The personality and the writings of Leon Trotsky have long been a
rallying point for anticommunists throughout the world. But during
the 1930s Trotsky deliberately lied in his writings about Joseph
Stalin and the Soviet Union. My new book, Trotsky’s ‘Amalgams’,
discusses some of Trotsky’s lies that have fooled people, and
demoralized honest communists, for decades.
In January 1980 the Trotsky Archive at Harvard University was opened
to researchers. Within a few days Pierre Broué, the foremost
Trotskyist historian of his time, discovered that Trotsky had lied.
Trotsky had always denied that any clandestine “bloc of
oppositionists” including Trotskyists, existed in the Soviet Union.
Trotsky called this an “amalgam,” meaning a fabrication by Stalin.
This “bloc” was the main focus of the second and third Moscow Trials
of January 1937 and March 1938. Broué showed, from letters in the
Trotsky Archive by Trotsky and by his son Leon Sedov, that the bloc
In 1985 American historian Arch Getty discovered that the Harvard
Trotsky Archive had been purged of incriminating materials, but
purged imperfectly. Getty also found evidence that Trotsky had
indeed remained in contact with some of his former supporters inside
the Soviet Union. Trotsky always strenuously denied this, claiming
that he cut off all ties to those who “capitulated” to Stalin and
publicly renounced their Trotskyist views. Again, Trotsky was lying.
In 2010 Swedish researcher Sven-Eric Holmström published an article
on the “Hotel Bristol” question in the First Moscow Trial of August
1936. In it Holmström proves that Trotsky was lying here too.
In 2005 I began to systematically study all the accusations against
Stalin and Beria that Nikita Khrushchev made in his infamous “Secret
Speech.” I discovered that not a single one of Khrushchev’s
so-called “revelations” can be supported from the evidence.
But during the 1930s Trotsky had made the same kind of accusations
against Stalin that Khrushchev later did. The fact that Khrushchev
did nothing but lie suggested that Trotsky might have lied as well.
Thanks to Broué and Getty I already knew that Trotsky had lied about
some very important matters. Any detective, in any mystery story,
knows that if a suspect has lied about some important matters, he
should ask himself: What else is this person lying about?
I set about studying his writings in order to determine which of
Trotsky’s statements could be tested. Wherever I had independent
evidence to check the veracity of any accusation that Trotsky
levelled against Stalin, I found that Trotsky was lying -- again.
Today I have so much evidence that even a whole book does not come
close to holding it all. So there will be two more volumes
concerning Trotsky’s lies. The second volume will be published in
Between September 2010 and January 2013 I researched and wrote a
book on the assassination on December 1, 1934 of Sergei Mironovich
Kirov, First Secretary of the Leningrad Party. That book, The Murder
of Sergei Kirov, was published in June 2013.
The Kirov murder is the key to the Soviet high politics of the rest
of the 1930s: the three public Moscow Trials of August 1936, January
1937, and March 1938, often called “Show Trials;” the Military Purge
or “Tukhachevsky Affair” of May and June 1937; and the Ezhovshchina
of July 1937 to October 1938, which anticommunist scholars call the
“Great Terror,” after a dishonest book by Robert Conquest.
Trotsky too wrote about the Kirov murder investigation. He
identified the articles in the French communist and Soviet press
that he read. I discovered that Trotsky lied about what these
articles on the Kirov murder investigation said.
Trotsky fabricated a story that Stalin and his men were responsible
for Kirov’s death. Once again, Trotsky lied about what the articles
he read in the French communist newspaper Humanité and in
Russian-language Soviet papers, to which Trotsky had access within
only a couple of days of their publication in Moscow.
Trotsky’s lies would have been immediately apparent to anybody who
set Trotsky’s articles side by side with the French and Russian
newspaper articles that he had read and which he claimed he was
closely studying and analyzing. It appears that no one ever did that
– until now.
The result was that Trotsky’s falsified version of the Kirov
assassination – that Stalin and the NKVD had killed Kirov – was
taken up not only by Trotsky’s followers, but by Nikita Khrushchev.
