125 great Leon Trotsky quotes that will remain in history

Want to read some great Leon Trotsky quotes? Then you’ve come to the right place. Here are 125 quotes by Leon Trotsky. First a few words about the second most important leading figure of the Russian Revolution. Leon Trotsky was a renowned Marxist theorist and revolutionary. He is best known for his leadership of the Russian Revolution of 1917, in which he was a key figure in the creation of the Soviet Union. Trotsky is considered one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. His ideas on socialist organization and theory helped shape the future of the Soviet Union and international communism.

The following Leon Trotsky quotes are taken from various books, interviews, and articles:

1. “You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupt. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on – into the dustbin of history!” –Leon Trotsky
“You are pitiful, isolated individuals! You are bankrupt. Your role is played out. Go where you belong from now on – into the dustbin of history!” –Leon Trotsky

2. “You may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you.” –Leon Trotsky

3. “I was not prepared to play the role of singer in the camp of the warriors.” –Leon Trotsky

4. “Fascism is a caricature of Jacobinism.” –Leon Trotsky

5. “Workers – men and women – of all countries, place yourselves under the banner of the Fourth International. It is the banner of your approaching victory!” –Leon Trotsky

6. “Tell me anyway–Maybe I can find the truth by comparing the lies.” –Leon Trotsky

7.” The United States is not only the strongest, but also the most terrified country.” –Leon Trotsky
7.” The United States is not only the strongest, but also the most terrified country.” –Leon Trotsky

8. “Let us not forget that revolutions are accomplished through people, although they are nameless. Materialism does not ignore the feeling, thinking, and acting man, but explains him.” –Leon Trotsky

9. “Terror is a powerful means of policy and one would have to be a hypocrite not to understand this.” –Leon Trotsky

10. “Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression, and violence and enjoy it to the full.” –Leon Trotsky

11. “Comrades, we love the sun that gives us light, but if the rich and the aggressors were to try to monopolize the sun, we should say:

“Let the sun be extinguished, let darkness reign, eternal night…” –Leon Trotsky

12. “Fascism comes only when the working class shows complete incapacity to take into its own hands the fate of society.” –Leon Trotsky
“Fascism comes only when the working class shows complete incapacity to take into its own hands the fate of society.” –Leon Trotsky

13. “A necessity has two ends: the reactionary and the progressive. History teaches that persons and parties which drag at the opposite ends of a necessity turn out in the long run on opposite sides of the barricade.” –Leon Trotsky

14. “We are concerned here with either real traitors or complete imbeciles. But imbecility, raised to this level, is equal to treason.” –Leon Trotsky

15. “The worst crime on the part of the revolutionaries would be to give the smallest concessions to the privileges and prejudices of the whites. Whoever gives his little finger to the devil of chauvinism is lost.” –Leon Trotsky

16. “Literature without the power of great synthesis is the symptom of social weariness and is characteristic of sharply transitional epochs.” –Leon Trotsky

17. “We may set it down as a historical law: fascism was able to conquer only in those countries where the conservative labor parties prevented the proletariat from utilizing the revolutionary situation and seizing power.” –Leon Trotsky

18. “Revolution is impossible until it’s inevitable.” –Leon Trotsky
Revolution is impossible until it's inevitable –Leon Trotsky

19. “The worker who becomes a policeman in the service of the capitalist state is a bourgeois cop, not a worker.” –Leon Trotsky

20. “Quality demands a democracy of producers and consumers, freedom of criticism and initiative – conditions incompatible with a totalitarian regime of fear, lies, and flattery.” –Leon Trotsky

21 “For the first time in world history the peasant was destined to find a leader in the person of the worker. In that lies the fundamental, and you may say the whole, the difference between the Russian Revolution and all those preceding it. –Leon Trotsky

22. “Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws.” –Leon Trotsky
Insurrection is an art, and like all arts has its own laws. –Leon Trotsky

23. “Fascism is nothing but capitalist reaction.” –Leon Trotsky

24. “The masses go into a revolution not with a prepared plan of social reconstruction, but with a sharp feeling that they cannot endure the old regime. Only the guiding layers of a class have a political program, and even this still requires the test of events and the approval of the masses.” –Leon Trotsky

