November 20, 2017

1929. Leon Trotsky Predicts the United States Will Cause a Second World War

Trotsky in Exile
Leon Trotsky speaks to soldiers in front of the Bolshoi Theatre, with Vladimir Lenin and Lev Kamenev on the left, May 5, 1920 (source)
This article is part of a series of posts on how The New York Times covered the rise and fall of fascism in Europe. Leon Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union in February 1929. One month later he spoke with a New York Times correspondent in Turkey as he sought asylum elsewhere in Europe.

From The New York Times, March 16, 1929:
He Says Power of America Will Bring a Conflict That Will Dwarf the Last Great War
But Admits Counter-Revolution Might Bring Fascism—Germans Agitate for Exile's Entry
CONSTANTINOPLE, March 15 — "The world contains more explosive material than ever before and the increase in American world power will cause an eruption compared to which the World War was only child's play," Leon Trotsky declared today in an interview with The New York Times correspondent, the second which Russia's exiled strongman has given since he left the Russian consulate for more comfortable quarters in a hotel at Pera.

"Bolshevism was a form of self-protection for the Russian people," said M. Trotsky. "Capitalistic Russia would have been after the last war only a colony of the United States. I have not lost hope for my country simply because it has expelled me. The establishment of the Communist regime is like the ascent of a high peak which, before it can be climbed, must be attempted from all sides.

"The difference between Stalin's policy and mine is simply that Stalin believes Bolshevist Russia can exist in the midst of a capitalist world, while I do not believe it. Neither, however, do I credit predictions by the White Russians of a collapse of the Bolshevist regime.

"If there is a counter-revolution and it succeeds Russia will simply swing from one extreme to the other. It would become Fascist. Land reform, however, will survive, no matter what changes of government may take place."
For Trotsky's Entry to Reich

BERLIN, March 15 — The Tempe and other Democratic organs have started an agitation for the admission of Leon Trotsky to Germany, not so much for his sake personally as to uphold the principle of sanctuary. Many cases to which that of M. Trotsky is likened are quoted from history, among them that of Carl Schurz, to whom the United States gave shelter when he fled there as a youth of 20 years. Similar cases are quoted from recent English, French and Swiss history.

A pamphlet distributed in the streets of Berlin, which is intended to serve the same purposes, closes with a plea for the Russian exile's admission, contending that the German Republic, in which many thousands of Czarists have found asylum, can hardly deny admission to M. Trotsky, who has no friends among the Bolsheviki, Republicans or Monarchists. A number of German Fascisti also addressed a protest of the government asking that M. Trotsky, who is now at Pera, a suburb of Constantinople, be permitted to seek a cure for his ailment in Germany.

A number of German physicians have addressed another protest to the government, asking that M. Trotsky be permitted to seek a cure for his ailments in Germany.
Talk of Trotsky Organization

BERLIN, March 15 (AP) — A report from Constantinople tonight says that Leon Trotsky and his followers in various countries plan to discuss organization of a "Trotsky International" with which to combat the Third International and the power of his arch-enemy Stalin. A convention will be held in Czechoslovakia at the end of May. M. Trotsky will not attend, but will be personally represented, according to the report.

M. Trotsky has reiterated that all he seeks in desiring to enter Germany is health and that if permitted to take the cure here he will attempt to settle permanently in Norway or Holland.