In his completely fraudulent “Secret Speech” Khrushchev gave
additional credibility to the “Stalin killed Kirov” story.
Khrushchev and his speechwriters probably took this directly from
Trotsky. Trotsky’s tale that “Stalin had Kirov killed” passed from
Khrushchev to the professional anticommunist scholar-propagandists
like Robert Conquest and many others.
In the late 1980s Mikhail Gorbachev’s men tried and failed to find
evidence in the Soviet archives to support this story. Aleksandr
Iakovlev, Gorbachev’s chief man for ideology, sent them back to the
archives to try again. Once again, the Politburo research team filed
to find any evidence to even suggest that Stalin had had Kirov
The history of the “Stalin had Kirov killed” fabrication is a good
example of how a number of Trotsky’s deliberate lies were taken up
by Soviet anticommunists like Khrushchev and Gorbachev, and by
pro-capitalist anticommunists in the West.
In my new book Trotsky’s “Amalgams” I uncover and discuss a number
of other deliberate lies by Trotsky about Stalin and the USSR. All
of them have been adopted by anticommunists and by Trotskyists. In
the second and third volumes of this work I will discuss Trotsky’s
conspiracies with saboteurs and fascists inside the USSR, and with
the Nazis and the Japanese militarists.
In early 1937 Trotsky succeeded in persuading John Dewey, the famous
educator, and a number of others, to hold hearings, supposedly to
determine whether the charges leveled against Trotsky in the August
1936 and January 1937 Moscow Show Trials were true.
The Commission duly concluded that Trotsky was innocent and the
Moscow Trials were all a frame-up.
I carefully studied the 1,000 pages of the Dewey Commission
materials. I discovered that the Commission was dishonest and
shockingly incompetent. It made error after error in logical
Of most interest is the fact that Trotsky lied to the Dewey
Commission many times. The Dewey Commission could not possibly have
declared Trotsky “Not Guilty” if the Commission members had known
that Trotsky was lying to them.
I wish to briefly mention two more sections of my book. They are: my
project to verify – that is, to check -- the Moscow Trials
testimony; and my examination of the errors that most readers of
Soviet history make, errors which make them unable to understand the
significance of the evidence we now have.
The testimony of the defendants in the three public Moscow Trials is
universally declared to be false, forced from innocent men by the
prosecution, the NKVD, “Stalin.” There has never been a shred of
evidence to support this notion. Nevertheless, it is staunchly
affirmed by ALL specialists in Soviet history, as well as by all
Thanks to years of identifying, searching for, locating, obtaining,
and studying primary sources, I realized that there now exists
enough evidence to test many of the statements made by the Moscow
I devote the first twelve chapters of Trotsky’s ‘Amalgams’ to a
careful verification of many of the statements by the Moscow Trials
defendants. I found that, whenever we can double-check a fact-claim
made by a Moscow Trials defendant against independent evidence now
available, it turns out that the Moscow Trials defendant was telling
Trotsky, Khrushchev and his men, Cold-War Soviet “experts,”
Gorbachev and his men, and today’s academic scholars in Soviet
studies, all claimed or claim that the Trials are frame-ups. I prove
from the evidence that they are wrong. The Moscow Trials testimony
is what it claims to be: statements that the defendants chose to
make. I verify this with a great deal of evidence from outside the
Trials themselves and even outside the Soviet Union.
This is an important conclusion. This result in itself disproves the
“anti-Stalin paradigm” of Soviet history. It also contributes to
disproving Trotsky’s version of Soviet history, a version that the
Trotskyist movement worldwide continues to believe and to propagate
Those of us -- researchers, activists, and others -- who wish to
find the truth about Soviet history of the Stalin period, and not
merely attempt to confirm our preconceived ideas about it – we are
in possession of a number of results that completely overturn the
convention anti-Stalin paradigm of Soviet history. These include the
* the fact that Nikita Khrushchev lied about every accusation he
made against Stalin (and Lavrentii Beria) in his world-shaking
“Secret Speech” to the XX Party Congress of the CPSU in February
1956. This clearly means that Khrushchev’s researchers could not
find any true “crimes” that Stalin – or Beria – had committed, and
so were reduced to fabrication.