25. “Learning carries within itself certain dangers because out of necessity one has to learn from one’s enemies.” –Leon Trotsky

26. “The historic ascent of humanity, taken as a whole, may be summarized as a succession of victories of consciousness over blind forces – in nature, in society, in man himself.” –Leon Trotsky

27. “From being a patriotic myth, the Russian people have become an awful reality.” –Leon Trotsky

28. “Technique is noticed most markedly in the case of those who have not mastered it.” –Leon Trotsky

29.” …capitalism does live by crises and booms, just as a human being lives by inhaling and exhaling.”. –Leon Trotsky

30. “Against my protests a mausoleum was built on the Red Square, a monument unbecoming and offensive to the revolutionary consciousness.” –Leon Trotsky

31. “Our planet is being turned into a filthy and evil-smelling imperialist barrack.” –Leon Trotsky
Our planet is being turned into a filthy and evil-smelling imperialist barrack

32. “In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.” –Leon Trotsky

33.” Where force is necessary, there it must be applied boldly, decisively and completely. But one must know the limitations of force; one must know when to blend force with a maneuver, a blow with an agreement.” –Leon Trotsky

34. “In a serious struggle there is no worse cruelty than to be magnanimous at an inopportune time.” –Leon Trotsky

35. “Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravity.” –Leon Trotsky
35. “Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravity –Leon Trotsky

36. “The struggle against war and its social source, capitalism, presupposes direct, active, unequivocal support to the oppressed colonial peoples in their struggles and wars against imperialism. A ‘neutral’ position is tantamount to support of imperialism.” –Leon Trotsky

37.” To renounce the conquest of power is voluntarily to leave the power with those who wield it, the exploiters. The essence of every revolution consisted and consists in putting a new class in power, thus enabling it to realize its own program in life. It is impossible to wage war and to reject victory.” –Leon Trotsky

38. “Religions are illogical primitive ignorance. There is nothing as ridiculous and tragic as a religious government.” –Leon Trotsky

39. “Our party’s most outstanding mediocrity.” –Leon Trotsky

40. “If you cannot convince a Fascist, acquaint his head with the pavement.” –Leon Trotsky

41. “Communism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen.” –Leon Trotsky
Communism needs democracy like the human body needs oxygen –Leon Trotsky

42. “Under all conditions, well-organized violence seems to him the shortest distance between two points.” –Leon Trotsky

43. “The revolution has its own laws: in the period of its culmination it pushes the most highly developed, determined and far-seeing stratum of the revolutionary class to the most advanced positions.” –Leon Trotsky

44. “National self-sufficiency or “autarchy” is the ideal of Adolf Hitler, not of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.” –Leon Trotsky

45. “In 1917 there was not a single Bolshevik who considered possible the realization of a socialist society in a single country, and least of all in Russia.” –Leon Trotsky

46. “The history of a revolution is for us first of all a history of the forcible entrance of the masses into the realm of rulership over their own destiny.” –Leon Trotsky

47. “Without a correct strategy the victory is impossible. But even the most correct strategy cannot give the victory under unfavorable objective conditions.” –Leon Trotsky

48. “No one revolution up to now has brought all that was expected of it by the masses. Hence the inevitability of a certain disillusionment, of a lowering of the activity of the vanguard, and consequently, of the growing importance of the rearguard. Joseph Stalin’s faction has raised itself on the wave of reaction against the October revolution.”  –Leon Trotsky

49. “Look back at history – those who guided the revolution in the time of its culmination never kept their leading positions long after the turning point.” –Leon Trotsky
Look back at history - those who guided the revolution in the time of its culmination never kept their leading positions long after the turning point –Leon Trotsky

50. “In the appendix to my History of the Russian Revolution I give a detailed and documented study of the ideas of the Bolshevik party on the October revolution. This study, I hope, will make it impossible in the future to ascribe to Vladimir Lenin the theory of Socialism in a single country.” –Leon Trotsky

51. “The main task of Socialism – the organization of Socialist production – remains still in the future.” –Leon Trotsky

52. “To overthrow the power of the bourgeoisie and to establish the power of the proletariat in one country still does not signify the full victory of Socialism.” –Leon Trotsky
To overthrow the power of the bourgeoisie and to establish the power of the proletariat in one country still does not signify the full victory of Socialism –Leon Trotsky

