"The serious reader will not want a treacherous impartiality ... but a scientific conscientiousness, which for its sympathies and antipathies - open and undisguised - seeks support in an honest study of the facts, a determination of their real connections, an exposure of the causal laws of their movement"
In 1917, one of the greatest events in human history took place when, led by the Bolshevik Party, the workers and peasants of Russia carried through a victorious revolution.
This blog, updated for the 100th anniversary in 2017, is a summary of the outstanding "History of the Russian Revolution" written by one of its leaders, Leon Trotsky. It quotes extensively from his book and hopefully does justice to Trotsky's detailed descriptions and arguments.
This account can in no way be seen as a substitute for reading Trotsky's original work. However, I hope it will allow readers who are unable to take the time to study the whole of Trotsky’s book to nevertheless appreciate the ideas and experiences that he sought to explain.
I hope it not only provides a useful summary of the different events that took place as the revolution developed but also explains the main processes and laws of revolution that socialists can still apply in our present and future struggles.
In keeping with Trotsky, this account does not pretend to present an 'impartial' view of the revolution, since “... the serious and critical reader will not want a treacherous impartiality, which offers him a cup of conciliation with a well-settled poison of reactionary hate at the bottom, but a scientific conscientiousness, which for its sympathies and antipathies - open and undisguised - seeks support in an honest study of the facts, a determination of their real connections, an exposure of the causal laws of their movement ” (Preface to Volume One: p.21)
As a final point, it should be noted that dates are given according to the old style Russian calendar, 13 days behind the international calendar. This means that the 'February Revolution' (Feb.27) actually occurred on March 12 and the 'October Revolution' (Oct.25) on November 7. If this seems confusing, Trotsky asks his readers to "... be kind enough to remember that before overthrowing the Byzantine calendar, the revolution had to overthrow the institutions that clung to it" . (Preface to Volume One: p.22.)
Martin Powell-Davies, 23 December 2016.
Page numbers refer to the Pluto Press 1979 edition.