* the fact that, despite a very thorough and time-consuming search
of the archives in 1962-1964, Khrushchev’s “Shvernik Commission”
could find no evidence at all to suggest that either the Moscow
Trials defendants or the “Tukhachevsky Affair” defendants were
victims of a “frame-up” or had lied in their confessions in any way.
* the fact that neither Gorbachev’s and Eltsin’s researchers, nor
the anticommunist researchers since that time, who have had wide
access to the former Soviet archives, have been able to find any
evidence at all to challenge the conclusions in the Kirov
Assassination, the Moscow Trials, or the Military Purges.
* the fact that the testimony at the Moscow Trials was, in the main,
* the fact that Ezhov and Ezhov alone, not Stalin and his supporters
in the Soviet leadership, were responsible for the mass murders of
July 1938 to November 1939 known to scholars as the “Ezhovshchina”
and to anticommunist propagandists as “the Great Terror.”
* the fact that, in his writings about the USSR during the period
after the Kirov murder, Trotsky lied repeatedly in order to cover up
* the fact that most of today’s scholars of the Stalin period in the
USSR lie in order to deceive their readers. But they do so in a way
that can only be discovered by a very close, detailed study of their
Trotskyist scholarship is consistently parasitical on mainstream
anticommunist scholarship. Here is one example. In a recent review
on the Trotskyist, and ferociously anti-Stalin World Socialist Web
Site (wsws.org) of Princeton University historian Stephen Kotkin’s
book Stalin, a Trotskyist reviewer refers approvingly to the
anti-Stalin statements of Oleg Khlevniuk, who is called the
respected Russian historian Oleg Khlevniuk.
Khlevniuk is a fanatical anticommunist and also a very blatant liar,
in all his writings. Khlevniuk is anti-Stalin; WSWS.ORG, the
Trotskyist publication, is anti-Stalin; therefore the Trotskyists
“trust” the foremost anticommunist liar in the world today!
Meanwhile, mainstream anticommunist scholarship has been drawing
upon the writings of Trotsky himself for decades.
Trotsky, of course, knew that he was lying:
* about the “bloc of Rights, Trotskyists, Zinovievites, and other
* about his own involvement in the assassination of Sergei Kirov in
* about his conspiring with the “Tukhachevsky Affair” military
conspirators for a coup d’état against the Stalin government and to
stab the Red Army in the back during an invasion by Germany or
* about his conspiring with the Nazis and the Japanese militarists;
* about conspiring with fascists and his own followers within the
USSR to sabotage industry, transportation, and mines.
* about the charges against, and the confessions by, the defendants
in the Moscow trials, which Trotsky knew were true.
Trotsky knew that he lied, repeatedly, over and over again, in his
Bulletin of the Opposition. Trotsky knew that he repeated these lies
to the Dewey Commission.
The Spanish Civil War
And Trotsky knew that he lied to his own followers, including his
closest followers like Andres Nin, Erwin Wolf, and Kurt Landau.
Nin had been one of Trotsky’s closest political assistants. Nin is
supposed to have broken with Trotsky in 1931.
But in 1930 Nin wrote, in a Trotskyist journal, that Trotsky’s
Soviet-based followers who had retracted their Trotskyist views and
pledged loyalty to the Communist Party’s line, had done so
dishonestly. They had done so in order to remain within the Party so
they could continue to recruit others to their secret conspiracies.
Therefore, though Nin openly broke with the Trotskyist movement in
an organizational sense, his actions in Spain suggest that this was
a cover for maintaining a secret connection with Trotsky. The
Spanish communists and the Soviet NKVD in Spain suspected this too.
Nin became one of the leaders of the POUM, an anti-Soviet and anti-
Stalin party that was very friendly to Trotsky.