53. “In spite of the existence of the Soviet Union, however, the proletarian revolution during the past years has not recorded a victory in any other country.” –Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky Soviet Union Quotes

54. “By the time this book is published, I shall have reached my fiftieth birthday. The date coincides with that of the October revolution. Mystics and Pythagoreans may draw from this whatever conclusions they like. I myself noticed this odd coincidence only three years after the October uprising.” –Leon Trotsky

55. “I was arrested for the first time a year after I left school. For universities, like many others of my time, I had prison, Siberia, and foreign exile.” –Leon Trotsky

56. “Life strikes the weak-and who is weaker than a child?” –Leon Trotsky

57. “By indefatigable, cruel toil that spared neither himself nor others, and by hoarding every penny, my father rose in the world.” –Leon Trotsky

58. “A popular insurrection cannot be staged. It can only be foreseen.” –Leon Trotsky
A popular insurrection cannot be staged. It can only be foreseen –Leon Trotsky

59. “Revolution is the inspired frenzy of history.” –Leon Trotsky
Revolution is the inspired frenzy of history –Leon Trotsky

60. “…should a counterrevolutionary general try to throw a noose around the neck of the revolution, . . . the Kronstadt sailors will come and fight and die with us.” –Leon Trotsky

61. “The strength of the French Revolution was in the machine that made the enemies of the people shorter by a head.” –Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky quotes

62. “Was it worthwhile to put into our enemies’ hands such an additional weapon as my Jewish origin?” –Leon Trotsky

63. “but let me tell you that in one month’s time at the most it will assume more frightful forms, modeled on the terror of the great French revolutionaries. Not the fortress but the guillotine will await our enemies.” –Leon Trotsky

64. “Cowards, scoundrels, and traitors will not escape bullets—this I pledge before the entire Red Army.” –Leon Trotsky
Cowards, scoundrels, and traitors will not escape bullets—this I pledge before the entire Red Army –Leon Trotsky

65. “I am not a Jew. I’m a Marxist internationalist. . . . I have nothing in common with Jewish things and want to know nothing about Jewish things.” –Leon Trotsky

66. “Who aims at the end cannot reject the means,” –Leon Trotsky

67. “A revolution is not decided by votes.” –Leon Trotsky
A revolution is not decided by votes –L

68. “War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands.” –Leon Trotsky

69. “Those elements whom we are sending or will send abroad are politically worthless.  in themselves. But they are potential weapons in the hands of our possible enemies. In the event of new military complications…. all these unreconciled and incorrigible elements will turn into military-political elements of the enemy. And we will be forced to shoot them.” –Leon Trotsky

70. “In the last analysis, the party is always right, because the party is the sole historical instrument the working class possesses for the solution of its fundamental tasks.” –Leon Trotsky

71. “ I know that no one can be right against the party. It is possible to be right only with the party and through it since history has not created any other way to determine the correct position.” –Leon Trotsky

72. “Stalin was not an intellectual, but he was a master of political intrigue.” –Leon Trotsky
Stalin was not an intellectual, but he was a master of political intrigue –Leon Trotsky

73. “but when I ask to be given a brief object lesson in democracy, there are no volunteers” –Leon Trotsky

74. “The differences between blondes and brunettes are not as great, in fact they are significantly less, than the differences between a human being and an ape.” –Leon Trotsky

75. “Yes, five million Communists still managed, each individually, to make their way to the polling booths,” Trotsky wrote in the Bulletin of the Opposition. “But in the factories and the streets their presence is not felt. . . . The bureaucratic terror of Stalinism has paralyzed their will even before the gangster terror of fascism has started its work.” –Leon Trotsky

76.” Stalin had wanted to avoid war, but this did not mean that “war will spare Stalin.” –Leon Trotsky

77. “If the government uses iron, it will be answered with steel.” –Leon Trotsky
If the government uses iron, it will be answered with steel –Leon Trotsky

78. “On behalf of the Military-Revolutionary Committee, I declare that the Provisional Government is no longer existent”. –Leon Trotsky

79. “In its initial task the Russian revolution was thus a democratic revolution. But it posed the problem of political democracy in a new way.” –Leon Trotsky
In its initial task the Russian revolution was thus a democratic revolution. But it posed the problem of political democracy in a new way

