Leon Trotsky’s struggle against fascism in Germany

Between 1931 and 1933, Trotsky sought to arouse the most politically conscious sections of the German working class and the socialist intelligentsia to the immense danger posed by fascism and the urgent necessity for a unified struggle of the proletariat to prevent a Nazi victory. Trotsky’s writings on German fascism rank among the greatest works of political literature in the twentieth century. No one else wrote with such prescience, precision and passion on the German events and their world historic implications.

Fascism was a movement of the demoralized petty bourgeoisie, devastated by the economic crisis and squeezed between the two main classes, the bourgeoisie and the working class. The defeats of the socialist movement had convinced broad sections of the petty bourgeoisie that the working class was not the solution but the source of its problems. The German bourgeoisie employed the fascists to destroy the labor organizations and atomize the working class.

The victory of Hitler’s Nazi Party in January 1933 was the result of the betrayals of Social Democracy and Stalinism. The Social Democrats placed their confidence in the bourgeois Weimar Republic and tied the working class to the capitalist state. The Stalinist policy of “social fascism”—which claimed that the SPD and Hitler’s party were “twins”—opposed all forms of collaboration between the Communist Party and the Social Democracy, even for defensive purposes.

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More about the life and work of Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) was the greatest strategist of world socialist revolution of the 20th century. Together with Lenin, he led the Bolshevik Party in the 1917 October Revolution. In 1923, he founded the Left Opposition to oppose the growth of a nationalist bureaucracy, headed by Joseph Stalin, in the Soviet Union. In 1933, following the coming to power of the Nazis in Germany, facilitated by the disastrous policies of the Stalinist Comintern that he had opposed, Trotsky called for the founding of the Fourth International.

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