a somewhat firsthand account of the events leading up to the formation of the Soviet Union. There is no doubt that Trotsky’s book, among others, has played a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of the events of The Revolution; but have his personal predilections altered how he portrayed such paramount individuals as Vladimir Lenin and Josef ‘Soso’ Stalin. Does the account tarnish such important assemblages as the Bolshevik Party and even the Russian Proletariat needlessly, and how has this representation been reflected in our current understanding of past events?

The main discrepancies become apparent when comparing Trotskyite texts with Soviet sources; to some degree they are very similar. Despite the fact that Trotsky was exiled during his composure of ‘History of the Russian Revolution’, embittering him towards Stalin and his allies, he was still loyal to the party and to the ideals they stood for. Throughout the events of The Revolution he proudly praises the liberation of the Proletariat “The proletariat cannot directly seize the power; it has to have an organisation accommodated to this task. The co-ordination of the mass insurrection... presupposes a correct general leadership of the masses...and a daring blow.” This kind of referencing to the workers of Russia as one large, unthinking, hom...

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Sebag, Montefiore Simon. Stalin: the Court of the Red Tsar. New York: Knopf, 2004. Print.

Sebag, Montefiore Simon. Young Stalin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. Print.

Service, Robert. Comrades!: a History of World Communism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2007. Print.

Trotsky, Leon. An Appeal to the Toiling, Oppressed and Exhausted Peoples of Europe. Penguin Group USA, 2009. Print.

Trotsky, Leon, and Max Eastman. History of the Russian Revolution. Chicago, IL: Haymarket, 2008. Print.

Trotsky, Leon, and Max Eastman. The Revolution Betrayed. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004. Print.
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