80. “Nicholas II inherited from his ancestors not only a giant empire, but also a revolution.” –Leon Trotsky

81. “This political awakening of the peasantry could not have taken place otherwise . . . than through their own native language — with all the consequences ensuing in regard to schools, courts, self-administration. To oppose this would have been to try to drive the peasants back into nonexistence.” –Leon Trotsky

82. “Working men and women! Mothers and fathers! Widows and orphans! Wounded and crippled! To all who are suffering from the war or in consequence of the war, we cry out, over the frontiers, over the smoking battlefields, over the devastated cities and hamlets: ‘WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!” –Leon Trotsky

83. “A revolution made in the streets resulted in a government made in the salons.” –Leon Trotsky
A revolution made in the streets resulted in a government made in the salons

84. “The army that rose against Kornilov was the army-to-be of the October revolution.” –Leon Trotsky

85. “The masses of the people followed our banner and our insurrection was victorious.

And now we are told: Renounce your victory, make concessions, compromise. With whom? I ask: With those wretched groups who have left us or who are making this proposal. .. No one in Russia is with them any longer. A compromise is supposed to be made between two equal sides .. . But here no compromise is possible. To those who have left and to those who tell us to do this we say: You are miserable bankrupts, your role is played out; go where you ought to go — into the dustbin of history.” –Leon Trotsky

86.” For centuries our fathers and grandfathers have been cleaning up the dirt and the filth of the ruling classes, but now we will make them clean up our dirt. We must make life so uncomfortable for them that they will lose the desire to remain bourgeois.” –Leon Trotsky

87. “Although we have not been brought down by Denikin or Kolchak, we may yet be brought down by overcoats or boots.” –Leon Trotsky

88. “Yes, long live civil war! Civil war for the sake of the children, the elderly, the workers and the Red Army, civil war in the name of direct and ruthless struggle against counter-revolution.” –Leon Trotsky

89. “Let there be no room for hesitation and doubt.” –Leon Trotsky
Let there be no room for hesitation and doubt

90. “There is no Russia without Ukraine. Without Ukrainian coal, iron, ore, bread, Black Sea salt, Russia cannot exist: it will suffocate, and with it the Soviet government, and we are with you.“ –Leon Trotsky

91. “…The goal is justified if it leads to the increase of the power of man over nature and to the destruction of the power of man over man.” –Leon Trotsky

92. “The masses enter the revolution not with a ready-made plan for social reorganization, but with a keen sense of the impossibility of tolerating the old.” –Leon Trotsky

93. “… The February Revolution was only a shell in which the core of the October Revolution was hidden” –Leon Trotsky
93. "... The February Revolution was only a shell in which the core of the October Revolution was hidden –Leon Trotsky

94. “The most indisputable feature of the revolution is the direct intervention of the masses in historical events.” –Leon Trotsky
The most indisputable feature of the revolution is the direct intervention of the masses in historical events.

95. “An independent character, like an independent thought, cannot develop without criticism.” –Leon Trotsky
An independent character, like an independent thought, cannot develop without criticism

96. „An ally has to be watched just like an enemy.” –Leon Trotsky
An ally has to be watched just like an enemy –Leon Trotsky

97. “The revolutionary, when necessary and possible, breaks down historical obstacles by force; when it is impossible, he bypasses it; when it is impossible to bypass it, he stubbornly and patiently undermines and crushes. He is a revolutionary because he is not afraid to blow up, to use merciless violence, he knows his historical price. It always strives to develop its destructive and creative work in full, that is, to extract from each given historical situation the maximum of what it can give for the advance of the revolutionary class.” –Leon Trotsky

98. “The revolution seems like sheer madness to those whom it sweeps aside and overthrows.” –Leon Trotsky

99. “Although an insurrection can only win as an offensive, it develops the more successfully, the more it looks like a defense.” –Leon Trotsky

100. “Political struggle is by its very essence a struggle of interests and forces, not arguments.” –Leon Trotsky

101. “What is a party? This is a group of people who seek power in order to be able to carry out their program. A party that does not want power is unworthy of being called a party.” –Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky historical quotes