Erwin Wolf went to Spain as Trotsky’s political representative. He
did so in order to lead a “revolution” against the Spanish Republic
– right in the middle of a war with the Spanish fascists, who were
aided by Hitler and Mussolini.
Nin and Wolf ran these risks because they believed that Trotsky was
innocent of the charges that were made against him in the Moscow
Trials. They thought that Trotsky, not Stalin, was the true
communist and true revolutionary. Consequently, they thought that
they were going to Spain to do what Lenin would have wanted done.
In May 1937 a revolt against the Spanish Republican government broke
out in Barcelona. POUM and the Spanish Trotskyists enthusiastically
participated in this revolt. It appears that Nin, Wolf, and Landau
thought this might be the beginning of a Bolshevik-style revolution,
with themselves as Lenin, the POUM as the Bolsheviks, the Republican
government as the capitalists, and the Spanish and Soviet communists
as the phony socialists like Alexander Kerensky!
The “Barcelona May Days Revolt,” was a vicious stab in the back
against the Republic during wartime. It was suppressed in less than
a week. After that, the Spanish police and Soviet NKVD hunted down
the Trotskyists and the POUM leadership. Andres Nin was certainly
kidnapped, interrogated, and then murdered by the Soviets and
Spanish police. The same thing probably happened to Landau and Wolf.
The Soviets knew then what we know today: that Trotsky was
conspiring with the Germans, the Japanese, and the “Tukhachevsky
Affair’ military men. But Nin and Wolf certainly did not know this.
They believed Trotsky’s professions of innocence.
If Andres Nin, Erwin Wolf, and Kurt Landau had known what Trotsky
knew, and what we now know, would they have gone to Spain to try to
carry out Trotsky’s instructions? Impossible!
Therefore, Trotsky sent these men into an extremely dangerous
situation by means of lying to them about his own activities and
aims, and about what Stalin was doing. And it cost them their lives.
The same is true for all the Trotskyists who were executed in the
Soviet Union itself. Evidently, there were hundreds of them. They
all supported Trotsky because they believed his version of Soviet
history, and had been convinced by Trotsky’s writings that Stalin
was lying, that the Moscow Trials were a frame-up, and that the
Stalin regime had abandoned the goal of worldwide socialist
These men and women would not have followed Trotsky if he had not
lied to them.
In the first chapter of Trotsky’s “Amalgams” I examine the errors
that most students of Soviet history, including academic
professionals, make when faced with primary source evidence.
The truth is that very few people, including professional
historians, know how to examine historical evidence. Very few
Marxists know what a materialist examination of evidence looks like,
or are capable of recognizing or critiquing an idealist argument
when they are confronted with one.
These errors are not only errors of “denial” by persons who do not
wish to have their pro- Trotsky or anti-Stalin preconceptions
disproven. Most or all of these same errors are made by pro-Stalin,
anti-revisionist people. Anticommunist arguments have been so
overwhelming, not only in Cold War pro-capitalist form but
especially in supposedly pro- communist but in reality anticommunist
Khrushchev- and Gorbachev-era writings, that it has degraded the
thinking of all of us.
The lies of Trotsky’s that Pierre Broué and Arch Getty discovered 30
years ago have been ignored. This fact itself deserves explanation.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Broué continued to find, and write
about, more lies by Trotsky. But all the while he continued to deny
that these lies were of any importance.
Broué also ignored Getty’s two discoveries. First, that the Trotsky
Archive had been “purged” of incriminating materials. Second, that
Trotsky had indeed remained in contact with oppositionists like
Radek with whom he swore he had broken all ties. Vadim Rogovin, the
leading Trotskyist historian of the Stalin-era Soviet Union, went
along with Broué’s cover-up and also introduced some lies of his
Trotskyists and Cold Warriors continue either to ignore Broué’s
discoveries altogether or to echo Broué’s claim that these lies were
of little significance. We can understand why they do this. The fact
that Trotsky lied dismantles what I call the “anti-Stalin paradigm”:
the Trotskyist and the Cold War anticommunist versions of Soviet
Trotsky, of course, had to lie. He was running a serious conspiracy
to get rid of Stalin, in conjunction with many supporters inside the
Soviet Union and the Bolshevik Party and in collusion with Nazi
Germany, militarist Japan, England and France. A conspiracy requires
secrecy and lying.