102. “Russia as such does not interest us. We use it like a bunch of brushwood to ignite the world revolution.” –Leon Trotsky

103. “And we say that we want to create on this earth a real paradise for people.” –Leon Trotsky
And we say that we want to create on this earth a real paradise for people

104. “We will not give up Petrograd!” –Leon Trotsky

105. “We are ready to struggle and die for the world revolution!” –Leon Trotsky
105. “We are ready to struggle and die for the world revolution! -Leon Trotsky

106. “The road to Paris and London lies through the towns of Afghanistan, Punjab and Bengal.” –Leon Trotsky

107. “In order to reconstruct Germany, it must be allowed to live, to feed itself, to work. But if Germany, crucified and oppressed, is not allowed to live, to feed itself and to work, then it will rise up against French imperialism.” –Leon Trotsky

108. “The man who repudiates the dictatorship of the proletariat is also repudiating socialist revolution and digging the grave of socialism.” –Leon Trotsky

109. “We have the Cheka. The Cheka isn’t loved, but then again we don’t love the counter-revolution.” –Leon Trotsky

110. “Man will become incomparably stronger, more intelligent, more subtle. His body will be more harmonious, his movements more rhythmical, his voice more musical; the forms of daily existence will acquire a dynamic theatricality. The average human type will rise to the level of Aristotle, Goethe, Marx. It is above this ridge that new summits will rise.” –Leon Trotsky

111. “ I gave up the military post without a fight, even with a feeling of inner relief, so as to wrest from my adversaries’ hands their weapon of insinuations about my military intentions.” –Leon Trotsky

112. “The proletariat grows and becomes stronger with the growth of capitalism. In this sense, the development of capitalism is also the development of the proletariat toward dictatorship.” –Leon Trotsky

113. “The complete victory of the revolution means the victory of the proletariat. This, in turn, means the further uninterrupted character of the revolution.” –Leon Trotsky
The complete victory of the revolution means the victory of the proletariat. This, in turn, means the further uninterrupted character of the revolution.

114. “Collectivism will become not only the inevitable way forward from the position in which the party in power will find itself, but will also be a means of preserving this position with the support of the proletariat.” –Leon Trotsky

115. “The proletariat in power will stand before the peasantry as the class that has emancipated it.” –Leon Trotsky

 116. “The proletariat, however, unavoidably remains the leader. This is not “the dictatorship of the peasantry and proletariat” but the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry.” –Leon Trotsky
The proletariat, however, unavoidably remains the leader. This is not "the dictatorship of the peasantry and proletariat" but the dictatorship of the proletariat supported by the peasantry.

117. “A government resting directly upon the proletariat, and through it upon the revolutionary peasantry, does not yet signify the socialist dictatorship.” –Leon Trotsky

118.” The struggle against war is decided not by pressure upon the government but only by the revolutionary struggle for power.” –Leon Trotsky

119. “Without the direct state support of the European proletariat the working class of Russia cannot remain in power and convert its temporary domination into a lasting socialistic dictatorship.” –Leon Trotsky

120. “Proletarian solidarity knows no frontiers; it will abolish the autocracy and found a democratic republic.” –Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky important quotes

121. “It is unquestionably true that the need for art is not created by economic conditions. But neither is the need for food created by economics. On the contrary, the need for food and warmth creates economics.” – Leon Trotsky

122. “A revolution is always distinguished by impoliteness, probably because the ruling classes did not take the trouble in good season to teach the people fine manners.” – Leon Trotsky

123. “Without a guiding organization, the energy of the masses would dissipate like steam not enclosed in a piston box. But nevertheless what moves things is not the piston or the box, but the steam.” – Leon Trotsky

124. “In the meantime, the first characteristic of a really revolutionary party is — to be able to look reality in the face.” – Leon Trotsky

125. “The revolution lays out the ground for a new society. But it does so with the methods of the old society, with the class struggle, with violence, destruction, and annihilation. If the proletarian revolution had not come, mankind would have been strangled by its own contradictions. The revolution saved society and culture, but by means of the most cruel surgery.” – Leon Trotsky

We hope that after you have read these 125 Leon Trotsky quotes you have now learned more about his views about the revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, the workers, Stalin, and many other important topics.

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