But who, above all, was Trotsky fooling? Not Stalin and the Soviet
government. They knew he was lying.
The conclusion is inescapable: Trotsky was lying in order to fool
his own supporters! They were the only people who believed whatever
Trotsky wrote. They believed Trotsky was the true, principled
Leninist that he claimed to be, and that Stalin was the liar.
This cost the lives of most of his supporters inside the Soviet
Union, when Trotskyism was outlawed as treason to the Soviet state
because of Trotsky’s conspiracy with Germany and Japan. It has led
Trotsky’s followers outside the Soviet Union to spend their lives in
cult-like devotion to a man who was, in fact, doing just what the
Soviet prosecutor and the Moscow Trials defendants claimed he was
The figure of Leon Trotsky casts a giant shadow over the history of
the Soviet Union, and therefore over the history of the world in the
20th century. Trotsky was the most significant – in fact, the only
outstanding – Opposition figure in the factional disputes that shook
the Bolshevik Party during the 1920s. It was during the 20s that
Trotsky attracted to himself the group of persons who formed the
United Opposition and whose conspiracies did so much irreparable
harm to the Party, the Comintern, and the world communist movement.
What does the fact that Trotsky lied, that Khrushchev lied, and that
these facts were ignored for so long, mean?
What does it mean for the main question that faces us, and billions
of working people in the world, today? I mean the question of why
the wonderful international communist movement of the 20th century
collapsed, the movement that 70 years ago, triumphant in World War
2, in the Chinese communist revolution, in the anti-colonial
movements around the world, seemed to be poised to bring about an
end to capitalism and the victory of world socialism?
How do we convince workers, students, and others that we know why
the old communist movement failed and that we have learned what we
have to do differently to avoid repeating those failures in the
future? We must study this question. We also need to discuss it – to
entertain and debate different, informed viewpoints.
Therefore we have to defend the legacy of the international
communist movement during Lenin’s and, especially, during Stalin’s
time. At the same time we must be fearlessly critical of it, so we
discover what errors they made and so not make the same errors
In my judgment – and I hope that it is yours as well – discovering
the reasons for the collapse of the magnificent international
communist movement of the 20th century is the most important
historical and theoretical question for all exploited people today,
the vast majority of humankind.
To have any hope of solving it, we must think boldly, “go where no
one has gone before.” If we pretend that “Marx and Engels had all
the answers,” or “Lenin had all the answers” (many Trotskyists, of
course, believe that “Trotsky had all the answers”) -- if we believe
that, then we are guaranteed, AT BEST, to fall far short of what
Marx said that great historical events occur twice “the first time
as tragedy, the second time as farce.” The tragedy of the
international communist movement of the 20th century was that,
ultimately, it failed.
Unless we figure out where they went wrong then we are doomed to be
the “farce.” And that would be a political crime -- OUR crime.
So we have to look with a critical eye at ALL of our legacy. Marx's
favorite saying was: “De omnibus dubitandum” -- “Question
everything.” Marx would be the last person in the world to exclude
himself from this questioning.
History can’t teach lessons directly. And history isn’t political
theory. But if we ask the right questions, history can help us
Meanwhile, we should all publicize everywhere and in every way we
can that, like Khrushchev and Gorbachev, Trotsky lied – provably,
demonstrably lied – and, what’s more, that all the anti-Stalin,
anticommunist “experts” anointed by capitalist universities and
research institutes are lying too.
We need to point out that the only way forward is to build a new
communist movement to get rid of capitalism. And that to do that, we
need to learn from the heroic successes, as well as from the tragic
errors, of the Bolsheviks during the period when the Soviet Union
was led by Joseph Stalin.
My hope and my goal is to contribute, through my research, to this
project which is so vital for the future of working people
everywhere. Thank you.